How updated land records can help revive rural economy -Prerna Prabhakar

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published Published on Apr 2, 2021   modified Modified on Apr 3, 2021

-The Indian Express

With livelihoods affected during the pandemic, the importance of land ownership for access to formal loans as well as government relief programmes became more evident. But the relatively poor availability of clear and updated land titles remains a hurdle.

For a significant section of the rural poor, land is both an asset and a source of livelihood. Many informal jobs in the urban centres were lost as the economy was hit by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The resulting reverse migration placed greater demands on household resources in rural areas. With livelihoods affected, the importance of land ownership for access to formal loans as well as government relief programmes became even more evident. But the relatively poor availability of clear and updated land titles remains a hurdle.

Though efforts to update land records began as early as the 1980s, there is a long road ahead for achieving the final objective of updated and conclusive land titles. The government of India’s Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DI-LRMP) scheme is the most recent effort in this regard.

The dismal state of land records is due to the failure of the Indian administration to evolve from British-era land policies. In addition, land record regulations and policies vary widely across Indian states/union territories. For a comprehensive understanding of land records in India, it is imperative to bring out the comparative picture in this regard. Though DI-LRMP provides a common framework for reporting the progress of land record management by states/UTs, the heterogeneous nature of regulations/guidelines for land record management in India makes the progress non-uniform. NCAER made a pioneering effort in this direction by launching NCAER Land Records and Services Index (N-LRSI) in 2020. The index assesses states’ performance on two broad dimensions — digitisation and quality of land records. Despite the pandemic, states/UTs made rigorous efforts over the course of a year to make improvements in various parameters of the index. These improvements are clearly captured in the N-LRSI 2021 findings, the extent of which can be gauged by Bihar’s jump from the 23rd to 8th position in the index by making substantial progress in the digitisation of maps, textual records and registration process.

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The Indian Express, 2 April, 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/how-updated-land-records-can-help-revive-rural-economy-7254912/


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