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LAND RIGHTS FOR URBAN SLUM DWELLERS: A Review of the Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2017 and the Jaga Mission

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The discourse on economic development has emphasized the role of law in ensuring clear property rights. Legal rights over land are thought of as a solution to incentivize investment in land, optimal use of resources, and market led-growth. Land rights (either through titling or restricted rights over land) have long been considered a precondition for development. This is because governments believe that such rights increase access to formal credit. In the specific context of urban slum dwellers, the added benefit of land rights is that these rights can now be used to ensure tenure security, help provide municipal services, and other social benefits. Based on these presumptions in 2017, the Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dweller Act (OLRSDA) and the Odisha Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act (OMC) were enacted. These enactments along with the implementation of the Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission, (also known as the JAGA mission) kickstarted a process of urban redevelopment. In 2019, UN-Habitat recognized the JAGA mission as having a positive impact in alleviating urban poverty and conferred the Mission with the Bronze World Habitat Award. It recognized that 51,041 households were granted land rights and 15,000 homes were built.