Our current initiatives in India

  • The states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, and West Bengal partner with RDI to develop and help implement pro-poor government programs informed by RDI’s research.
  • In West Bengal, Odisha and Karnataka, RDI supports the design and imple­mentation of government programs to provide micro-plot ownership to impoverished and landless rural families and particularly to women.
  • Indian states are working with RDI to explore policy changes to allow poor families to access farmland through fair leasing agreements. Currently, leasing farmland is either illegal or greatly restricted in most states. Research shows that the restrictive tenancy legislation both reduces agricultural efficiency and restricts land access for the poor.
  • Local governments partners with RDI to ensure that families obtaining homestead plots are trained in agricultural techniques that will maximize the benefits of their plots.
  • State governments are partnering with RDI as a planner to help them participate in a national program to help rural landless families obtain land on which they can build a house and develop a home garden.
  • West Bengal, Odisha and Karnataka States are working with RDI to ensure women’s names are entered on land titles at the time they receive homestead plots.
  • The state of Odisha is establishing a Women’s Land Rights Center with support from RDI.
  • The state government of Andhra Pradesh continues to work with RDI to support and expand a legal aid program that has already provide secure land rights to 280,000 poor rural families.
  • West Bengal has partnered with RDI on a new government program aimed at helping poor rural girls avoid trafficking, abuse, and exploitation. The program will use livelihoods training, land ownership, and self-help groups to empower girls. The government and RDI will also engage the community at all levels in conversations about the role of girls in the community to help change traditions.

Homestead plots

Homestead plots, or house-and-garden plots, may be as small as tennis courts, and can be effective anti-poverty tools. The plots allow families to produce most of the fruits and vegetables they need, and to sell excess produce, providing a small income to supplement their earnings as wage laborers. That extra income can enable parents to pull their children out of the fields and place them in schools. Homestead plots also reduce malnutrition and boost health. And they are small enough that even the government’s constrained finances can afford to pay market prices to purchase and distribute enough land for the huge numbers of poor. In many cases, the poor are given ownership to government land they already occupy, further reducing costs.