Wastelands and Common property land resources

KANCHAN CHOPRA

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IT is often stated that land is a scarce resource in India. Figures on a declining per capita availability of land are often quoted in this context. Simultaneously, and somewhat paradoxically, a concern is also expressed with regard to the large magnitude of wasteland in the country. Even if it is conceded that definitions of wastelands and their estimates vary widely, the question arises: why are we not able to make better use of our wastelands? Is it due to the absence of well-developed technologies? Or is it a matter of non-specification of ownership arising out of ambiguity in property rights to land?

In other words, is wasteland open access or common property land? Why and how should property rights on land be changed and what impact is this likely to have on efficient use, on distribution of produce of land, and on the supply of different kinds of goods and services, including ecosystem services. This paper examines some of these issues.

The first section compares estimates of wasteland obtained from different sources. These are then compared with alternative estimates of common property land to examine the extent of convergence or overlapping between these two sets. Finally, policy issues relating to change in property rights over land and their possible impacts are discussed.

The policy-maker has often to examine the scope for possible interventions to enable better use of wasteland at the state or national level. Existing classifications of land use need to be examined in order to do so. These classifications based on available data are a mix of use based and property rights based classifications. First, there exists the nine-fold classification of land use as reported in agricultural statistics (ALUS).1 This can delineate use but not ownership categories which can only be inferred indirectly. Ownership with respect to agricultural land is specified additionally in the Agricultural Censuses (AC), as a part of which data is collected once every five years. The main distinction focused upon here is between ownership and operational holdings.

In some respects, the ALUS classification is partly a property rights classification. Forestland, one of the categories in the nine-fold classification, is often distinguished on the basis of categories of forests such as reserved, protected and unclassed forests and these distinctions have connotations with regard to the nature of peoples’ rights existing on them.2

Legal ownership of 95.8% of the forest area is vested in the state. Only 2.5% of the forest area is with corporate bodies defined as ‘municipal and other corporate bodies, village panchayats etc.’ Rights of access to parts of the state owned forest have, however, existed for local communities. State owned forests can be reserved, protected or unclassed, depending on the category of forest cover. Though reserve forests have always been treated as inaccessible, protected and unclassed forests are partly accessible.

 

 

As far back as in 1907, the Imperial Gazetteer recorded that unclassed or public forest lands are those given over with even fewer restrictions for the use of the public.3 It further maintained that protected forests may be either in a state of transition into reserves, or intended to remain permanently in that class. In the latter case, more beneficial exercise of rights by local communities was allowed. It can, therefore, be concluded that access of local communities to protected forests would be inversely related to the magnitude of their conversion to reserve forests.

The Government of India Gazetteer of 1975 also holds that local people have virtually unrestricted rights of felling trees and grazing livestock in protected forests.4 On the basis of these pieces of indirect evidence, it can be concluded that whereas no access to reserve forests was granted either by law or by use,5 local communities had access to protected forests, both by law and more significantly by convention.

 

 

As against the above, classification of land in accordance with its physical status throws light on the magnitude of degradation. Wasteland, in this context is defined as, ‘degraded land that can be brought under vegetative cover with reasonable effort and which is currently underutilized land and land which is deteriorating due to lack of appropriate water and soil management or on account of natural causes.’ Early attempts at estimating this category, made primarily by the National Wasteland Development Board (NWDB), were based on a reclassification of the standard land use data described above.6 These estimates yield the oft-quoted figure of 129.57 million hectares with non-forest wasteland being estimated at 93.69 million hectares.

Remote sensing techniques (NRSA) provide an alternative classification of land use/land cover. They are based on 22 categories of land use. Seven of these categories comprise non-forest wasteland and two can be classified as wasteland falling within forests.

The NRSA has two sets of estimates of wastelands in India using data based on these techniques.7 The first uses Landsat data on a 1:1 million scale of mapping. The second uses Liss-I and Liss-2 data with a 1:250,000 mapping. These two sets give differing estimates of wastelands. The second estimate puts wastelands at 75.53 mha; the first at 53.3 mha. Both estimates yield a much lower figure for wastelands than the NWDB exercise.

