India's economic upswing is benefiting only a small part of the population, and some 30 per cent the people continue to live below the poverty line. Development is stagnating in rural areas, while conflicts over land and natural resources are intensifying. The government's pro-business policy promotes land acquisition by large investors and this is leading to ever greater marginalization of smallholders and day labourers. The Indian caste system further accentuates social differences. People who belong to no caste – called Dalits – as well as indigenous groups such as the Adivasis are systematically excluded from society. HEKS/EPER supports these minorities in obtaining land titles, securing their food supply and improving their income.
In 2017, HEKS/EPER assisted over 7000 members of the Dalit and Adivasi communities in improving their livelihoods. 3000 of them augmented their crop yields or their incomes.