[Land Reforms] Cooperative Farming in India: features, benefits, limitations

Mrunalpolity53 Comments

Mrunal’s UPSC GSM3-2020 Model Answer lecture: Science Technology, Internal Security Border Management Questions from last Mains Exam Solved!
  1. What is cooperative Farming?
  2. Why Cooperative farming?
  3. India towards Cooperative Farming
  4. Cooperative Farming vs Five Year Plans
  5. Cooperative Farming: Limitations/Epicfail
    1. Miscalculations and false hopes
    2. Bogus farms and apathetic bureaucrats
    3. Free riders

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 worked.

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 down.
    2. Small farms=some land is wasted in forming the ‘boundaries’ among them. When they’re 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.
  2. Solves the problem of sub-division and fragmentation of holdings.
  3. 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.
  4. Case studies generally point out that with cooperative farming, per acre production increases.

India towards Cooperative Farming

before independence
  • Gandhi, Nehru, Socialists and Communists agreed that cooperative farming will improve Indian agriculture and benefit the poor.
Bombay Plan’44
  • Cooperative farming is the only way to combat sub-marginal cultivation.
  • Government should compel small/marginal farmers to undertake cooperative farming.
Cooperative Planning Committee’45
  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 committee’47 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. We’ll promote cooperative farming through persuasion, goodwill and agreement of the peasantry.
  4. We’ll not use any legal or administrative force/compulsion/coercion to make small farmers start cooperative farming.
Congress Agrarian Reforms Committee’49 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 takeover 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 Parliament) we’re not going to make any law/act to coerce anyone to start cooperative farming.
  • Later Chinese attack on Tibet and India. Critiques start pointing out how Nehru’s 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 government’s faith in cooperative farming, but overall, wishful platitude not a plan of action.

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 societies.
  5. But avoid setting up new cooperative farming societies, unless they have a potential for growth.

So, overall we can see that by early 70s, Planning commission’s 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 didn’t change.
  • During 2nd 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

  • They’d 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 etc.
  • 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 subsidies/support.

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 we’ll 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 didn’t grow beyond the government projects and the bogus cooperatives.

Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

53 Comments on “[Land Reforms] Cooperative Farming in India: features, benefits, limitations”

    1. Respected Sir,
      I am 25 years old and stay at Jaipur , Rajasthan . Just completed my M.A History from IGNOU . My father had been bedridden for more than 12 years after a road accident . Since last 2 years he is on his feet , but practically with no income . My mother , with tremendous hardship has supported my studies till now .

      I am extremely keen and desperate to go for CIVIL SERVICES EXAM in 2016 or 2017 . But I have NO MONEY to pay for the COSTLY Coaching Classes . I have heard about you and have gone through your site . I can study on my own for many hours at a stretch , without distraction .

      Sir, please guide me how I can succeed without attending the Coaching Classes . I shall be indebted for your valuable advise .

      Vivek Bhattacharya

      1. yes u can go ahead there are many sources to make u clear with what u dont understand u can order the material required for u from the xerox waalaa in delhi beside this there many videos of mrunal bhai on you tube channel which are so lucid that u dont require any extra efforts to understand

  1. sir,
    what is the difference between china’s communism and russian socialism ?? what are similarities and differences..

  2. sir , exam of Uttar Pradesh Lower Subordinate Services is approaching fast and it is expected to be held on 8 dec 2013 ..please provide some guidance for it…

  3. Sir Your article very easy to understand I am a regular visitor of your site for a year. Now I am going to request one thing plz consider this, I ve great difficulties in Geography in few chpters –
    Geo11_8_Composition and Structure of Atmosphere
    Geo11_9_Solar Radiation, Heat Balance and Temperature
    Geo11_10_Atmospheric Circulation and Weather Systems
    Geo11_10_Atmospheric Circulation and Weather Systems
    Geo11_12_World Climate and Climate Change
    class6 Geo earth and solar system
    Geo11_2_The Origin and Evolution of the Earth
    Geo11_14_Movements of Ocean Water
    Just for GS pre purpose only . It is a very humble request to provide a easy articles so that we can understand who don’t have Optional subject Geography

  4. Sir,

    I have a problem regarding material from egyannkosh. I am registered since a year, and downloaded some course material of Sociology (for my optional ofcourse). Of late when I try to dwnload material referred by you,first of all i am unable to login and if i do this is the “The University is in the process of reviewing IPR policy and hence access to the content of eGyanKosh is restricted till further orders” . So now i am in a dilemma sir.

    Please provide the solution or just try to look into the matter once sir, as lot of aspirants would be requiring material from egyankosh.

  5. Hello, मृणाल पटेल Sir

    क्या आप ये बता सकते हैं कि किस कोचिंग इंस्टीट्यूट के नोट्स किसी civil services aspirant को follow करने चाहिये , for either ‘Public administration’ or ‘History’ as one of the optional subject(मेरा मतलब है कि if my optional subject is ‘public ad’ then which coaching institute’s material or if my optional subject is ‘History’ then which coaching institute’s material), जो study material नये(latest) syllabus के अनुसार provide किया जा रहा हो(complete package i.e. for ‘Prelims’ + ‘mains’ including ‘GS’), और कृपया ये भी बतायें कि उस स्ट्डी मैटिरीयल को प्राप्त करने का तरीका क्या है(the way to pay the required amount of money for that study material(if you have this information also))…’.

