Monday, July 26, 2010

India Lands in a Mess

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A proposed property-rights bill could have far-reaching, positive implications for the economy.

Today, the labyrinth of bureaucracy makes it hard to realize property values, condemning landowners to poverty and making land artificially scarce. According to a national survey in 2006, about 40% of Indian farmers would like to sell their land and move out to more lucrative occupations, but can't find buyers because of archaic laws. A survey this year found that about 40% of people in urban areas live in slums, also because of restricted land supply.

Another law has recently been proposed by the government to help give the people clearly defined land titles. The Ministry of Rural Development has recently drafted the "Land Titling Bill 2010" to encourage states to adapt similar legislation at the provincial level. The draft is open for public comment until August 31, and it is well worth reading.

The deliberations over the coming months could determine whether this legislation will transform India or merely remain a piece of paper that scores high on intention, but fails in practice.

The draft Land Titling Bill 2010

Comments/opinions/suggestions on the draft Bill from all stakeholders are invited and may kindly be sent to e-mail ID