Can the Revenue Department Remain Urban Agnostic in India?

Aparna Das, Anindita Mukherjee, Baisakhi Sarkar Dhar

Academic and Action Research

Working Papers

The spatial morphology of Indian cities mirrors a disconnect between the urban statutory spatial plans and Revenue records. The Revenue Department instituted during the colonial times had an overarching mandate to collect land taxes and, till today, is referred to as the "custodian of the land." This was a key institution that prepared robust cadastre maps to support the revenue collection. Post-independence, these spatial records are not updated. The institutional disconnect between the Revenue and Registration departments and Urban Land Administration Institutions in the urban and peri-urban areas coupled with poor land records affect the overall confidence in the land administration system. This further limit the nurturing of a robust land market. Taking two land titling programmes: JAGA mission, Odisha, and LIFE mission, Kerala, this paper argues that to achieve the full potential of such land titling programmes, the role of the Revenue and Registration Departments need to be reimagined.

This paper was selected for presentation in the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty -2020 (Session 01-11: The challenge of improving urban land records)