Digitizing land information in India: Centre’s problem to alleviate considerations round it and convey states on board

The central authorities is analyzing a proposal on the feasibility of shopping for and promoting land over a video name. “Land transactions by way of video calls are being thought-about,” says an officer of the Union division of land assets to ET, requesting anonymity.

Whereas particulars are nonetheless on the anvil, this concept, if applied, would imply somebody holidaying in Mauritius will be capable of settle the transaction of her land, say, in Meerut or Madurai, merely over the cellphone, . However there are a number of hurdles. Present legal guidelines such because the Info Know-how Act, 2000, and real considerations that fraudulent practices may enhance in on-line modes are throwing a spanner within the works. At current, the IT Act doesn’t apply to “any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property”.

A compromise components might be that the client and the vendor may need to make one journey to the sub-registrar workplace for bodily verification, says the officer. The federal government has maintained silence over the proposal. But, an in depth have a look at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s price range speech in February would reveal that she referred to an choice of “anyplace registration” of deeds and paperwork (para 75) with out elaborating on it.

FM spoke about it within the context of a brand new sarkari software program referred to as the Nationwide Generic Doc Registration System (NGDRS), which is popping right into a one-stop store for the registration and storing of land paperwork. An formidable transfer of “anyplace registration” will work provided that all land parcels in India, about 800 million, are appropriately surveyed and digitally saved, aside from having a singular identification quantity assigned to every plot.

The Digital India Land Data Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) was launched in 2016 as a central sector scheme. In keeping with knowledge out there with the division of land assets, 58,10,300 plots in 18 states and Union territories have to this point been surveyed and ULPINs assigned.

The ULPIN, or the Distinctive Land Parcel Identification Quantity, is a singular, 14-digit alphanumeric ID generated for every land parcel. Simply as Aadhaar is for people, ULPIN is for plots. NGDRS is being applied in 12 states or UTs: Punjab, Goa, J&Ok, Manipur, Mizoram, Daman and Diu, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Tripura and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

“A financial institution often engages a lawyer to look at the antecedence of a land parcel. She visits the native income workplace earlier than submitting a title search report. If the report is optimistic, the land is accepted as collateral. If land papers are digitally out there, it will likely be simpler for banks to lend cash””

— KISHOR KHARAT, Former MD and CEO, Indian Financial institution

This ongoing mammoth train to map and digitise India’s 800 million land parcels will herald transparency, curtail the variety of court docket circumstances and assist create huge bankable property throughout rural India. The problem, nonetheless, can be to take all states on board as land is a state topic. GoI can transfer into this area solely in a restricted method. Massive states equivalent to Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu have but to make the leap whereas the northeastern state of Meghalaya has expressed its unwillingness to hitch the bandwagon because the state’s customary legal guidelines have bestowed land rights primarily to communities.

Even in Assam, the place the method of surveying and digitisation has kicked in, work within the Sixth Schedule areas (tribal districts below autonomous councils) has been deferred. Ashutosh Sharma, former secretary within the division of science and expertise, says if the train of mapping and digitising each plot in India is executed completely, big sums of cash will movement into rural pockets.

“Banks at occasions don’t settle for land as collateral as a result of papers are sometimes not so as. Villagers are compelled to strategy native moneylenders. Now banks would begin lending extra money in such areas,” he says, including that merely digitising current paper maps mendacity in previous almirahs of income workplaces throughout India received’t assist a lot.

“Plots must be surveyed by a drone with as much as 10 cm accuracy. If there’s a nala (canal), we should know its depth and the way a lot floodwater flows into it throughout monsoon. The non-public sector will then come ahead and construct purposes on such attributes,” he says. In keeping with him, the mapping enterprise in India could be about Rs 20,000 crore in 2030.

Kishor Kharat, former MD and CEO of

, explains how a monetary establishment sometimes verifies land papers submitted as collateral. The financial institution often engages a lawyer from its personal panel to look at the historical past of a land parcel for 30 years or extra. “She visits the native income workplace earlier than submitting a title search report. If the report is optimistic, the land parcel is accepted as collateral. If land papers are digitally out there, it will likely be simpler for banks to lend cash,” he says.

