1. Prologue
  2. Topic#1: Consolidation of Land Holdings
    1. What is Consolidation of Land holdings?
    2. Why do we need Consolidation of Land holdings?
    3. What are the methods of Land consolidation?
      1. #1: Voluntary Consolidation
      2. #2: Compulsory Consolidation
    4. (+ve) Land Consolidation: Benefits, Advantages, Positive points
    5. (-ve) Land consolidation: Difficulties, Obstacles, Negative points
  3. Topic#2: Computerization of Land Records
    1. National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP)
    2. Funding pattern of NLRMP
    3. Benefits/Potential of NLRMP
  4. Mock Question

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 societies.
  • does not lead to any dispute
  • no pressure/coercion exerted on anybody.
  • very slow.
  • Zamindars usually create hurdles in its progress.
  • 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 agree.
  • 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 act.
  • 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 farmer’s 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 village.

(-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 I’ll 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 provision 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 transection.)
    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.

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 = doesn’t get much budgetary allocation.
  • As a result, revenue department won’t hire many officers/employees, won’t 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 12th Five year plan.

Funding pattern of NLRMP

Just for information:
work % funding by:
center state
  1. computerize land records
100 0
  1. survey
90 10% north eastern states
50 50% other states
  1. computerize registration process, link sub-registrar’s office with revenue offices
90 10% north eastern states
25 75% other states
  1. modern record rooms in Tehsil offices
90 10% north eastern states
50 50% other states
  1. training, capacity building
100 0
  1. 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.

Mock Question

12/15 marks

  1. What do you understand by Land consolidation? Discuss the measures taken in India for consolidation of land holdings.
  2. Define Cooperative farming. Why has it not met with grand success in India?
  3. Cooperative farming has not taken firm roots in India. Examine the causes and suggest remedies.
  4. Explain the importance of National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP) as a tool of land reforms in India.

In the next article, we’ll see forest rights act, draft national policy and few other misc topics. That’ll be (most likely) the last article under [Land reform] series.