National Workshop on Tribal Women’s Right over Land and Livelihood Resources

Jamshedpur (Jharkhand) – 26th to 28th February 2007

Supported By – Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi

A three day national consultation with the support of Ministry of Tribal Affairs was organized from 26th – 28th February, 07 at Jan Vikas Kendra, Patel Bagan, Sunder Nagar, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand.

Ministry of Tribal Affairs sanctioned the proposal submitted by Consult for Women and Land Rights (CWLR) members and Sathi All For Partnerships.

The workshop brought together the organization and grass root workers from different tribal belts across the country. The representation was sought from states of Orissa, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.The bright morning day of the workshop was initiated with motivating tribal folk songs from tribal women of Samekit Jan Vikas Kendra. The session proceeded with the welcome and opening remarks from Dr Rose Kerketta- the eminent social thinker and social activist.

Objectives of the Workshop

  • Understanding issues of tribal women’s land rights across regions.
  • Understanding on dealing with customary laws, livelihood programs, development projects, etc.
  • Carving out a research / action plan to be carried out in different areas to implement tribal women’s resource rights agenda

A set of national recommendations emerged as a result of a consensus created on discussion with women and men from tribal regions of Orissa, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand. These recommendations from the workshop were presented to the Deputy Commissioner, Jamshedpur Shri Nitin Madan Kulkarni. It was also handed to the tribal women and men leaders of the various states.

Each day proceedings were covered in local as well as national newspaper and also in the local electronic media.

A detailed report with the recommendations was presented to the Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Details of three day Workshop on Tribal Women’s Right over Land and Livelihood Resources.

Dr Rose Kerketta a retired professor from Ranchi University and an activist welcomed the participants attending the national workshop from Chattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Gujarat. She discussed in brief the background of Ranchi, 2006, state process which has been the foundation stone for the discussion on Tribal women’s access, control over land and livelihood resources. The idea of state led women resource right agenda which was introduced in the previous workshop needs to be further understood in the rural and urban context. She discussed in brief the various practices followed in the region and the present conditions of tribal women as an affect of globalization and privatization of land.

She discussed the need to design a plan of action for the changing dynamics within the tribal community in the name of customary practice, migration, displacement and development of the region. She elaborated the need to integrate the women rights over land and resources by state government in the programs and rehabilitation policy for the displaced tribals.

The day proceeded with enlightened session of Bonani Dhar, United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) & moderator of United Nation Solution Exchange on Gender, where the idea of sharing knowledge has been developed. She even discussed how the Solution Exchange is acting as a community for exchange of solutions, ideas and adding value to the content. Such the query poser at the end of 10 days time receives rich and comments from the experts across the country.

She expressed how the discussion on bills like Domestic Violence of Women or Sexual Harassment were shared with solution exchange gender community and suggestive recommendations were passed which is put across to the government to adopt the recommendations. She quoted that how discussion on women in agriculture and their land rights were adopted by the Andhra Pradesh in their Sector Reforms of Irrigation. She stressed that through these discussions a more logic and rational is present before government to adopt these recommendations than those passed by the groups working at grass root. She informed how the networking of ideas can be promoted by Solution Exchange Gender Community.

She inferred towards the end that an e- Tribal Action Group can be formed and Solution Exchange can be a medium to put across government. Lastly it was added that “We walk together to increase development effectiveness by applying knowledge to empower the women”.

Dr Siva from SAKTI, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, working for welfare of tribal and conservation of natural resources helped the participants in the resource mapping of land and related natural resources for a particular area with the help of maps.

Dr. Sivakumar emphasized that it is of utmost importance that every land rights worker goes to the field with complete knowledge about the way to identify their land on map and the procedure for transferring land in the names of the women or the poor or the tribals. This knowledge of identifying land on the map and procedure to claim their land should also be passed to the common people, tribals and village people.

He stressed that workers should have good idea about the power of each official – the patwari, the tehsildar, the sub-collector has, the extent to which each can use their power; and the verve to get them to use what power they have in this matter. The field worker in short, should have a clear idea about the roles of the Government agents such that they are not able to evade their duties and responsibilities.

The field worker should be able to tell the officer with facts and read map to identify his piece of land as its not possible for officer to go on field to identify the land he mentions but also, the field worker should create situations so that the officer comes to the village and not the other way round as in doing so, one, more money is spent and secondly, whatever is spent, there can never be a large enough representation. The officer who comes to the village must be shown the village map and the case must be presented before him, clearly stating why the people need land. The field worker must not fear arrest as for every arrest there is bail. He further underlined that knowledge is contagious, it spreads and used in a prudent manner, it earns appreciation from the authorities too.

He also outlined the various tools and procedures needed and used in order to do resource mapping in a village or in any area and work on land rights for the people.