“Final October, we launched our programme, Mission Basundhara. We obtained over 8 lakh on-line purposes, primarily mutation circumstances. We settled them in a time-bound method. Every thing was carried out on-line. We have now considerably reduce down the human interface””

— JISHNU BARUA, Chief Secretary, Assam


For bizarre residents, sub-registrar workplaces are sometimes synonymous with lengthy wait, corruption and even high-handedness of officers. Folks must make a number of visits to the workplace. After accumulating papers, depositing charges and registering the deed (a transaction file between a purchaser and vendor), they’ve to attend for a fortnight or extra to obtain the ultimate doc. The officer from the land assets division says, “With the NGDRS software program, human interface is basically carried out away with. And because of the software program, the registration course of takes simply 15-20 minutes. There isn’t any scope for corruption. Additionally, land information at the moment are out there in all 22 official languages.”

In April, the division of land assets was bestowed the PM’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration for this software program software, developed at a value of mere Rs 4 crore. The income-tax division and the ministry of agriculture are oblique beneficiaries of the software program. Whereas the agriculture ministry has began utilizing its knowledge to match farmers with their landholdings, the I-T division now receives data of property transactions nearly immediately.

In areas the place guide registrations are persevering with, subregistrar workplaces periodically submit highvalued land transactions of Rs 30 lakh and above to the tax authority, however in contrast to systemgenerated data, guide interventions usually are not free from manipulation. Former chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, R Prasad, says accumulating extra and on the spot knowledge isn’t sufficient.

“The secret is to chase these circumstances. Does the division have the workforce to arrange enquiries for brand spanking new circumstances, ship notices and pursue these proactively?” he asks, including that the main focus of tax sleuths will stay high-valued city land offers and never those in rural areas. Additionally, transactions of agricultural land don’t come below the purview of income-tax legal guidelines, he provides. The query is, how lengthy will it take to map and digitise each inch of land in India? And, what if states pursue their very own insurance policies for surveying land and digitising information as a substitute of following the Centre’s template? Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua says the state is severe about surveying its land, updating information and getting rid of human interface. “Final October, we launched our personal programme, Mission Basundhara.

“Merely digitising current paper maps received’t assist a lot. Plots must be surveyed by a drone with as much as 10 cm accuracy. If there’s a nala (canal), we should know its depth and the way a lot flood water flows into it throughout monsoon. The non-public sector will then construct purposes on such attributes””

— ASHUTOSH SHARMA, Former Secretary, Division of Science and Know-how

We obtained over 8 lakh on-line purposes, primarily mutation (switch of title) circumstances. We settled them in a time-bound method. Every thing was carried out on-line and it was clear. We have now considerably reduce down the human interface,” he says. Whereas this scheme helped Assam settle about 500,000 circumstances of mutation, partition of undisputed circumstances and updating of legacy knowledge and cell knowledge, the true problem begins now.

Massive tracts of tribal areas within the hills of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao have by no means been surveyed. And of the 19,500 villages that fall exterior Sixth Schedule areas, about 1,074 have been by no means surveyed. On prime of it, income maps for the reason that Nineteen Seventies have gone lacking in 774 villages primarily in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. Assam Income Secretary Gyanendra Dev Tripathi says, “Handbook survey will take 30-35 years. We will’t wait that lengthy.

Our goal is to finish the survey for the state’s 20 million land parcels in three years. So we deployed drones in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia to recreate the lacking maps. We can be deploying about 25 drones in Assam to fast-track the survey.” The story of never-surveyed villages, lacking maps and lack of surveys with fashionable instruments isn’t an Assam-centric downside. It’s unfold throughout the nation.

Poor land information are the important thing motive why thousands and thousands of Indians have been battling court docket circumstances for years. In 2019, in line with the Centre for Coverage Analysis’s Land Rights Initiative, an estimated 7.7 million Indians have been affected by disputes over land, thereby threatening investments valued at about $200 billion. It additionally says 66% of all civil circumstances in India are associated to both land or property disputes. Within the Supreme Courtroom, one out of 4 circumstances includes land points. A foolproof technique of surveying land and sustaining information digitally will go a good distance in unlocking worth in rural India, curbing disputes and unclogging courts.

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