Need For land Records Mod­ern­iza­tion

Land is a con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject glob­ally. In In­dia on an av­er­age land dis­putes take twenty years to re­solve. Thus, there is a dire need for stan­dard­iza­tion and digi­ti­sa­tion of the land record sys­tem across the coun­try.

Realty Plus - - Table of Content -

Aland’s value de­pends on its lo­ca­tion and peo­ple with land rights are bet­ter off eco­nom­i­cally due to ac­cess to mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties by cap­i­tal­iz­ing, mort­gag­ing or mak­ing pro­duc­tive use of the land. The land own­er­ship is broadly de­fined by the ac­cess to a clear land ti­tle de­ter­mined through var­i­ous records such as sale deeds that are reg­is­tered, prop­erty tax doc­u­ments, govern­ment sur­vey records, etc. How­ever, lack of clear ti­tles due to legacy is­sues of za­min­dari, gaps in the le­gal frame­work and poor ad­min­is­tra­tion of land records re­duce the value of the land and in­hibit its pro­duc­tive use. Land dis­putes fur­ther im­pact sec­tors and projects that are de­pen­dent on these dis­puted land ti­tles.

land ti­tles are Pre­sump­tive

Post-in­de­pen­dence, the za­min­dari sys­tem was abol­ished and the re­spon­si­bil­ity for land ad­min­is­tra­tion was trans­ferred to the states. But land own­er­ship con­tin­ued to be de­ter­mined through a com­bi­na­tion of legacy sys­tem and the records col­lected and main­tained man­u­ally by

Ac­cord­ing to the World Bank study from 2007 es­ti­mates, land-re­lated dis­putes ac­count for two-thirds of all pend­ing court cases in the coun­try. A NITI Aayog pa­per sug­gests that land dis­putes on an av­er­age take about 20 years to be re­solved.

the state rev­enue de­part­ments. Land records are main­tained across mul­ti­ple de­part­ments and are in poor con­di­tion. The trans­fer of land or prop­erty be­tween a buyer and seller is recorded through a reg­is­tered sale deed. But, such reg­is­tra­tion does not al­ways guar­an­tee own­er­ship as they can be chal­lenged. The onus of check­ing the va­lid­ity of the right­ful own­er­ship of the prop­erty is on the buyer and not on the govern­ment. Gaps or mis­takes in old land records, un­recorded past transactions and in­abil­ity of the regis­trar to phys­i­cally cross-check ev­ery prop­erty phys­i­cal lo­ca­tion and at­tributes are some of the fac­tors that make it easy to ques­tion the own­er­ship.

Need to stan­dard­ize land record Sys­tem

It is easy to chal­lenge land in the ab­sence of or­gan­ised records, es­pe­cially land own­er­ship. Ac­cord­ing to the World Bank, 70 per cent of land and prop­erty in the de­vel­op­ing world is un­reg­is­tered and is out­side for­mal mar­kets. It is to be noted that land has been trans­acted in In­dia for thou­sands of years and there is an evolved sys­tem to do it. How­ever, digi­ti­sa­tion of land records and stan­dards will vastly im­prove the ease of do­ing busi­ness. Su­nil Agar­wal, As­so­ciate Dean and Direc­tor, School of Real Es­tate, RICS School of Built En­vi­ron­ment, Amity Univer­sity briefs on the newly launched In­ter­na­tional Land Mea­sure­ment Stan­dard (ILMS), part of a global so­lu­tion to stan­dar­d­is­ing land ten­ure and own­er­ship that could be the key to help­ing In­dia move to a trans­par­ent, fair and se­cure land trans­fer sys­tem. “Cur­rently, there is am­bi­gu­ity about land, es­pe­cially agri­cul­tural land, whereby even if some de­tails are fur­nished on the trans­ac­tion doc­u­ment or govern­ment records, it be­comes dif­fi­cult to lo­cate the same at the site and also there are sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tions, re­sult­ing in dis­tor­tions in val­u­a­tion and lead­ing to dis­putes. This prob­lem also ex­ists in ur­ban ar­eas and ILMS could be the an­swer to this is­sue.the ILMS stan­dard seeks to en­gage all stake­hold­ers in the land own­er­ship, reg­is­tra­tion, mea­sure­ment and trans­ac­tion process. It will also help forge di­rect links be­tween land pro­fes­sion­als, le­gal ad­vi­sors and fi­nan­cial re­port­ing by de-risk­ing the land trans­ac­tion process for all par­ties and im­ple­ment­ing an agreed land in­for­ma­tion frame­work. As they cur­rently stand, the ILMS stip­u­late that any land trans­ac­tion in­clude a de­scrip­tion of the phys­i­cal bound­aries and to­tal area of the piece of land in ques­tion, a de­scrip­tion of how it is used, any as­so­ci­ated build­ings or ser­vices, own­er­ship and type of ten­ure and an es­ti­mate of the value of the land, in­clud­ing clar­ity on how that es­ti­mate was as­cer­tained.”

