Modern technology vital for effective land management

Modern technology vital for effective land management

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The primary goal of NLRMP is to introduce conclusive titling with title guarantee and indemnification in the country, instead of the present land titling system which provides merely for registration of deeds and documents and “presumptive” property titles

Prabhu Dayal Meena
Prabhu Dayal Meena
Additional Secretary,
Department of Land Resources,
Ministry of Rural Development,
Government of India

What are the challenges for effective land management in a huge country like India?
To find a rightful place in the comity of nations, a country should have an efficient and robust land records management system. This is possible only if we have real time and upto- date land records. In this regard, conducting survey of land is the foremost challenge. The last survey in India was done almost 100 years ago using compass, chains and other orthodox methods. There is bound to be difference between the old and new records when a fresh survey is conducted using modern technologies. This challenge needs to be sorted out so that survey can be undertaken at a fast pace. Capacity building in modern technology is another major challenge.

What is the status of land records management in various states across the country?
‘Land and its management’ is a state subject under the Indian Constitution, so the status of land records maintenance is varied across the country. In fact, there are variations in the land records management within a state due to the historical evolution of these areas. For example, in Andhra Pradesh, there are different systems of land records management in the Madras presidency part, the Nizam area and the areas which were earlier part of the central province. In the north eastern states, there is the concept of community management of land. However, the central government has been incentivising the states to migrate from the manual system of land records management to the computerised system.

Tell us about the various land records modernisation programmes initiated by the Government of India?
The Department of Land Resources (DoLR) has been striving for effective management of land records through the use of modern technology. Up to 2007-08, it was administering two centrally-sponsored schemes including Computerisation of Land Records (CLR), and Strengthening of Revenue Administration and Updating of Land Records (SRA & ULR). Significant progress was achieved through these schemes.

What were the gaps felt by policy makers in the aforesaid schemes and how has the National Land Records Modernisation Programme addressed these issues?
Progress under the aforesaid schemes was uneven across the country. While some states including Karnataka, Gujarat and Goa moved forward rapidly, pooling together support from central government and their own resources, others lagged behind, or made progress only in some areas, such as, computerisation of textual records.

Keeping in view the above position, the cabinet in 2008 approved the merger of these two schemes under the centrally-sponsored scheme of National Land Records Modernisation Programme (NLRMP). The NLRMP combines key components of the above two schemes and adds new components such as integration of textual and spatial records, computerisation of registration, and inter-connectivity between revenue and registration systems. The primary goal of this scheme is to introduce conclusive titling with title guarantee and indemnification in the country, instead of the present land titling system which provides merely for registration of deeds and documents and “presumptive” property titles.

What is the current status of NLRMP and how much progress has been made?
During 2008-09, funds to the tune of INR 255.73 crore (USD 51 million approx) were recommended by the project sanctioning and monitoring committee for covering 69 districts in 20 states. Accordingly, as per availability of funds, INR 188.76 crore (USD 37 million approx) was released. During 2009-10, INR 195.44 crore (USD 39 million approx) was released to 18 states for covering 72 more districts under the programme. During 2010-2011, an amount of INR 154.78 crore (USD 31 million approx) was released. Further, during financial year 2011-12, funds to the tune of INR 107.14 crore (USD 21 million approx) have been released to the states. Thus, so far, funds amounting to INR 605.15 crore (USD 121 million approx) have been released to 30 states for coverage of 267 districts.

What is the role of National Informatics Centre (NIC) in the NLRMP?
NIC is the central agency which is coordinating the software components of the NLRMP. NIC is providing training and capacity building to the states in the implementation of the programme. This has ensured effective hand holding of the states.

What are the challenges being faced in implementing NLRMP? How have these challenges been overcome?
The major constraints being faced in the implementation of NLRMP include:

  • Release of funds by the states to the implementing agencies takes a long time, hampering the progress of the programme.
  • Non-linkage between revenue and registration offices renders the land records database obsolete.
  • Lack of proper bandwidth creates difficulty in sharing of data between the central database and the tehsils.
  • Lack of adequately trained human resources at the present stage, considering high-tech and complex nature of the programme.

To overcome the above mentioned constraints, the department is actively pursuing the constitution of the project management unit at the state level. Other steps in this direction include the establishment of the National Institute of Land Administration and Management at the central level as well as training and capacity building of various stakeholders.

What are the various citizen services being envisaged by the NLRMP?
The successful implementation of NLRMP will offer various benefits to the citizens such as:

  • Real-time land ownership records will be available to the citizen.
  • Since the records will be placed on the websites with proper security IDs, property owners will have free access to their records without any compromise with regard to confidentiality of the information.
  • Payment of stamp duty and registration fees through banks will be convenient for the citizens.
  • Automatic and automated mutations will significantly reduce the scope of fraudulent property deals.

What is the role of geospatial technology in NLRMP?
The main thrust of NLRMP has been to modernise land records management system in the country, so that objective of real time up-to-date land records could be achieved. Various GIS layers like vegetation cover, soil types, roads, water bodies, crops etc. can be laid on top of the digitised maps generated through this programme. These GIS-based maps can be used for not only land management but also for various other planning purposes. It is imperative that the latest developments in the field of geospatial technologies be shared and discussed for their effective utilisation.

What is the role of public-private partnerships (PPP) in NLRMP?
NLRMP has generated enormous workload on the existing revenue and registration machinery. It also requires high level of technological inputs at almost every stage. Capacity building of the in-situ staff is essential but is likely to take time. In order to streamline the implementation of the programme and to achieve the targets within the proposed timeframe, states may like to go for the PPP models with respect to certain activities under the programme or outsource them on a turn-key basis.

Implementing a huge project like NLRMP requires lot of skilled manpower. Does NLRMP has capacity building as one of its mandates?
Capacity building is an important component of NLRMP. States are required to draw up a comprehensive training programme to develop their human resources for effective maintenance and sustenance of NLRMP. This should cover the policy makers, heads of the departments of revenue, survey, registration and their offices and staff, master trainers and field-level functionaries including surveyors, village accountant and other revenue staff, who will be trained for operating the system including mutation and updating of land records, issue of authenticated copies of RoRs with map-to-scale, handling modern survey equipment such as GPS and TS. Organisations like Survey of India, NIC and Indian Space Research Organisation have been involved in imparting training to master trainers, who will train the State staff on these methodologies.

How is interconnectivity of land records with other records helpful for various stakeholders?
The interconnectivity of land records with other stakeholders like registration department, banks and land acquisition collectors will not only keep the land records database upto- date but also help stakeholders in discharging their mandates effectively. For example, at present, a farmer has to take a copy of the RoRs from the revenue department and go to the bank for a loan against his property. The bank, after checking these documents, sanctions the loan and sends the information to the registration department for filing the entry of the lien on the property. Registration department informs the revenue department in this regard, so that this lien is reflected on the land database.

However, once banks and the land records database are integrated, the banks will fetch the RoRs from this land records database. After the loan is sanctioned by the bank, the information regarding lien will be sent to this land records database immediately by the system itself. So, the credit facility will be available to the farmers easily and the banks will also be assured of the credibility of the farmer in repaying the loan.