Almost all States and Union Territories have shown an improvement in their effort to digitise land records, NCAER Land Record and Services Index (N-LRSI) 2021 has shown. The index was released on Thursday.

NCAER (National Council of Applied Economic Research) is an economic policy think tank. With support from Omidyar Network India, it prepares N-LRSI. The latest index is based on data collected over 2020-21 on two aspects of the supply of land records — the extent of digitisation of land records and the quality of these land records.

“Madhya Pradesh has emerged as the top performer for the second year in a row, followed by West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. While Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have maintained their positions, West Bengal has moved up four ranks, from rank six to two. Odisha and Maharashtra, which ranked second and third in N-LRSI 2020, has fallen by one rank each to take up rank three and four in this year’s index,” a statement issued by NCAER said.

Access to land

The statement mentioned that access to land is a critical factor for economic growth and poverty reduction. For government, industry, and citizens to be able to use this asset effectively and to minimise disputes, it is important to have access to reliable land and property records. “Digitising these land records is critical for ensuring India’s economic growth, as accessible, high quality records not only help increase the visibility and availability of land for large-scale investment opportunities, but at an individual level, also makes it possible for the public to transact land and use it for seeking credit in a dispute-free environment,” the statement said.

According to Team leader Deepak Sanan at NCAER, it is a matter of great satisfaction that objective of the N-LRSI has fructified to a considerable extent. Mean scores on the index have risen by more than 16 per cent in one year. “The N-LRSI has clearly demonstrated potential as a credible instrument that can enable progress in the goal of creating more comprehensive, accurate, accessible and user-friendly land records and processes across the country,” he said.

Reliable data

Shilpa Kumar, Partner at Omidyar Network India, felt accurate and reliable data with regards to the ownership and details of land and property can help every Indian to ascertain their land assets and enable easier transfer and access to credit. Given that land & property is the largest asset class in the country, the impact of accessible property records can have a substantive impact on improving lives. “We hope that this index will continue to nudge state governments to focus on digitisation of records, as well as provide policymakers a tool that will provide them evidence-based insight to create more effective and targeted approach towards property rights,” she said.

The Index, which measures the performance of 32 states and UTs across four broad parameters — digitisation of textual and spatial records, computerisation of the registration process, and the quality of land records — finds that 29 States and UTs have shown positive change or retained their scores in 2020-21.

Factoring for the ‘extent of digitisation’ alone, Bihar shows maximum improvement, followed by West Bengal, Tripura, and Karnataka. In terms of the ‘quality of land resources’, Karnataka is the leading state in terms of improvement over 2019-20, followed by Bihar, Tripura and Goa.

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