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Topic#1: Consolidation of Land Holdings

What is Consolidation of Land holdings?

1. Converting many small and fragmented holdings into one big farm.
2. Process by which farmers are convinced to get, one or two compact farms in place of
their fragmented farms.
3. Process in which farmers fragmented land holdings are pooled and then re-allotted
them in a way that each gets a single farm of having same total size and fertility like his
previous fragmented landholdings.
1750s: Denmark was the first country to start land consolidation.
Why do we need Consolidation of Land holdings?
1. Farms in India are not only small in size but also lie scattered.
2. Scattered farms=lot of time, energy and money wasted in moving men and material
from one farm to another= sub-optimal use of resources.
3. Hence land consolidation = essential for progressive farming/ capitalist methods /
mechanization of agriculture.
What are the methods of Land consolidation?
#1: Voluntary Consolidation
If the farmers themselves agree to voluntarily consolidate their land holdings.
started in Punjab, in 1921
Positive negative
Done by local co-operative
does not lead to any dispute
no pressure/coercion exerted on
Very slow.
Zamindars usually create hurdles in its
Sometimes a few obstinate (Stubborn) farmers
oppose the scheme.
Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and W.Bengal have passed laws for voluntary consolidation.
#2: Compulsory Consolidation
When consolidation is made compulsory by law, it is called compulsory consolidation.

Again two subtypes:
Partial compulsory consolidation Complete Compulsion
If a majority of farmers in a village agree to get
their holdings consolidated, then the rest of the
farmers too will have to get their fragmented
holdings consolidated.
1923: MP passed first act.
1936: Punjab passed act. according to this act: IF
66% of the farmers owning 75% of the village
land, agreed for land consolidation, then
remaining farmers will have to compulsory
In this case, state government
make law to compulsory land
consolidation (irrespective of
how many farmers actually
want it)
1947: Bombay state (now
Maharashtra) was the first state
to enact compulsory
1948: Punjab also passed similar
Now many states have passed
laws to this effect.
(2004 data) overall, more than 1500 lakh hectares land has been consolidated so far. High
performer states: Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Slow
progress elsewhere.
(+ve) Land Consolidation: Benefits, Advantages, Positive points
1. Scientific methods of cultivation, better irrigation, mechanization = possible on
consolidated holdings = reduces cost of production + increases income.
2. Saves farmers time, energy and money in moving from one farm to the other.
3. Farmer feels encouraged to spend money on the improvement of his land.
4. No land is wasted in making boundaries between tiny farms.
5. Surplus land after consolidation can be used for construction of gardens, school,
Panchayat Ghar, roads, play grounds and desi liquor dens for the benefit of entire
(-ve) Land consolidation: Difficulties, Obstacles, Negative points
1. Indian farmer has orthodox mindset. He does not want to part with the land of his
ancestors, even if it the principles of modern agri.science/business management
advocate land consolidation.
2. Rich farmers own large tracts of fertile land. They oppose consolidation fearing some
other farmer will get part of their fertilize land. (And typical frog mindset: if I cannot climb
out of well, no problem, but Ill not let any other frog to climb out of well either.)
3. In many areas, farming done on oral agreements, there are no paper records.
4. Land quality/Price within tehsil will vary depending on irrigation and fertility. So, one
farmer will have to pay money (or receive money) depending on land quality, while
they exchange their land with each other.
5. But this price determination is difficult because of lack of land surveys, agri.surveys
and inefficient/corrupt revenue officials.
6. Revenue official @village / Tehsil level are inefficient and not trained in this type of
technical work.
7. Recall Ashok Khemka (the IAS officer who exposed Raabert Vadra/DLF scam.) Earlier,
Ashok Khemka was Director General Consolidation of Land holdings in Haryana. He
exposed how land consolidation related provisions were misused in Faridabad district
of Haryaya. modus operandi was following:
1. The real estate mafias/dalal type elements would first buy small patches of
unfertile land scattered in Aravalli hills (using xyz farmers under benami
2. then they would bribe local tehsildar, patwari to get fragment farms exchanged for
consolidated big farms near the foothills where national/state highways are to be
constructed in future=>can be sold at extremely high prices after 5-10-15
years=truckload of profit with minimum effort. Thus original purpose of land
consolidation (to increase agro. productivity) is defeated.