It is im­por­tant that the process of digi­ti­sa­tion be ac­com­pa­nied by up­dat­ing of le­gal frame­work and ca­pac­ity build­ing at state and lower ad­min­is­tra­tive lev­els.

Dig­i­ti­za­tion Of land records

In the past, most of the land records in the coun­try were through vil­lage maps mark­ing bound­aries and/ or pa­per records which in­cluded names of all oc­cu­pants. Due to the lack of main­te­nance of ac­tual land records, there have been lit­i­ga­tions and prop­erty scams. To ad­dress the same, The Dig­i­tal In­dia Land Records Mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gramme (DILRMP) was launched by Govern­ment of In­dia in Au­gust 2008. The ob­jec­tive of the pro­gramme was to stream­line and re­duce the scope of land and prop­erty dis­putes, thereby im­prov­ing trans­parency in the main­te­nance of land records. The main aim of the pro­gramme was to com­put­er­ize all land records, dig­i­tize maps, up­grade the sur­vey and set­tle­ment records and sus­tain the same. How­ever, many states in the coun­try have not yet dig­i­tized the ba­sic sur­vey doc­u­ments, sketches, maps etc. Var­i­ous types of in­for­ma­tion like prop­erty maps, sale deeds are main­tained by dif­fer­ent de­part­ments at the vil­lage level. Most of the times, these de­part­ments work alone and they lack train­ing on dig­i­tal ac­cess. Ravin­dra Pai, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Cen­tury Real Es­tate elab­o­rates, “An on­line or dig­i­tal record de­part­ment has to be set up for the bet­ter­ment of on­line land records main­te­nance or out­source to var­i­ous com­pa­nies who will as­sist in the main­te­nance. States can also con­sult and take feed­back from de­vel­op­ers on the main top­ics of sourc­ing, track­ing, ex­e­cut­ing var­i­ous land records. This will en­hance peo­ple’s trust in the land busi­ness, where the land records go­ing dig­i­tal will lead to trans­parency and re­duce time in doc­u­ment pro­cure­ment. Most im­por­tantly it will re­duce con­struc­tion time­lines and over­all cost for the de­vel­oper, the ben­e­fits of which can be trans­ferred to con­sumer mak­ing prop­erty prices more at­trac­tive. Kar­nataka was the first state in In­dia to com­put­er­ize land records un­der the “Bhoomi Project” fol­lowed by Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the year 2001. By the year 2007, the three states had their vil­lage prop­erty records com­put­er­ized. In a move to pro­tect prop­erty owner’s rights, Kar­nataka govern­ment has also in­tro­duced is­su­ing of prop­erty cards au­then­ti­cat­ing the own­er­ship de­tails, area and lo­ca­tion of each prop­erty apart from map­ping it.” Process Of up­dat­ing land records has been slow Many states still do not have the means to sur­vey lands. Some lands have not been sur­veyed for more than 100 years. Though the govern­ment wants com­plete dig­i­ti­za­tion of land records, due to lack of clear and suf­fi­cient data and mis­man­age­ment be­tween the var­i­ous agen­cies han­dling land records, the data reg­is­tered at var­i­ous govern­ment lev­els is not iden­ti­cal. Sta­tis­tics from the DILRMP shows that in most states, the dig­i­tal land record data­base has not been in­cor­po­rated with the dig­i­tized land reg­is­tra­tion data­base. Some de­part­ments work alone and the data are not prop­erly up­dated. As Agar­wal men­tions, “There are var­ied and dif­fer­ent prac­tices in var­i­ous states in In­dia to main­tain land records, which add to a lot of con­fu­sion. While the Govern­ment of In­dia launched the ‘Dig­i­tal Land Records Mod­erni­sa­tion Pro­gramme’ in 2008 to mod­ernise man­age­ment of land records and lower the rate of land re­lated dis­putes, the pace of its im­ple­men­ta­tion has been rather slow.” DILRMP has so far been fo­cus­ing on the last as­pect of digi­tis­ing and up­dat­ing of records. Fur­ther, the pro­gramme’s progress has been slow. Pro­cesses such as sur­veys and re-sur­veys, which would help update the spa­tial records, have been go­ing on at a slow pace due to the huge vol­ume of records.

