In a pioneering step to support single women who have not been reached by land entitlement and social security schemes, on May 18, 2012, Odisha’s Ganjam District Administration launched a comprehensive program on Land Rights for Women through Women Support Centers (WSC) across the district.
The centers will allow widows, separated, disabled and abandoned women to access social security benefits, with homestead and secure land titles as the main focus, that are meant to address poverty.
On the need for specifically targeting single women and women headed households, District Collector Dr Krishan Kumar said: “In absence of data or identification the benefits are not reaching to those who need it the most.”
Announcing the salient features of the scheme, Dr. Kumar stressed that women’s access to the revenue administration is rare. This leaves single women at a huge disadvantage. The centers will be led by women revenue inspectors and the process of identifying women who need support under this scheme will be carried out by Anganwadi workers.
The program will be rolled out by Rural Development Institute in partnership with Action Aid. RDI will provide support to build capacities of revenue officials, Anganwadi workers, Panchayati Raj Institution functionaries and other stakeholders in creating systems for identification of beneficiaries, facilitation and monitoring.
WSCs will act as a single window delivery system to allocate land to women under various state laws and schemes; generate awareness amongst women about their legal rights to land; and resolve land related conflicts through an effective grievance addressing mechanism.
“The focus will be on securing women’s land rights and all other entitlements like housing schemes, pension schemes, identity papers and food schemes. A responsive institutional delivery system to identify and facilitate the rights of single women will be created,” added Dr. Kumar.
Since the initiative is focused on women, the district adminstration has recruited 22 women Revenue Inspectors to carry the centers work foward.
The scheme will be fully rolled out by December 2012 and is expected to pave the way for realization of 10,000 landless women getting secured titles.
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Women Support Centres will act as a single window delivery system to allocate land to women under various state laws and schemes; generate awareness amongst women about their legal rights to land.