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Monday, October 26th, 2020

CPA meet focuses on women land rights

commonwealth parliamentary association indiaINVC, Chandigarh, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association workshop of agriculture committees today called upon policy makers of legislative bodies to bring out necessary legislative changes to give more land rights to women of Commonwealth countries. Speaking in a session on women in agriculture, Dr Neelam Grewal, Director, ICAR, Bhubaneswar said that it was matter of great worry that with increasing share of women in agriculture workforce, there has been corresponding increase in gender inequality. She said that as compared to 65% of total women workforce working in agriculture sector, 36% were cultivators whereas 46.27% were languishing as agricultural labourers. Emphasising on empowering Women in agriculture sector, she said that land holding of women was negligible and financially unviable. She said that the state of women in agriculture sector could be gauged from the date that shows that 50% of women have only land holding of half hectare whereas only 0.05% women were having land holding more than 20 hectares. She said that across the region, women were less likely to be independent owners/cultivators. Expressing concern over decreasing gender inequality, Dr Grewal said that it has been found that with increasing land holding, there has been substantial increase in gender inequality. Calling upon policy makers to focus on policy framework to give more land rights to thr women, she said that with the mechanisation of agriculture, change switching of tradition cropping to monoculture and male migration, there has been substantial erosion of women livelihood in agriculture sector. Giving a call for grassroot level changes she said that policy changes in the landholding should be gender sensitive, participative focussing on empowering women in the largest employment sector of country. Participating in the session, Dr Naveen Kumar, director (Monitoring and Evaluation), Landesa Rural Development Institute, said that extent of rural poverty could be judged from the fact that 20 million rural households were completely landless. He said that though 80% of rural women were engaged in agriculture work, but only 10% rural women were owning land. He said that women are responsible for 60-80% food production and 90% of dairy production in country despite that they don't own land. He decreed that despite legal provisions, girls almost never get land under inheritance due to patriarchal social practices. Painting a grim picture of state of women in agriculture sector, Dr Kumar said that only 5% women have Kisan Credit Card and agricultural policy do not recognise women as farmers. He said that there was gender insensitivity in the society as amendment to Hindu Succession Act 2005 has not yet been implemented by many states. Underlining the need for legal and policy framework to empower women economically he said that women land rights have ability to challenge social and political gender inequalities. Calling upon policy makers to evolve policies to ensure land access for absolutely landless families, ensuring women and girls legal rights to land ownership, liberalising land leasing in favour of poor and designing and implementing legal aid programme to resolve insecurity of land Mr Kumar said that political will was needed to usher a new era for women who have been silently suffering since last 67 years.

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