ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Distribution of Landholdings in Rural India, 1982 to 2013

Evidence from NSS Data

Changes in the distribution of landholdings in 15 major states between 1982 and 2013 are analysed using the National Sample Survey data. In particular, the following questions are examined: How has the concentration of land, both owned and operated, changed over time? At what level of hierarchy has the concentration of owned and operated land tended to become more pronounced? How have the changes in the land distribution benefi ted the holdings at the bottom 50%?

Changes in the distribution of landholdings in 15 major states between 1982 and 2013 are analysed using the National Sample Survey data. In particular, the following questions are examined: How has the concentration of land, both owned and operated, changed over time? At what level of hierarchy has the concentration of owned and operated land tended to become more pronounced? How have the changes in the land distribution benefited the holdings at the bottom 50%?

In our article “Distribution of Landholdings in Rural India, 1953–54 to 1981–82: Implications for Land Reforms” (published in EPW in 1994) we had examined changes in the distribution of ownership and operational holdings among different size categories and concentration of owned and operated land at different levels at the top, the middle and the bottom in 15 major states of India between 1953–54 and 1982 using the National Sample Survey (NSS) data from the 8th, 16th/17th, 26th and 37th rounds. We found that despite the varying degree of decline in the proportion of area owned/operated by the households at the top of landownership hierarchy, glaring inequalities continue to persist; Further, practically in all the states land concentration had become more pronounced at the middle 40% level; and, a preponderant majority of rural households at the bottom of the landownership hierarchy remained, by and large, unaffected in the process of land distribution. The present article extends the state-level analysis of the distribution of landholdings and land concentration from 1982 to 2013.

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