Policy Engagements and Blogs

CPR Dialogues 2020- Land and the Constitution: Solving Land Conflict in India

Namita Wahi

March 13, 2020


Watch the full video (above) of the panel discussion on ‘Land and the Constitution: Solving Land Conflict in India’ featuring Shyam Divan (Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India); KP Krishnan (Former Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India); Nitin Sethi (Independent Journalist); Usha Ramanathan (Independent Law Scholar) and moderated by Namita Wahi (Fellow and Director, Land Rights Initiative, CPR). The panel marked the completion of five years of the Land Rights Initiative at CPR since it’s founding.

As the Indian Republic turns 70, we are facing fundamental questions about the social contract embodied in the Constitution that brought us together as one nation. This contract was premised on creating a new social and economic order, that would eliminate existing social hierarchies, and bring about both rapid economic development and social redistribution. In other words, we needed to expand the resource pie and redistribute it to impoverished millions, in accordance with the ‘rule of law’. Unfortunately, expansion of the resource pie has come at the expense of landlessness and displacement of farmers, and those dependent upon other traditional occupations, including STs, forest dwellers, cattle grazers and fisherfolk, thereby causing significant land conflict and threatening investments worth $ 200 billion. An estimated 7.7 million people in India are affected by conflict over 2.5 million hectares of land, land disputes clog all levels of courts in India, and account for the largest set of cases in terms of both absolute numbers and judicial pendency.

In this panel celebrating the five-year anniversary of the Land Rights Initiative, we deliberated on how we may eliminate land conflict in India, by addressing the legislative, administrative, and judicial factors responsible for such conflict within the framework of the Constitution.

The panel was organised as part of the second edition of CPR Dialogues, held on 2nd and 3rd March 2020 at the India Habitat Centre. Addressing the theme of Policy Perspectives for 21st-century India, CPR Dialogues 2020 provided a window to the India of the future. Experts from around the country and the world engaged with and debated these very significant development and policy challenges that India faces in the coming decade.

ThePrint India was the digital partner for the event.

An article on land conflict in India, written by Namita Wahi in ThePrint can be accessed here.

Videos of other panel discussions organised as part of CPR Dialogues 2020 can be found below:

CPR Dialogues 2020- Inaugural Address by Hon’ble Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
CPR Dialogues 2020- At the Threshold of a New Decade: Navigating the Emerging Geopolitical Landscape
CPR Dialogues 2020- Rights in Times of AI: Emerging Technologies and the Public Law Framework
CPR Dialogues 2020- What Would Happen if We Were to Believe in Indian Agriculture?
CPR Dialogues 2020- Creating an Inclusive Economy in a Digital World
CPR Dialogues 2020- What Would it Take to Build a 21st-century State for India? Launch of CPR’s State Capacity Initiative
CPR Dialogues 2020- Technology and Administrative Reform: Experience from India and the World
CPR Dialogues 2020- Tracking Government Spending: Challenges in Social Policy Financing
CPR Dialogues 2020- The Air Pollution Crisis: Making Political Salience Count
CPR Dialogues 2020- Article 21 and India’s Social and Economic Rights
CPR Dialogues 2020- Challenges in Public Education: Balancing State and Non-State Actors
CPR Dialogues 2020- Emerging Trends in Indian Politics
CPR Dialogues 2020- Are India’s Financial Institutions in Crisis? Understanding India’s Economic Slowdown
CPR Dialogues 2020- The Role of Ideas in Shaping Policy
CPR Dialogues 2020- Indo-US Relations
CPR Dialogues 2020- Political Elites and Local Bureaucratic Capacity