March 2014 – Inheritance is the overwhelming way land is acquired in India, but societal practices exclude women from inheriting land. The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005, an inheritance law that covers 83.6% of the population of India, corrected some fundamental inequalities in the law bringing the women in equal status to men in the right to inherit land. However, eight years after its enactment, the ground reality is that women still do not inherit land on an equal basis with men. This empirical study conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh assesses the barriers preventing full implementation of the Act, capturing social practices and barriers, as well as identifies lacunae in the formal system that prevents the Act’s implementation. The study calls for key interventions in terms of review of the Revenue Codes, training of implementing staff, and dedicated state oversight to ensure full implementation. This Paper was prepared for presentation at the “2014 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty” in Washington DC, March 24-27. Authored by Dr. Ashok K. Sircar & Sohini Pal
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Landesa partners with governments and local organizations to ensure that the world’s poorest families have secure rights over the land they till. Founded as the Rural Development Institute, Landesa has helped more than 105 million poor families gain legal control over their land since 1967. When families have secure rights to land, they can invest in their land to sustainably increase their harvests and reap the benefits—improved nutrition, health, and education—for generations.