The Union Government of India proposed land reforms for acknowledging the women rights and giving the ownership to rural poor women, according to the National Land Reform Policy Draft 2013 formulated by Union Ministry of Rural Development released on 18 July 2013.
Highlights of the Draft
• In all Government land transfers, women’s claims should be directly recognized.
• According to the new policy, all new land distribution among landless poor families will be in the women’s name.
• In all land distribution schemes (land related to surplus land, custodial land, or under the land ceiling act), the land should be distributed to rural landless women workers.
• The policy recommends 50 percent of land holdings given to forest communities should go to women.
• Under the policy, elderly women and widows too would gain title to land.
• The policy advises the states to consider the adoption of a group approach in land cultivation. Thus, group titles to women’s group should be granted.
• The policy also asked the state to assess all uncultivated arable land with the Government, and give women’s groups such land in the long term for group cultivation.
Women and Land
• Women constitute nearly 40 percent of the agricultural workforce in the country. More importantly, 75 percent of all female workforce and 85 percent of all rural female workforce in the country at present, was involved in agriculture.
• In recent days, rural households are increasingly becoming female headed households, due to widowhood, desertion, or male out-migration.
• The Eleventh Five Year Plan recognised that agricultural productivity was increasingly getting dependent on the ability of women to function effectively as farmers and strongly, and had also recommended to ensure effective and independent land rights for women.
• The Twelfth Five Year Plan emphasised on enhancing women’s land access from all three sources- direct government transfers, purchase or lease from the market and inheritance.
• The land rights can serve multiple functions in rural women’s lives and would empower them to challenge the socio-economic and political inequalities prevalent in the rural-semi feudal society.
What: Land Rights to Women