The ever-increasing population is making administrators’ job more complicated and challenging. The departments that have to handle different types of the public information and complicated record transactions gave rise to more pressure on them for modernization of the official records. Of the multi-farious information, revenue land record maintenance is a crucial and a vital record of the Governments. The critical component of computerization, updated record maintenance and generation of an accurate Land Information System (LIS) is the present topic of this paper.
Role of Technology in Revenue Land Records
Most of the present land records were created during British regime, using old techniques, to collect the tax from landowners. Basically the record generation process involved detailed ground level field surveys and capturing field measurements using Chains and translate the same onto a sheet of paper and preserving as drawing/map booklets, that are commonly known as Cadastral Survey Maps/Drawings. For example these booklets in Gujarat are called as, Tippan Books’, wherein the individual sheet shows the rough sketch of the shape of land, its ownership, dimension measurements (measured in local Sakal-Aana units), geographic area, type of land, along with any other specific features information. In some other states the individual survey drawings are not available as such, but can be traced out from the village maps. The records are prepared in different methods and organized in multiple ways in different States and Regions. These are very old records and as these are preserved on paper their life is almost exhausted. These paper records are vulnerable to damages by termites, climate (humidity) and many other external causes. But the importance of the information content is very much recognized and different state governments are taking steps to improve the same.
Most of these records are in ancient measuring units like Sakal - Anna. On the other hand reproducing a copy of such a record is time consuming and tedious. Though these records are very vital for both the government and individuals till now there are no special techniques available to maintain them and quicken the process of updation. As these land records are old their information content is very limited. Different departments use these records for different purposes like the Registrars’ office maintains the value of the land, while revenue department uses it for tax collection etc.
However there is no comprehensive information available with a single department. Probably because of this reason most of the rural development plans do not precisely address the needs of the region. Though the purpose of creating these records were different at that time, today the information needs are different. So accordingly there has to be a way to improve the information content of these land records.
With the advent of computers, maintaining accurate data on land records has become easier. Many of the new generation software like CADD and GIS can accommodate the basic information of the land records and provide additional tools to perform analysis. The present technologies offer very wide range of the information applications. With the help of Global Positioning System accurate positions of the land locations can be established and similarly Remote Sensing data can be utilized for updating the land and infrastructure features time and again on the same base map whenever required. The advantage of advanced GIS is that it can be very easily integrated to the GPS and RS tools and can directly port the information into the designed system.
Using the new technologies, once the individual land record is computerized, various space-specific parameters can be hooked-up to the land record, the same record can be utilized right from taxation purpose to the micro/regional level planning.
The ability of Geographical Information Systems in holding different layers of cartographic information along with tabular data facilitates Capturing, Retrieval, and Querying and provides tools to perform different analyses. Some of the basic layers of these integrated information systems can be summarized as below:
- Administrative boundaries like village, Tehsil and district boundaries etc
- Traverse boundaries, traverse stations
- Road networks
- Railway lines
- Plot boundaries along with plot numbers
- Plot subdivisions
- Rivers and other water bodies along with bunds
- Natural/man-made features
- Village amenities
- Land use
- Soils etc.