ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'New Landlords'

‘Too Poor to Farm’ or ‘Too Busy to Farm’?

Providing evidence that more than 90% of those whom R Vijay construes as "new landlords" are really owners of marginal and smallholdings of land, this article argues that it is important to distinguish classes on the basis of surplus and insufficient means of subsistence to understand the displacement of cultivators to the non-farm sector. It further argues that a rise in non-cultivating landed households and declining tenancy is not a paradox, but consistent with the trends in agriculture that eliminate marginal cultivators.

This is in response to R Vijay’s contentions on the rise of “new landlords” in Indian agriculture (EPW, 4 February 2012; our rejoinder, EPW, 26 May 2012; and his response to it, EPW, 6 October 2012). We present evidence and attempt to shed light on the nature of these “new landlords”, and also respond to the questions he raised on our rejoinder.

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