The origin of Land & Land Reforms Department
is to be traced back to the setting of Board of Revenue by British Rulers
for consolidating and stabilizing revenue collection establishment and
machinery in accordance with ‘permanent settlement’ enacted under Regulation I
of 1973 in order to maximize revenue collection from land for fulfilling British Colonial interest.
With the independence of India stress was quite logically shifted from the concept of revenue administration
to welfare administration. Inconformity with the change of concept, the Department which was before independence
named as Land & Land Revenue Department, after passing quite a long period as
Department of Utilization & Reforms and Land & Land Revenue, ultimately
became Land & Land Reforms Department reflecting the priorities of the State.
Land reform is a concept of independent India. The planners of free
India was conscious about the immediate need to relieve the farmers toiling under the
yoke of some sort of zamindars; with these were the crying need of ensuring food security and
supply of agricultural items for meeting up demands of the newly set up agri-based
industries in free India. Enhancing agricultural production for creating surplus to be invested
in industry was too of great importance. Administering of social justice demanded that land must
not be in the hands of a few and should be distributed judiciously amongst the landless.
As a first step towards land reforms, Estate Acquisition Act
was enacted in 1953 abolishing zamindari system. Then it was necessary to consider
the matter of ceiling on holdings, distribute vested land amongst the landless, to create
economic holdings, reducing rents, stopping routing out of tenants and bargadars, giving ownership
right to tenants, stopping hidden tenancy and some other anomalous system. To address this burning
issues West Bengal Government in 1955 enacted Land Reforms Act.