Given the recent financial crisis that has hit many donor countries and is threatening their pre-crisis commitment to allocate more aid in order to accelerate progress with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this paper attempts to assess the potential of land as a municipal financing tool in four Indian cities and compare this with the available evidence from China, to enable better public service delivery and attainment of the MDGs. It studies the institutional arrangements for land use between the urban development authorities and municipal corporations in India’s cities and finds that the responsibilities are fragmented and unclear. The urban development authorities, being state government entities, are much better endowed with resources than municipal corporations. In the case of Indian cities, it finds that if revenues from land leasing and sales by the urban development authorities were to accrue to municipal corporations, there is a huge range in the addition to municipality revenues that could result. It finds that there could be an increase in municipality’s total revenues to the extent of 33 percent, own source revenues to the extent of 90 percent, and property tax revenues to the extent of nearly 930 percent, should revenues from land leasing and sales by the urban development authorities accrue to municipal corporations. There is also enough local control over resources to be spent. In China, cities have more autonomy than their Indian counterparts in terms of urban infrastructure which is no longer treated as a ‘charity’ and payment is required for the use of scarce land resources and infrastructure access. Hence, major institutional changes have to be brought about in India’s cities and finances to enable attainment of the MDGs.