Support centre for women's land rights
BHUBANESWAR: The Gajapati district administration has launched a Women Support Centre (WSC) programme to prioritise land allocation to landless single women and help them access various Government schemes.
The 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 can lead a dignified life. The programme is being implemented by the district administration with the support of Landesa, a global non-profit organisation, working for securing land rights of the poorest people and women.
Though the State has progressive laws and a host of pro-poor schemes, a sizable portion of the population that is not only poor, but the most disadvantaged - single women such as widowed, deserted, differently-abled and unmarried above the age of 30 who are living alone or with extended family - remains excluded from Government programmes and schemes. It has been a constant challenge to identify and include them. Collector Sudhanshu Mohan Samal said Landesa is providing technical support in designing and implementation of the WSC programme. The programme will identify all single women in the villages particularly the widowed, abandoned, divorced, 30 plus never married women, physically handicapped and women whose husband is unable to earn due to disability or chronic fatal disease. "The WSCs at the tehsil offices will process the cases of landless single-women for their land rights. Likewise, the centre at the block offices will help the identified women to get benefits from various social security and livelihood programmes," he said adding these women will be better equipped to live a dignified life if they are given land ownership and provided benefits under various schemes.
A signature campaign for the need to identify all single women in the district and help them getting their land rights was also started. Officials of all line departments, tehsildars, BDOs, PRI members and members of Landesa campaigned for the cause. State Director of Landesa Sibabrata Choudhury said Gajapati is the fifth district to start the WSC programme after Ganjam, Mayurbhanj, Koraput and Kalahandi districts.