- Land tenure in North East India is governed under customary laws with adequate autonomy and protection under the Indian Constitution.
- Most land in the hill areas remains un-surveyed and lacks land records. Moreover land relations remain patriarchal, with poor recognition of women’s land rights.
- Land conflicts within communities and as a result of development interventions are intensifying in the absence of documented land rights; land use changes from traditional shifting cultivation to long-term uses, like horticulture and paddy terraces, also call for tenure security and documentation to incentivize investments and access to the entitlements.
The Rongmei Naga Baptist Association (RNBA), an NGO network, with support from NR Management Consultants -Centre for Land Governance (NRMC-CLG) piloted a community mapping exercise in the Manipur Hills. The project trained local youth to use a mobile phone linked to a differential global positioning system (DGPS) to map and document long-term land use rights with concurrence from local communities resulting in legitimate village institutions issuing Land Tenure Certificates with joint title (including women’s names), spatial details, and documentation of customary norms. The process involved local and customary institutions and was shared with state-level actors, including members of autonomous district councils (ADC), clan leaders, and Government officials.
- Documented and transparent evidence of land rights can reduce conflicts in customary tenure landscapes.
- A fit for purpose land administration solution can help village councils to develop their own digital land administration system quickly document land tenure in the un-surveyed hill regions.
- Scaling up and sustaining mapping and land rights documentation across the Manipur Hill districts, however, requires political participation of higher tribal institutions, such as the ADC and Hill Area Committee (HAC), as well as champions within the State administration.
Authors and Publishers
Authors: Pranab Ranjan Choudhury & Navin Kumar Amang
Series editor: Mercedes Stickler
Publication Design & Illustrations: Navin Kumar Amang
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