The Importance of Land Administration for Development
July 24, 2018 In LAND GOVERNANCEThe ever-evolving human-land relationship and central/local drivers, such as sustainable development, urbanization, economic reform, information revolution etc. all demand responses from land administration. Development, from the point of view of a driver, has an overall significance, as it has a dynamic social, economic-political and environmental dimension. At the core of the challenging opportunity-cost decisions for thedevelopment narrative, is the pertinent need for land administration systems to evolve at a rapid pace, in an appropriate manner, to support the growth drive. Setting a definition, land administration, is the process of determining, recording and disseminating information about, value, ownership, and usage of land for the implementation of a land management system. Playing an instrumental role for governments in offering the security of tenure, regulation of land markets, implementation of land reforms, protecting the environment, levying taxes etc., land administration, delineates the way in which rules of land tenure find an application and are made operational.Hence, in order to provide an opportunity for economic growth as well as an incentive to invest, a secure and stable access needs to be provided, especially when it comes to the division of land between individuals, groups and other legal entities. Myriad development objectives, across multiple sectors, are underpinned by secure land rights. In sectors such as agriculture, housing, transport, energy, extractives etc., land serves as a highly critical means of production. On the other hand, clear and secure rights can also help in reducing conflict and mitigate environmental degradation. As for the private sector development, secure and transferable land rights are fundamental elements for an enabling environ. There has been an increased awareness in recent years, regarding the relevance of land tenure and its correlation to issues like food security, climate change, rapid urbanization etc. Yet, despite the recognition of the importance of land rights, statistically speaking 70% of the world’s population, still lack proper access to land demarcation and titling. Land administration and policy in India, are complex entities that vary considerably across state borders. Hence, inching towards the long-term goal of improved land administration/policy in India, there are certain recommended changes that could assist in the necessary reformation of our current framework. The first step would be, the expansion of computerization/integration of textual records, to ensure full reportage, followed by the establishment of a spatial framework, which is capable of achieving full coverage within a reasonable amount of time and resource requirement. Also, the improvement of textual and spatial records, for well-defined situations, to establish processes that can be rapidly scaled up, along with allowing private sector participation in surveying, would, in turn, help government bodies focus on a regulatory role and help in mitigating attrition. While this may seem like a tall agenda, however, the ingenuity that has been demonstrated by the computerization of textual records and the drawing on pilot initiatives in many states across the country, as well as countries across the globe, suggests that, concerted efforts to set standards which can then be scaled up efficiently and rapidly, contain within them considerable potential to overcome existing bottlenecks, create synergies and bring about significant improvement in our current land administration system, thus, paving way for subsequent economic development.