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Mapping, Digitizing Records Fight Corruption, Aid in Proper Distribution of Land to the Poor in Bangladesh

Land disputes area major issue in Bangladesh. The government has a program to redistribute land to the landless, but, due to mismanagement and massive corruption, many do not receive their land and end up in court—it's estimated that more than "3.2 million land-related cases are pending before the judiciary."

This figure doesn't account for large number of poor people who "do not even escalate matters to the level of litigation."
Laws are somewhat weak and "poorly implemented; for instance, the distribution of khas land (government owned land) for landless households entails a lengthy process and applicants for land often must pay bribes at several levels."

Recently, however, several NGOs in Bangladesh have been collaborating with local governments to "ensure effective land management" by identifying khas land for redistribution to the landless. The government has been "working to digitalize land records as well as land management systems to infuse transparency and accountability in the sector and to curb the rampant corruption."

"As a result, a digital database has been created for Dhaka city, and over 0.42 million land records have been uploaded into the database.

"Other initiatives, led by either the private or public sectors are also being actively considered by the government. For example, Terra Tech Ltd., a conglomerate of 10 local IT companies, has proposed a digital mapping and land revenue management system, which has been approved by the government."

implications:

"Landlessness among the impoverished sections of the country will continue to rise due to degradation of agricultural land, loss of land due to natural disasters and rise in poverty levels."
"In addition to this, land laws continue to be poorly implemented... the allocated land may be possessed by people who are not eligible, leaving the eligible relatively powerless to assert their possession rights. The combined effect of these factors will aggravate the problem of land ownership, resulting in rise of land disputes in the next 20 years."

"[Recent mapping and digitizing] initiatives, if sustained, will not only help in making land management and distribution system among poor landless people more accurate but also reduce the number of land disputes in the long run."

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Sources:

SFG June 2011, page 8:
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG_June 2011.pdf#page=8