Enabling evidence-based solutions for securing land, housing and property rights for all Indians

Secure property rights are the cornerstone for economic and social development. According to a 2017 RBI report by the Household Finance Committee, over 70% of an Indian household’s assets are held in land and housing. Yet a survey of the functioning of judiciary in India found that 66% of all civil cases in Indian courts are linked to property disputes, clogging the judicial system (Daksh India, 2016). When it comes to the much tracked ‘Ease of Doing Business Rankings’, India ranks 156th on the metric of ‘ease of registration of property’, in contrast with its overall rank of 63 in the 2020 index.

The above statistics hint towards a complex set of challenges that the absence of secure access to land, housing, and property rights pose to India’s economic and social growth. Property rights issues cut across multiple dimensions – gender, caste, legal, economic and administrative infrastructure. With land being a state subject, solutions need to cater to individual state contexts as local history and culture play a critical role.

Effective policy implementation can help India make significant leaps forward in securing the property rights of all citizens. In an effort to produce high-quality, evidence-based solutions for combatting these challenges, the Property Rights Research Consortium (PRRC), supported by Omidyar Network India, brings together India’s leading think-tanks to collaborate and drive policy action in this field.

Our Approach

We bring together top research institutions who take a multi-disciplinary approach to researching various aspects of property rights, land governance and housing issues in the country. Building on the wide network and scholarship of these institutions, we aim to contribute insightful research, build evidence, and propose solutions on important property related issues that are relevant for policy makers to truly improve the lives of people on the ground

Our work is further strengthened by its focus on driving innovation through adoption of geospatial and other technological solutions for addressing land governance issues. By supporting leading organizations to bring sharper focus on this relatively under-researched but vital area, we aim to create a richer and collaborative ecosystem which can better inform policy making and improve land governance systems in India. Our approach is guided by a focus on:

Evidence-based solutions, using data to inform policy solutions grounded in the socio-political realities of India. Network of research institutions from across the ideological spectrum will ensure diversity and non-partisan nature of research.

Rigorous, multi-disciplinary research, through the participation of a wide network of researchers and organizations studying the various facets of land governance and property rights issues in India.

Elevate discourse and fuel policy dialogues, building an enabling ecosystem by sharing research across policy, media and civil society networks on a regular basis, and elevating the discourse around land, housing, and property rights in India.

Research Themes

At PRRC, we recognise property rights as central to several key policy challenges in our country. Our work largely focuses on four broad themes:

Land governance
We examine gaps in land administration, property laws and judicial disposition of property-related cases, and land and housing markets.

Sustainable Cities
Rapid urbanization and population growth continues to pose severe policy challenges to the sustainability of Indian cities. Recognizing this, our research focuses on addressing two of the major concerns in effective urban planning – the vulnerability of informal settlements and lack of affordable housing.

INCLUSIve Society
Equitable access to land and housing resources is critical for poverty alleviation and a life of dignity. Our aim is to drive research which speaks to the socio-economic realities of vulnerable populations, such as women and tribal communities.

Economic Growth
We examine linkages of land and property rights with India’s economic growth by critically examining the various land related factors which impede public investment in infrastructure and the ease of doing business in India.

Research Partners

Philanthropic Support

PRRC is supported by Omidyar Network India. 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.

To learn more, visit https://www.omidyarnetwork.in/, and follow on Twitter @on_india and LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/omidyar-network-india/