He mentioned that We are government as citizens of India and it is citizens responsibility to check for wrong and rectify it such the poorest of the poor can benefit. There is a need to have awareness such can challenge government decisions. Principles of Natural Justice are important and also when fight collectively then strength of togetherness is important to claim rights.

Dr Ramesh Sharan, professor from Ranchi University and Researcher on Land Alienation in Jharkhand by UNDP digged through his experience, study the facts that why and how the need for Tribal Women’s Land and Resource Rights have emerged in the changing customary practices, displacement and development.

He explained how in past village Sabha used to decide who will live in village and how much land needs to be given to one family depending on the size of the family also after the death of husband the women had right on the produce at her in laws place and community even used to take care of their women but with the change introduced during British period this system finished and village headmen was the person who now decides and collects tax also demand for land for commercial purpose increased so men used to sell their land leaving women destitute. As men have land titles so during displacement men get all benefits, women are left with nothing. All these and many other factors have left for the demand of land rights for women and the community should recognize these rights.

He also said that the women who marry non-tribal and due to any situation if wants to come back should be allowed and community should permit her with all rights.

Also there is need to ensure women land rights and also need for joint pattas. He laid stress that the threat to land has increased and we need to protect it from commercial purpose such if no land will be left then whose men / women rights will be fought and given land titles.

In the urban context he mentioned that how Ranchi which composed 126 tribal villages, due to vast development these tribal villages have now turned into slums and common land has evaporated leading to severe problems of safe drinking water, hygiene, sanitation and health. He laid the importance of education and skill development such people are convinced, trained to take NFM and Non NFM based livelihoods. There is a need of advocacy to change laws and also impact National Habitat Policy as women’s spaces are created in urban and rural areas.

Advocate Sri Girija Shankar Jaiswal-Discussed on SNT and CNT Act and the history behind it. He also says that no law could go beyond the constitution. CEDAW is also to be used as another important documents in favour of tribal’s women’s land rights. But most important thing , he says that victims to be oriented and come forward to claim over land rights.

Shri Nitin Madan Kulkarni, Deputy Commissioner, Jamshedpur participated in the workshop where a set of national recommendations emerged as a result of a consensus created on discussion with women and men from tribal regions of Orissa, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.

He made a suggestion after listening to the recommendations that there is a need to file a case (PIL) in Supreme Court for the rights of women and adhere to the stand of highest judiciary of India in the issue. Also the community should sit together and discuss on the rights to be given to women’s.

CWLR stressed the need for women’s spaces in urban areas such women can be provided livelihood and residence then DC assured to send the application and extend all possible help in this.

The sessions were moderated by Ms Priyasheela Besra, Dr Kalyani Meena, Ms Anna Soren and Ms Jignasu.

The conclusion of the workshop took place with the songs from GLRF group of Jharkhand and from Ms Madhu Choudhary from WGWLO, Adivasi Mahila Parishad.


Any forest agriculture land habitants should not be alienated for industrial, commercial or home stead usage purposes.
Under State Women Commission provision should be made for special Watch dog Samiti or special resource audit committees under which 75% posts be reserved for women.
Government to provide land on long term lease(45-90 years) for the creation of Women Resource and Information center under the ownership of women groups in urban and rural areas.
Government as well as non government land should be given on individual titles to Tribal and Dalit women.
Under housing schemes poor women should be provided home stead pattas in their individual names.
Under Equality of all citizens rights Tribal women’s should also be entitiled for all those rights as citizens that other Tribals in other state enjoy.
The tribal women’s should also have right of decision making of governance and on land and natural resources

In traditional panchayats 50%representation of women should be ensured
b. Women should also be given place of officiating official in traditional panchayet

c. Quorumof meeting also ensure 50%women’s representation

d 50% of seats should be ensured for women in panchayats instead of 33%

Even in Gram Sabha 50% of seats should be reserved for women’s.

II. a. In father’s property tribal women should be entitled to their share.

b. . To prevent that this land is not alienated to non tribals a separate law is needed such that women’s land

rights is not violated on her matrimonial property and tribals land rights is retained to be within the

community as well.

III a. Women’s name should be entered into the family property at the time of marriage. Their rights to family

land cannot be alienated without the written agreement.

b.Separate article should be added in given law such that during women widow hood and old age their right to

housing and property are maintained in case these laws are violated there should also be a provision for the redressal at the local police station and district court.

Major achievements – a. Learns more from the experience of Gujrat and West Bengal.

b. Some groups ready to join Tribal women’s association

c. Plan for exposure visit to Gujrat and Bankura (W.B) come out

d. Training needs for resource maping specially is identified

e. Information and contact for Solution Exchange method is also important

Major Drawbacks – Less participation from Jharkhand

Not able to mobilise Land and revenue minister