Omidyar Network India announces INR 16 crore (USD 2.3 million) funding of research consortium in the field of property rights

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The consortium comprises of leading think-tanks and research organizations in India

New Delhi, March 20, 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 modernising 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 AromarRevi, Director, IIHS.

Corporate Comm India(CCI Newswire)