Alleviating The Poor
In recent times there has been a renewed interest in relationship between redistribution, growth and welfare. Land reforms have been central to strategies to improve the asset base of the poor in developing countries, though their effectiveness has been hindered by political constraints on implementation. If land reforms are not implemented, the stark discrimination in society will cause the land poor in both rural and urban areas to mobilise and overrun the benefits of globalisation. In this regard, Land and Poverty Alleviation is a timely book, which provides practical solutions based on the best practices around the world in respect of land reforms.
In the first chapter, land has been defined in a generalised way what a common man understands. At the same time, the legal facets have been reflected in a lucid style.
Chapter 2 traces historical facts on how the great revolutions like French Revolution or Cultural Revolution of China and other revolts or mobilisations have caused bloodshed to achieve land reforms and is still causing in the form of civil strife, guerrilla warfare and Naxalite movement in India.
Chapter 3 presents, how various forms of utilisation of land exist world over like communal ownership, haciendas del norte estates. Sharecropping, collective farming, contract farming, etc. It also contains how the problem of transition from state farm system from socialist bloc countries, has not yet been completed.
Chapter 4 attempts to define poverty on internationally recognised parameters like calorie intake and how poverty is directly traceable and relateable to the land.
Chapter 5 examines how concentration in land and monopolies in forest produce and pisciculture still exist. This stark inequality is not acceptable in the modem-day world in which thinking is at a high pedestal.
In Chapter 6, significance and modem methods of maintenance and updation of land records have been elaborated.
Chapter 7 is the heart of the book. Redistribution of land is the central goal of all land reforms measures in rural areas.
Chapter 8 deals with an important segment of land reforms, i.e recording of sharecroppers on land. The success story of West Bengal, India in recording of 1.5 million sharecroppers has been described in details so as to provide practical guidelines in this regard.
In Chapter 9, it has been shown how various mobilisation movements whether non-violent or violent in various degrees have helped the poor people to unite and get their rights all over the world at various times.
Chapter 10 discovers that the Constitutions of most of the countries provide for livelihood to the poor.
Chapter 11 examines, how employment generating schemes are essential during lean season of agricultural operations.
Chapter 12 explores how the Land Administration System (LAS) can be strengthened at the grassroots level.
Chapter 13 approaches to measure the extent of land reforms which is otherwise said to be a vague concept.
The final chapter simply summarises the discussion in all 13 chapters of the book.
Over all, this book will prove a change-agent in the field of
land reforms and poverty alleviation and will be an interesting book for serious readers, practical administration and policy-makers.
By Nilabh Krishna