The Rural Development Institute in Odisha

Current Activities

  • The state’s pilot land allocation and homestead development project has been launched in 36 villages in Ganjam, Gajapati, and Jagatsinghpur districts. Landless families have been identified and they will receive title to the government land the currently illegally occupy. This pilot programme relies on specially-trained Community Resource Persons (CRPs) to identify the landless families and help them with initial applications to the program. These local field assistants are cost-effective and have deep knowledge of the community, which allows them to expedite the work. Using the CRPs brings the cost down of transforming poor landless families into landowners to about $3 (INR 150) per family. The programme is rapidly being brought to scale.
  • Odisha’s Ganjam district is receiving support from RDI in application collection, correction of records and patta (land title) preparations for Gramkantha Paramboke (GKP), a category of communal land used for homestead purposes.
  • Since early 2011, RDI is scaling the CRP model with Odish Tribal Empowerment Livelihoods Programme (OTELP), an externally aided project of Government of Odisha, in seven districts in Odisha with tribal communities to ensure every family, in the more than 1,000 villages across the districts, has their own plot of land – both homestead and farm.
  • The government and RDI are working to ensure that all people in the programme, especially women, have the support and training to maximize the benefits of their new land.In collaboration with RDI,  District Administration has launched a Women Land Rights Facilitation Centre (WLRFC) in Khalikote tehsil, Ganjam district. WLRFC is an window to address women access to land.
  • Our homestead development programme has demonstrated that even small plots of land enhance a family’s food security, improve nutrition and health, access to government extension services/ programmes, augment income and result in better social capital.

READ: Land rights lift an entire village out of poverty.

The state government began its partnerships with RDI in Odisha in 2009 with an assessment of 88 villages of the state’s homestead plot programme called “Vasundhara.” The study identified weaknesses and offered solutions. The Odisha programme has traversed in a logical trajectory that started with field verification/research followed by a demonstration pilot, and then leading to the logical conclusion of scaling through the State Government.

The current homestead plot programme encompasses RDI’s recommendations. The state of Odisha is one of India’s poorest. According to the Planning Commission, 46.9% of Odisha’s population are below poverty line. Similarly as per National Family Health Survey (NHFS)- III, in 2005-06, 44% of children under three years of age were underweight in the state .