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Stakeholders identify obstacles in land record modernisation

New Delhi, India: Experts proposed that India needs a National Institute of Land Management during ‘Strategy Workshop for Geospatial Technology for National Land Records Modernisation Programme’, held in New Delhi, India. They also proposed that land related laws should be revised, role of vendors should be properly defined and money should be reimbursed on time. In addition, there should be clear guidelines and qualification criteria for tender processes. The workshop was jointly hosted by Association of Geospatial Industry (AGI) and Ministry of Rural Development (Department of Land Resources), Government of India.

In his keynote address, Dr Bipin Bihari Srivastava, Secretary, Department of Land Resources (DoLR), observed that during the land modernisation process, most of the time survey result does not match with ground truth. And, this is the biggest challenge, which should be addressed on time.

Srivastava expressed concern that technologists and end users are working and thinking in silos. He said, “Land department in every state is working in vendor driven environment because the department does not have relevant knowledge and experience. So, there is a need to educate people and spread awareness about the technology and importance of surveying.” He appreciated the work of Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) in Andhra Pradesh, which provided training to local people and involved them in the surveying work at the local level. He urged different state representatives to adopt such kind of model. He also promised complete change in administrative structure and approach to achieve the modernisation goal.

Ajay Seth, Sr. Vice President at AGI, said that users can use AGI as a consultancy platform where one can discuss suitable technological solution and get assistance in tendering process to meet users requirement rather than vendors requirement. He said that AGI is a non-profit organisation which identifies and addresses common concern and interest of Indian geospatial industry. It aims to raise societal awareness about geospatial technologies. Seth urged top officials (who handle land record management) to provide their workers (like ‘Patwaris’) field training with modern equipments.

The august gathering at the workshop also included Prabhudayal Meena, Additional Secretary, DoLR; Vinod Kumar G. Agrawal, Principal Secretary to Govt. Revenue (Registration & Stamps) Department, Andhra Pradesh; Kaushik Chakraborty, MD Intergraph SG&I India Pvt. Ltd., (also Treasurer of AGI); and Rajeev Chawla, Principal Secretary to Government, Department of Public Enterprise, Karnataka. Rajeev was the first one to roll out an initiative, now called Bhoomi, to digitise land records in the state. He also launched a project, known as Urban Property Ownership Records in various towns in the state.

During the interactive panel discussion, administrative officers from different states observed that ”to set up secondary and tertiary reference points” is a very costly affair. However, Haryana state representative expressed different opinion. Citing his experience, Agrawal explained how one can avoid the said costly affair. From the industry side, Col GV Hari Prasad explained how one can avoid the need of secondary and tertiary reference points. Srivastava stressed that state bodies must get optimum output from their trained people. He observed that in practice trained staff hardly works for 2 hours a day. Chawla proposed to form a group of high-level officers and draft action guidelines for trained staffs.

In addition, panelists observed that industry should form a guideline to avoid miscommunication. For example, when a sales representative of technology/solution providers gets in touch with land administrative units, they pretend as if they understand their requirement very well. However, they end up delivering wrong information. On the other hand, industry urged land administrative bodies to draft a guideline for request for proposal (RFP), which could keep incompetent companies (who use pirated software and smuggled tools for surveying and mapping) aloof from the bidding process.

Besides deliberation on modern land management, there was technology presentation from the top geospatial companies like Intergraph, Esri India, IIC Technologies, Infotech, DigitalGlobe, Trimble and Leica Geosystems. Trimble talked about its hybrid technological solutions, which is mix of photogrammetry and cadastre system. It also demonstrated how important is eCognition software for the cadastre system. DigitalGlobe explained the features of its upcoming satellite WorldView 3, which will incorporate 16 band and provide imagery at 31 centimetre resolution.

Demonstrating its services, Infotech talked about ‘Urban Property Ownership Records Management’. It was the project for Karnataka State Government, based-on public-private partnership. It was a major breakthrough as for the first time, the state government and private sector were teamed up in India in the area of land records.

Source: Our Correspondent