Poverty is not merely absence of money or assets, but most fundamentally, poverty is a consequence of the inability of capitalise whatever asset people may have, because of lack of formal title, and the high transaction cost.

Recognition and protection of property rights lie at the foundation of a free society. Property rights allows the development of market economy. With the spread of ownership of assets, people develop a stake in their community, and become active citizens. At the early stages of socio-economic development, land is the principal form of property.

For over a century, millions of Indians, largely indigenous tribes and others living in forest areas, have not had their land rights recognised by the state. A new law in 2006, acknowledges this historical injustice, and seeks to recognise the land rights of these remote and poor communities.

ARCH Vahini, a grassroots NGO based in Gujarat, and Liberty Institute, a think tank based in New Delhi, are working together to help these remote communities document and map their land claims. 

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What is the problem?

Even after being granted the right to own the land they had farmed when the Forest Rights Act was passed into law, the majority of the villagers’ claims have been rejected. Out of 180,000 claims filed in rural Gujarat, only 50,000 were approved.

What we're doing

In addition to spreading awareness of their rights, we help tribal communities prepare and substantiate claims for their traditional land, using simple hand-held GPS instruments to survey their holdings, and map these onto satellite imagery. Done properly about 90% of the claims are approved.

How you can help!

Funding is needed to buy more GPS instruments, upgrade to a GIS web platform, and to enable us to reach out and train more communities. Each activity has a long-term effect: the GPS instruments are used village after village, the web platform accumulates a growing volume of villagers’ data, and training community leaders in one area enables them to go on to train others in surrounding village.

 

 

Recent Events

Patnagarh Property Rights Workshop

Patnagarh Property Rights Workshop

Property Rights Workshop Implementing the Forest Rights Act 2006  15-16 April 2014 Patnagarh, Balangir dist. Orissa Organised by: Zindabad Sangathan, Balangir & Liberty Institution, New Delhi in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation  Tentative Agenda...
Dediapada taluk Field Visits

Dediapada taluk Field Visits

Property Rights Workshop Assessing the Implementation, Institutions and Impact of Forest Rights  Field Visits to Villages in Dediapada taluk in Gujarat 28-29 March 2014 Organised by: ARCH, Gujarat and Liberty Institute, New Delhi, in partnership with the Friedrich...
Sheopur Forest Rights Act Training Workshop February, 2014

Sheopur Forest Rights Act Training Workshop February, 2014

Forest Rights Act Training Workshop Organised by the Collectorate, District Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh In collaboration with the Right to Property initiative of Liberty Institute (New Delhi), and ARCH Vahini (Gujarat) 15th to 17th February 2014 The objectives of the...
Jharsuguda Training Workshop

Jharsuguda Training Workshop

Forest Rights Act Training Workshop Organised by Lokmukti Sangathan, Jharsuguda, ARCH Vahini, Gujarat & Liberty Institute, New Delhi In partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation  24th to 25th January 2014 CASA Resources Center, Jharsuguda, Odisha DAY DATE...
Sagai Village Workshop

Sagai Village Workshop

Property Rights Workshop Assessing the implementation of Forest Rights Act Organised by ARCH & Liberty Institute in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation  Venue Sagai Village, Narmada district, Gujarat Date: 12 January 2014 Programme Schedule: 10 am:...
GPS Training Workshop in Ambikapur

GPS Training Workshop in Ambikapur

District Sarguja, Chattisgarh Dec 2-4, 2013 Organised by PACS Summary observations by Ambrish Mehta  and Barun Mitra Participants from about a dozen districts attended the workshop organised by PACS and its partner organisations in Chattisgarh. Over thirty people,...

Latest Articles

Remove trade barriers to reduce food inflation

Businessworld magazine interviewed Barun Mitra  on agriculture trade on June 10, 2014. He argued that removing barriers to agricultural trade, would stabilise the price for the consumers, and provide predictable price signal to the farmers, allowing both to sides to...
33,000 cheers for property and liberty in South Africa!

33,000 cheers for property and liberty in South Africa!

By Jasson Urbach, this article was originally published by ISIL, click here for the original article. One hundred years after the 1913 Native Land Act was passed in South Africa, the first fully tradable title deeds were released to black home owners in the Ngwathe...
“A Property Rights Revolution is Taking Root in Gujarat”

“A Property Rights Revolution is Taking Root in Gujarat”

Last month Ken Schoolland, a long time friend of the Liberty Institute, professor of economics and political science at Hawaii Pacific University, and president of the International Society for Individual Liberty visited Gujarat and attended some of our workshops. Ken...
Land Distribution Paradoxes and Dilemmas

Land Distribution Paradoxes and Dilemmas

by Leon Louw The Helen Suzman Foundation, South Africa Oct 2013 “The land question” is seldom a question. Typically it is a slew of dogmas and myths as tenacious as they are erroneous. Virtually every supposed fact about land in South Africa is not just wrong, but so...
Need for land reforms in China

Need for land reforms in China

[alert style="green"]This article was reposted from The Economist. Read the full article here.[/alert] Of the economic issues facing November’s plenum of the Chinese Communist Party, none looms larger than land reform in the countryside MORTGAGING a village home is a...
Corruption Trips Up India’s Rise

Corruption Trips Up India’s Rise

The growing scandal over a newly built apartment tower in Mumbai, and the collapse of an old building in Delhi on the night of November 15, killing over 60 people reflect the peril that haunts Indians everyday – lack of secure property right, and strangulating...