Gaining grounds: Bhoomi Project in Karnataka
The department of Revenue in Karnataka has computerized 20 million records of land ownership of 6.7 million farmers in the state. Previously, farmers had to seek out the Village Accountant to get a copy of the Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) – a document needed for many tasks such as obtaining bank loans. There were delays and harassment. Bribes had to be paid. Today, for a fee of Rs 15 a printed copy of the RTC can be obtained online at computerized land record kiosks (Bhoomi centers) in taluk offices.
The Bhoomi project has changes the entire system by compressing the the entire data into digital format and setting up touch screen kiosks in 177 talukas from where farmers could get revenue document by paying Rs 15 as a user fee. Bhoomi is a computerized system of land record maintenance. It permits online updating of land records making it radically different from land records attempted elsewhere in India. The required software has been designed and developed in-house by National Informatics Centre, Government of India.
The total cost of the Bhoomi project till now stands at Rs 10 crore. The project demolishes the myth that people are unwilling to pay for a service. Five million farmers have already used the service, paying Rs 7.5 crore, thereby making it one of the rare self sustaining government ventures.
The successful implementation of the project has attracted the attention of many State Governments, the Government of India, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. The Bhoomi project has already bagged the prestigious Stockholm Award and the Commonwealth Award.
Census data online
Mr LK Advani, inaugurates Census GIS.
The Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India has now extended the facility of user friendly GIS based interactive mapping at the state and district level through its Internet site (censusindia.net). It was dedicated to the nation on September 5, 2002 by Hon’ble Deputy Prime Minister of India, Mr LK Advani. On the occasion, Mr Advani congratulated the Census Department for this initiative. He said, “The importance of census data has been increasing not only in terms of data collection and its analysis but also in its dissemination. So far the dissemination was done only through publication, but now anyone with a computer and Internet connection can access this data.”
The Census GIS developed by RIDDHI Management Services Pvt Ltd has currently having indicators such as population, population 0-6 years, population density, percentage of urban population, sex ratio, sex ratio 0-6 years, percentage of decadal growth, number of literates, literacy rate, number of workers, etc.
On the occasion, Mr J K Banthia, Registrar General and Census Commissioner told that all these data were currently being put in public domain free of cost. In near future this facility would be further extended to view census data and indicators at lower geographical levels.
Survey of India releases first WGS84 digital map
The Survey of India (SoI) has released the first map in digital format on WGS 84 Datum for civilian use. In a ceremony held at Department of Science and Technology (DST)on November 20, 2002, Prof V S Ramamurthy, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, released the digital map of Gujarat state at 1:25,000 scale on World Geodetic System (WGS-84). Map was released both in analogue and digital format and is available for sale at Surveyor General’s office. This is a significant step on the part of SoI as in a last few years user community is demanding reliable high-resolution data in digital form.
So far the data was not available for the whole country except a low-resolution data derived from 1:250,000 scale topographical maps. Moreover digital data of all topographical maps have been classified as restricted. To overcome such difficulties of end users, Survey of India introduced two series of maps. One series of maps on Everest spheroid datum with existing map projection and all existing details for use of Defence forces only. And the second series of maps on WGS-84 datum on UTM projection with less detail for use of public. The release of digital maps of Gujarat (restricted zone) for public use is just a beginning in this direction. Very soon SoI will release the digital map on WGS series for the entire country.
In relative developments, the initiative taken for National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) in 2001 was further consolidated in year 2002. In addition, Survey of India also started the process of organisational restructuring to meet the present day users needs.