The current government’s interest in improving the existing land titling system across all states presents a great opportunity to speed up implementation of the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) as a prerequisite to moving towards a system of conclusive titling. This also presents an opportunity to track states’ performances in modernising land records. Towards this end, IDFC Institute, in collaboration with World Bank, is involved in creating a state-level land governance index. Such an indicator would have several advantages. In particular, it would capture policy-makers’ attention at a high level, improve the ability to regularly report on progress and possibly also allocated funds, support DILRMP management/implementation by allowing Department of Land Resources (DoLR), Government of India to drill down to sub-registrar office and village level, and make it possible to assess the impact of modernisation by correlating it with other sources of socio-economic data.
The land index will comprise sub-indicators for which data are available on DoLR website. These sub-indicators include (i) transparency of land records; (ii) transparency of land registration; (iii) reliability of land records; (iii) reliability of land registration; and (v) reliability of spatial records. In addition to creating a state-level index based on DoLR data, we propose to collaborate with 2-3 states that have expressed interest in sharing more detailed administrative data and that have made considerable progress in modernisation. This will allow us to examine the impact of roll out of various stages of the programme on the ground. One aspect that may be of particular interest would be land disputes and the fact that court records have been computerized in a number of states increases the scope for analysis of this type. Finally, urban land records have continued to remain neglected in most states. However, states like Maharashtra have historically maintained urban property cards for urban areas. Our objective is to take the case of states like Maharashtra to show how a similar land governance index can be possible for urban land.