What they own: NFHS on women property ownership isn’t conclusive

News: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) has released the 2019-21 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5).

NFHS-5 Findings of women’s ownership of property

In the NFHS-4,  38.4% of women respondents reported owning a house/land alone or jointly, this has risen to 43.3% in NFHS-5. 45.7% of rural women claimed such ownership, against 38.3% in urban areas.

States like UP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab reported a huge improvement in women ownership between the two surveys. But, Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry and Chandigarh surprisingly declined.

Read more: NFHS-5 and its findings – Explained, pointwise
Is the NFHS-5 data reliable?

NFHS doesn’t reveal women owners as a percentage of total land/house owners. So, the experts warned relying upon NFHS data for land ownership.

A 2020 University of Manchester working paper examined other Indian surveys and found barely 16% of women in rural landowning households own land. Women constitute only 14% of all landowners, owning just 11% of the land.

What are the government steps to improve land ownership among women?

Hindu Succession Act: The 2005 amendment to the Act gave daughters equal coparcenary rights in the undivided joint family property.

-Official schemes for homeless/landless offering property titles predominantly to women.

-Many states are lowering stamp duties for women to reduce gender gaps in property registration.

What needs to be done?

Kerala, which implemented the HSA amendments decades before 2005 reported only 27.3% of women claiming property ownership in NFHS against 55% in Bihar. So, India has to fix the data gaps to better reveal gender gaps.

Read more: India must push for women’s rights in land ownership

Terms to Know:

Source: This post is based on the article ”What they own: NFHS on women property ownership isn’t conclusive” published in The Times of India on 27th November 2021.

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