The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) recently released India’s first Land Records and Services Index. The NCAER Land Records and Services Index (N-LRSI) 2020 is based on data collected over 2019-20 on two aspects of the supply of land records—the extent of digitisation of land records and the quality of these land 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 the 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 the 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.
Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu are the five best-performing States on the N-LRSI 2020 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: N-LRSI 2020 State Rankings
While for the textual record digitization, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Chhattisgarh and Goa appeared to be the leading states, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh topped the list for spatial record digitization. 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. The findings of the index 2019-20 exercise is likely to enable states go make efforts in the direction of creating more comprehensive and accurate land record, by adopting the initiatives that successful states have made in this direction.
The N-LRSI 2020 data would soon be made available on a land data portal that can be accessed through NCAER’s website. In addition to the N-LRSI State/UT wise scores and rankings, the portal would offer a platform to create your own N-LRSI by selecting specific (sub) components to visualize sensitivity of your state’s performance to these parameters.
For the next phase of N-LRSI, a demand-side survey of citizens will be added to the supply side information, to gauge the level of public awareness and satisfaction in using digital land records and associated services.