Point of Beginning

Barefoot lawyers

January 12, 2010
India's Andhra Pradesh government has been generous in distributing land to the landless. About 4.5 million acres have been distributed, but about 25 per cent of this has not reached the beneficiaries. To remedy this, the state devised a unique solution. It set up land centers in every district and staffed them with lawyers and surveyors -- called barefoot lawyers and barefoot surveyors -- because they were selected from the villages and trained.

Andhra Pradesh sets up centres to provide legal help to the poor caught in land disputes; the model may be replicated in other states

Sreelatha Menon / New Delhi January 10, 2010, 0:54 IST

Business-standard.com: There are those who have land and those who don’t. Among those who have land, there are those who have title deeds for their land and those who have been assigned land by the government but are yet to get the title deeds.

Then, there are those who have got the title deeds but have no clue where their land is. And, there also are those who have been caught in land disputes for generations.

Justice in land disputes, as in other matters, is distant and unaffordable.

The Andhra Pradesh government has been generous in distributing land to the landless. About 4.5 million acres have been distributed, but about 25 per cent of this has not reached the beneficiaries, according to government sources. To remedy this, the state devised a unique solution under a programme called the Indira Kranti Pratham (IKP). It set up land centres in every district and staffed them with lawyers and surveyors - called barefoot lawyers and barefoot surveyors - because they were selected from the villages and trained.

To read the rest of the story, click to www.business-standard.com/india/news/sreelatha-menon-barefoot-lawyers/382217/.