Elevating Discourse on Land and Property Inclusivity: Why We Invested in the Property Rights Research Consortium

Elevating Discourse on Land and Property Inclusivity: Why We Invested in the Property Rights Research Consortium

"By bringing together researchers to study various aspects of  land and property inclusivity, PRRC is a first-of-its-kind effort at building a research collaborative to enhance the body of knowledge in this under-researched field and shine light on evidence-based solutions. PRRC’s work is helping in elevating the discourse and fuelling policy dialogues"

India today has over 650,000 villages and close to 3,800 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Each of these administrative units have been seen as a source of tax revenue by government, and therefore all policy decision have focused on maximising this stream of income. So, when it comes to delivering on large-scale reform and designing solutions, data and research that is critical to better inform this decision making simply does not exist.

What if, there was a way to enhance our knowledge on initiatives and solutions focused on land and property inclusivity and elevate the discussion on this core issue?

That was the starting point for the Property Rights Research Consortium (PRRC).

The collective brought together four independent Think-Tanks (Brookings India/CSEP, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER),National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), Centre for Policy Research (CPR)) as well as smaller independent research proposals through the Research and Innovation Grant (managed by the/Nudge Foundation) to collaborate on research, dissemination and policy engagement. The goal is to foster an established practice of inclusive land and housing research and policy engagement across multiple leading think-tanks in India and also to bring inclusive land and housing narratives to the mainstream discourse & create sustained policy engagements across India.

The partners in the consortium and us together identified the need to build a comprehensive understanding and evidence base that can be tailored for developing inclusive policy. In addition, it was felt that we needed to create an evidence framework with local contexts which can be critical for effective policy reform as well as to engage with multiple bodies of state/local administration. Today, the collective objective of the consortium include:

A) Creating quality human and intellectual capital to build evidence and attract more researchers in the sector. The network structure improved quantity and quality of research due to competition and incentives

B) Developing a compelling narrative for inclusive land and housing to mainstream the economic case for securing assets for citizens, governments and businesses. The network structure provides greater amplification through shared platforms and joined up efforts

C) Creating evidence for policy action & regulatory reform for long-term change. The network structure improved profile and convening power and access to a larger set of policy makers with combinatorial value of research and narratives.

Some of the early success for the PRRC include:

National Council of Applied Economic Research:

i) Building a Land Records & Service Index covering all States and Union Territories in India

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy:

(i) Studying land administrative systems towards improving state capacity;

(ii) Studying the impact of such as Title Insurance and RERA;

(iii) Understanding market failures in land markets and facilitate design of regulations to driving ease of transaction. Land Market efficiencies and regulatory reforms;

(iv) Property inclusivity and contract enforcement in land and finance

Brookings India/ CSEP:

(i) Studying drivers for lack of access to housing;

(ii) Assessing the impact of inclusive land and housing on

  1. Social mobility through health and education outcomes
  2. Women & minority groups
  3. Economic Growth

Centre for Policy Research:

(i) Launching a pilot study using data analytics to analyse outcomes and other aspects of land related court cases;

(ii) Continuing research on existing land laws (“One Thousand Land Laws”);

(iii) Creating a searchable and publicly available database of land laws in India Pilot study to assess implementation of the Odisha Liveable Habitats Mission, a project to improve living conditions and land tenure rights within very poor neighborhoods.

The/Nudge Research and Innovation Grant:

(i) Funding 5-10 research proposals annually to conduct research study/project for a duration of 3-12 months in order to build a repository of research data and insights on land, housing and property rights.

We invested in PRRC to help de-silo learnings, drive conversations for critical property and land related issues and increase funding in the inclusive property space. We did this through established institutions, and increasing research capacity research organisations eager to help better inform decision making.