The land records in the India have evolved almost a century ago, but they have remained practically unchanged till date. The statutory periodic resurveys for creation of up-to-date land records were also not conducted in the last 7 to 8 decades. Consequently, land records are out of tune with today's developmental imperatives and are unable to serve the contemporary requirements.
It is suggested that the present system of land records be replaced by a more comprehensive, computer based Land Information System (LIS), which will contain agricultural, soil, irrigation, demographic, climatic, meteorological and elevation information, in addition to the graphical sketches depicting land holding, ownership related information and village maps.
An LIS may be briefly defined as an on-line repository of information that enables the most efficient use of land and a system that relates macro level development programs and landuse practices to the individual landholdings and their owners.
It is also suggested that a single and uniform national level LIS should be evolved, so that standardization of cadastral survey methodology and maintenance and operating procedures are achieved across all States and Union Territories in the country.
Such a uniform national LIS provides several additional benefits, besides serving the needs of the landowners and the Revenue Departments. Some of the major benefits like micro watershed development, agricultural monitoring and rural development are discussed in detail. Other benefits are also briefly presented.
The conventional Land Information System (LIS) in India essentially comprises of land records of each village, which are created by an aggregation of the graphical sketches of individual landholdings and the descriptive details of the land parcels such as title and extent. An Indian village is the smallest statutorily recognized administrative unit, having well defined geographical boundary and separate land records.
The land records of the country in the present form have evolved almost a century ago, i.e., during the British rule, and have remained the same without any significant change in their content or application. These records satisfied the minimum requirements such as showing the reputed ownership of the landholder, the extent of land owned by him, soil classification, landuse, land revenue etc.
In some parts of the country, the conventional land records comprised of additional details such as irrigation facilities, agricultural/crop statistics, location-based remission of taxation and livestock census. On the whole, the existing conventional LIS for the Indian villages consists of two primary components, viz.,
- Descriptive land register with the title and other related particulars in respect of each landholding in the village, and
- Graphical record consisting of field measurement sketches of the holdings and the village map or, at times, only the village map.
In spite of minor variations in the general format of the conventional LIS from State to State in our country or from region to region within a State, the land records consisted of the above components, while revenue accounts are updated annually for each village for the purpose of recording newer titles, newer extents and newly computed assessments.