Need for a Good Land Records System

The Indian Real-Estate scenario is most frequently plagued by the issue of land disputes. One can find cases ranging from illegal land sale to illegal land grabbing and there are even instances, where there has been a purchase of land without there actually being any purchase – just to name a few. For something as valuable as land/property, the land records system in India has mostly been archaic. There is no homogenous records system which can reliably confirm title in the country and problems with lack of revisions/updating, land fragmentation, informal family partition, boundary and ownership disputes, unregistered power of attorney etc. badger the real-estate market; getting amplified manifold in magnitude when it comes to urban spaces. Hence, proceeding forward with an outdated system can only lead to incessant acrimony and litigation. A good land records system is the need of the hour, as it can help in streamlining theregistration and mutation of immovable properties in the country,by not only procuringthe evidence of titles, facilitating transactions, maximizing transparency but also preventing illegal disposal of land. Mission strategies like National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP) and by extension Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP) (which as per the Ministry of Rural Development, has digitized 86% of land records pan-India, while 6 States/Union Territories have achieved, the target 100% computerization of land records, as of September 2017) etc. aim at re-surveying, digitization and verification of land across various states of India and bring about much needed/welcomed reforms with manifold potential benefits such as:
  • Providing conclusive security when it comes to property rights, titles and title guarantee.
  • The effective minimization of land disputes.
  • Ensuring that economic operations which are based on land can function effectively, which in turn increases the overall efficiency of a country’s economy.
  • Land information management systems when integrated can be regularly updated and offer real-time land records, which is also beneficial when it comes to natural disasters/occurrences like drought, famines etc. and can help the government in awarding compensation to affected farmers/families.
  • Minimize the need for stamp papers and homogenize payments of stamp duties/registration through banks, promoting transparency/minimizing corruption.
  • Providing specific information pertaining to a particular location via Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) for policymakers and planners.
  • PPP (Public – Private Partnership) method (a successful example of which, is the Bhoomi Project, Karnataka), of service delivery will help in the reduction of citizen interface with government bodies/functionaries hence providing convenience while minimizing the scope of rent-seeking/harassment.
  • The time frame for the obtainment of RoRs etc. will be reduced significantly by the usage of IT interlinkages.
  • Limiting the scope of fraudulent deals with automatic/automated mutations.
When talking about land reforms and improved land governance, the initiation of such practices is not possible without the reformation/refinement of ourland records system. This requires a gradualist, heterodox approach with complementary legislation andadequate incentives for its successful implementation and administration.

Author: Pawan Sachdeva Practice Head – Land Governance, TerraCIS Technologies Limited

Pawan Sachdeva is responsible for driving the business growth and strategic direction of the land governance business unit at ITL. Since his joining in 2011, he has been instrumental in the land governance business growth from 4 references, to currently around 12 references. A Post Graduate in Business Administration from Symbiosis, and almost 15 years of experience in IT/ GIS industry.

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