Land records needs a digital push
In order to energise land governance in India, the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), a New Delhi based non-profit think tank of economics has launched an index—“the NCAER Land Record and Services Index (N-LRSI),” which is a comprehensive study assessing the extent of digitisation of land records across states and Union Territories (UTs) in India. Financial support for this research has been provided by the Omidyar Network India, an investment firm focused on social impact.
Not only for individual home buyers, non-availability of proper land records is a big concern for real estate developers. “Non-availability of proper and clear land records impacts development of real estate projects. In an ideal scenario, land records should be digitized, as also comprehensive and reliable,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, National president, National Real Estate Development Council (NREDCO).
To evaluate the situation of land records across the country, NCAER launched the NCAER Land Policy Initiative (NLPI) in April 2019, with different objectives. Broad objectives were to gather and analyze information related to availability of land records, quality of land records and availability of legal documents related to land and so on. Further, objective was to compile land data and based on that provide rankings to each state. “Ranking will help each state to know where they stand in terms of providing land records and ease of property transaction. Simultaneously, it will develop competitive instinct between states to enhance their services, processes and perform better. Eventually it will help property buyers and investors,” said Deepak Sanan, project lead, NCAER. NCEAR will also offer solutions to states to improve their land records database digitally.
To build the index NCAER collected information, data and status of land records in different states. On the basis of points scored, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu are the best performing states with scores between 60 and 75 points on the LRSI. West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are in the 50-60 points category. For the registration component, Maharashtra emerged as the leader, while Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh were the front-runners on the quality of their land records. However, surprisingly in four states— Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh land records in a written or digitised form are only available for a negligible proportion of their respective areas. In a second phase of this their initiative; the NCAER team will try to assess the demand side of the ease of using land records through a household survey planned for later this year.