Realising land rights and social accountability through community-based organisations: The impacts of India’s Homestead Programme

Policy brief State

  • This study uses a mixed-methods randomised impact evaluation to shed light on two broad policy questions: First, how and to what extent can development interventions improve the governance of social protection through attempts to induce community mobilisation? Second, how can the homestead land rights of marginalised populations be improved?
  • The programme’s core is the formation and training of community-based organisations (CBOs) that assist untitled households in applying for title, inform them of their rights more broadly, and help to mobilise community pressure on government officials for efficient service delivery.
  • Results suggest that the intervention exerted strong positive effects on perceived land security and access to government entitlements, as well as moderate effects on asset ownership and homestead satisfaction. However, no statistically significant effects on investment or food security were detected.
  • The formation of CBOs represents a potentially powerful technology of social accountability that can sustainably increase knowledge, provide civic support channels, and help households to access much-needed resources without relying on profit-seeking intermediaries.