Land constitutes a significant percentage of the asset allocation in the portfolios of Indian households. There are several challenges that hinder a systematic and comprehensive study of the functioning of land markets in India. Among them are the near absence of reliable real time data on land ownership and the maze of state-level legislations that have an important bearing on land allocation and property rights in India. At the Finance Research Group, we aim to study the functioning of the land market in India, the land records infrastructure underlying it, the stakeholders affected by it and the institutions that underpin it.
The Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) was launched by the government of India in August 2008. The programme was aimed at modernising the land records infrastructure in states by ushering in a system of digitised, updated and integrated land records that mirrored ground reality. The programme also aimed at other aspects of the land records infrastructure such as integration of revenue and registration officers. The larger objective of the DILRMP was to move to a system of guaranteed titles.
Written by the Finance Research Group (FRG) at IGIDR, this report is a step towards studying the land market in India. It focuses on the implementation of the DILRMP in the state of Maharashtra. Using a combination of publicly available data sources and field studies, we study the extent to which land record administration in Maharashtra has been digitised and its impact on service delivery to the end consumer. In particular, we assessed (a) the extent to which land record administration had been digitised; (b) the efficiency of service delivery of accurate land title records to citizens; and (c) the accuracy of the digitised records. The findings of this study, which was commissioned by the Omidyar Network India, have important implications for the institutional designs and systems that underpin land record management in India.
In the last five years, there is an increasing trend towards direct cash transfers as one of the main tools of supporting farmer welfare. Many of these schemes link income support to ownership and extent of owned agricultural land. Given the state of land records infrastructure and state capacity in the country, the success of such schemes is uncertain.
The FRG has conducted a study commissioned by the Omidyar Network India, to shed light on the implementation and design of welfare benefit schemes that rely on land records infrastructure. For this we use Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu Scheme as a case study. Our findings from this study, have rich implications in the area of land records policy as well as for the implementation of schemes that rely on such land records. This report is aimed at providing a road-map for governments seeking to introduce welfare benefit schemes linked to land records.