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Importance of Land Record Modernisation

Synopsis: The importance of Land Record Modernisation became more evident during the pandemic. For access to formal loans and government relief programs, land records are important. However, the poor availability of clear and updated land titles remains a problem.

Background

The land is both an asset and a source of livelihood for poor people in rural areas. Many informal jobs in the urban areas were lost due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. This resulted in reverse migration, leading to greater demands for household resources in rural areas.

How the government is improving the Land Record Modernisation?
  • The government of India’s Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DI-LRMP) scheme is the most recent effort to update land records.
  • The poor state of land records is due to the failure of the Indian administration to evolve from British-era land policies.
  • Further, the Land record regulations and policies vary widely across Indian states/union territories.
  • DI-LRMP provides a common framework for reporting the progress of land record management by states/UTs. But the diverse nature of regulations/guidelines for Land Record Modernisation management in India makes the progress non-uniform.

Observations by NCAER Land Records and Services Index:

  1. NCAER(National Council of Applied Economic Research) made an innovative effort by launching NCAER Land Records and Services Index (N-LRSI) in 2020. The index evaluates states’ performance on digitisation and quality of land records.
  2. States/UTs have made various efforts to make improvements in various parameters of the N-LRSI index. These improvements are clearly recorded in the N-LRSI 2021 findings.
    • Bihar jumped from the 23rd to 8th position in the index. It achieved significant progress in the digitisation of maps, textual records and the registration process.
Challenges in land records pointed out by the N-LRSI study:
  1. Firstly, The lack of skilled manpower in the departments of land records. It is one of the major barriers in ensuring regular updating of land records.
  2. Secondly, the N-LRSI study has brought out poor cooperation across land record departments. These are,
    • Revenue department as the custodian of textual records,
    • The survey and settlement department managing the spatial records
    • The registration department is responsible for registering land transactions.
  3. Thirdly, the information from the sources reveals that no state/UT has the facility for online modification of records on the same day as the registration.
  4. Fourthly, there is a weak linkage between the revenue department and the survey and settlement department. This creates a huge difference between the land area reported by the textual and spatial record. This can increase the chances of legal disputes over the definition of boundaries and the extent of a land plot.

All these challenges create hindrances in achieving updated and accurate land records.

Suggestions to improve Land records in India:
  • Strengthening of various institutions concerned with Land records. It will achieve the desired quality of land records. This can be attained by removing structural rigidities in the system.
  • The easing of the land transactions can also be tried for improvement in land records. For example, Maharashtra lowering stamp duties to meet its increasing demand for housing, infrastructure. These efforts are going to be helpful for the health of India’s rural economy.

Source: The Indian Express

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