THE OWNERSHIP OVER COMMON PROPERTY RESOURCES: LIFE OF COMMUNITY

The concept of common property is still highly a controversial and complex one. Availability and exploitation of natural resources is considered as a major component of growth and development. These western approaches recognize only two types of property rights; state and private. These rights pertain to the permissible ownership and use of resources, goods and services. The ownership of an asset consists of rights to use of that asset; change of its form, substance and transfer of all rights through sale of ownership (Bushal, 2009, p.109).Beyond government and private there existing a large area of human organizations and activity through which people collectively advance their wealth and well- being.

Traditionally, there is existed third type of property as common property resources .The contemporary world is tended to deny or ignore this fact. Common property resources are communal resources where all members of an identifiable group have some degree of property right and they can exclude outsiders, hold up these and regulate their use according to community need and agreement (Jodha, 1992, p.2).

Common-property resources also provide the foundation for the livelihoods of many of the world’s poor. One study estimates that common-p ool resources currently contribute some US $5 billion a year to the incomes of poor households in India. The World Bank estimates that 90% of the world’s 1.1 billion poorest people depend on forests for at least some of their income. Moreover, the importance of common-pool resources is not only economic; they are also central to many cultural and social activities of poor communities. (Wilusz, 2010, p.17)

Table -1
table1The Ownership Over Common Property-1

Source: Daniel Wilusz (2010)

The common property rights are a bundle of entitlement defining both the rights and obligations in the use of Common property resource. They include the rights of access to resources, the right to include other potential users, right to manage them and sell the resources base. The Common property resources are basically natural resource like water, forest, minerals and soil are used by as CPRs by the local community (Bushal, 2009, p.110)

The property owning community groups vary in nature, size, and internal structure across broad spectrum, but they are social units with definite membership and boundaries, with certain common interests and common cultural norms and often their own endogenous authority systems (Bromely and Cerna, 1989, p.15). Tribal groups or sub groups, kin systems or extended families are all possible examples and they are holding customary ownership over certain natural resources

The utilization and sustainable management of common property resources is very important issue as it ascertains its economic value and role in the maintenance of ecological balance. Each and every community has it own experience and knowledge transferred from generation to generation on the preservation and utilization on common property resources and it’s typically reflects how community sustained their common property resources without any resources depletion and degradation.

It is traditionally believed that local people are the best mangers of common property resources. In some community people have developed their own norms and regulation for managing and using their own common property resources to meet their daily demands for fuel, fodder, grass, drinking water keeping the idea of sustainability in mind. (Bushal, 2009, p.113).In India, about 17, 000 villages with a total population of 147 million are located in the vincity of forest. Resources from “commons” provide the poorest of the poor with last resort livelihoods as wellas security of tenure in the form of a “place in the world”. (Mitra and Gupta, 2009, p.205)

The protection Common property resources are largely neglected by policy makers and planners in India. It has played significant role in the life of rural poor. A study was conducted on the role of common property resources in farming systems of dry areas of India which attempted to quantify the extent which rural poor benefit from Common property resources. Based on the data from 80 villages in 21 districts in the dry regions of seven states, the study reveals significant contributions of Common property resources towards the employment and income generation for the rural poor. This is highly income generated than that of a number of anti- poverty programmes of government of India.

Despite its contributions, their area and productivity are declining in all regions. The area of Common property resources has declined by 26-63% during last three decades (Hiremath, 2009.para.13). Large scale privatization of CPRs has also taken place. Thus, the rural poor collectively lost a significant part of resources of their sustenance thorough decline of CPRs. A large number of tribal groups are depended upon this land for daily bread. But land reforms have taken place, which doesn’t produce any desired results. More over the substitution of customary law with codified law has progressively limited communal management of common lands. The national and state governments are no longer recognized the traditional community control over common property resources.