The Historical facts about Land ownership in India
Land ownership reforms in India started with the British rule to generate land revenue and for administration purpose. The British have stayed in our lands for over two centuries that is from the year 1757 to 1947. During this time historical events of land ownership have taken place. In this blog, we shall discuss about the land ownership systems in India that influenced the lives of farmers and the British Government.
Before the British stepped their foot in our land, there was no such concept as formal individual ownership of land in India. Many new land ownership systems began to come afloat during their rule in India.
The Zamindary system
The zamindary system was founded by Lord Cornwallis during 1973. The zamindary system came into existence as there was no formal individual ownership of lands prior to Brithish rule. So, the earlier experiments to collect revenue brought lot of suffering towards farmers. Thus came the Zamindary system into limelight to bring a Permanent Settlement arrangement that will benefit all the parties viz Zamindars, tenant farmers and the Government.
How the land ownership woks?
In this system, the Zamindars act as intermediaries between the peasants and the state. The Zamindars were given the privilege to act as landlords. And in turn, they were entrusted with the responsibility to collect rent from the farmers.
The Zamindary system served twin purpose – firstly it induced the revitalization of Indian agriculture, and secondly there was security of revenue as it was a Permanent Land ownership arrangement. Infact, the Zamindary system replicated the landowners after the English model to create a loyal and stable body of landowners.
Though the land arrangement was beneficial, neither the tiller nor the government reaped rewards, but the Zamindars and the intermediaries. Due to the increasing number of intermediary connections, the incomes were multiplied at the expense of the government. This gave way to a new way to a better kind of land system for the ryots – The Ryotwari system.
Ryotwari land revenue system for farmers
If the Zamindary system served as a Permanent land solution, the Ryotwari system was devised as a temporary agreement directly with the ryots or cultivators, removing the need of Zamindars and thereby fostering growth by direct connection to peasants.
The ryots were empowered and were brought directly under the state. As a result, the ryots were recognized as the proprietors of property, so they were allowed to sublet, mortgage or sale. Being owners of the land, there was more likelihood that the ryots will make good improvement of the land. It was also argued that the ownership of property will encourage enterprise and raise the standard of living. The ryotwari system was again hailed by the British as the precursor for stability and peace in the country.
Hoever, the greediness of the British Empire for higher revenues, left the ryots with nothing in hand beyond basic needs. The higher rates of land revenue exceeding 50 percent of agriculture revenue left nothing for farmers to invest in agriculture. The high ambitions of ryotwari system only remained in paper and the extent of agriculture cultivation did not see any improvement; and above all the peasants lives were below standard. These incidents shattered the enthusiasm on private ownership of lands conferred upon the ryots.
Mahalwari system – A unique idea
Under this system, the whole village was treated as a unit and the village lands were held jointly by the village communities.
The private ownership of lands became a hassle for all the parties especially the ryots and the British government. The then Governor General Willian Bentick laid the idea of the Mahalwari system in the year 1833. In this system, the whole village was treated as one unit and the village lands were held jointly by the village communities. The Mahalwari system was first adopted in Agra, Oudh and later extended to Punjab.
The idea centrally focuses on every man able to cultivate and pay for himself, but everyone is responsible for each other and they are held together by a joint responsibility.
Post-independence and Modern real estate laws
Though there was no individual land ownership, the British brought the land reforms that would secure revenue and improve agriculture and thereby the standards of living. However, the land reforms posed problems of unequal land distribution that affected the famers and huge divide among society. Post-independence, India had to undo a lot of damage the British had done to our economy and society. The unequal distribution of lands led to many series of land reforms that focussed on abolition of intermediaries which started in 1948 with the law enacted first in the city of Madras (now Chennai). The other major land reforms include the ceiling on land holdings, wherein the legislations were revised based on the guidelines formulated during 1972. In an attempt to reform tenancy, the tenancy legislation took three forms i.e. to regulate rent, provide security of tenure and confer rights of ownership. These new land reforms led to equity in the society, economic growth and agricultural prosperity during post-independence.
Real Estate Act (2016) comes into force
Making a transition from the British rule to the modern post-independence India, we witness a new form of land regulation in our country. The much anticipated Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 was given the President’s nod and came into force during May 2017.
The Real Estate Act overlooks the aspects of registration of real estate projects, checklist of documents for a registering a real estate project, registration of a real estate agent, duties of a promoter and rights of a homebuyer.
Understanding RERA and its function in real estate
RERA is an authority under the Real estate Act to ensure that the promotion and sale of land is done in a transparent and efficient procedure to protect the consumers.
How the RERA authority operates
- Protect the interest of customers and promoters
- Ensure clearances for real estate project
- Create transparency in grievance redressal process
- Encourage investment in real estate industry
- Facilitate amicable dispute resolution between promoters and consumers
- Facilitate the digitization process of land records
- Real estate agents are required to register under section 20 with proper application that can lead to organized way of buying and selling in real estate market.
- Maintain a website for general viewing of all the real estate projects
- Provide information and conduct investigation wherever it considers expedient
- Issue interim orders to prevent any promoter agent from carrying acts in contravention to the Real estate Act
Through this blog, you might come to know about the land reforms in our country that primarily started with the British rule and paved way to equal distribution of lands by modern post-independence laws. Modern real estate laws are in effect that protect the consumers and regulate the real estate industry.
Stay tuned to our blogs for regular updates on real estate industry and property related information. Please visit our site if you are looking to buy approved lands from verified sellers.