The Consortium Comprises of Leading Think-Tanks and Research Organizations in India
March 19, 2019: Omidyar Network India today announced a INR 16 crore grant (USD 2.3 million) to create a multi-organization research consortium that will focus on issues linked to secure rights to assets. The grant will fund Brookings India, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), and National Institute of Public Finance Policy (NIPFP) to develop evidence-based solutions to address chronic challenges in providing secure access to land, housing, and property rights.
The lack of data and intellectual capital about property rights is creating a huge drain on India’s economic growth potential. Even though India improved its Ease of Doing Business rank to 77 according to World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, it ranks 166 on the ease of registering property. Land, housing, and property rights have close links to a number of economic, social, and legal factors, and are also mired in a lot of administrative complexity. The consortium aims to provide a platform for diverse voices in the field and elevate the discourse around land, housing, and property rights.
Also included in the grant is an innovation fund of INR 3.5 crore (USD 500,000) to back proposals from across the country.
“The aim is to have these institutions and hopefully other collaborators in the future, develop in-house expertise on important issues that are relevant for policy makers, build evidence around these issues, and propose solutions that can truly improve the lives of people on the ground.” said Shreya Deb, director, investments at Omidyar Network India.
“The consortium brings together many research institutions and experts. The initiative’s importance cannot be overstated. The knowledge it will generate will break new ground, and have a far-reaching impact.” said Ila Patnaik, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP).
“NCAER is proud to join this band of land research institutions that Omidyar Network India has brought together. I fully expect that the work we do as a whole will add up to more than the sum of the parts. And as the consortium grows, we will be growing India’s research capacity to deal with challenging land issues. Our own NCAER Land Policy Initiative will break new ground on gauging how the Indian States are doing on modernizing their land records,” said Shekhar Shah, director-general, NCAER.
Shamika Ravi, director of research at Brookings India said “Well defined and secure property rights are fundamental to the economic progress of a society. India’s second generation economic reforms will critically rest on our achievements in this regard.”
All participating institutions in the consortium will share their knowledge, as well as their networks and datasets to enable more collaborative learning and research.
Omidyar Network India has been funding research at various leading institutions working on asset and property rights issues, including Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS), which has deep expertise on land administration systems in India, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), which has conducted pioneering land administration research in Maharashtra, as well as Duke University, which has used satellite imagery analysis to study informal settlements in Bangalore. “The work of these institutes has helped advance the discourse in the field significantly. By supporting more leading organizations to bring sharper focus on this relatively under-researched but vital area, we hope to create a richer and collaborative ecosystem which can better inform policy making in property rights.” adds Shreya Deb.
“Addressing challenges of land governance and management, lie at the heart of effective urban reform and the achievement of the SDGs in urban India. From universal access to housing and basic services, tenure security for women and making municipalities financially stable are all linked to a series of land governance reforms that both the state and central governments will need to embrace with both hands” said Aromar Revi, director, IIHS.
Omidyar Network India invests in bold entrepreneurs who help create a meaningful life for every Indian, especially the hundreds of millions of Indians in low-income and lower-middle-income populations, ranging from the poorest among us to the existing middle class. To drive empowerment and social impact at scale, we work with entrepreneurs in the private, non-profit, and public sectors, who are tackling India’s hardest and most chronic problems. We make equity investments in early stage enterprises and provide grants to non-profits in the areas of Digital Identity, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights. We are part of a global network funded by the philanthropic capital of Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife Pam.
Established in 2013, Brookings India is an independent Indian research institution working towards improving governance across different areas of public policy in our country. Our single-focused mission is to produce and promote independent and high quality research that contributes to India’s nation-building. Brookings India is registered as a non-profit institution under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013 (formerly Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956).
Brookings India has undertaken significant research across three distinct verticals – development economics, energy and sustainability, and foreign policy. Specifically, our research related to development has a strong focus on health and health policy, urbanization, democracy, technology, and gender. In the energy and sustainability vertical, we work on coal, power, DisComs, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and gas. In foreign policy, our work centers on India as a regional power, its Act East policy role in the Indo-Pacific region as well as India’s relations with its neighbors, the US, Japan, and China.
Our fundamental objective is to contribute meaningfully to the process of designing solutions for India’s policy problems. We aspire to do this in a way which fully reflects our core values of quality, independence, and impact. All our research products and publications are online and available for free to all.
The IIHS is a national educational institution committed to the equitable, sustainable, and efficient transformation of Indian urban settlements. The institution works on transforming urban education as a key driver of India’s national development. It does this through interdisciplinary research and practice to build new local, and global knowledge; and by educating and training a new generation of urban professionals in Urban Practice.
Established in 1956, NCAER is India’s oldest and largest independent, non-profit, economic policy research institute. NCAER’s work cuts across many sectors, including growth, macro, trade, infrastructure, logistics, labor, urban, agriculture, rural development, human development, poverty, and consumers. The focus of NCAER’s work is on generating and analyzing empirical evidence to support and inform policy choices. It is also one of a handful of think tanks globally that combine rigorous analysis and policy outreach with deep data collection capabilities, especially for household surveys. NCAER celebrated its 60th year in 2016. More information on NCAER is available on www.ncaer.org.
The National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) is a center for research in public economics and policies. Founded in 1976, the institute undertakes research, policy advocacy, and capacity building in areas related to public economics. One of the major mandates of the institute is to assist the central, state and local governments in formulating and reforming public policies by providing an analytical base. The institute was set up as an autonomous society, at the joint initiative of the Ministry of Finance, planning commission, several state governments, and distinguished academicians.
In its 40 years of existence, the institute has emerged as a premier think tank in India, and has made significant contributions to policy reforms at all levels of the government. It has maintained close functional links with the central and state governments all along, and has built up linkages with other teaching and research institutions both in India and abroad. Although the institute receives an annual grant from the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and various state governments, it maintains an independent non-government character in its pursuit of research and policy.