Budget 2009-10 states that the Central government owned Rs 1,15,796 crore of land assets at the beginning of 2007-08 and that it acquired a further Rs 100 crores worth during the year. These are historical estimates. Plus, we have to consider the states assets separately. The many scandals that have erupted this year give one face to how these assets are being criminally mismanaged. But the negligence also has an everyday, normalised face. Why, for example, did the Supreme Court recently ban construction of religious structures on public land They encroach with impunity, making things difficult for traffic control and urban management by the day, and the government looks away. How substantive the encroachment is or how much it costs the exchequer is anybodys guess. Numbers are only intermittently available, such as when the Naveen Patnaik government admitted that 81,514 acres of public land was in unauthorised possession across Orissa. Generally, records are sparse and updated assessments sparser. Result: a waste of incalculable proportions while important projects are delayed for want of land. The web of regulationsfrom Chennai to Darjeelingengenders corruption even as it exacerbates Indias land logjam. High stamp duties, rent control, the Urban Land Ceiling Act, elaborate controls over the conversion of land from one use to anotherthe list of regulations that need to be reviewed goes on. Meanwhile, those who argue that the regulatory environment in India incentivises criminalisation of real estate make sense.