Land digitization in India marks a significant leap towards modernizing the country’s land governance system. This initiative aims to digitize land records, making them more accessible, transparent, and reliable. This article explores the scope, benefits, challenges, and progress of land digitalization in India.
Given the historical context where land records and management in India have been fraught with issues of inaccuracies, disputes, and fraud, digitalization presents a promising solution.
Land is a precious asset for any country, and more so for India where more than 50 percent of the working population is engaged in agriculture.
It is, therefore, all the more important to develop a modern, comprehensive, and transparent land record management system.
The scope of land digitization in India encompasses several key objectives:
- Digitization of Land Records: Converting all physical land records, including titles, rights, survey maps, and related documents, into digital formats.
- Integration of Land Records: Creating a unified national database that integrates land records from various states and centralizes access.
- Transparent and Efficient Land Transactions: Simplifying the process of land transactions and reducing the scope for fraud and disputes.
- Accessibility: Making land records easily accessible to landowners, potential buyers, financial institutions, and government bodies through online platforms.
Key Initiatives by Government
Several initiatives have been launched by the Government of India to achieve the objectives of land digitalization. The aim was to digitize land records across districts by March 2024.
- National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP), later renamed as the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP), aims to modernize the management of land records, minimize the scope of land/property disputes, enhance transparency in the land records maintenance system, and facilitate moving towards guaranteed conclusive titles to immovable properties.
- The Department of Land Resources is assigning Bhu Aadhar or Unique Land Parcel Identification Number to all Land Parcels. In one year, almost 9 crore land parcels have been assigned to Bhu Aadhar. Earlier, the Registration of documents was manual but now the Registration is being done as e Registration.
- SVAMITVA scheme to provide a ‘Record of Rights’ to village household owners with the issuance of legal ownership cards.
- National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) To address the diversity prevailing across States about the registration of documents.
- The Ministry of Rural Development is also working on linking digitized records with e-courts and banks to check fraudulent land transactions and prevent disputes.
Benefits of land digitization
The digitization of land records in India offers multiple benefits:
- Reduced Land Disputes: With accurate and accessible records, the potential for disputes over land ownership decreases.
- Enhanced Transparency: Digital records minimize the manipulation of documents and help in establishing clear land titles.
- Improved Governance: It enables better planning and execution of land-based projects and policies.
- Ease of Access: Landowners can easily access their land records online, reducing the time and bureaucracy involved in obtaining physical documents.
- Boost to the Economy: Clear land titles can unlock the economic potential of land, encouraging investment and development.
Despite its benefits, the digitalization process faces several challenges:
- Variability in State Progress: Since land is a state subject in India, there’s significant variability in the progress of digitalization across different states.
- Data Accuracy and Updating: Ensuring the accuracy of digital records and their regular updating remains a challenge due to discrepancies in old records and ground realities.
- Technical and Infrastructural Constraints: Limited internet access in rural areas and lack of technical know-how among the population can hinder the effectiveness of digital land records.
- Legal and Regulatory Frameworks: Developing a legal framework that supports digital land titles and transactions is crucial for the success of digitalization efforts.
Way forward and Conclusion
Considerable progress has been made in the digitalization of land records across various states. However, the journey is far from complete. The future direction involves completing the digitalization process and ensuring that digital land records are integrated with other initiatives like the Unique Identification Authority of India (Aadhaar) and the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) for a more comprehensive approach to digital governance.
Moreover, leveraging advanced technologies such as blockchain could further secure land records, making them tamper-proof and fostering trust in the digital system. Continuous education and awareness campaigns are also essential to ensure that the rural population can fully use digital land records.
Land digitalization in India is a monumental task with far-reaching implications for governance, the economy, and society. While challenges remain, the potential benefits of transparent, accessible, and reliable land records can significantly transform land management in India, paving the way for more equitable and efficient use of this critical resource.
Previous year question
Q: What is the status of digitalization in the Indian economy? Examine the problems faced in this regard and suggest improvements. (Answer in 150 words) (GS Paper 3 2023)
-Article by Swathi Satish