    I just want this information for the subjects ‘History’ & ‘Public administration’

    Please reply when you have some time(i mean i am not in hurry right now…’.)

    Thanks & thank you very much for your excellent guidance

    Shashi Kant
    B-tech(I.T){(2006-2010) batch}

  6. Hello, मृणाल पटेल Sir

    क्या आप ये बता सकते हैं कि किस कोचिंग इंस्टीट्यूट के नोट्स किसी civil services aspirant को follow करने चाहिये , for either ‘Public administration’ or ‘History’ as one of the optional subject(मेरा मतलब है कि if my optional subject is ‘public ad’ then which coaching institute’s material or if my optional subject is ‘History’ then which coaching institute’s material), जो study material नये(latest) syllabus के अनुसार provide किया जा रहा हो(complete package i.e. for ‘Prelims’ + ‘mains’ including ‘GS’), और कृपया ये भी बतायें कि उस स्ट्डी मैटिरीयल को प्राप्त करने का तरीका क्या है(the way to pay the required amount of money for that study material(if you have this information also))…’.

    I just want this information for the subjects ‘History’ & ‘Public administration’

    Please reply when you have some time(i mean i am not in hurry right now…’.)

    Thanks & thank you very much for your excellent guidance

    Shashi Kant
    B-tech(I.T){(2006-2010) batch}

    1. hey shashi ,
      well buddy !
      i cn understand d level of excitement u hav right nw , i also had such vibes of exitement at the inception of my prep ……..,as i have my optional history and going to take mains in coming dec so i tell you that u go through ignou study material religiously that ‘ll suffice for history…..

      1. @ brave

        Thank you for your suggestion, i have decided to choose ‘public administration’ as my optional subject & उसके लिये standard books के अलावा मैं postal coaching course भी join करना चाहता हूँ & also a good test series, so यदि आप में से किसी ने postal coaching course & mock test series join की हो & if you think that it is good & it is being provided according to the latest changes, then i will be grateful to you if you tell me about that…’.

        {कृपया(except mrunal patel sir) आप में से जो कोई भी मुझे सुझाव दें(about postal coaching course and mock test series) वे मुझे अपने personal experience के आधार पर ही सुझाव दें(ऎसा postal coaching course जो कि आप खुद use कर चुके हों और ऎसी
        mock test series जो आप खुद join कर चुके हों, और join करने के बाद आपको ऎसा लगा हो कि हाँ मेरा निर्णय(decision) सही था ।)}

        Your suggestions are most welcome
        Shashi kant…’.

      2. @Brave Sir, Can you please tell me which Coaching should join for History as an optional. I think you suggested that ‘coaching not needed’ ,however, I think i’d get guidelines as well as it will help me in keeping the momentum high.

        Any one, any suggestions, please.

  7. Sir, please एक और information जो आप बता सकते हैं, please ये भी बताइये कि किस coaching institute कि test series best है(for upsc civil services examination), in your personal opinion(it is the most important thing that i want to know from you)

    Thank you sir…’.

  8. could u suggest some sources for Ethics paper….particularly for these topics
    1.ethics and human interface
    2.dimensions of ethics,human values
    3.moral & political attitudes,social influence and persuasion
    4.Emotional intelligence,ethical guidance
    5.contribution of moral thinkers& philosophers
    since i have time,,, i m thinking of reading some standard material rather than readymade stuff available in the market. please guide. thanks in advance. :)

  9. Sir,i need to know what to study for National Insurance (AO) exam specialist pattern..i completed my engineering in electronics background..can u let me know what the syllabus is..

  10. sir with due respect let me be honest and say that i am highly disappointed.what a waste of opportunity to genuinely help the civil services aspirants (2013).For 1000 marks general studies you were able to cover topics from which one can expect not more than 50 marks- i.e.5% at best(if we leave modern world ncert history).i found your coverage better for prelims.may be expected too much for mains.with your style and approach to a topic you could have definitely performed a decisive role for aspirants like us.

  11. @sikindar I dont think mrunal itself not claimed that from this blog u can study everything…. And u can read this blog too; if u were able to score 50 marks in civils from this blog… Its a great contribution I believe.

  12. @sikander

    mrunals blog is cherry on the cake.

    and hats off to mrunal= INTELLECTUAL philanthropist.

    we as aspirants are indebted to him.

  13. @ Sree and @ dr d p

    Suggestions are like falling pure water the utility of which is determined by the fact that whether falling in empty pail or on duck-tail. I had made a suggestion purely based on my experience which was directly addressed to mrunal sir. so your reaction was totally uncalled for. The contribution of mrunal sir cannot be discounted but his hard work should also result in comparative advantage of his followers-this is the message which I wanted to convey.

  14. @ sikander

    i bet we all have to hold empty ‘pail’ everyday to catch those ‘drops’ .
    nevertheless we only know that drops will fall; not knowin from where;
    perhaps then its imperative on aspirants part to stay empty(hungry)

    (on serious note

    and besides empty pail+water drops= water conservation
    dove tail+water drops=enrich biodiversity)

  15. thats the spirit dr d p .now u r taking positives.but one correction duck tail+water drops=waste of water.

  16. Current draft of National Land reforms policy.

  17. hello mrunal,in the end of this article u said that u will be writing one last article on land reforms covering forest rights act, draft national policy and few other misc topics…..if possible then cover that portion too.

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