by Akhilesh K Prasad
A modern market requires a strong system of property rights. In India, however, land titles have been presumptive rather than conclusive. By modest estimates, nearly two-thirds of all pending cases in Indian courts are related to property disputes. Such cases take an average of 20 years to settle. Till such time millions of Indians cannot enjoy their rights over their property.
With the objective to sort this grave issue, the UPA government started the Digital India Land Records Modernization Program (DILRMP) in 2008. The current government regime reiterated the importance of digitization of land records and has included this program in its Digital India Initiative. The objectives of the program are as follows:
- To modernize land records management including computerisation of mutations, digitization of maps and surveys, and update all settlement records.
- To reduce the scope of property disputes, and
- To make land records more transparent in order to have conclusive property rights.
Some of the basic benefits of digitization of land records are enlisted hereinafter:
- It helps to check or contain property frauds. Digitization will make it possible for buyers to find out the correct ownership of the property of interest. The buyer can also check if the property is under litigation. It will also allow the buyer to know the market-based pricing before purchasing a plot.
- Arguably the biggest advantage of digitization of land records is that it helps to reduce land disputes as owners have a clear title. This, in turn, will reduce the burden on courts.
- There is transparency in land record maintenance system. Information can be remotely accessed by users. Tax evasion on account of property held by individuals will also be difficult, thereby boosting revenue collections.
- Due to the clarity of the title, there will also be a clear demarcation between government land and private land.
- Digitization will also make the acquisition of land easier for development projects. At the moment this is a herculean task and projects often get held up due to it. This negatively impacts economic development in the region and the country by enlarge.
- Clear title of land ownership facilitates quicker transactions, which can also be monitored by government officials with little effort.
- It reduces construction timelines and cost for the developer, which in turn translates to attractive rates to the consumer.
While there has been slow progress in the digitization of land records through the last decade, some states have moved forward in the implementation quite steadily. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are doing better than the other states. However, even in these states, there are still some challenges. Notwithstanding the work in progress, where digitization has been implemented, it is surely reaping some benefits.
An MBA by qualification, Akhilesh has dabbled into various businesses. He is a keen debater, data miner and analytically inclined. His blogs tend to present a fresh perspective on any given matter