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Lack of quality land impedes dalit progress

Dalits in rural Karnataka suffer from landlessness. As land is important source of income and livelihood of rural folk in Indian society, it determines economic and social status of families. Poverty of rural dalits is mainly determined with level of land assets. Nearly 53% of dalit households do not have any piece of agriculture land, a study carried out by Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Mangalore University observes.

Land possessed by dalit households in the Gulbarga, Chitradurga and Kolar districts villages are dry land and utility of land is very marginal. Cultivation mainly depends on monsoon and rainfall is very scanty in these areas. The most important fact is that these three districts regularly face acute drought due to failure of monsoon. In all, 52.6% households are landless and remaining 47.4% households have access to agriculture land in rural Karnataka.

The size they possess is important from economic point of view of dalit families. Only 32.7% of dalit households have marginal land which is less than 2.5 acre and in many case small piece of land not viable for any cultivation not only in terms its size but also in its quality. Access to land by sub-castes is another parameter that helps one to understand ground reality of resources owned by different sub castes in study area spread over five districts.

The marginal farmers who own less than 2.5 acre are not in a position to make any descent living. Most of these farmers do not have access to credit and other factors of production and cultivate some food or vegetable crops to make pity income. Around 12% of families are small holdings families and their land varies 2.51-5 acres. They cultivate crops based on rain. Around 2% of families are medium farmers own 5.01-10 acres land in rural areas.

The large farmers who own land more than 10 acres are very few and insignificant in the state among rural dalits. The marginal farmers are more in Kolar district villages than other district villages. Medium farmers are more in Gulbarga district than other districts. This is only relative difference between different districts and not much important from economic viability point view, because these districts are having acute dry land areas.

Average size of landholdings by dalit families is 1.14 acres. District wise situation is completely different than state average. Gulbarga district has 1.97 acre average in which 1.95 is dry land. In Kolar average landholding is 0.94 in which 0.91 is dry land. Belgaum district average landholding is very lowest among all districts and it is 0.62 acre and dry land is 0.45, Chitradurga district landholding average is 1.06 and dry land is 0.95.

By Kancha Illaiah
By John Dayal
By Udit Raj
By Others


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