The Evolution of Agrarian Policy in India before 1991: from an Institutional to a Technocratic Approach


Majority of the people in India are engaged in agriculture or its related activities. When Jawaharlal Nehru came to power in the year 1947, as Prime Minister of India, he had a socialist vision. He believed in the state-led economic development and envisaged a series of programs in that regard, and directed attention towards eliminating legal bottlenecks that prevented the application of agrarian laws. The agrarian plan needed an effective land reforms program designed to redistribute surplus land among the landless and marginal farmers that could make a significant contribution to raising the incomes and productivity of the rural poor. The progress of land reforms was slow, which was due to poor implementation of the land ceiling laws. However, the turning point for the agrarian sector came when the process of green revolution was embarked in the 1960s, mainly to counter the food shortages in India. However, the green revolution generated considerable disparities in the countryside, especially in the state of Punjab, which spearheaded the green revolution as it contributed to the inequalities between those who could afford the new technology and those who could not. Hence the prosperity due to the green revolution was only for a certain strata of the farmers in India, and not all.


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