Apart from the varying estimates, arising out of methodological differences, none of these classifications pertain to property rights, which should in effect distinguish between private, communal, open access and state ownership. Policy interventions in order to be appropriate and successful need to be informed about the kind of property rights on wasteland. Are these lands under private ownership? Or are they essentially open access lands labelled as ‘common property’?

 

 

In this paper, an attempt is made to develop a methodology to estimate the magnitude of one such property rights determined category: common property resources in land in India. We shall, as a starting point, estimate common property lands for 1990-91.8 The estimates obtained are then compared to the estimates obtained from a recent exercise undertaken by the National Sample Survey to estimate common property resources in India.

 

II

Three major kinds of property rights regimes can be identified in the context of development in India: privately owned land as in net sown area in agriculture, state owned and/or managed land such as forestland, and land with varying degrees of state/private/common access. The last may be defined to include forestland, non-forest wasteland and common property land. Land is laid waste due to a lack of property rights on it: this view is often misread as due to its being ‘a common property resource’.

Common property resources (CPRs) are often viewed in general parlance as a category on which ambiguous rights exist. This perception is at variance with the perception in the literature on property rights, which conceptualizes common property as ‘private property for a group’9 with organizational systems circumscribing the nature of rights and responsibilities existing within the group with respect to them. The difference in perception between the popular and the documented view is mainly due to the varying degree of access that now exists on common property as a consequence of the breakdown of the organizational systems associated with them.

In actual practice, varying degrees of access always exists. A distinction, for instance, could be made between ownership rights and user rights. In a functional sense at the village level, the rights and conditions that go with it are clear. Multiple uses and interrelated rights are the order of the day as any perceptive observer of rural society knows.

 

 

Further, sets of resources are sometimes characterized by complementarity in use, the linkages between these uses giving rise to common property rights regimes of differing kinds. Examples are easily found in rural societies in the context of waterbodies accessed for different purposes or by different groups of communities. Land situated in different parts of a watershed or tank, or used by different sets of right-holders at different times of the agricultural year.

In parts of Tamilnadu, for instance, landowners in the ayacut of a tank have prior right to the water for irrigation over landowners on tank-fore, even though the tank is treated as community property.10 It is common for nomadic communities to possess sheep penning rights on private farmland in parts of Karnataka, Gujarat and other parts of semi-arid India.11 Similarly, grazing rights on private land are accorded to pastoral communities after the harvesting of the monsoon crop.

Institutions formalising such combinations of common and private property rights continue to thrive as long as it is to the mutual advantage of the stakeholders. In other words, user rights may exist for certain purposes and at certain times. A complex mosaic of property rights regimes is therefore found to exist in different parts of the country.

 

 

It may be useful to point out that a large number of such institutional arrangements are the consequence of a continuous interaction between vested interest groups at local levels and it is not correct to surmise that equity plays an important role in their functioning. ‘Mutual advantage’ is often conditioned by the existing power structures.

Further, changing technology and increasing pressure on land are bound to destabilize these institutions, reflecting as they do local nuances. This process of destabilization results in ambiguity with respect to the structure of rights and duties, reinforcing the understanding popularly held that common property resources are indeed open access resources.

 

III

As stated in Section II, rights to common property resources are a matter of observation and record based on degree of access arising out of both ownership and use. Methodologies based on secondary data, where classifications of the kind listed in Section II exist, cannot capture all the ramifications of this access. The attempt to determine broad orders of magnitude will be based, therefore, on assumptions with respect to both ownership and user rights dimensions and may involve over or under estimation in specific categories. The attempt is aimed at determining a range within which the estimates fall, with a view to providing directions for policy.

 

 

Estimates are made for 16 major states.12 Table 1 gives the land use classification as available in the official statistics in India (ALUS) and the assumptions made by us regarding levels and sanctions for access as common property.

Column one of Table 1 lists the eight categories into which official land use statistics13 in India classify geographical land. Net sown area (including area under miscellaneous tree crops) and current fallow constitutes together a private property resource to which non-owners do not have access. Partial access has been found to exist to owned land, which may remain uncultivated due to some exigency. This could be due to an absence of capital investment, or the fact that the owner does not consider it worthwhile to invest in marginal or submarginal land. For determining the magnitude of such land, the following methodology is adopted.

