Land management system in India - Past, present and future
Vinay Thakur, Ganesh Khadanga, D.S Venkatesh,Dr D.R Shukla
Land Records Information Systems Division
National Informatics Centre, New Delhi
Telephone: 4364874, 4361133 Ext-4381
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Land is the habitat of man and its wide use is crucial for the economic, social, and environmental advancement of all countries. Although it is part of man's natural heritage, access to land is controlled by ownership patterns. Land is partitioned for administrative and economic purposes, and it is used and transformed in a myriad ways. Population growth, technological and social hazards, and environmental degradation have all to be taken into greater account today by policy makers, resource planners, and administrators who make decisions about the land. They need more detailed land information than has been traditionally available. Although the printed map is still useful, computerized systems offer improved ways of acquiring, storing, processing and retrieving such information.
More recently, the need for thoughtful and careful stewardship of the land, together with the more intensive use and management of its resources, has emerged as a matter of major global concern. This has led to a re-evaluation both of the need for information about the land and of the strategies and programmes that may provide it. Increasingly it has been recognised that policy makers, planners, land administrators, and individual citizens all have a need for information about the land make significant use of spatial data on a day to day basis. Accurate knowledge of natural resources and accurate description and record of such knowledge are the essential prerequisite to their rational use and conservation. Land information is prime requisite for making decisions related to land investment, development and management. Information reduces uncertainty by helping to identify and analyse problems. Strategies to overcome them may then be prepared and implemented. The value of the information and the effectiveness of the decision making process are directly related to the quality of the information and the manner in which it is made available.
This paper deals with all the aspects of land records information maintenance system and technologies which have been used presently for record keeping along with the latest technology which may be used by the country for effective use of the IT in land management. It also explains the enhanced version of the age-old system traditional system developed by Raja Todar Mal (Akbar Regime) and followed in the Northern part of the country. A brief description of the British system of land records followed the Southern part the country is also described.
During the last decade NIC-MRD has started computerization of land records of the country by storing the records in simple file based database. This process was further enhanced by processing these records through a RDBMs like ORACLE, DB2, SQL Server. Multilingual support was the essential feature in these record-keeping systems. During the new millennium the data keeping process was further enhanced to Maps with the support of GIS. In this paper the utilization of the web based GIS for production of the records of right along with the graphical details in a map through Internet is also explained.
An information system may be formally defined as a combination of human and technical resources, together with a set of organizing procedures that produces information in support of some managerial requirement. Data are raw collection of facts. Data relating to land may be acquired and held in alphanumeric form (for example books), or graphically (for example, as maps or aerial photographs), or digitally (for example, using electronic methods). To become information, the raw data must be processed so that it can be understood by a decision maker. A land information system gives support to land management by providing information about the land, the resources upon it and the improvements made to it.
Land information system may be designed to serve one primary function or they may be multifunctional for supporting strategic planning. The focus is on determining organizational objectives and on the resources employed to achieve them. Some provide for management control and are concerned with the effective use of resources so as to accomplish an organization’s objectives. Others are designed for operational control so that specific tasks can be carried out effectively and efficiently. Each requirement dictates a special set of information criteria and hence a special type of information system. Some of the most important of these systems relate to land parcels. Many of the land information systems are being developed around the land parcel as the basic spatial unit.
Land Information management
Land information needs to be carefully managed to maximize its potential benefits. Over the last two decades, new capabilities for data collection and processing, together with expanding requirements of users, have directed attention to the need for improved land information management strategies. Such strategies are concerned with the effective organization of resources in order to achieve a set of objectives. These objectives may include improvements to the coverage, content, compatibility, and reliability of information of access to it, and the possibility of integrating it with other data. The ultimate goal is to meet the needs of users more efficiently, effectively and equitably.
