- Landlessness continues to be high, more so among scheduled tribe (ST) households, in tribal dominant states such as Odisha. This can primarily be attributed to the existence of historical weaknesses in land administration systems.
- Current legal frameworks to prevent tribal land alienation, ensure restoration and implement provisions to settle Government lands - both agricultural and homestead - are not adequate.
- Tribal development projects aided by external entities have been trying to improve the tenure security of tribal communities by enhancing access to un-surveyed agriculture lands on hill slopes, as well as homestead lands.
Landesa, an NGO, partnered with the Odisha Government on its Tribal Em-powerment and Livelihoods Project (OTELP) to enhance the land rights of tribal households by facilitating grants to homestead land as per existing legal and schematic provisions. This involved the engagement of trained Community Resource Persons to assist the Revenue Department in terms of enumeration, coordination and land allotments and also entailed specific provisions for women.
- A flexible project framework and strategic government-NGO partnership can help overcome resource gaps in the land administration framework and improve service delivery to address tribal homesteadlessness.
- Village level assistance and enumeration is critical to identify actual cases of land-deprivation and also de-facto land availability for homesteads.
- While it is possible to address homsteadlessness through such a bottom-up process (involving assistance provided to the Revenue Department), overcoming agriculture landlessness and improving access to cultivated land will require strong political buy-in and administrative coordination at a large scale.
Authors and Publishers
Authors: Pranab Ranjan Choudhury & Pravanjan Mohapatra
Series editor: Mercedes Stickler
Publication Design & Illustrations: Navin Kumar Amang
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