A comparison of data on owned land obtained from the Agricultural Census (AC) (1985-86) with that for net area sown and current fallow as obtained from official statistics (ALUS), is made.14 Since, at the state level total land leased in is approximately equal to land leased out, it is assumed that area owned and operated are equal for each state. Wherever area owned obtained from the Agricultural Census exceeds the sum of net area sown and current fallow as obtained from the land use statistics, it is assumed that rights of common access exist on this surplus land. (column 2 of Table 2) This may or may not be marginal land.

In other words, private land to which common access may exist is equal to:

PLCPR = Total Owned Area (obtained From AC) - (Net Sown Area + Current Fallows) (obtained From ALUS)

Such a comparison of the two data sources reveals that in 1991, limited common access to uncultivated private land existed in the seven states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and to an almost negligible extent, Tamilnadu.

A comparison with earlier estimates for 1980-81 shows that magnitude of private land to which common access could have been permissible decreased significantly in all states except Tamilnadu and Karnataka.15

Fallows other than current, cultivable wastes, (including pastures and other grazing lands) are included in the estimation of common property resources16 as partial or complete access is permitted to these areas either by law or by convention.

The next category of land to which common property rights may exist is land under forests, divided into reserved, protected and unclassed forests. In our estimates protected and unclassed forests are treated as forming a part of common property resources, keeping in mind that this may yield an over estimate of land to which common property may exist.17

It is therefore the subset of total forest area minus reserve forests to which common property rights are assumed to exist. State-wise total forest area is taken from NRSA estimates. Reserve forest, being a legal classification, has to be obtained from land use data. The total common property resources in land are thus defined as the sum of:

i) that part of land, which, though officially classified as privately owned, allows partial common access since it is not sown on.

ii) cultivable wastes and fallows other than current.

iii) common pastures and grazing land, and

iv) protected and unclassed forests.

CPR area so defined is estimated for 16 major states in India. Table 2 gives some orders of magnitude obtained from the estimates. CPR area comes to between 4 and 32% of the total geographical area of the different states in the early ’90s if the outliers (Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan) are left out.

 

 

A close examination of common property land estimates suggests division of the states into two groups:

1) States where the common property land area is low, being less than or around 10% of geographical area in both years. Punjab and Haryana fall in this category. These two states are at an advanced level of agricultural development and are characterized by a large percentage of land under private ownership. Correspondingly, common property land area per capita is low.

2) States where the common property land area falls in the range of around 10 to 30%. A number of states such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamilnadu and Uttar Pradesh (in the ’80s only) fall in this group.

3) The outliers constitute a separate category. Rajasthan has a common property land area of 35%, which appears an overestimation.18 Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, on account of being hill states, show varying characteristics. This is because of large areas of protected forests in Himachal Pradesh, which makes the area under common property lands unduly high, and similar large areas in the category of reserve forests in Jammu and Kashmir, which decreases common property land area to an unusually low level.

 

 

Non-forest common property land is shown separately in Table 2 in order to eliminate the effect of such classification of forest area on the estimates. This estimate also has the benefit of showing the extent of access to common property land under the jurisdiction of private persons or local bodies.

Total common property land in the 16 states is 70.042 million hectares. Of this 44.983 mha or about 64.23% is non-forest land. As stated earlier, estimates have not been made for the eastern states in which there is reason to believe land records are faulty. Available estimates indicate that if these states are also taken into account, total common property land area increases to 74.573 million hectare. Further, common property land area varies from 25 to 52% of geographical area in these states.19

Changes over time in the magnitude of common property land both as a percentage of the geographical area and in per capita terms can be estimated. It is found that in a majority of the states, land to which common property land rights exist has decreased. Per capita common property land has also gone down. The decrease is more pronounced in the arid and semi arid states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Rajasthan.

It is found that both the levels of common property land area in different states and changes over time have exhibited interesting patterns. River basins, where crop production on private land is a profitable activity, have a low percentage of land under common property whereas high rainfall mountains and sub mountainous regions have a high percentage. Arid and semi arid states, where livestock rearing is an important activity, also have large amounts of land as common pastures adding to common property land area.20

 

IV

The methodology followed in arriving at the above estimates of common property land is essentially one of reclassification of land use statistics, supplemented by data from the agricultural censuses and from satellite imagery. This is, perhaps, inescapable if we are to get a comparative macro level picture for different states and different points of time. It would, however be useful to compare the estimates obtained by using this approach with those obtained from village level studies based on the participant observer method.

