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.

Learn More

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

Latest Articles

MH: Mumbai airport slum rehab project back on track

The Mumbai airport slum rehabilitation project is back on track, with state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis directing officials to expedite the process. The project to resettle over 70,000 families occupying airport land has remained stuck due to opposition and...

HR: Hisar Airport Project

The Haryana Government has said it is not going ahead with the ambitious project to set up a domestic airport here, as the “project is not a viable option”. Developing Hisar airfield as a domestic airport for passenger or cargo traffic or as a cargo airport is not...

MH: Mumbai coastal road project stalled

The Rs. 12,000 crore coastal road project of connecting South Mumbai with the Western Suburbs could get stalled due to litigations. Environmentalists are planning to approach courts and National Green Tribunal over perceived threats of flooding due to mangroves...

MP: Pench Road Project

Year 2008. As its proposal for four-laning of NH7 between Seoni (Madhya Pradesh) and Nagpur (Maharashtra) faced scrutiny, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) told a Supreme Court panel that it was ready to build a 9.3-km flyover over the Pench tiger...

KA: Narsipur Distillery Plant Expansion Project

Chamundi Distilleries is planning to take up Modernization and Expansion of existing Distillery unit located at Village Maliyur, Tehsil Narasipur in Mysore district of Karnataka. The existing distillery is based on continuous fermentation process to produce 27KLPD of...

BR: NTPC Kahalgaon faces threat of closure

Kahalgaon Super Thermal Power plant will face closure after 2017 if its fail to build a new lagoon for dumping waste ash slurry because of encroachment on its land in a nearby village where it has to come up. General Manager of NTPC Kahalgaon N N Mishra said the...

DL: Gurgaon-Jaipur expressway considered for Rs 33,000 crore

To ease traffic on National Highway-8, connecting Gurgaon and Jaipur, the government is considering a proposal to build an expressway for Rs 32,800 crore. “We have received a proposal. It is under consideration and depending upon the viability, very soon a...

MH: Churchgate Virar Elevated Rail Project

The Rs.21000 crore Oval Maidan-Churchgate-Virar elevated railway corridor project, which was first proposed in the 2007 railway budget by the then Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, has been cut short and could terminate at Andheri or Bandra from Virar. The 60...

GJ: Surat Paradip Gas Pipeline Project

Paucity of domestic natural gas has not only impacted user industries like fertiliser and power but has also endangered projects that were meant to build transportation infrastructure for the fuel. The government is set to issue show-cause notices to PSU energy...