Mar 9, 2016

In for 50% quota, not even 10% women own land

Source : Times of India


Lucknow: On the eve of International Women's Day, while UP celebrates an increased participation of women in its block and zila panchayats, higher even than the Central proposal of 50% reservation for women in local bodies, ownership of land among women remains abysmally low.

In UP, women own less than 10% of agricultural land. In Kerala, where the percentage is highest among all states, the figure is not more than 14%. Without land titles, women have limited access to credit and are often barred from government agriculture schemes.

Studies have shown instances of domestic violence have lessened in cases where women owned land. In the absence of land right, however, an Oxfam study in UP in 2006 showed that women were able to participate in only 1% of government-run agriculture programmes, and only 2% got access to institutional credit.

"UP Revenue Code (Amendment) Act, 2015, despite the changes, retains the provisions of the 2008 guidelines regarding women's ownership of land. More than 90% agriculture land contrinues to be transferred only through inheritance, and in this, women retain land rights only till they are part of the patriarchal setup, getting importance only as a widow, or unmarried daughter. Married daughters are third priority on devolution list," said Prashant Trivedi, assistant professor, Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow.

Women rights groups have, in fact, raised concerns over agriculture land ownership of women. "It is a little recognised fact that more woman-days go into every hectare of land cultivated in India than man-days, and that women put in more labour than men. If we go by the definition of farmers in the National Policy for Farmers (2007), which does not tie the stature of 'farmer' to land ownership, women get their rightful place as farmers. This has, however, not translated into any support to them on par with male farmers," said Kavitha Kuruganti, National Facilitation Team of MAKAAM.

V Rukmini Rao, president of Gramya Resource Centre for Women said all over India, an overwhelming majority of female rural workers are engaged in agriculture. "However, only 6% rural households have women land owners," she said.

Source: Times Of India

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