Anyways, enough of land consolidation, lets move to the second topic:
Topic#2: Cooperative Farming
What is cooperative Farming?
Cooperative farming refers to an organisation in which:
1. Each member-farmer remains the owner of his land individually.
2. But farming is done jointly.
3. Profit is distributed among the member-farmers in the ratio of land owned by them.
4. Wages distributed among the member-farmers according to number of days they
In other words, Cooperative farming= pooling of land and practicing joint agriculture.
Cooperative farming is not a new concept in India. Since ancient times, Indian farmers have
been giving mutual aid to each other in weeding, harvesting etc. Examples
Traditional Cooperative Farming System Region
Phad Kolhapur
Gallashi Andhra
Why Cooperative farming?
Because it gives following benefits/advantages/potential:
1. Economies of scale:
1. As the size of farm increases, the per hectare cost of using tube-well, tractor comes
2. Small farms=some land is wasted in forming the boundaries among them. When
theyre combined into a big cooperative farm, we can also cultivate on that
boundary land.
3. Overall, Large farms are economically more beneficial than small farms.
Solves the problem of sub-division and fragmentation of holdings.
Cooperative farm has more men-material-money resources to increase irrigation
potential and land productivity. Members would not have been able to do it
individually on their small farm.
Case studies generally point out that with cooperative farming, per acre production
India towards Cooperative Farming
Gandhi, Nehru, Socialists and Communists agreed that
cooperative farming will improve Indian agriculture and benefit
the poor.
Bombay Plan44
Cooperative farming is the only way to combat sub-marginal
Government should compel small/marginal farmers to
undertake cooperative farming.
Cooperative 1. Large scale cultivation is the only solution to increase agro-
production permanently.
2. Suggested four types of cooperative farming societies viz.
1. better farming
2. tenant farming
3. joint farming
4. Collective farming society.
Economic Program
headed by Nehru. Recommended that:
1. All middlemen should be replaced by non-profit making
agencies, such as cooperatives.
2. Pilot schemes for cooperative farming among small land holders
in India.
3. Well promote cooperative farming through persuasion, goodwill
and agreement of the peasantry.
4. Well not use any legal or administrative
force/compulsion/coercion to make small farmers start
cooperative farming.
Congress Agrarian
headed by Kumarappa recommended that:
Empower the state governments to enforce cooperative farming
among peasants with uneconomic land holdings/extremely
small farms.
Use intelligent propaganda/awareness campaigns to promote
cooperative farming.
Give state aid/ subsidies to cooperative farms.
Specially trained cadre/officials to train and motivate farmers in
cooperative farming.
So, this is the first time, someone suggested the State to use
Compulsion to promote cooperatives.
Cooperative Farming vs Five Year Plans
First Five Year Plan (1951-56)
Apart from Cooperative farming, it also recommended Cooperative Village
Management as a more comprehensive solution for rural development.
Encourage small and middle farmers to form cooperative farming societies
If majority of farmers agreed to start cooperative farming, then decision will be binding
on the entire village.
But did not talk about giving enforcement powers to States.
Result? ~2000 cooperative farming societies formed during the First Plan period.
Second Five Year Plan (1956-61)
1956: Indian delegations sent to China to study their cooperative farming.
Recommended this system in to increase food grain production.
Develop cooperative farming as soon as possible.
Target: Setup atleast one cooperative farm in every National Extension Block, or about
5000 for the whole country.
Hoped to convert substantial proportion of Indian farms into cooperative farming by a
period of ten years.
Nagpur resolution of Congress, 1959
1. Cooperative farming will be the the future agrarian pattern of India.
2. farmers will continue to retain their property rights
3. but their land will be pooled for joint cultivation.
