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Chaudhary Charan Singh (1902-1987)

  • Published
    12th Feb, 2024
Context

The Government of India announced the name of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, who was best known as the ‘champion of farmers’, to be bestowed with the prestigious Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour in the country.

About

About Chaudhary Charan Singh (1902-1987)

  • Born in a small village of Nurpur in the Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, Chaudhary Charan Singh went on to serve the nation as the 5th Prime Minister. He played a pivotal role in uplifting the most important strata of our society- farmers. 
  • Known for his advocacy of peasant rights and agrarian reforms, Charan Singh played a significant role in shaping India's agricultural policies and championing the cause of farmers.
  • Tenure as PM: He served as the Prime Minister of India for a brief period from July 1979 to January 1980.
    • Addressing challenges of agriculture: Charan Singh's tenure as Prime Minister in 1979 was marked by efforts to address the challenges facing India's agricultural sector, including inflation, food shortages, and farmer grievances.
    • Despite the brevity of his term, he introduced several measures aimed at alleviating the plight of farmers, such as
      • Loan waivers
      • Price support mechanisms
      • Agricultural subsidies
    • His efforts led to the enactment of crucial land reform bills, such as the Department Redemption Bill of 1939 and the Land Holding Act of 1960, which aimed to address issues of land distribution and agricultural sustainability.
    • He was a staunch advocate of land reforms, tenant rights, and equitable distribution of agricultural resources.
    • His dedication to the welfare of farmers earned him the title of 'Kisan Leader' or 'Champion of Farmers.'

Reservation for Sons of Cultivators

  • Reservation: Chaudhary Charan Singhin a document titled ‘Why 60% of Services Should Be Reserved for Sons of Cultivators’ advocated on guaranteeing representation for the “sons or dependents of the actual tillers of the soil” in government jobs and seats in publicly-funded educational institutions.
  • Singh was Union home minister in the Morarji Desai government that appointed the Backward Classes Commission under B.P. Mandal in January 1979.

Its report submitted in December 1980 led to the announcement of 27% reservations for OBC (other backward classes) communities, in addition to the existing 22.5% for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST), in August 1990.

 He passed away in May 1987, leaving behind a lasting legacy as a champion of farmers' rights and a stalwart defender of agrarian interests.

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