For the poor, obtaining crucial land records could depend on their ability to pay a bribe. Land records form the basis for the assignment and settlement of land titles and are needed to sell, purchase and mortgage land without dispute.
Accessing them is one of the most arduous tasks in India, primarily because of the absence of updated records, a multiplicity of laws and the administrative involvement of several Union ministries and state procurement agencies.
A 2004 World Bank study, ‘Doing Business’, found that the cost of registering land transactions as a percentage of property value in India was among the highest in the world.
A Transparency International India-Centre for Media Studies survey on the impact of corruption on the so-called below the poverty line (BPL) households found that 18% of those surveyed had interacted with the office of land records; states such as Kerala and Karnataka reported interaction rates of 61% and 51%, respectively.
About 3.5 million BPL households surveyed ended up paying a bribe to avail the services; the bribes added up to Rs123.38 crore.
To see Transparency International - CMS Survey, click here
Click here to view the series so far published in 2008
Click here to view the surveys published in 2007