Data

Rural landholding almost halved over 20 years

Over half of land-holdings used for agriculture are being used to grow cereals, the data shows. Representational Photo: Mohammed Yousuf  

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The average rural Indian household is a marginal landowner, growing mainly cereals on a small patch of land and reliant on groundwater for irrigation, new official data show.

Over 80 per cent of rural households have marginal landholdings of less than one hectare (10,000 square metres) and just seven per cent own more than two hectares, data on household land ownership from the National Sample Survey Office show.

Tribal people are over-represented among the landless, Scheduled Castes among marginal land-owners, and forward castes among medium and large landholders, the data show.

Across the country, in every State, landholdings have decreased in size, almost halving in the last 20 years; in 1992, the average rural household was a small landholder with over one hectare of land, as compared with a marginal land-holder as of 2013 with 0.59 hectares of land.

Migration is relatively rare among agricultural households, but is highest among households with marginal landholdings unable to provide the family much income; over 75 per cent of all migrants come from marginal landowning households.

Among families with more land, far fewer have family members living away from home.

While the majority of Other Backward Castes (OBC) and forward caste rural households identify themselves as primarily self-employed in cultivation, the largest chunk of SC households in rural areas are engaged in wage labour or salaried employment.

India’s best-educated and most prosperous States — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh — had the highest proportions of rural households engaged in wage employment, while in poorer States like Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh, 60 per cent of rural households were dependent on cultivation.

Over half of land-holdings used for agriculture are being used to grow cereals, the data shows. Between 60 and 70 per cent of land under cultivation is being irrigated directly from groundwater sources like tubewells.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2017 6:39:38 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/data/rural-landholding-almost-halved-over-20-years/article7997668.ece