Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu have scored high on a new land records and services index released by Delhi-based think tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). The NCAER Land Records and Services Index (N-LRSI) assesses the extent of digitisation of land records and quality of these across India.
The 2020 N-LRSI is based on data collected over 2019/20 on two aspects of supply of land records-the extent of digitisation of land records and the quality of these records. The first component, which aims to assess whether a state has made all its land records digitally available to citizens, looks at three dimensions-the text of the land records (also called record of rights), the official map associated with a land record (also called cadastral maps), and the property registration process. The second component of the index aims to assess if land records are comprehensive and reliable-are ownership details updated as soon as a sale occurs, the extent of joint ownership, type of land use, land area on the record and on the map, and are encumbrances being recorded (other claims on the property such as mortgages and court cases).
All these elements are closely connected to land disputes and to the ease with which transactions in land can be completed and legally recorded and then conveniently accessed.
"The N-LRSI is timely, pioneering work and is already attracting policymaker attention at the Centre and state levels. The Index can serve three purposes. First, it will help formulate state action plans to attain the goal of secure, assured land records that mirror ground realities and are generated by efficient titling services. Second, the N-LRSI's comparative assessment of states and UTs will make it possible for states to learn from each other, with the best performing showing how the supply of good, reliable, accessible digital land records has been improved. Third, the Central Government can use the N-LRSI to reward and recognise States and UTs that perform better on the Index so that the others are encouraged to improve their standing" Shekhar Shah, Director General, NCAER, said.
The N-LRSI is an integral part of the NCAER Land Policy Initiative (NLPI) launched in 2019 with the aim of filling gaps in economic research, policy analysis, and systematic data on land. Access to land is a critical factor for economic growth and poverty reduction. For government, industry, and citizens to be able to use this asset effectively and to minimise disputes, it is important to have access to reliable land and property records. Over the years, different states have made significant progress in making their land records digitally available to citizens. The N-LRSI aims to understand the extent of this progress and existing gaps and to identify measures to improve land records in each state, NCAER stated.
Scoring 60-75 points, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu are the five best-performing States on the N-LRSI. West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh are in the 50-60 points category.
NCAER is part of the Property Rights Research Consortium, a multi-institution research consortium supported by generous grants from the Omidyar Network India. The Property Rights Research Consortium is focusing on building research and evidence on the rights to land, housing and other assets. The National Institution for Public Finance and Policy, the Centre for Policy Research's Land Rights Initiative, and Brookings India are currently the other members of this network.