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Land Governance

Land is a central issue in development research, practice and policy. Broadly speaking, land tenure systems, property rights and their governance are one thematic area that historically and continue to be a key determinant of economic development, social equity and justice and lasting peace.

Land Research Project

Land Research Project is a joint initiative by both the School of Policy and Governance (SPG) and the School of Development. Under this project, a series of studies on various issues relating to land governance and development are proposed to be taken up, which includes the following:

Mapping institutions involved in Land Governance

While research on land focuses on the role of states in broad terms, less attention has been paid to the actual processes through which bureaucracies are implementing policies related to land - policies related to general management of land and those that can be considered as furthering developmental goals. As land administration is the responsibility of the revenue department in Indian states understanding the structure and levels of this department becomes important. The organization of offices within the departments and how decisions are taken and implemented at each level varies across the states, with implications for actual outcome of land governance. We plan to map these institutional diversity in land governance across the states, with the objective of capturing complex institutional design issues and making policy recommendations based on best practices. This study is proposed to be implemented by taking up a series of surveys starting from the village level,and institutional case studies.

Studying Technology-led reforms in Land Governance

The deployment of electronic governance in land administration deserves an independent inquiry, since this not only engenders new institutional forms (PPP), but an assemblage of laws and policies (such the national land records modernization programme) actors (corporate actors interested in managing e-records software, etc.), financial resources, new ways of administrating land, etc. along with institutions traditionally involved in land governance. This study proposes a comparative analysis of digital technology-led reforms in land governance implemented across the Indian States.

Work in progress

Completed a village survey in Mandya District of Karnataka state, with the objectives of (a) understanding the relationship between land and farmers since land reforms, especially the prevalence and consequences of informal tenancy (b) understanding operation of land bureaucracy at the village level. Data analysis is in progress.


Brought out an assessment report of land governance in the state of Karnataka. This was sponsored by the World Bank as part of the implementation of the Bank’s Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) in six Indian States - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Orissa and West Bengal. The LGAF’s Karnataka State Report prepared by the SPG is available at the World Bank website.

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