More than 15 million rural household in India are landless

NEW DELHI: More than 15 million rural households in India are landless. Another 45 million rural families own some land, less than 0.10 acre each, which is hardly enough to make them self- sufficient, let alone generate a profit.

To benefit landless farm workers and small farmers, most States either prohibit or restrict renting of farmland. Where the law prohibits tenancy, the practice continues informally with the illegal tenants receiving no recognition or protection under the law.

In a research done by the Washington-based Rural Development Institute (RDI), it has been found that rental restrictions have backfired and are preventing poor families from accessing land.
Livelihood benefits

Plots larger than 1,300 square feet generally provide the most economic and social benefits per square foot. Functionally landless, agricultural labourer families which own a plot typically derive important livelihood benefits such as improved nutrition (microfield plots averaging 0.18 acre and ranging from 0.07 to 0.38 acre provided approximately 18 to 91 per cent of the families’ grain requirements), income, place for residence, enhanced social status and access to credit, and bargaining leverage in labour markets.

The survey suggests that 340 million people in India are dependent largely on agricultural wage labour, $1 or less a day.

Global research shows that landlessness is the best predicator of poverty in India — a much better predicator than either illiteracy or membership of a traditionally “untouchable” caste.

Obtaining property rights can positively impact women’s lives, including increasing physical and economic security, and enhancing wellbeing and status in marriage and community.
Domestic violence

A cessation of domestic violence can be traced (at least in part) to the receipt of property rights in some cases, says the survey.

The RDI is working with non-governmental organisations and government partners for changing policy and legislation to require that land be granted jointly to husbands and wives or independently to women.
Women empowered

Owning land, women are empowered and income is more likely to improve the welfare of the family.

West Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh recently budgeted over $11 million to provide landless families with microplots, on which they can build shelter and cultivate a home garden for family diet and income.

http://www.rdiland.org/

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