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Policy: Land Ownership as a Social Determinant of Health and Well-being in Rural India
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Policy: Land Ownership as a Social Determinant of Health and Well-being in Rural India

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  • Social determinant of health definition: economic and social conditions that determine health Recognizing the importance of land for rural households in largely agrarian, developing countries as a means to attain food security and generate income, the World Health Organization has called upon governments and international organizations to facilitate processes to address issues of land rights for marginalized groups. In doing so, they recognize land as a social determinant of health. In this presentation, we consider the importance of land ownership for the health and wellbeing for rural Indian citizens. Within Western countries, it is well known that those with higher incomes are healthier than those with lower incomes. The neo-material and psycho-social explanations are two predominant approaches to understanding how income and health are related at both individual and population levels (Raphael, 2004). The neo-material approach suggests that those with less income have poorer health status because of inadequate material resources required to purchase essentials like nutritious food and adequate shelter. Alternatively, the psycho-social approach suggests that income-based health disparities can be explained by subjective feelings about one’s position in the social and economic hierarchy. The lower on the hierarchy, the worse the stigma, stress, and subsequent physical and mental health problems (Wilkinson, 2006). In step with these explanations, the WHO is promoting policy that reduces inequality in both material conditions and psycho-social resources.Using this theoretical framework, we explore the experiences of landless people in our study sites to consider the extent to which neo-material and psycho-social explanations of health lend insight into the issue of landlessness in India.
  • Landlessness in the context of rural India does not usually mean homelessness. In India, there are two overarching categories of landlessness: landless without a homestead, and landless with a homestead. Those without a homestead may be homeless, whereas those with a homestead have a physical home but no or limited additional land.Homesteads are further demarcated into homesteads with operational land and those without. Those with a slightly larger homestead may cultivate some of their land for personal use or cash crops. Those without useable land have limited options.The literature on counting landlessness is complex and we do not have time to go into it here. Suffice it to say that there is a shortage of reliable statistics and limitations within the surveys. The most common survey used is the survey on land and livestock holdings, but this survey is only conducted every 10 years and the last available data is from 2003-2004. This survey does not distinguish between homesteads and other land holdings. Recent analysis of this data (conducted by Rawal, 2008) puts landlessness at about 41% nation wide.
  • More recently, RAWAL has conducted an analysis of landlessness using The Survey of employment and unemployment, using the item “land cultivated by households” to look at changes in land holdings between 1987-88 and 2011-2012. From his analysis, a few key themes are drawn:1.     the proportion of households that did not cultivate any land increased from 35% in 87-88 to 49% in 2011-2012.2.     There has been a DECREASE of land cultivated among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes3.     The top decile of households nationwide cultivated over half the land
  • We further break down the amount of land owned by the landless households by 0 land holdings, 0-3, 3-10, 10-25, 25-250, and greater than 250
  • The Land Ceiliings Act was enacted during the 1950s and 1960s during a period of vigorous post-independence land reform. The key goals were to reduce inequalities in ownership and address the issue of land disparity. Analysis of the impact of the Act suggests that in most states in was ineffective, with notable exceptions such as Kerala and West Bengal. The EktaParishad, an activist group protesting for the rights of the landless poor, organized a march on Acra in 2013. Thousands joined the march, and the Indian Minister of Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh, agreed to a charter of demands proposed by the group. The charter of demands included the first draft of the National Land Reforms Policy and the foundations to the National Right to Homestead Bill. A Draft National Land Reform Policy was released for discussion in 2013 by the Ministry of Rural Development. It entails a process for distributing land to the landless poor, protecting SC/CT from losing their lands/ restoring alienated lands to these groups, ensuring homestead rights (of 10 cents per household), and providing land rights for women. This proposed policy is controversial and has led to considerable conversation regarding the extent to which it can be implemented, and the implications for current land owners and landless populations. The National Right to Homestead Bill was tabled in parliament by the Minister of Rural Development in March of 2013. It will fall under the Indira AwaasYojana Scheme and proposes that all landless rural people will receive 10 cents of land and access to basic public services including transportation and electricity. The goal of the bill is to ensure that all people have a homestead and the ability to partake in supplementary livelihood activitiesConcerns/critiques of proposed reforms-Impractical due to land scarcity-Create instability-Fragmentation of land-Land sharks-Quality of land to be distributed
  • We will need to have a sentence or two to explain what each scheme is (NREG provides 100 hours of work per year, etc. etc.)Relationship between land ownership and: NREG: There is a weak relationship between land ownership and usage of NREG, with those households who have more land being more likely to make use of the NREG program (though those with > 9 cents of land are slightly less likely (61.03) to use the NREG than those with 6-9 cents (61.54)). Note: the Chi-squared test is only significant at the p < 0.05 level.- The participation rate for households with 0 cents of land is 48%, 0-3 50%, 3-6 53.3%, 6-9 61.54%, > 9 61.03%PDS: There is no significant relationship between land ownership and usage of PDS from our household survey. The groups with the lowest usage of PDS are the groups with 0 cents of land (79.9%) and those with > 9 cents (77.3%). - Low participation in the PDS with those with 0 land could be a result of having no ID or BPL cards (because they are very marginalized)- The participation rate for households with 0 cents is 79.9%, 0-3 100%, 3-6 93.3%, 6-9 92.3%, and > 9 77.3%. IAY: There is a significant but weak relationship between land ownership and the IAY. Unexpectedly, those with 0 cents of land were able to access the program (32.4%), possibly because there is a provision under the scheme that provides land to those with no land. There was not a significant relationship between those with 0-3 cents of land and IAY, as only 25% of the participants were able to access the program. Expectedly, those the >9 cents of land were able to access the program, but at a lower rate (22.95%) than most other groups. - The participation rate for households with 0 cents of land is 32.4%, 0-3 25%, 3-6 40%, 6-9 46.15%, and > 9 22.95%. - Overall participation in the program was low, with only 24.9% of participants accessing the program.You can add some context around this from FGs: participants in Wyanad typically built bigger houses than the program funded; people in KH typically built the prescribed size of house but were still short of funds; there was some discussion of being able to pay bribes to jump the cue, etc. Migration: Not statistically significantAccess to loans/loan type: Close to significance, a weak relationship between the quantity of land and access to loan (category 3 and category 6 are more likely to have a loan). Most likely have a relationship with a binary variable (landed or landless)In regard to access for loans, you might also share that in the FGs, participants from different regions seemed to borrow from different places (in Kerala there was mention of borrowing from social networks and low or no costs whereas in Kolli Hills people were paying very high interest rates. Livelihood activities: *Waiting on Wijaya0:2200-6: 346-10: 1410-25: 10125-250: 790>250: 342NREG: 6-10 has the highest parameter coefficient (showing they are the most likely to use the program relative to those with 0 cents). 10-25 cents and 25-250 cents are more (statistically significantly) likely to participate in NREG relative to people who have 0 cents… other categories are not statistically significant. *Waiting for another variable (how many days did you work?) from WijayaIAY: those with 25-250, > 250 are less likely to participate relative to the base category (0). Highest coefficient is in group 6 (showing that they are the (very) least likely to participate). No big distinction among no land and small lands, but then there’s a quick tailing off in the larger categories.*Evidence that the self-targeting mechanism is working
  • Transcript

