Single Women Get Land Patta in Odisha

In a bid to create opportunities for the single women to improve their lives by strengthening their land rights.

Published: 21st August 2015 08:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st August 2015 08:13 PM   |  A+A-


Single women display land patta at Jashipur camp in Mayurbhanj district. EPS

BARIPADA:In a bid to create opportunities for the single women to improve their lives by strengthening their land rights, Mayurbhanj district administration distributed land pattas among them through the Women Support Centre (WSC) programme.

Sources said as many as 648 land pattas were distributed by Karanjia sub-collector Debesh Biswal in a special programme at Jashipur tehsil to the single women particularly who are widowed, abandoned, deserted, differently-abled, and who are never married.

WSC programme is an empowering institutional mechanism where community support is in-built in the process of identifying women and securing their land and livelihood so that they lead a dignified life. The programme was implemented by the district administration with the support of Landesa, a global non-profit organization.

Initially started in Ganjam district as an experimentation, the WSC programme successfully managed to address the huge challenge around inclusion of single women as the State’s law says that it is the ‘family’ that is eligible to get land from Government's land programmes.

“Paradoxically, single women are considered as separate families only when they live on their own as woman-headed households. But when a single woman lives with parents or relatives, she is not considered eligible to get land,” said State Director of Landesa Sibabrata Choudhury.

Unfortunately, as per a survey conducted by the Anganwadi workers in four districts of Ganjam, Mayurbhanj, Koraput and Kalahandi, the number of ‘uncounted’ single women found to be pretty high, constituting about 12 percent of the total rural women population.

These women struggle to get residence certificate because they do not have any address which deprives them from accessing institutional credit, and obstacles their children’s enrollment in school. With Landesa’s support, this flagship programme is being implemented in these four districts with 76 WSCs operating from each of the tehsil offices across these districts.

Mayurbhanj Collector Rajesh Pravakar Patil said the WSC programme introduced a robust participatory women-focused enumeration method to count  the ‘invisible’ single women as ‘family units’. The role of the community is in-built in the process and Anganwadi workers have been playing a crucial role in spotting these invisible women in the villages by door-to-door survey, he observed.

A recent World Bank study on Gender Inclusive Land Governance in Odisha claims that 3.3 percent of land is owned by women. Besides, as high as 54 percent rural households are landless, 43.35 percent derive a major part of their income from manual causal labour and there are 10.6 lakh woman-headed households.




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