The Process of Land Alienation and the Tribal Communities of India: A Case Study of Odisha

By Suratha Kumar Malik.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: September 9, 2016 $US5.00

One of the major problems for the vast majority of the rural population in India is the inadequate or almost non-existent access to fertile land. Rural poverty in India has its roots in the absence of access to land. Securing access rights to land are also an imperative for food security. Without land security, efforts to use the natural resources for tribals’ development in a sustainable manner may not be fruitful. The skewed nature of land distribution in India is reflected in the fact that approximately 2 percent of landholders own 25 percent of land whereas 98 percent of landholders own just 75 percent of land. Around forty-three percent of rural households in the country are landless. In order to bring a balance and bridge the gap between the poor landless and the rich landed peasantry, a number of land reform legislation were promulgated after independence. The state of Odisha1 also initiated a number of legislative reforms to improve access to land. The Orissa Land Reform Act of 1960 was regarded as a watershed in giving land right to tenants. It was meant to go beyond the ideological goal of “land to the tiller” and achieve the more pragmatic objective of promoting proper and effective utilization of land in an effort to increase food production in the state and the country, by extension. Though a number of progressive legislations were promulgated in Odisha after independence, their implementation remains a major concern. The Land Ceiling Act was enacted in 1974 with the intention of bringing economic and social justice among the weaker sections of the society. The ceiling surplus operation failed to yield the desired result because of lack of actual physical possession by the beneficiary, unavailability of records of rights, and poor land quality making it almost impossible for him/her to cultivate the land and at times even identify it.

Keywords: Tribal Communities of India (Odisha), Land Alienation, Encroachment, Displacement, Land Reform Legislations, Land and Food Security, Land and Tribal Movement, State Repression, Maoism

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 11, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.13-29. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: September 9, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 805.395KB)).

Suratha Kumar Malik

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, India