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

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The New Tenancy Act in Andhra Pradesh

Missing the Essence?

The tenancy conditions in Andhra Pradesh are analysed and the new tenancy act, Andhra Pradesh Crop Cultivator Rights Act, 2019, is evaluated. Highlighting the lacunae in the act, the urgent need to address the genuine concerns of tenant cultivators is pointed out.

Agricultural tenancy in India, after several decades of decline, has once again started rising in the current decade.1 Apart from the rise in the proportionate share of leased-in area, with wide inter- and intra-regional variations across the country, the tenancy regime witnessed many substantial changes in terms of its form/type of lease, registration of lease and nature and size and social composition of tenant households. These changes have had wider implications on equity and efficiency issues in the farming sector. Concurrently, there has also been a continuous rise in direct governmental benefits to the cultivators which are being mostly provided on a landownership basis. This accentuates inequalities between owner and tenant cultivators in terms of accessing institutional credit, crop insurance, crop damage compensation, output procurement, investment support (YSR Rythu Bharosa), etc, as the tenant cultivator is usually deprived of these benefits.

It was argued that the restrictive and prohibitive provisions in the old tenancy laws constrained the land tenancy markets and ensured the spread of informal tenancy which bars the tenant from accessing any government benefits (Haque 2012). Consequently, the union government came up with a model act on agricultural land leasing in 2016 for legalising and liberalising the agricultural land lease market without effecting the landowner on one side and transferring the state benefits directly to the tenant cultivator. This model act completely reverses the premises of the old tenancy act from strongly protecting the tenants interest to strongly protecting the landowners interest and ignoring the important tenancy provisions and basic rights of tenants (Rao 2019). As the land comes under the states subject, the union government is persuading the state governments to bring similar kind of laws as per their local needs. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are in the process of bringing in new tenancy acts on similar lines (Business Line 2018). Recently, the Government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) has legislated new tenancy laws replacing the old ones of 1956 and 2011. In a hurry to protect the owners interests and simultaneously facilitating the tenant cultivator to access the state benefits, the new act has ignored many basic issues of tenancy and basic rights of tenants which may constrain the implementation of the new tenancy act on the ground. In this context, this article aims to study the tenancy conditions in the state and critically assess the Andhra Pradesh Cultivator Rights Act, 2019.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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