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Himalayan State Becomes First in India to Give Wives Co-Ownership of Ancestral Land


One of the most important stops on the road to independence is the freedom to financially plan one’s affairs and retain ownership of acquired property.

Women in Nepal - World Bank Collection, CC license
World Bank Collection, CC license

The Himalayan state of Uttarakhand has finally granted married women co-ownership of their husbands’ ancestral properties. It is the first Indian state to do so, although local politicians hope it will not be the last.

The landmark ruling, called the Uttarakhand Zamindari Land Reform and Abolition Law, is expected to affect some 350,000 women who manage properties with their husbands or in their absence.

Ancestral property normally takes the form of farms, which have traditionally been passed down along patriarchal lines. But since there has been a state migration crisis, where men in particular have gone in search of work elsewhere, and women have been left alone on family farms, the government thought it was natural for women to have joint ownership. from the earth. .

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“We are talking about equal partnerships and this ordinance will provide an equal partnership for women. This will have a great impact and will contribute greatly to the overall development of the state, “said Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawa, explaining:” It was unfair that despite doing all the agricultural works, women were unable to make decisions or apply for loans. since the land was in the name of their husbands. “

Divorced women, as long as they do not have children with their first husband, will also have the right to co-ownership of their father’s farm, and if a divorced husband goes bankrupt, his ex-wife can apply for co-ownership.

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In 2015, Uttarakhand was the second fastest growing state by GDP, and agriculture remains its economic engine. High in the mountains, on the border with Tibet to the north, Uttarakhand is also known as Devabhumi, which means “Land of the Gods”, due to the many temples and shrines in the region.

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