The Rise of New Landlords in India: A Discussion Map

The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of EPW.

R Vijay, in his 2012 article, provides evidence for the rise of a new “class” in rural India—non-cultivating “peasant” households (NCPHs) who own land, but do not cultivate it. The decrease in the proportion of cultivators, Vijay believes, creates a need for the reallocation of land either by sale or lease. 

Bhim Reddy and Abhishek Shaw respond to Vijay, arguing that, given the variation between states, Vijay uses the term NCPH “generally.” Vijay responds to Reddy and Shaw, claiming that they “misconstrued the central thrust” of his article.

Reddy and Shaw respond to Vijay again, reiterating their earlier claim. Their rejoinder explains that there are two possibilities for landowners who do not cultivate—they do not have the means to cultivate, or they have the means to farm, but choose not to as other forms of income are more profitable. They believe that the second kind of landowners are the ones Vijay refers to when he talks of NCPHs.

A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:

  1. Crisis in Agrarian Economy in Punjab, H S Sidhu, 2002
  2. Rural Employment and Poverty, G S Bhalla, Peter Hazell, 2003
  3. Dynamics of Land Acquisition, Manjit Sharma, 2018
  4. Paddy Glut and Farmer Distress in Andhra Pradesh, R V Ramana Murthy, 2011


Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line—"Land-ownership and Agriculture"

Curated by Anandita Chandra []


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