India Property Rights Project: Empowering Hundreds of Thousands of Farmers

A property rights revolution is taking root in Gujarat, India, that is spreading across rural India, securing land title for hundreds of thousands of farmers. The evidence of success is so strong that this movement is expected to spread to 900 million plots of land in India and millions more across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. [button url=”#donate” style=”blue” size=”medium”]Make a donation now![/button] Hernando de Soto has called international attention to the lack of property rights in developing nations, resulting in the single greatest deterrent to economic development. But recognizing this isn’t enough. “De Soto’s approach to making change has had limited success so far,” remarks Barun Mitra, President of the Liberty Institute in New Delhi. “De Soto has written books,” says Mitra, “spoken at lofty forums, advised heads of state, suggested ways of changing the law to recognize the property rights of the millions of poor. But this approach has invariably run into opposition by powerful sections of society who have so far benefited from the prevailing lack of clear titles.” Frustrated by the lack of impact from academic conferences, Barun has decided that a real and practical demonstration of establishing property title among the vast population of rural farmers is the only way to prove the value of these ideas. Such proof will not only win over and empower the rural poor, but will captivate the interests of social and political leaders across the ideological spectrum. BUILDING THE FOUNDATION On a Sunday morning in January 2014, three hundred farmers came from miles around Sagai village in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Most of them left their homes at 6:30 AM walking, riding busses, and sharing rides on jeeps to gather in time for the noon meeting of the Action Research in Community Health & Development (ARCH) center …