Jodha’s study (1986) of common property lands in the dryland regions of India provides one such exhaustive set of estimates. They are based on intensive village level surveys in 21 districts in seven states. Perhaps the estimates are more precise for the villages to which they refer than any conceivable estimates derived from any secondary state level data. Second, even in the states to which they apply, as they refer only to dry tropical regions, they are likely to be lower than those estimated in this study.

Thus, Jodha’s data leaves out, by definition, those regions where the forest cover is higher. In at least four of the seven states considered by Jodha, protected and unclassed forests form a considerable part of the forest area, which are treated as common property land area here. To make the two estimates comparable, common property land area, net of protected and unclassed forests, shall be considered for the states studied by Jodha.

Even so, we find that the two sets of estimates seem to deviate from each other. A case therefore exists for a closer determination of magnitudes at local levels before undertaking area specific policy initiatives.

 

 

The National Sample Survey (NSS), in its 54th round (1998) has estimated CPR land per household at the state level. Using a restricted de jure approach, preliminary estimates21 indicate that CPL land constitutes 15% of geographical area in India on an average. The percentage varies from 1% in the Punjab to 22% in Rajasthan. It is interesting to note that these broad orders of magnitude and inter-state variations agree with the estimates arrived at above on the basis of a reclassification of land-use statistics.

In addition to estimating magnitudes, the NSS also comments on the dependence of poor rural households on common property lands. The NSS reports that 45% of all rural households in India collect fuel wood from common property lands and 48% households report some collection. While the average value of this collection is not high, 58% of it consists of fuel wood.

 

V

It is clear that common property land and degraded land refer to two alternative classifications of land area. Wastelands are in the main defined as ecological categories (by the National Wastelands Development Board and the National Remote Sensing Agency) though the Ministry of Agriculture also adopts a classification based on land productivity.

It is true that, historically, the British termed most non-revenue yielding land as ‘the wastes’. However, both the NWDB and the NRSA classifications seem to give primacy to the physical characteristics of land. Non-forest wasteland in the NRSA classification, for instance, extends to the following kinds of land: salt affected land, waterlogged land, marshy/swampy land, gullied/ravinous land, land with and without scrub, sandy area, barren, stony and sheet rock area, mining and industrial waste and snow covered area.

 

 

Correspondingly, within forest area, degraded forest and forest blanks can be classified as wasteland. Clearly, these characteristics are independent of either the revenue yielding nature of the land or the nature of existing property rights. It is just possible, by this definition, that privately owned revenue generating land (in a canal command, for instance), be a part of wasteland.

Land may be laid waste for a number of reasons, one among them being the nature of property rights. Often, an unstated assumption is that lands with open access or with poorly defined common access are more likely to be laid waste. Be that as it may, it is clear that common property land and wasteland define two separate, albeit partly overlapping sets. The existence of common or open access to a certain land is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for its being a low productivity wasteland.22

Estimates of common property land and of wasteland in the 16 major states being considered is shown in Table 3. Total wasteland is taken as estimated by NWDB to be 129.57 million hectares of which 93.69 are non-forest wasteland. A recent set of data comes from NRSA. This data set is comparable with the NWDB data as it is based on ecological categories. However, it seems to yield a much lower estimate of wastelands as compared to NWDB estimates.

 

 

According to this data source, the total degraded forest area has come down from 35.89 to 16.3 million hectares and non-forest degraded area from 93.69 to 44.39 million hectares at the all India level.23 Since this is highly unlikely in the short span of time separating the two estimates, there is reason to believe that the underestimation arises out of different estimational procedures.

Table 4 gives our estimate of common property lands together with NRSA estimates of wasteland.

From Table 3, it is clear that wasteland in a state may be more or less than common property land. Use of inappropriate technology on private agricultural land, for instance, may result in waterlogging or salinity rendering it into wasteland. Policy may be concentrated on one or other of the two categories, depending on the issue at hand.

From the perspective of grassroot interventions, it is important to distinguish between land that is intrinsically of low capability, that gets degraded due to technological factors and that which is degraded due to the absence of well-spelt out property rights. Table 4 gives estimates of those different categories of land.

