Building RatiFi: Concept

The implementation of Forest Rights Act for the recognition of Community Forest Resource rights involves many challenges. The first and foremost challenge is the lack of expertise at the village level for gathering required administrative evidence to support CFR claims. Further, it is difficult to measure forest land located in remote areas and capture specific geographical details in a timely and cost-effective manner. The involvement of multiple stakeholders from different state departments forming a three tier quasi-judicial structure also adds to the challenges of claim filing and recognition of Community Forest Resource rights.  

RatiFi is a part of our technology stack, ForestFi. It is designed to facilitate the CFR claim generation process and it includes a tracking system to monitor progress on claim approval. Apart from providing critical prefilled information to facilitate easy filing of CFR, it also adopts a novel approach to track the progress of claims and helps to ensure accountability through an inbuilt smart logic engine. There are three primary reasons for the development of RatiFi: standardization, easy access to evidence documents, and scale.

Acquisition of the appropriate documents is extremely important for a successful claim filing process. The key documents required are the boundary map(s) of forests and the community’s Record of Rights (RoR) on the claimed forest land. The Act also mandates claimants to fulfil requirements like the 50% quorum for attendance in the Gram Sabha meeting, of which one-third should be women. All these processes follow a sequence, and the app enables stakeholders to track this sequence of activities. A common problem with the claim filing process is the rejection of claims due to missing documents. The app helps in standardizing the protocol and enables this process to take place at scale.

A major feature of the app is that it acts like a repository. When claims are filed manually, documents are often lost and archiving remains a challenge for government agencies and local communities. In a digital recording system such as RatiFi, documents are preserved digitally in multiple locations and the status of the claims is updated at all levels simultaneously.

RatiFi incorporates the diverse geographical contexts and requirements. This requires a need assessment of different users. The app fits the bill across different users and follows a linear flow by allowing one interaction per screen. The app requires user communities to register through a simple process. All the events, processes, and data available on the app can be tracked from the back end. The functions of the app can be customized to a specific geography based on the constraints and opportunities.

RatiFi is designed and developed to introduce process efficiencies in CFR claim filing and is currently under testing and active development in Jharkhand.

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