The cadastre is often the principal source of information about ownership rights in land. Even when compiled for fiscal purposes, the record of payment of tax may constitute evidence of ownership of land. The basic unit of the cadastral record is the land parcel which is known as a plot. Although plots may be subdivided into smaller units or amalgamated with adjoining parcels into larger ones, the land which they cover remains unchanged. The need to record the details of land parcels within a cadastre stems from a need for better administration of land. Land is the ultimate resource from which all wealth comes. Improvement in the management of land are essential for the betterment of both rural and urban poor. The inadequacy of land information poses serious constraints on what can be done. Without the knowledge of who owns the land, development cannot take place. In consequence, emphasis in many development programmes is now being placed on ensuring that rights in land are identified, recognized by the state and recorded in some suitable form. The whole of this process is referred to as cadastre.
Parcel based information is required in a wide variety of activities. Frequent users range from existing or prospective landowners to lawyers, surveyors, valuers, real-estate managers, and agencies at all levels of Government. During the recent past, the demand for this information has expanded. This has extended the applications of existing parcel-based information systems and created the need for new ones. Some of these changes have arisen because of :
It has been universally accepted principle that the rulers of the State are entitled to a portion of the produce of the land from those who utilize it as a price for the protection of their life and property and also to meet the common expenses of the community. It is this concept of collection of revenue that necessitated the maintenance of land records, although in a rudimentary form, in ancient times. The Arthsastra is the first Indian work to mention of the village officers known as “gopa” whose duties include preparation of various registers for the village fields, transfers, due taxes, etc. Attempt to reform the system were first made by Sher Shah whereby land was categorized, measured and a schedule of crop rates fixed. This was further developed during the regime of Akbar, who with the assistance of Raja Todar Mal, fixed cash rates on a more scientific and rational basis. Elaborate Methods were devised for determining the average produce of each class of land and for commuting grain rates into money rates. In fact Akbars’s settlement widely resembles the later settlement effected under British rule. Subsequently during 1822 regulations were introduced for detailed surveys and regulations.
The primary interest of the British rulers was the collection of land revenue and consequently the system of land records was also organized to serve that purpose. After Independence considerable importance has been necessaciated for reliable statistics related to crop, irrigation, land use so that they could form the basis of land development of the country. It in turn helped in strengthening the land records development process.All these situation helped in development of the present day land records system. In any land records a number of records are prescribed to be, maintained at the village, tehsil and district levels and statements of land holdings, land revenue and rental cropped areas, land use pattern. There are more then 20 registers that are being maintained by Revenue Department. The number of registers again varies from State to State.
The principal records being maintained are as follows:
Since First Plan, Planners have been advocating proper maintenance of land records as the basis of good administration. This was reiterated in the second plan and Third Plans. The sixth plan has envisaged the complementation and updation of land records from 1980 to 1985. According to seventh plan document, “Land records form the base for all land reform measures and therefore, regular periodic updating of land records is essential in all states.” The eighth plan(1992-1997) and the Ninth Plan(1997-2002) have also envisaged the fulfillment of all five-year principles of National Land Reforms Policies, that is the abolition of intermediaries, tenancy reforms with security to actual cultivators, redistribution of ceiling, surplus land consolidation of holdings and updation of land records. Subsequently in 73rd Amendment to the constitution mentions that computerization of land records is an essential step to achieve decentralized planning and effective administration.
Subsequently during 1988-99 centrally –sponsored scheme on computerization of land records was started with 100% financial assistance as a pilot project in eight states.(RangaReddy in AP, Mayurbhanj in Orissa, Sonitpur in Assam, Singhbhum in Bihar, Wardha in Maharastra, Dungarpur in Rajasthan and Gandhinagar in Gujarat). Then the scheme was extended to 24 districts of different States. At present the scheme was extended to all the 544 districts in the country. During 97-98 it was decided to cover 1400 tehsils/taluks under the land records computerization scheme.
The scheme is being implemented since 1994-1995 by MRD in collaboration with NIC where in NIC is responsible for the supply, installation of hardware, software and maintenance of peripherals.
In all the State LRC project was started with basically data entry of khasra and khatoni with the help of file based database software supported by the unix operation system which was the operating system of the time. The customized data entry screens were developed for entering the raw attribute data in to a database. Then the complete village wise khatoni and khasra repots were generated through the report generation modules. The basic feature the software used that time was the capability of data entry in local language. The CDAC’s GIST technology was used to achieve multilingual data entry from unix dumb terminals.