It is found that, at the national level, wasteland is of a lower magnitude than common property land. Considering that some of this wasteland may be privately owned land, commonly owned wasteland is a subset of common property land. This conclusion is strengthened when we look at common property land and wasteland within forests. Here wasteland is only about 75% of forestland to which common property rights may exist. When we note that forest blanks (included in wasteland) may exist as management devises in reserve forests, the conclusion that some common property land is in-deed of high productivity seems inescapable.

While differences of definition and methodology result in variations in estimates, it is clear that the category of common property land is not negligible in many parts of the country. In addition, there is evidence that some of it is indeed not wasteland.

Scope does exist, therefore, for meaningful grassroots intervention on some land which produces less than it is capable of. Such intervention can take the form of specification of property rights institutions.

For purposes of analysis and policy formulation on the basis of magnitude of common property land, and the ratio of wastelands in common property lands, the country may be divided into the following regions.

1) The tribal hill states of the North East: Common property institutions play an important part in their economies. In these states, land records of so-called private land are not complete, mainly because it constitutes an alien category in some areas.

2) The agriculturally developed states where common property in land seems small in relation to the total, and private property in land and related assets are the basis of development: Here, the significance of common property land would depend on its distributional impact, i.e, on its significance for the livelihood of the rural poor, in particular in the context of instability in agricultural output from year to year.

3) The less developed dry tropical regions of India where common property land may range from 10% to 20% of the geographical area: These regions are deficient in rainfall, and institutions for promoting better use of common property land have a great role to play in improving productivity of marginal lands and in providing employment and livelihood to the rural poor.

4) The relatively high rainfall regions where a large part of common property land may be forest land: Here environmental preservation and its wise use for market related economic activities may become an important objective requiring the creation of more efficient institutions, within and outside of state control.

 

 

Finally, one may ask a related policy question: What reason is there to believe that changing patterns of demand, together with rising incomes, in the rural areas shall not render CPRs irrelevant as providers of consumption to the rural poor?

Note, for instance, that the land use scenario emerging out of the food-agriculture situation in India indicates that in the future a larger percentage of area shall be under non-cereal and non-food crops which register larger relative changes in production. Indirect demand for cereals for livestock feed shall increase due to a changed consumption pattern with greater emphasis on milk and milk products. Commons and community accessed grazing lands could have a major role to play in this context.

Alternatively, a large part of this increased demand shall have to be met by cultivating fodder. Further, there is evidence that household consumption of fuelwood may go down with rising per capita incomes and shift to better quality fuel.

Does the above imply that forestland, non-forest wasteland and CPRs as sources of value shall get marginalised in the course of the next 20 years or so? It can be argued that the use value that the rural poor get out of CPRs (documented extensively in the last 10-15 years) shall decrease progressively to be substituted by market purchased goods and services or that most production shall come from private property.

Such a hypothesis has, firstly to be supported by detailed empirical evidence on the nature of the substitution effect. Even if it turns out that use value of extraction for consumption is likely to decrease over time, the following functions of non privately owned lands will impact on the sustainability of India’s productive resource base.

Production on privately owned land is dependent on the continued availability of some kinds of inputs such as water. For these above to be provided, it is important to maintain critical watersheds in a healthy state. Maintenance of the hydrological cycle is a key component of essential natural capital. As seen in a recent study on sustainable development of water resources,24 maintaining off-seasons flows in streams requires that adequate vegetative cover be maintained on the higher slopes.

Such complementarity between production on private land and maintenance of natural capital is more likely to be achieved if community or community-state partnerships at decentralised levels are fostered. Private ownership usually results in land use being dictated by price signals. Commercially viable crop production may replace other kinds of vegetative cover and this may have negative external impacts on crop production elsewhere (via either soil erosion or water cycle disruption or reduction in offseason flows in surface water streams or a combination of all three).

Other ecological functions which vegetative cover performs are those of preserving biodiversity and acting as a carbon sink. A large body of literature maintains that such functions are also better performed by community-state partnerships at local level. Further, some of these functions may also have a market value, such as through eco-tourism, value addition activities linked to non-timber forest producrs, and the possibility of marketing bio-resources.

