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In a bid to ensure that women get a fair share of land holdings, the government is proposing to make all new land distribution among landless poor families in the woman’s name, instead of jointly with her husband.

According to the draft national land reforms policy formulated by the rural development ministry, homestead land title distribution or regularisation to landless families should be only in the woman’s name, rather than in the form of joint titles with the husband.

The draft policy was formulated at a meeting here Wednesday, chaired by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.

Giving widespread rights of ownership to women, the policy proposes that under all land distribution programmes whether of surplus land, or under the land ceiling act or of custodial land, should exclusively be to rural landless women workers.

Fifty percent of land holdings given to forest communities should go to women, under any land enactment, the draft policy says.

The policy further proposes that in households with more than one adult woman, all female adults should be registered in the land holding. Elderly women and widows too would thus 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 groups should be granted.

“This would require changes in tenancy laws to allow leasing of land to women’s groups as well as to recognise such groups as a valid category of landowners,” the draft policy says.

The policy further asks the states to undertake an assessment of all uncultivated arable land presently with the government, and give women’s groups long-term rights to such land for group cultivation.

The group leasing rights will be recognised under government programmes for agricultural promotion to allow women to avail the benefits of schemes such as agricultural extension services and crop insurance, the draft policy says.

(Source: IANS)

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