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Kerala: LDF Government Aspires of ‘No Landless Tribals’, Efforts Accelerated to Achieve Goal

As part of its dream of eradicating landlessness among tribals, the LDF government has distributed land titles to 689 tribal and traditional forest dwellers as part of the World Indigenous Day celebrations.
st sc land.

A beneficiary receiving land title from K Radhakrishnan, the minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala is marching towards the goal of becoming a state without landless tribals. In one such step towards achieving this massive goal, land pattas (holdings) for 73 acres were handed over to 128 families in the Thiruvananthapuram district on August 26.

The holdings were handed over to the families as per the land bank scheme and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA) under the Tribal Resettlement and Development Mission (TRDM).

Few studies have found that the land holdings of tribal communities have declined during the past four decades. Considering this, the LDF government has charted special plans to ensure that the tribals receive what they deserve.

The ST department of the government of Kerala had identified around 7,930 families across the state as landless in 2020-21. In 2020-21, up to October 5, 2021, the government of Kerala distributed 568.47 acres of land to 691 tribal families across the state.

Kerala has a tribal population of 4.84 lakhs in around 1.07 lakh families, accounting for 1.45% of the state population living in 4,762 settlements.


The land is important and, in most cases, the only source of tribal livelihood through agriculture, horticulture and forestry, among other means. The tribal families, on a community basis, possess land holdings for generations. The tribals are referred to as ‘adivasis’ in the state.

However, the right to own the land did not come easy for the families in Chettachal of Vithura panchayat in the Thiruvananthapuram district. The struggle for land holdings for 88 families in the settlement began as early as 2003.

In the two decades, the number of families decreased to 33 due to migration and other reasons, all of whom now have legal ownership of their land for decades.

Though it was decided to hand over the 28.5 acres of land owned by the Thiruvananthapuram District Panchayat to the families, the legal issues prevented it. Only after two decades has it become a reality,” said K Radhakrishnan, the Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes.

A total of 128 families were handed over pattas for 73 acres of land. In addition, nine families were handed over 2.49 acres per the land bank scheme.

It will take a little more time to hand over the land holdings to the left out people, after which Thiruvananthapuram is set to become the first district in the state to become the district without landless tribals,” Radhakrishnan said.

The government of Kerala has been providing land holdings per the land bank scheme, FRA and Vested Forest Land policies. The problem of land alienation continues to haunt the tribal communities in the state, which is being addressed at the micro level by the government.


Though Kerala has been performing better on several parameters, the upliftment of the tribal population has remained a challenge. The TRDM was rolled out to overcome this in 2001 to provide 1-5 acres of land to landless tribal families and families in possession of less than 1 acre.

Since the LDF came to power in 2016, it has focussed more on settling legal disputes and those pending before the land tribunals.

It is the dream of every person to own land and a house to dwell in. the LDF government has been focussing on proving it, particularly to the vulnerable sections,” Radhakrishnan said.

On the occasion of the World Indigenous Day celebrations on August 9, the department of ST welfare has distributed 1022 acres of land to 689 tribal families. The beneficiaries are spread across nine districts of the state, of which 572 received 997.67 acres through FRA, 80 families received 15.20 acres under the Vested forest land, and 37 received 9.83 acres under the land bank scheme.

In September 2021, the LDF government handed over the land pattas to 13,500 families against the planned 12,000 families.

As per the economic survey report for 2020-21 by the Kerala State Planning Board, up to October 5, 2021, the government has provided pattas to 691 families for 568.47 acres.

During this period, 73 beneficiaries received land to the extent of 10.11 acres through the land bank scheme, while 436 tribal families received 237.76 acres via the vested forest land. The list of beneficiaries included 182 families who received 320.31 acres of land through the FRA.

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