There may also be a market value for carbon sink functions under climate change agreements. The significance of these functions may, thus, be enhanced by a suitable exploitation of market-driven opportunities.

 

 

In conclusion, it may be said that with proliferation of development opportunities to the countryside, the significance of common property lands as providers of subsistence consumption to the needy may decrease. However, their significance as providers of eco-system functions, complementary with increased agricultural production, will come to be increasingly recognised. So will the possibility of market-linked economic activity based on their sustainable use. New and evolving patterns of management for these lands will certainly be called for.

 

TABLE 1

Identification of Common Property Resources

(1)

Classification of land

(2)

Included in common property land

(3)

Source of sanction for access (as assumed in the estimation)

Net sown area

No

On uncultivated owned land: limited user rights

Current fallow

No

On uncultivated owned land: limited user rights

Fallow other than current

Yes

User rights by convention

Cultivable waste

Yes

Partial user rights by convention

Pastures and other grazing land

Yes

User rights by law

Barren and uncultivable land

May be included

No access

Area put to non-agricultural use

No

No access

Forest area

1.Reserved

No

No access

2.Protected

Partial

Partial user rights

3.Unclassed

Yes

User rights by law

 

TABLE 2

Statistics on Common Property Lands: 1990-91

State

Total common property land (000 HA)

Non-forest common property land (000 HA)

CPR/GA

Common property land per capita (HA)

NF-CPL/GA

A.P.

5989

4624

0.22

0.09

0.16

Bihar

5267

2850

0.30

0.06

0.16

Gujarat

3269

2707

0.17

0.08

0.14

Haryana

190

44

0.04

0.01

0.009

H.P.

5188

1619

0.93

1.00

0.29

J&K

278

278

0.012

0.06

0.00

Karnataka

3207

2203

0.17

0.07

0.11

Kerala

331

207

0.08

0.01

0.05

M.P.

13,890

6446

0.32

0.21

0.15

Maharashtra

8039

5926

0.26

0.10

0.19

Orissa

4882

1537

0.31

0.15

0.09

Punjab

359

73

0.07

0.01

0.014

Rajasthan

11977

11697

0.35

0.27

0.34

Tamil Nadu

2773

2387

0.21

0.05

0.18

U.P.

3756

2221

0.13

0.03

0.07

West Bengal

647

164

0.07

0.01

0.018

Total (16 states only)

70,042

44,983

     

 

TABLE 3

Comparative Statistics on Common Property Lands and Wastelands

State

Total common property land (000 HA)

Non-forest common property land (000 HA)

Total waste land (000 HA)

A.P.

5989

4624

5932

Bihar

5267

2850

2474

Gujarat

3269

2707

4189

Haryana

190

44

357

H.P.

5188

1619

1069

J&K

278

278

3714

Karnataka

3207

2203

2680

Kerala

331

207

163

M.P.

13,890

6446

8872

Maharashtra

8039

5926

6209

Orissa

4882

1537

2045

Punjab

359

73

370

Rajasthan

11977

11697

9605

Tamil Nadu

2773

2387

2272

U.P.

3756

2221

5007

West Bengal

647

164

435

Total (16 states only)

70,042

44,983

 

Notes: Wasteland data is from NRSA(1989).

 

TABLE 4

Degraded Land and Common Property Land (000 hectares)

 

Forest land

Non-forest land

Total

Common property land

25712

48861

74579

Wasteland

18088

44390

60663

 

Footnotes:

1. Source: The Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India

2. The break-up of total forest area on the basis of legal status and ownership is obtained from forest statistics.

3. See The Imperial Gazetteer of India, The Indian Empire, vol. III.

4. See The Gazetteer of India, GOI, 1975.

5. Exceptions to this may also exist in parts of the country, notably the north-east.

6. See Government of India (1989) for the definition and estimates.

7. See GOI, Department of Space (1995). The estimates of wasteland obtained from these two sources vary considerably. See Kadekodi (1997) for a comparative analysis.

8. For estimates for 1980 see Chopra, Kadekodi and Murty (1990). The methodology followed here is broadly the same.

9. For such a definition see Bromley (1989).

10. For an exhaustive account of tank management in Tamilnadu see Shah et al. (1998).

11. See Cincotti and Panagare (1993) for their excellent documentation.

12. The north-eastern states are not included in the exercise due to a lack of reliable land record statistics.

13. The data source is Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, GOI.

14. Agricultural Census data are treated as most authentic as they are based on a complete enumeration of all holdings in all states in India. To arrive at the state level figures on land owned from the Agricultural Census, the category ‘land wholly owned’ is added to the category ‘land owned’, as obtained from partly owned and partly rented land.

