PUNE: The district leads the tally of joint property card ownership in Maharashtra with nearly 88% of households co-owned by men and women, government records revealed.
A special initiative by the Pune Zilla Parishad has entailed that out of the 9.27 lakh property cards, nearly 8.15 lakh have names of both men and women. The update drive started at the gram panchayat-level last year with a series of awareness campaigns carried out by self-help groups, which first resulted in the revision of the property tax receipts of the gram panchayat and then reflecting on the property cards.
“Women in the rural areas of the district only owned 16% of the properties when the drive of the joint ownership update started last year in August. We mobilised 2.3 lakh women as part of self-help groups to make this a social movement and educate their peers. We were pleasantly surprised to find an enthusiastic response from people,” said Pune Zilla Parishad chief executive officer Ayush Prasad, who undertook the special drive.
The drive was a measure to empower women and all gram panchayats were asked to seek joint applications from the current owners of properties and the beneficiary women to mutate the ownership details.
From door-to-door campaigns to counselling, the self-help group managed to reach out to as many women and by International Women’s Day this year in March, 6.42 lakh properties were co-owned by the women of the household. Kamal Suresh Undre from Manjari Khurd in the district said the initiative is almost like a movement and giving joint ownership is a step towards women empowerment.
“Gram panchayat members reached out to all households and nearly 150 women got their names on the property cards. This was distributed on March 8 on Women’s Day. We too are reaching out to as many women in our area to ensure more women get joint ownership of their properties,” she said.
This was followed up by special gram sabhas to distribute the updated property cards with clear maps of the assets drawn up during the Svamitva scheme. “The mass distribution only entailed further social mobilisation and more households applied to include women’s name,” added Prasad.
The number has now reached 8.15 lakh, which is 88% of the properties in rural areas, he added. He said loans can be availed against property cards and without the woman’s consent, the male member of the household cannot get loans. With many women suffering domestic violence and fearing displacement, the ownership of the house she lives in, accords dignity.