Colonial Origins of Restrictions on Land Transfer in India

  • Blog Post Date 31 July, 2014
  • IGC Research on India
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Lack of access to credit is often argued to be an important determinant of poverty. This lack is often traced back to the poor not having collateral. This absence of collateral in turn has been linked to the fact that the poor don’t have titles to their land. Hence land titling has been proposed by scholars such as Hernando de Soto and such policies have been implemented in various countries, with support from international organisations. This project relies on archival research, substantially at the British Library, but also in libraries in India and the US, to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the main strategies used by the colonial state to discourage land transfer. The experiments and evidence excavated provide a useful perspective to the present-day policymaker on the value and design of measures to protect the poor from land loss, given their need for credit.

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