Reg­is­tered prop­erty ti­tle doc­u­ments should be pro­vided by the govern­ment as ev­i­dence of own­er­ship to sup­port the real es­tate in­dus­try through faster transactions and com­ple­tion of projects. There are in­con­sis­ten­cies noted in var­i­ous land records as they are main­tained by var­i­ous de­part­ments at the vil­lage and dis­trict level. These in turn af­fect any fu­ture transactions planned. The govern­ment should en­sure that the ex­ist­ing land records should be free of any en­cum­brances. They will have to be con­sol­i­dated. If land dis­pute cases have to be solved then dig­i­ti­za­tion of land records is very im­por­tant for the coun­try. It must in­clude the site plans, ex­act lo­ca­tion, pro­jected look, owner ship de­tails, Khata de­tails shar­ing prop­erty tax and other cesses payable on the prop­erty. There will be lesser land-re­lated con­flicts due to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the di­vi­sion of land ow­ing to dig­i­tal maps. Ex­press­ing his views Pai said, “At reg­u­lar in­ter­vals, a fresh sur­vey of ev­ery par­cel of land to update records will help ev­ery­one in pur­chas­ing, trans­fer­ring and sell­ing land, giv­ing deeds, and mak­ing all kinds of land transactions at the press of a but­ton. This will also help in iden­ti­fy­ing and avoid­ing any con­fu­sion about which land has been ear­marked as govern­ment land through on­line reg­is­tra­tion. There will be lesser land-re­lated con­flicts due to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the di­vi­sion of land ow­ing to dig­i­tal maps. Trans­parency brought through dig­i­ti­za­tion of land records will make it dif­fi­cult for the gen­eral pub­lic to evade prop­erty tax. Plan­ning of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and smart cities by the govern­ment will be­come eas­ier. The govern­ment’s ini­ti­a­tion to­wards dig­i­ti­za­tion will not only speed up the process of land ac­qui­si­tion but will also help in build­ing up of lo­cal rev­enues through prop­erty tax billing and col­lec­tion and also by pro­vid­ing con­clu­sive ti­tles to land own­ers.”

to sum up

Com­put­er­i­za­tion of land records is ben­e­fi­cial for buy­ers as they are clear on the cor­rect de­tails of the owner of a par­tic­u­lar prop­erty. Dig­i­ti­za­tion will help the buyer to check for trans­par­ent mar­ket based pricing be­fore buy­ing the land and is a sub­stan­tial mea­sure to achieve clar­ity on land own­er­ship. As a gen­eral prac­tice, doc­u­ments are usu­ally kept with the Rev­enue De­part­ment and are not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic. The Com­mit­tee on Fi­nan­cial Sec­tor Re­forms (FSRC) in 2009 had sug­gested that on­line doc­u­men­ta­tion of land records can be linked with court reg­istries of the cor­re­spond­ing dis­trict or the state, through which a buyer can get im­me­di­ate in­for­ma­tion of any pend­ing lit­i­ga­tions with re­gard to a prop­erty. Dig­i­ti­za­tion will help in trans­par­ent land records man­age­ment with a sin­gle win­dow to han­dle land records which will in­clude main­te­nance and up­dat­ing of maps, sur­vey and reg­is­tra­tion of prop­erty. It will also help in on­line ap­provals of plans and oc­cu­pancy cer­tifi­cates. It will help in show­cas­ing the own­er­ship sta­tus and ease over­all busi­ness pro­cesses in the sec­tor. Over­all it be­comes eas­ier for the de­vel­op­ers and buy­ers to check on the au­then­tic­ity of the land or the prop­erty. DILRMP is cur­rently be­ing im­ple­mented in all states, but with dif­fer­en­tial progress. Mea­sures that could im­prove the com­put­er­i­sa­tion of land records in­clude, clar­i­fy­ing the pol­icy and es­tab­lish­ing clear cri­te­ria and ac­count­abil­ity, iden­ti­fy­ing best prac­tices on tech­ni­cal and le­gal is­sues, pro­mot­ing skill train­ing among tech­ni­cal staff across states and pri­ori­tis­ing in­te­gra­tion be­tween records and reg­istry.

Un­clear land ti­tles, ac­com­pa­ny­ing costs due to ti­tle dis­putes and lit­i­ga­tion, and lack of trans­parency in real es­tate transactions make the real es­tate mar­ket seem slug­gish. Clear land ti­tles will help in ac­cel­er­at­ing the pace of new projects.

Sources: Land ad­min­is­tra­tion de­part­ments of var­i­ous states; PRS

su­nil agar­wal

Sources: De­part­ment of Land Re­sources, Min­istry of Ru­ral Devel­op­ment; PRS.

ravin­dra Pai

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.