New Delhi, Aug 29 Women farmer leaders from across India, who have gathered here for interactions with various government agencies, demanded that they be recognised legitimately as farmers and that their rights be upheld by governments.
Their main demands were that women farmers be provided rights over land and resources, both individual and common, and equal entitlements for various schemes and services meant for farmers.
They also demanded that if the government was truly keen on doubling farmers' incomes, women farmers' organisations be provided with various financial outlays, incentives and tax exemptions.
They also participated in a national consultation on "Realising the Rights of Women Farmers" co-organised by National Commission for Women, Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch (MAKAAM) and UN Women.
The NCW chairperson, Lalitha Kumaramangalam said women's names should appear in land and cultivation records, for them to gain a legitimate identity as farmers, and they should be able to access various government services.
"Although women farmers put in the most work into farming, across crops and regions, they are hardly recognised and supported as farmers. In fact, land rights of women even as per existing laws like Hindu Succession Act are not being implemented," she said.
Kumaramangalam said when land was acquired in the name of development projects, women and their legitimate rights were completely ignored and their abilities to provide even the basic needs were rendered vulnerable.
No compensation cheques are provided to women since men are invariably the ones who possess land titles. When men die, including in instances of farm suicides due to agrarian distress, women do not get to own land even then due to a failure of implementation of law there.
In the case of landless Dalit households, there was no public policy in place to address land distribution in the name of women.
Sejal Dand, national facilitation team member of Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch (MAKAAM) said the problem was compounded by the fact that no gender disaggregated land records were maintained in the country, and that state governments needed to address this issue on an urgent basis.
"At a time when there is rapid feminisation of Indian agriculture, not having basic data systems compounds the problem of lack of monitoring of implementation of progressive laws and policies," she said.