Prindex Global and leading think tank NCAER will announce a new initiative today at the India Land and Development Conference 2021 to enhance land and housing rights in India. The project will go state by state mapping government performance on land records against people’s perceptions of their rights to drive policy progress in the country.
The comprehensive study represents the largest national Prindex survey to date, covering 15,800 households across 25 states and union territories. The research will generate policy-relevant data comparable across states to promote healthy competition between land authorities and spark a national debate on land rights.
NCAER, India’s top economic think tank, will manage the initiative with support from Prindex Global. NCAER is known for its land governance index, which ranks Indian states by progress made on modernising land records. The index has garnered strong media attention and helped raised standards across the country.
Around 90% of land in India is under legal dispute, stifling economic growth and putting disenfranchised groups at risk. Many of the laws and institutions that govern land are set by state authorities, making the legal landscape hard to navigate. Prindex India’s state-level analysis will shed new light on the policies and practices that impact people’s sense of security about their rights.
This is important because perceptions matter.
How people feel about their right to stay can have a stronger effect on their decisions than their legal status. It can determine if they will invest in improving their home or farm or if they will be active on the housing market. Connecting policy, practice and people can therefore help inform citizen-centred policymaking and enable a more dynamic economy.
Prindex India brings together the strengths of Prindex and NCAER, combining NCAER’s supply-side approach (quality and accessibility of public land records) with Prindex Global’s demand-side data on how the general public perceive their land and housing rights.
Looking at the issue from both angles paints a more detailed picture of what’s happening within a home – if an individual’s objective rights match up with their subjective experience of those rights.
The survey will interview the head of household and a randomly selected adult to ensure findings are comparable with the Prindex global dataset. Speaking to multiple occupants will generate new evidence on how rights are understood and shared within the home – such as who owns what assets and who has the right to use them.
Prindex analysis finds that although men and women tend to experience tenure insecurity at roughly the same rates, the causes of this insecurity are quite different. Men tend to fear ‘external’ threats such as land grabbing, while women often have ‘internal’ fears relating to their family or community, such as what will happen to them if their husband dies.
A better understanding of household dynamics will not only help us unpack these findings on women’s land rights, it will inform future approaches to land and property rights research and policymaking.
The ultimate aim of the survey is to generate insights to inform targeted advocacy at the state and national levels to improve laws and land records and ensure people feel safe their homes. It will tell us important new information, such as the conditions that let people use land to access credit and how aware citizens are of their rights.
As well as galvanising national action, Prindex India also aims to demonstrate that the Prindex methodology – available freely to the public – can be used for a variety of in-depth national, regional and local studies. Prindex research projects are already underway in Colombia, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, with more to follow in the near future.
Prindex encourages the free use of its approach to generate more data on land and property rights. Contact us for more information.
Photo by The.Rohit via Flickr