Land Reforms in West Bengal. Geography and demography of the state Situated in the Eastern Coast of India, bordering the states of Bihar and Orissa and the neighbouring country Bangladesh. Population density of 904 per square kilometers as compared to the national average of 324.
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Geography and demography of the state
5. In 1999-2000, 90.62 per cent of total area for cultivation of food grains was under rice.
6. Area under food grains in 1999-2000 was 4.1 times the area under non food grains (cash crops and vegetables)
7. In 1999-2000, 92.6 per cent of total food grains production was in the form of rice.
8. In 2000, from administrative point of view West Bengal had 17 districts divided into 341 development blocks and 3248 cluster of villages having 40,911 villages (called Mouzas).
The Jotedars, mainly rentiers from the erstwhile zamindars, again turned out to be not the actual cultivators in general and many of them were also absentees.
For the first time, sharecroppers showed some militancy in the rural areas
The major issue in the political economy of reform is whether the target group was correctly chosen?
Share of West Bengal in implementation of distribution of ceiling surplus land among all major rice producing states in India as in March, 2001
States Per cent to National Total
West Bengal 47.14
Andhra Pradesh 9.83
Uttar Pradesh 5.40
Tamil Nadu 2.62
1. Bringing Bureaucracy close to the Villages
a. Identification of villages with the help of
settlement records and peasants
b. Squads of Officers from Land Settlement
and Land Management Branch formed
d. Government Officials explained the
benefits of registration of names
e. Next day was reserved for claim
f. Government officers recorded names of
the sharecroppers and gave them
certificates. They were entered into the
village records later.
Thus, essentially, quasi property rights were
Bestowed upon registered sharecroppers
2. Delegation of financial and planning activities to Local Elected Government
Non-quantifiable Tasks of Panchayats
Having operational land below 2 hectares
1) Log(yield) = -0.144 + 0.289** log(roads) + 0.359* log(labour) + 0.370*inter 25,
Adjusted R2 = 0.310
2) Log(yield) = 0.142 + 0.313** log(roads) + 0.292** log(labour) + 0.370***inter 20,
Adjusted R2 = 0.248
Note: *, **, and *** refer to significant at 1, 5 and 10 per cent levels respectively
The number of cultivators as a proportion of agricultural workers is going down
To sustain fruits of land reform, diversification of
production base and increase in non-farm activities
are a must. Along with that, serious thought to be
given on strengthening of grass roots democracy.