The political economy of land privatisation in Delhi

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This project examines the legal, governance and political dimensions of Delhi’s ongoing round of slum demolitions. Since 2000, approximately one million slum residents in Delhi have been forcibly displaced as part of a broad agenda to clear public land for more capital intensive and aesthetically ‘world-class’ land uses.

Through an in-depth analysis of slum-related decisions in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India over the past twenty years, the project examines how land tenure and the right to the city have been redefined in law.

The project further explores how the channels of political redress once open to slum residents have been occluded through an urban governance experiment launched by the Delhi Government in 2000, called Bhagidari.

Specifically, the project considers how various ‘new state spaces’ have arisen through Bhagidari that have gentrified the lower level state spaces upon which the poor have historically relied in order to ensure tenure and economic security.

Staff member: Asher Ghertner

Project period: 2008 – 2010

Funding: National Science Foundation

Related publications:

  • Ghertner, D.A. (2008) An analysis of new legal discourse behind Delhi’s slum demolitions. Economic and Political Weekly, 43(20), 57-66.

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