Development oriented land administration in India - A case for national LIS
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It is common knowledge that, without accurate information about the lands and water, and without an up-to-date inventory of the country's resources and what is happening to them and to the environment, the government and the people of a nation are handicapped in controlling their own destiny. It is impossible, even to the best of governments, to make excellent use of the land and its natural wealth or to prevent its misuse, without good, factual knowledge of the country and its features. Land Information System (LIS), which is also frequently referred to as " Land Records System (LRS)" or "Cadastral System", provides this knowledge about the lands comprised in a country, state or a region.
Land Information System
"Land Information System" is defined as the combination of human and technical resources, together with a set of organising procedures, that produces information on land in support of a broad range of managerial requirements. It is built upon the "Cadastre".
The Cadastre is a parcel based and up-to-date land information system, consisting of :
For this reason, the Cadastre is a public land information system, and hence is managed and supervised by the government. In India, 'land' being a State subject, generation and maintenance of the cadastral records is different in different States. What is common to the conventional cadastral system or LIS in all the States is, however, the manual compilation, retrieval, updation and analysis of the land data involving literally millions of man hours spent by a multitude of government agencies over several decades. The conventional LIS is typically in the form of printed maps and related text records describing the features on the map. Almost without exception, land information worth hundreds of crores of rupees remains in government archives and filing cabinets, instead of being used to dynamically supplement the current knowledge base.
- a record of rights in land; and
- a graphical description of the land parcels linked to other records describing the nature of the rights or interests in the respective land parcels.
To the Indian landholders, a piece of land is not only a source of livelihood but also a geographical stretch, with which they develop strong emotional and even spiritual bondage. Indian concept of land ownership evolved over thousands of years and refers to reputed and undisputed possession of land. The colonial rulers introduced their own land records system in India two centuries ago, which was based on the systems obtaining in England and Western Europe. This system consisted of two parts, linked by a unique cadastral parcel number, also called survey number. They are:
Cadastral surveys were conducted periodically to locate and demarcate land boundaries on ground and to measure and map them so as to facilitate management of land parcel information.
- textual description and
- map showing locations and boundaries of all land parcels in every village.
The cadastral surveyor, by implication, played an important role in the establishment and maintenance of the cadastral system. He is responsible for most or all of the following items of work in a typical land records scenario in any State of India:
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- Cadastral surveying and mapping;
- recording of cadastral information;
- land evaluation;
- land use planning;
- managing both the graphical and textual databases;
- resolving land disputes; and
- custody and supply of cadastral information.