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Jeetendra P. Aryal and Stein T. Holden Department of Economics and Resource Management Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) P. O. Box 5003, N-1432.

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Presentation on theme: "Jeetendra P. Aryal and Stein T. Holden Department of Economics and Resource Management Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) P. O. Box 5003, N-1432."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jeetendra P. Aryal and Stein T. Holden Department of Economics and Resource Management Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) P. O. Box 5003, N-1432 Ås, Norway Land Reforms in Nepal

2 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Introduction: Land Reform Act of 1964 First, comprehensive land reform programme in Nepal The Land Reform Act of 1964 has been amended a number of times. Objectives of Land Reform 1964: –Ensure a fair share of the production to the cultivators by putting an end to exploitation –Encourage labor and capital to shift from agriculture to other sectors Land Reforms in Nepal 2

3 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Main Features of Land Reform 1964 Abolition of intermediaries collecting taxes (calledZamindari System in Nepal) Imposition of ceilings on land ownership: – 17 ha in the Terai –4.1 ha in the hills and –2.67 ha in Kathmandu valley Imposition of ceiling of tenancy holdings –2.67 ha in the Terai –1.51 ha in the hills and –1.02 ha in Kathmandu valley Land Reforms in Nepal 3

4 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Main Features of Land Reform 1964 (contd.) Redistribution of the surplus land (land acquired after the imposition of the ceilings) to land-poor/landless farmers Security of tenancy rights –Cannot evict tenant without proper reasons –Later on, interpreted as: registered tenants can claim ownership rights on 25% of rented land (land-to-the- tiller) Fixing of rent no more than 50% of production Abolition of sub-tenancies A compulsory saving program to provide an alternative source of credit Land Reforms in Nepal 4

5 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Implementation of Land Reform 1964 Longer time to implement programme –Cadastral survey –Identification of tenants –Distribution of provisional certificates of tenancy Land ceilings imposed in 3 phases –1st phase: 16 districts in 1964 –2nd phase: 25 districts in 1965 –3rd phase: 34 districts in 1966 Land Reforms in Nepal 5

6 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Achievements of Land Reform 1964 Successful in abolishing intermediaries collecting taxes Granted tenancy certificates to 300,000 tillers Acquire nearly ha surplus land (land obtained by imposing ceiling on land holding)- nearly 2% of total agricultural land. Land Reforms in Nepal 6

7 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Weaknesses of Land Reform 1964 Due to weak implementation, –large land owners got time to sell (or redistribute among close relatives) their land above ceiling –Many landlords evicted tenants Dual ownership of rented land: As tenants can claim ownership rights to 25% of the rented land, it created dual ownership of rented land by landlord and tenant. –Increased conflicts between landlords and formal tenants –Increased informal short-term tenancy as landlords fear to rent out land using written contract Land Reforms in Nepal 7

8 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Land Reforms in Nepal 8

9 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Consequences of Land Reform 1964 Weaker property rights of landlord on rented out land More focus on benefit of tenants through expropriation of land in tenancy and access in ownership rather than on rental regulations to facilitate land rental markets and enhance productivity. Tenants may not return rented lands even after the expiration of contracts but claim the ownership rights to the land. Increased conflicts between landlords and tenants Land Reforms in Nepal 9

10 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Consequences of Land Reform 1964 Distorted land rental markets Create a loss-loss situation for tenants (Bhandari, 2006) –Do not get enough land from redistribution (because only 2 % land was acquired by imposing ceiling and that was distributed among land-poor tenants) –Reduced access to land through land rental market due to insecurity for landlords. Land Reforms in Nepal 10

11 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Amendment to the Land Act of 1964 in 1996 Main objectives: Abolish traditional tenancy by partitioning tenanted land. Abolish dual ownership of rented land Main features: Equally divide land under tenancy between landlord and tenant (Provision that tenant can claim ownership rights to 50% of tenanted land). Receive 50% ownership rights if the tenant tills the land for 3 consecutive years. Land Reforms in Nepal 11

12 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Amendment to the Land Act of 1964 in 1996 Lower ceiling of ownership holding of land –3 ha in the Terai –2 ha in the Hills –4 ha in the Mountains –1 ha in the Kathmandu valley and all other urban areas –0.5 ha in urban areas of Kathmandu valley Compensation to land owners whose land is above the new ceilings Land Reforms in Nepal 12

13 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Weaknesses Not implemented yet Aggravated the problem by increasing the share of the rented land that the tenants can claim. Increasing tenure insecurity for landlords Distorted land rental markets Land Reforms in Nepal 13

14 NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES Land Reform in Nepal: the Present Context After the Maoist war: Land reform a scientific land reform a top agenda for all political parties in Nepal Not clear on what constitutes a scientific land reform Maoist favors land-to-the-tiller policy again by capturing land from landlords without any compensation; other parties oppose it. Land Reforms in Nepal 14


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