Subsequently during early 1995 the ORACLE 6.0 database on the unix platform has been introduced into land records. The data from file based database user ported to ORACLE database. During this time more stress was also given for capturing the mutation data for period updation of land records. As ORCALE provides a better flexibility strong security and auditing features are key features entered into land records computerization. Once again the multilingual feature was also extended through the GIST technology from dumb terminals.
During 1998 modern Windows based OS has gained popularity and Window 95/98 and Windows NT server was introduced into land records computerization process. Then the most popular application development tool, VB 6.0 from Microsoft was used to develop the customized data entry screens. Also the data from foxbase/ORACLE plat form was ported to windows platform. The GIST SDK from CDAC was used for multilingual support in the application. Since then application development for mutation data entry and linking the land records data with the registration data and issue of general certificates like ROR and caste certificate was given prime importance.
During the starting of the millennium digitization of cadastral maps were stated on pilot basis.
Computerisation of Land Records – Future Vision
The benefits of the computerized system include certainity of ownership, security of data, reduction in land disputes, improved conveyancing, facilitating implementation of land reforms programmes, better management of land, improvements in planning land related development programmes, support for land resource management, facilitating issue of copy of record of rights (ROR) to the owner and making the data available in a compact and readable form at any time. Other benefits include reducing the time lag in effecting mutations in the field and registers to permissible limits, reducing the gap in the level of updation of data in records and associated maps as the maps can be plotted instantaneously through high speed plotters, extracting all the registers that are maintained mandatorily as per rules through computers. Also the integration of land records data and the associated map data is possible through the advancement in information technology.
For instance, if a plot is identified in a village map, the computer can give the data relating to that plot by accessing the database instantaneously. Similarly aggregation of land records data and associated map data to produce higher level data is possible. For example, using the basic data on plots, it is possible to produce village data and the village maps. Similarly aggregation is possible at the tehsil and district levels also. Sensitivity analysis of the data wherever applicable is possible. For example, using the data on type of land, area and rate of revenue, it is possible to know the net effect of change of rate of revenue of any type of land on the total revenue. This will be useful for taking policy decisions.
This will be useful for easy and time availability of data at any desired location planning is a reconciliation of social and economic aims, of private and public objectives. It is the allocation of resources, particularly land, in such a manner as to obtain maximum efficiency. In this way, planning is therefore the art of anticipating change, and arbitrating between the economic, social, political and physical forces that determine the location, form, and effect of urban development. In the rural environment, the aims of the planners are similar, though the strategies for their realization will be different.
It has been realized from last decade that land records computerization should cater to the following activities.
It has been realized that the linking of attribute data as generated through data entry process has to be linked with the village map/cadastral map. This will indicate the boundary of the land unit along with surrounding features. It will also provide more information then the text ROR as issued now.
This linking of attribute data with maps can be performed by any GIS package. It involves basically two steps: porting of attribute data form exiting database like (foxbase/ORACLE/SQL Server) to the database to available within the GIS and liking of this attribute data with the maps.
The problems faced during this process are:
Service To People
Service providing mechanism is the key factor in success of any system. Present day INTERNET is the only technology, which is going to prevail for the future and is expected to be the only technology that will reach the mass.
All the recent GIS packages like Arc-info, Map info, Spans support the web based technology. They provide web servers to build dynamic world wide web pages that will allow user to access, query and visualize GIS information remotely using their favorite web browers. The GIS web servers use the HTML and scripting languages (EASI script in Spans) for development of applications.
Providing service to the people has to be stressed further through introduction of franchised cyber cafes. Right to access the data may be provided to public. The downloading of any document may be allowed on nominal fees.
With the introduction of cyber bill issue of ROR and other documents with maps of the land parcel through INTERNET on nominal fees will be the future of the land records computerization.
It is desirable to have properly georeferenced land records data and it’s integration with other land parameters for planning and decision-making. It is important that cadastral survey using latest technology may be done for the entire country.
Disputed cases in land titles should also be decided at the earliest. Computerisation process should integrate registration of land titles. Land laws/mutation process should be simplified for easy and fast implementation of computerization.
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