    • 1. Rhonda Breitkreuz, Nurmaiya Brady, Carley-Jane Stanton, John Pattison, & Brent Swallow University of Alberta Presented at The International Food Security Dialogue: Enhancing Food Production, Gender Equity, and Nutritional Security in Changing World University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada May 2, 2014 The Lay of the Land: Land Ownership as a Social Determinant of Health and Well-being in Rural India
    • 2. To explore the importance of land ownership for rural citizens in India in regard to income and food security and To explore the relationship between land owning status and access to policies intended to reduce marginalization in rural communities PURPOSE Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 3. • WHO 2008 report on the social determinant of health • Material and psycho-social explanations of health disparities • Land and food security • Land and social status THEORETICAL LENS: LAND AS A SOCIAL DETERMINANT OF HEALTH Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 4. • Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition and Agrobiodiversity Hotspots (APM) • Post-positivist normative and empirical policy analysis 1). Policy review • Review of key social schemes in India 2). Fieldwork • Three rural sites in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Orissa • 19 qualitative focus groups, 219 participants • Compared experiences in local sites with policy claims • Quantitative analysis of 1501 rural households with regard to land ownership and policy use METHODS Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 5. • Approximately two-thirds of India’s population is rural • World Bank, 2011 • Of these, over 40% are landless CONTEXT Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 6. DETERMINING LANDLESSNESS IN INDIA • Shortage of reliable statistics • Key Surveys -Land and Livestock Holdings (2003-2004) -Survey of Employment and Unemployment Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 7. LAND OWNERSHIP IN INDIA • The proportion of households that did not cultivate any land increased from 35% in 1987-1988 to 49% in 2011-2012. • There has been a DECREASE of land cultivated among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes • The top decile of households nationwide cultivated over half the land Rawal (2013) Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 8. DEFINING LANDLESSNESS IN INDIA • Landlessness is usually defined as ownership less than 0.1 hectares, or 25 cents of land -This is equivalent to ¼ of an acre, or 10,000 square feet of land • New policy recommendations in India suggest that all rural households should be granted 10 cents of land (approx. 4000 square feet). • In our study, landless participants were those with less than 25 cents of land. Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 9. APM Field sites: • Kerala: Wayanad • Tamil Nadu: Kolli Hills • Orissa: Jeypore CONTEXT Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 10. • Land Ceilings Act • National Land Reforms Policy (2013) • National Right to Homestead Bill (2013) POLICY CONTEXT: LAND REFORMS IN INDIA Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 11. Kolli Hills: Landless tribal women focus group
    • 12. Generally, those with land were less marginalized. Access to: • Agricultural subsidies • Seeds, fertilizers & equipment for farming • Farm ponds (via NREG) • Loans FINDINGS: LAND OWNERSHIP AND MARGINALIZATION Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 13. • Land ownership as demarcation of status in community hierarchy • Land associated with wealth, political participation • Reinforce social hierarchies • Increased dowry fees related to higher education (Kolli Hills) • Land as opportunity to leverage children out of farming • Selling or leasing land to pay for children's tuition (Kolli Hills) • Some participants would move out of state to get land (migration ) • Homestead Bill • Social bonds (Wayanad) FINDINGS: Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 14. Among all of the landless, some landless categories experienced more marginalization than other categories • Public Distribution System (PDS) • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREG) • Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) LAND OWNERSHIP & POLICY ACCESS Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots
    • 15. Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots MAHATMA GANDHI NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE SCHEME (NREG) • 100 days of guaranteed employment for rural peoples • High participation rates among the landless, with lower rates in landholding groups • Ability to hire NREG workers on land impacted participation and private wages in Wayanad
    • 16. INDIRA AWAAS YOJANA (IAY) • Funding to construct a 300 square foot house • Provision for land for those who own 0 cents • Those with 0-3 cents being missed
    • 17. • Land ownership enabled enhanced food security and potential income through sustenance farming and income through produce sales • Land ownership also enabled benefit from NREG through the development of farm ponds on private lands • Among the landless, there was some differential access to some of the schemes such as IAY. • Proposed land reform policies could facilitate well- being for landless persons DISCUSSION Alleviating Poverty and Malnutrition in Agrobiodiversity Hotspots

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