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Rise of marginal holdings due to population pressure in 2002-03

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Sep 17 (UNI) Shrinking land holdings due to population pressure were most noticeable in West Bengal, Bihar (including Jharkhand) and Orissa with the share of medium and large holdings at the pan-India level also showing a downslide, an official survey has revealed.

However, the Eastern region apart, the size of distribution of land holdings in all states exhibited more or less the same degree of concentration in 2002-03 as a decade ago, according to the latest Land Holdings Survey (LHS) conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Average area operated per holding in 2002-03 was 1.06 hectares -- a progressive decline from 1.34 hectares during 1991-92 and 1.67 hectares in 1981-82.

Marginal holdings (of one hectare or less) in 2002-03 constituted 70 per cent of all operational holdings, small holdings (1 to 2 hectares) comprised 16 per cent and semi-medium holdings (2 to 4 hectares) 9 per cent. The share of medium holdings (4 to 10 hectares) was at 4 per cent while large holdings (over 10 hectares) was less than one per cent.

The share of area operated by medium and large holdings at the all-India level was also on the downtrend. Except for Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab the share of semi-medium holdings also fell.

In Kerala, a drop in the degree of land concentration was reported in each of three decades prior to 2002-03.

Barring Leh and Kargil districts of Jammu and Kashmir, interior villages of Nagaland located 5 km from a bus route and villages of Andaman and Nicobar Islands which are inaccessible throughout the year, the Ministry of Statistics ad Programme Implementation cast its net wide to draw in the information.

The survey is a major source of information on ownership and agricultural operation of land in the country.

So far, six land holding surveys have been conducted.

The last survey had noted an increase in the share of leased-in area of Haryana (14.4 per cent) and Punjab (16.8 per cent) during the 1980s, but this increase faltered. Most states conform to the pattern showing decline in percentage of tenant holdings and share of leased-in area excepting Orissa and Gujarat.

In the two most agriculturally advanced states in the country -- Punjab and Haryana -- the most prevalent form of contract was fixed rent in cash. About 79 per cent of the tenanted land was contracted for fixed money in Punjab and about 71 per cent in Haryana.

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