BHUBANESWAR: Despite numerous efforts towards protecting rights of women through pioneering State policy and programmes, women continue to be discriminated with regard to access and control over land in Odisha.
A recent World Bank study on Gender and Land Governance in Odisha reveals that only 3.3 per cent of land is owned by women, which is much below the national average of 13 per cent.
Inaugurating the State level technical validation workshop on the study on Tuesday, Chief Secretary GC Pati assured that the State Government will seriously act upon the recommendations of the study to reduce the skewed distribution of land ownership.
Besides, Pati said no sustainable inclusive development can be achieved without addressing the land ownership rights of women, who constitute 50 per cent of the population.
The study conducted by NRMC India for the World Bank aimed at examining women’s ownership over land and participation in land governance in line with FAO’s voluntary guidelines. An in-depth analysis of legal, institutional framework and field situation of women’s land rights in six districts of the State confirmed the data which was cross examined with census data to arrive at the final findings.
While the State Government claims that 6.75 lakh homestead patta have been distributed through various land programmes such as Vasundhara and Gramakantha Paramboke and an additional record in forest rights recognition under FRA to 3.4 lakhs families, the study found that average allotment has been as less as two decimals per family against the minimum standard of four decimals.
Single women, constituting mostly divorcee, widowed and unmarried above 30 years of age, could not possess the allotted land due to distance of land from their present location, delay in demarcation, absence of housing, sanitation support and socio-cultural practice.
As per Socio Economic Caste Census, amongst 10.6 lakh woman-headed households, 40 per cent are landless who derive major income from manual labour.