One of the core functions of any sovereign government is to recognise and protect property rights at both personal and community levels. Property rights are not just about ownership of a piece of land but a collection of rights over that land that may be lawfully exercised. Although the norms of property ownership and rights have been well established, where they have failed is in their last mile recognition and enforcement.
Enforcement of property rights has proven to be a difficult task in India, creating enormous burdens on the judicial system. Even where the law sets the norms straight, the reality is that land records are rarely maintained with sufficient accuracy and rarely updated quickly to reflect changes in rights. This has meant that high transaction costs are incurred by all parties to secure their rights, limiting their ability to use these properties to the fullest extent whether directly or through monetisation.
To address this, Vidhi’s work has focused on helping women farmers realise their lawfully granted rights on the ground;on coming up with legal incentives to make affordable housing a reality in Karnataka; and on making certain urban property rights applicable for all city-dwellers.
Vidhi Karnataka will continue to engage with the state government and civil society groups to ensure that land and housing rights guaranteed in law are recognised on the ground in a manner that allows rights holders to enjoy greater economic and social security.