Land rights victory for Indian women

A women’s land rights policy in the Indian state of Odisha has come to fruition meaning thousands of single women have been given their own land

Odisha’s 2014 policy paper states that landless single women with an annual income below £418 should be registered as a separate household and are eligible for a small plot of government-owned land. Historically, women only received the land if they were living alone, yet traditionally widows, abandoned wives and unmarried women stay with extended family, making them ineligible.

The policy successfully negotiated a complicated mix of culture and politics to make thousands of women eligible for pattas – the title deeds to land of their own.

Around 3,500 women will be granted new land parcels from the government’s Land to Landless programme, while 450 will be given formal titles to land on which they already live. Some 6,200 widows will be given their own land titles after their deceased husbands’ names are removed from deeds.