Over 1.25 lakh families became legal landowners in India in 2010

In the year gone by about 1.25 lakh families in India became legal landowners, said a US-based non-profit organisation which has worked with the local government agencies.

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2011, 12:12 PM IST

Washington: In the year gone by about
1.25 lakh families in India became legal landowners, said a
US-based non-profit organisation which has worked with the
local government agencies.

"In 2010, more than 124,000 poor families in India
became legal landowners and now have the opportunity to build
a better future for themselves," said Landesa, the
Seattle-based rural development institute.

According to a media release, as many as 65,000
families benefited in Karnataka, followed by 52,000 in Andhra
Pradesh, 4,000 in Orissa and 3,000 in West Bengal.

For the next two years it has set a target of three
lakh families. Since 2001, it has benefitted some 433,000
families in India.

"To our beneficiaries, their new land title is more
than just a piece of paper. It is the foundation for a new
life. With this title, they can - often for the first time - send
their children to government residential schools, grow the
food they need to feed their children a balanced diet, and
take advantage of government programs designed to help the
poor improve their lives," the statement said.

Landesa said it partners with state and national
governments across India to design, implement, and evaluate
programs that put small plots of land into the hands of the
world`s poorest.

India has an estimated 15 million rural families who
are poor and completely landless.

Most till other people`s fields for cents a day with
little hope or chance of improving their life, Landesa said.

"For these people, the most effective route out of
poverty is owning a micro-plot of land - a homestead of less
than 1/10th of an acre. Micro-plots provide families with a
place to live, grow their own vegetables, and supplement their
income. The small size of a micro-plot belies its big
impact," it said.

"These tennis-court-sized plots are Landesa`s
innovative tool that allows many of India`s cash-strapped
state governments to help large numbers of the poor in a cost
efficient manner. In some states the total cost of providing
legal rights to a micro-plot of land for a poor family and
forever changing their lives is as little as USD 3 per
family," it said.

"From the hamlet of Kharibandha in Orissa, to the
Village of Peace in West Bengal, hundreds of communities are
being transformed thanks in part to legal control over a small
piece of land," the statement said.

PTI