Though securing land rights for the destitute women and matriarchal families is an uphill task due to the deep-seated social biases, women of Ganjam district are at an advantage.
The Ganjam district administration has launched women support centre programme in all tahasils across the district to identify landless single women and matriarchal households to facilitate them to have land ownership in their name.
The women support centres in 12 tahasils of the district function with technical support from Landesa, a non-profit organisation, that supports programmes to provide secure land rights for the poorest with a special focus on women.
The organisation supports the centres through a robust enumeration method that is used to identify and facilitate eligible single women and woman-headed families have land ownership. It also provides support in monitoring the process and management information system (MIS), builds capacity among potential beneficiaries and local government officials with regard to securing woman’s land rights, said Landesa gender specialist Sarita Pradhan.
The women support centres (WSCs) also help rural women in accessing social benefit schemes such as pension for widows once they have land titles. Anganwadi workers assist the WSCs in the identification of single women and matriarchal families in villages followed by a validation in a village meeting in the presence of panchayati raj institution (PRI) members.
More than 3,000 anganwadi workers have been trained to steer the identification process and close to 60,000 single women have been identified in the process. The data management is in progress in all 12 tahasils, said a senior officer of the district. Meanwhile, the tahasildars and the women nodal officers at WSCs have been oriented through district-level workshop and block-level training programmes to facilitate land allocation to the identified eligible women.
After a thorough verification by the revenue inspectors, the eligible women will be provided land pattas by March 2013, sources said. A small plot of land measuring 4 to 10 decimal will be provided to the beneficiaries, said State Director of the organisation Sanjay Patnaik.