4. Farmers will get a share in the profit, in proportion to their land.
5. Further, those who actually work on the land, will get wages, in proportion of their
work-contribution (irrespective of whether they own the land or not.) = in other words,
cooperative farming will give employment to landless labourers also. In a way, this was
a solution to the #epicfail of land ceiling (because so far governments could not take
over the surplus land from big farmers and redistribute it among landless laborers).
6. Start cooperatives related to agro-credit, marketing, seeds-fertilizer etc. Finish this stage
within 3 years. Then focus entirely on cooperative farming.
Epicfail of Nagpur resolution
After Nagpur resolution, Many people inside and outside congress, opposed the idea.
Who? Said what?
1. C. Rajagopalachari
2. N.G. Ranga
3. Charan Singh
Cooperative farming would lead to forced collectivization on
the Soviet or Chinese pattern.
Nehru is imposing a totalitarian, Communist programme
upon the country.
Nehru (clarifies in Were not going to make any law/act to coerce anyone to start
Parliament) cooperative farming.
Later Chinese attack on Tibet and India. Critiques start pointing out how Nehrus
policies are hurting India.
Recall, earlier we sent delegations to China, to study their cooperative farming system.
But now there is Anti-China mood in press and public. Hence, gradually Congress
gives up the idea of cooperative farming.
Third Plan (1961-66)
Observed that nearly 40% of the cooperative farms are not functioning properly.
Advocated better implementation of community development program, credit societies,
agri-marketing etc. for getting success in cooperative farming.
~300 pilot projects in selected district. Each project having 10 cooperative societies.
Overall, Third Five year plan tried to put a brave face, again reaffirming the
governments faith in cooperative farming, but overall, wishful platitude not a plan of
Fourth Five Year Plan (1969-74)
1. Observed that cooperative farming programs have not made any substantial progress.
2. (therefore) It is not been possible to propose any additional programmes for cooperative
farming in this Plan
3. Instead, we should focus on development of agricultural credit, marketing, processing
and consumer needs.
4. In co-operative farming, funding priority only for revitalizing of the existing weak
5. But avoid setting up new cooperative farming societies, unless they have a potential for
So, overall we can see that by early 70s, Planning commissions faith/interest in cooperative
farming is vanishing.
Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-79)
1. Made no mention of cooperative farming.
2. It did allot some ca$H under the heading Cooperation, but it was only meant for
inter-farm co-operative service facilities e.g. seed-fertilizer-water supply, use of
tractors/agro-machineries etc.
After this era, five year plans give more attention (and ca$H) to wasteland management,
poverty removal etc. and cooperative farming loses its relevance.

Cooperative Farming: Limitations/Epicfail
Miscalculations and false hopes
Early planners and policymakers had hoped that
1. Village panchayat and (Congress) party workers will help implementing cooperative
farming, but response was lukewarm.
2. Cooperative farming = government will have to spend less money on agriculture (+less
leakage in subsidies). But the scenario didnt change.
During 2
FYP, the National Development Council proposed that in the next five years
agricultural production be increased by 25-35% via cooperative farming. But most state
government shied away from taking necessary initiatives.
Bogus farms and apathetic bureaucrats
By and large Cooperative farming societies fell into two categories:
Type#1: by big farmers = bogus farms
Theyd setup bogus cooperative farms by showing agri.labourers/tenants as bogus
members. But in reality none of them owned the land individually.
this was done to evade land ceiling and tenancy reform laws.
Adding insult to the injury: government even gave them subsidies for seeds, fertilizers
At times, non-working members had been enrolled in order to fulfil the minimum
requirements of registration.
Even in legit/genuine cooperative farming societies, the rich farmers dominate the
management positions.
Sometimes societies setup with members of just one or two families to get various

Type#2: by State sponsorship= apathetic bureaucrats
State sponsored cooperative farms as part of pilot projects under FYP.
Government would allot land to the landless, SC/ST, Displaced persons etc.
