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| Last Updated:: 04/04/2013

Land Reform Measures & Operational Land Holdings in the State

 Land Reform Measures & Operational Land Holdings in the State

In Nagaland the problem of fragmentation of land holdings is not an issue on
account of the peculiar pattern of land-ownership, tenure and use prevalent in the state.
The only legal framework is the Jhum Land Regulation Act. 1970. The ownership of
land and the individual rights are governed by customary laws of the community. Due to
the unique ownership and management system of the Nagas, there is little or no
alienation of the people from their land and resources and therefore, even farmers,
despite their poor economic condition can be considered resource-rich. A comparatively
low population pressure, high regeneration rate of natural resources, community-based
natural resource management initiatives and projects like the watershed programmes
have all further created opportunities for other economic activities to take place and
contribute to the overall development of the state.
In Nagaland, cultivable land is the most valued form of property for its economic,
political and symbolic significance. It is a productive, wealth-creating and livelihoodsustaining
asset. It also provides a sense of identity and rootedness because it has
durability and permanence, which no other asset possesses. Over and above this, in
the Naga context, ancestral land has a symbolic meaning, which purchased land does
not. Moreover, there are different rules for devolution of ancestral and self-acquired
land. Naga society is based on patrilineal descent; hence children take their social
identity from their father and are placed in his agnatic group and familial unit. A female
child’s membership of her father’s agnatic unit is neither permanent nor complete.
Gender differences in group membership and social identity are closely connected with
the patterns of inheritance and resource distribution. In Naga societies, property is
inherited by the male heirs and transmitted through them. They have legal rights in
ancestral property. The women have no share in such inheritance although acquired
properties can be gifted to daughters also. It is widely believed that the daughters after
their marriage come under the care of the husband’s clan and family. Largely because
of this, in practice, no landed property was gifted to women although most of the work
on the land was done by the womenfolk. In recent times, through the pioneering
initiatives undertaken by few private and official, women are being allowed to own land.
Nagaland has an operational area of about 15, 85,525 hectares out of the total
geographical area of the state, and uniquely possess the highest operational holdings
size at 6.8 ha, which is higher than the Northeast regional average (1.59 ha) and also
the all-India level (1.6 ha).