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

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Contrasted Agrarian Change in Punjab, India

The scarcity of lucrative non-farm jobs and the stagnant or declining agricultural incomes for rural households in Punjab, especially for the Jat Sikhs, are causing distress. By selecting two villages of different types from Ludhiana and Jalandhar districts, this paper presents how the different conditions inherent to the villages led to sharply contrasted agrarian changes. In the Jalandhar village, where emigration to Western countries dates to an earlier time, the ample supply of leased-out land from Persons of Indian Origin depressed land rents, which enabled the remaining Jat Sikhs to earn high incomes by expanding the operational size of land through land tenancy. In contrast, in the Ludhiana village, where emigration to the West is constrained and land rent remains at a high level, the incomes of Jat Sikh tenant farmers remain low, whereas rentiers living on land rent and educated idle youths prosper. The latter case of Ludhiana village is reflective of a wider trend in Punjab.

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