15. The decrease is explicable in terms of population pressure and the consequent demand for land. The increase is probably due to the larger magnitude of land reportedly left fallow in states such as Tamilnadu.

16. This may involve some overestimation of CPRs, as ‘protected and unclassed forests’ includes privately owned pastures.

17. We are abstracting from the controversy around estimates of the total forest area in the country. According to forest statistics, which is based on land use and legal status data, 74.86 million hectares comprising 22.73% of the geographical area can be classified as forest area. The corresponding figure given by the first figures from National Remote Sensing Agency (based on satellite data for 1980-82) is 46.35 million hectares comprising 14.10% of the geographical area. The discrepancy is basically due to differences in methods of data collection and definitions of status. In the late ’80s, an exercise was carried out by the Forest Survey to attempt a reconciliation of the two data sources by undertaking a critical comparision of their respective methodologies. For the late ’80s, we have used this source. It depends, by and large, on satellite data. We know, however, that estimates can differ due to alternative methods of interpreting this data and to the presence or otherwise of ground truthing.

18. Some of the states in this category may also have large tribal belts, the overestimation in the case of Rajasthan may, however, be only partly true. See Jodha’s estimate of CPR area in Rajasthan as a percentage of geographical area in Table 4.

19. These estimates are from Kadekodi (1997).

20. It is all the more well known that the extent of variation in CPR will be still higher.

21. See NSS (1999)Fifty-fourth round Draft Report No. 54/3.3/31.

22. This issue is discussed exhaustively in Kadekodi and Perwaiz (1998). They also give comparative estimates of the two categories of land.

23. See Kadekodi (1997) for a discussion on the two data sets on wasteland, one from NWDB and the other from NRSA.

24. See Chopra and Goldar (2000).

 

References:

Bromley, D.W. (1989), Economic Interests and Institutions: the conceptual foundations of public policy, Basil Blackwell, Oxford and New York.

Chopra, Kanchan, G.K. Kadekodi and M.N. Murty (1990), Participatory Development: People and Common Property Resources, Sage Publications, New Delhi and London.

Chopra, Kanchan and B.N. Goldar (2000), Sustainable Development Framework for India, the Case of Water Resources, Report prepared for UN University, Tokyo’s project on Sustainable Development Framework for India, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi.

Cincotti, R. and G. Panagare (1993), ‘Pastoralists: Brokers of Agricultural Soil Fertility’, Wasteland News, February-April.

GOI, Department of Space (1995), Report on Area Statistics of Land Use and Land Cover Using Remote-Sensing Techniques, NRSA, Hyderabad.

GOI, Ministry of Agriculture, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Agricultural Statistics of India, different years.

GOI (1989), Developing India’s Wastelands, Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi.

GOI (1980-81 and 1990-91), Agricultural Census, Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Census Division.

GOI (1975), Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, The Gazetteer of India: Economic Structure and Activity, II.

Jodha, N.S. (1986), ‘Common Property Resources and the Rural Poor in Dry Regions of India’, Economic and Political Weekly 30(27), 5 July, pp. 1169-81.

Kadekodi, K. Gopal (1997), Valuation of Common Property Resource Management: Regeneration with Community Involvement, Mimeo. Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi.

Kadekodi, K. Gopal and Aslam Perwaiz (1998), Dimensions of Wasteland and Common Property Resources in India, Institute of Economic Growth Working Paper No. E/190/98.

National Sample Survey (1999), Common Property Resources, Fifty-fourth Round Draft Report No. 54/3.3/31, NSSO, Department of Statistics, Government of India, New Delhi.

Shah, Tushar, R. Sreenivasan, C.R. Shanmugam and M.P. Vasimalai, Sustaining Tamilnadu’s Tanks, in D.K. Marothia edited (1998) Institutionalising Common Property Resources, Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi.

The Imperial Gazetteer of India (1907), The Indian Empire, vol III, The Clarendon Press, Oxford.

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