Daily Answer Writing And Mentorship Program


Q: Highlight the key reforms undertaken by the government to bring tenancy reforms. What are the limitations in implementing tenancy reforms.        
     (15 Marks, 250 Words)

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The Indian government has undertaken key reforms to address tenancy issues, aiming to protect the rights of tenant farmers and ensure land redistribution, social justice and reduce inequality.


Key Reforms:

  • Rent Regulation: In the pre-independent India, exorbitant rent was extracted from tenants. In the country, the rent varied from 34 to 75%.
  • Reduction in Rent: The first five-year plan stated that maximum rent should be fixed at 1/4th or 1/5th of the total product. Except in Punjab, Haryana, J&K, TN and Andhra Pradesh, this limit was observed in all the states. Even in these states, it didn’t go beyond 40%.
  • Security of Tenure: To protect tenants from ejectment and grant them permanent rights in land, legislations have been passed in most of the states.
  • Legislation for security of tenure had three essential aims:
  • No ejection except as per the provision of the law.
  • Land may be resumed by the owner, if at all, for ‘personal cultivation’ only
  • In the event of ejection, the tenant is assured of a prescribed minimum area.
  • Ownership rights for Tenants:
  • Some states have also passed laws to confer ownership rights to tenants.
  • It is estimated that because of this, 1.2 crore tenants have acquired ownership rights over 6.32 million hectares of land.
  • West Bengal, Karnataka, and Kerala have achieved more successes than the other states.
  • In Kerala, applications of 24 lakh tenants for conferment of ownership rights were accepted.
  • Support for sharecroppers: Special provisions have been made to provide legal recognition and support to sharecroppers, ensuring they have access to credit, government schemes, and agricultural inputs.
  • In West Bengal, 14 lakh sharecroppers have been recorded under the ‘Operation Barga’.
  • Contract farming regulations: The government has introduced guidelines and regulations to safeguard the interests of farmers entering into contractual agreements with agribusiness companies, ensuring fair terms and protection against exploitation.


Limitations in implementing tenancy reforms:


  • Overall, the progress was very unsatisfactory.
  • A few states didn’t adopt legislation while in some others implementation has been very poor.
  • Weak enforcement mechanisms and inadequate monitoring undermine the effective implementation of tenancy reforms.
  • Powerful landlords and intermediaries often resist the implementation of tenancy reforms, as it may impact their economic interests and control over land.
  • Cumbersome legal processes and lengthy litigation procedures made it difficult for tenant farmers to seek legal recourse and protect their rights.
  • Deep-rooted social norms, customs, and power dynamics limit the effectiveness of tenancy reforms.
  • For a long period, tenant didn’t exercise their rights to purchase ownership of land they
    cultivated due to following reasons:
  • Many tenants couldn’t afford to pay the purchase price.
  • Many tenants were unwilling to purchase. This reflected the dominant controlling power of the landowner’s vis-a-vis the tenants.


The government’s efforts in implementing tenancy reforms have included enacting legislation, providing legal recognition to sharecroppers, and regulating contract farming. Despite limitations, such reforms hold the potential to empower tenant farmers, enhance agricultural productivity, and promote social and economic equity in the farming sector.