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An Analysis of Women’s Participation in Agriculture in Bihar

Singh, K.M. and Kumari, Priyanka and Ahmad, Nasim (2019): An Analysis of Women’s Participation in Agriculture in Bihar.

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Understanding the nature of rural landscape change during the urbanization process is vital to formulate rural management plans for sustainable development. However, there is little information on how rural landscapes changes and limited evidence as to how it can be improved. There were 244.9 million households in India of which 179.7 million households or 833 million people were in rural areas (SECC Survey 2011). Survey revealed that 87.2 million rural households reported one of more criteria of deprivation, while 92 million households were engaged in casual manual labour and agricultural activities. In agriculture, the role of women cannot be denied. They contribute in every operation of agricultural activities and are also active in allied sectors like cattle management, dairying, beekeeping, goat rearing mushroom production and poultry farming etc. Women participation in total workforce was assessed 27.44% as against 72.56% by male workforce in 2011. Share of women agricultural workforce in total workforce was computed to be 16.57% in 2001 which declined to 6.23% in 2011. Causes of decline may be their participation other sectors with improvement in their literacy rate which rose to 51.50% in 2011 as compared to 33.57% in 2001. The male-female sex ratio has registered a decline of 0.11% as compared to 2001 census. Women holding land account for only 13.31% as against 87.27% by men in Bihar. Share of women agricultural workforce in total agricultural workforce was estimated to be 19.32% as per census 2011. Analysis of CACP unit level data of Bihar for the year 2013-14, revealed that the contribution of women in agricultural activities was assessed to be 35.94%. Women’s contribution in agriculture is significant and plays diverse role, still their wages were found 7.04% less than their male counterparts during 2015-16. To strengthen women’s participation in agriculture and allied sectors and to improve their access to land, loan and other facilities, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has policy provisions like joint leasing for both domestic and agricultural land under National policy for farmers. Under credit facility provisions government has framed policy for issuing Kisan Credit Cards to women for creating livelihood through livestock practices and agricultural processing. Beside all efforts, there is still a wide gender gap in the state which may be addressed properly for overall development of women and enhancing the rural landscape of the state in particular and nation in general. The paper tries to analyze the role women in agricultural development of Bihar and the issues confronting them.

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