Land Records Modernisation: Urban and Peri-urban Areas

2015 

Abstract:

Urban and peri-urban areas comprise dense property relationships, including ownership rights, tenancy rights, occupancy rights (lease arrangements, rights given under public schemes to residents of informal settlements), development rights (TDRs, other usufruct rights), etc. These property relationships are at the heart of the economic value and GDP, produced in urban areas. Revenue departments in most states have poor records for urban areas and village settlement areas. These areas were not covered in the colonial records, which focused on agricultural land, the main source of tax revenues then. Post-independence coverage of urban areas has remained incomplete, given high levels of transactions, the high rate of urban spatial expansion and overlapping jurisdictional boundaries of urban authorities. This policy brief discusses the status of land and property records in urban and peri-urban areas, including modernisation initiatives. It suggests that the challenges of updating urban property records are multi-layered, and the new urban property records should be able to address complexities of urban property relations and access.