But they did not get adequate support from government agencies for irrigation,
electricity, seeds-fertilizer, extension services etc.
These farms were run like government-sponsored projects rather than genuine,
motivated, joint efforts of the cultivators. Result? These experiments were unsuccessful.
No gain in productivity.
Later, those farmers started cultivating land individual (though on papers, the land
continued to be owned by the cooperative societies.)
#Epicfail in Bihar:
Cooperative farming societies were formed on Bhoodan land- for the landless labourers.
But later, they started individual farming, although officially the land still continues to
be in the name of the societies.
Free riders
Some member-farmers become lazy, thinking why bother when well get the same
amount of profit in proportion of the land owned. Just like those free-rider students in
MBA/Engineering College who do not contribute anything for the powerpoint projects
yet get full credits/marks for being member of the group.
This demotivated sincere farmers from working hard on such cooperative farms.
+ Entry of idiots with political patronage and caste affiliations entering in cooperative
farming activities, with their own vested interests.
Ultimately, nobody takes interest in the actual farming and entire project turns flop.
Overall, Cooperative farming didnt grow beyond the government projects and the bogus
Anyways, enough of cooperative farming, lets move to the third and last topic of this
Topic#3: Computerization of Land Records
Under the British Raj, Land Revenue =significant source of income for the British. so
they maintained accurate, up-to-date land records.
But after independence, Revenue administration falls under non-plan expenditure =
doesnt get much budgetary allocation.
As a result, revenue department wont hire many officers/employees, wont bother
building new offices, buying new photocopiers, survey devices, jeeps etc.
Ultimately records became outdated.
But after 80s, there was need for up-to-date land records for industrial purpose, acquiring
land for railways, highways, industries. Up to date land records also help implementing
land reforms, designing agricultural policies and resolving court cases.
So Union government comes up with two schemes in the late 80s:
1. Strengthening of Revenue Administration & Updating of Land Records (SRA&ULR)
2. Computerization of Land Records (CLR)
Later, both schemes merged together into a single scheme NLRMP in 2008. (Imagine the
relief of UPSC aspirants in that era upon knowing they had to mugup just one scheme
instead of two!)
National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP)

Who Department of Land Resources under Rural Development Ministry.
When 2008
It has four components:
1. Computerize the property records. Encourage states to legalize computerized copies
with digital signatures.
2. Computerize the registration process: link Sub- registrar s office with revenue offices.
This helps in real-time online synchronization of data.
3. Do surveys and prepare maps using modern technology- global positioning system
(GPS), aerial photography, high resolution satellite imagery (HRSI) etc.
4. HRD, training, capacity building, awareness generation and other fancy things.
Target: cover all districts by the end of 12
Five year plan.
Funding pattern of NLRMP
Just for information:
% funding by:
center State
1. computerize land records 100 0
2. survey 90
10% north eastern
50 50% other states
3. computerize registration process, link sub-registrars office
with revenue offices
10% north eastern
25 75% other states
4. modern record rooms in Tehsil offices
10% north eastern
50 50% other states
5. training, capacity building 100 0
6. Core GIS 100 0
Benefits/Potential of NLRMP
1. Provides security of property rights with conclusive titles and title guarantee.
2. Minimizes land disputes.
3. Efficient functioning of the economic operations based on land, and overall efficiency of
the economy.
4. Integrated land information management system with up-to-date and real time land
records. =>even after drought/famine/disaster, helps government to award
compensation to needy farmers.
5. Even helps providing other land-based certificates such as caste certificates, income
certificates, domicile certificates; information for whether given citizen is eligible for
xyz. Government scheme or not.
6. no need for stamp papers
7. Stamp duty and registration fees can be paid even through banks.
8. Computerized entries=less opportunities for patwari to demand bribes.
9. NLRMP is a demand driven scheme. States/UT frame the project according their local
requirements, send their file to Delhi and get the ca$h.
10. Provides location specific information to planners and policymakers.
11. Helps e-linkages to credit facilities/banks.