Rural Development Institute in India

The Rural Development Institute (RDI) provides technical and advisory support to national and state governments in India to develop innovative laws and programs to help India in its fight against poverty. RDI seeks to achieve this through efforts to provide secure land rights to the rural poor. Our partnerships have already provided more than 400,000 families with the benefits of land ownership.

In rural India, an estimated 15 million rural families are both poor and landless. Millions more have no secure legal rights to the land they currently occupy. Traditional poverty alleviation efforts will largely bypass these families — unless they obtain legal rights to land. With land as a foundation, the rural poor are better able to use the building blocks of education, healthcare, clean water, and access to credit to bootstrap themselves out of extreme poverty.

We’ve learned that when a family has land of their own, they have opportunity and the means to improve nutrition, income, shelter. We’ve seen that when land rights are secure, the cycle of poverty is broken – for an individual, a family, a village, and a community.

This shift is already happening on a grand scale, with the help of RDI’s team of land tenure experts, and in partnership with governments across India.

Broadly distributed land rights provide structural change that is enduring and multi-generational, which leads to long-term systemic change, not short-term relief. Secure land rights foster the tangible benefits of ownership that are necessary for sustainable poverty alleviation.