Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 9:
Prior to the publication of the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECS) 2011 report, the Odisha government has directed officials to conduct a state-wide enumeration of homestead less families by August and allot land to them by October.
The state government has asked the concerned officials to identify the vulnerable sections of the society and allot them homestead land by the stipulated time.
As per the recently published SECS report, Odisha has a sizeable population of rural households with a meagre monthly income of less than Rs 5000. 54 % (46, 61, 262) of the households are without land while 36.19 % of the population is landless households which derive a major part of their income from manual casual labour as compared to the national average of 29.97 %.
Besides, there are 10.6 lakh women headed households, amounting to 43.35 %, which derive a major part of their income from manual causal labour.
Notably, the state government is all set to launch the third such enumeration exercise in the last decade.
During 2003-04, the Revenue Department had identified 2.49 lakh homestead less families following which ‘Vasundhara’ was announced in 2005-06. Subsequently, enumeration was done in 2011 too. As many as 5, 42, 830 homestead less families have received titles between 2003 and 2015, the annual activity report of the Revenue Department said.
Last year, the state government announced the Odisha State Policy for Girls and Women for the identification of vulnerable women, especially single women, and prioritizing them under housing and land ownership programmes.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had launched “Comprehensive Programme on Land Rights to Tribals” in 2013 to cover 18, 000 villages in the 118 Tribal Sub Plan blocks of the state. The programme was designed on the experience of OTELP in implementing a land allocation programme in the 1042 project villages in 30 blocks of the state. The programme engaged village youths who worked in tandem with the Revenue officials in identifying the landless families in the villages and 17,501 patta was distributed.
Recently, the state government has raised the annual income level from Rs 24, 000 to Rs 40, 000 for eligibility to be covered under its land allocation programme.
The enumeration drive undertaken by the government is a massive exercise and needs to be community driven and engaging village youth to help in the enumeration process would make it transparent and effective in identifying the rightful beneficiaries, an expert opined.