Economic Liberalization and Rural Land and Labour Markets in India: A Study
The paper examines the rural land and labour markets in the context of economic liberalization in India. Land and labour are the two fundamental resources available to the rural people for income generation. The access to land and to employment for labour become basic determinants of well-being for the rural households. Reforms are often seen as hostile to rural areas and the poor, although they should be beneficial not only for overall growth, but also rural growth and poverty alleviation. The study based on primary household data examines the land and labour markets in the reform period and the underlying linkages of these to different characteristics of the household. The study finds that over the reform period in India the land markets are leading to less landlessness rather than more, and growth in marginal and medium farm sizes rather than large. Lease markets are leading to operated land in more hands. Land purchase behaviour is related to less land, more education, greater crop diversification, and higher crop and livestock revenues. Leasing-in is also related to many of the same variables and is showing great diversity in lease agreements involving outputs, inputs and rent. Labour-employment is showing diversity of occupations but the primary dependence on agriculture is still about 80 percent. There has been some change in the occupational structure. Non-farm employment is associated with higher overall employment. Own-farm employment is strongly related to crop diversification and livestock activity; other farm employment to number of male and female family members and irrigation; and non-farm employment to education. Broadly, liberalization does not show adverse consequences but rather some positive impact on rural land and labour markets.
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