Land Records modernisation must, says Raghuvansh

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New Delhi, Aug 26 (UNI) Union Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh today called for a system for proper upkeep of land records in the country.

Addressing a press conference here on the National Land Records Modenisation Programme (NLRMP), the Minister termed the Land the most important natural resource upon which all human activity was based.

He said implemention of NLRMP was key to various land related issues. Maintenance of proper land records are of utmost importance so that people know of their ownership and proprietory rights.

Dr Singh, elaborating the NLRMP, said the Cabinet, in its meeting held on Aug 21, had already approved the proposal of the Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development to merge its two existing Centrally-sponsored schemes of Computerisation of Land Records (CLR) and Strengthening of Revenue Administration &Updating of Land Records (SRA&ULR) and to replace them with a modified Centrally-sponsored scheme in the shape of the National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP).

He said under the activities proposed under NLRMP were computerisation of land records including digitization of maps and integration of textual and spatial data; Survey/resurvey; Computerisation of registration including entry of valuation details; Setting up modern record rooms; Training and capacity building; Inter-connectivity using IT among revenue offices and among various agencies involved in land records such as Revenue Offices, Survey and Settlement Offices, Registration Offices, Panchayats, etc.

Core GIS activities such as Village index base maps from satellite imagery for creating the core GIS;Integration of three layers of data: (i) Spatial data from aerial photograph or high-resolution satellite imagery; (ii) Survey of India and Forest Survey of India maps; and (iii) Cadastral maps from revenue records were planned, the Minister said.

The total cost of the programme was Rs 5656.00 crore of which Central share would be Rs 3098.00 crore and that of state Rs 2558.00 crore. The budget provision for 2008-09 was Rs 473.00 crore. It is envisaged that the entire programme will be completed by the end of the 12th Plan.

Dr Singh said the programme had zeroed in on modern technologies that could be used for speedier survey/resurvey of the land. Three technologies had been identified in consultation with the technical agencies: Pure ground method using electronic total station (ETS) and global positioning system (GPS), Hybrid method using aerial photography and ground truthing by ETS and GPS; and High-resolution satellite imagery.

It is also proposed to set up a Core Technical Advisory Group with representatives of all the technical agencies to advise and assist the Department in achieving the goals of the programme, he added.

Similarly, regional Technical Advisory Groups will be set up to assist the States in implementing the programme. The district has been selected as the unit for programme implementation. All the activities envisaged under the programme would be undertaken district-by-district, said the Minister.

Dr Singh underlined that the ultimate goal of the NLRMP was to replace the present system of registration of deeds and documents as provided for in the Registration Act. In the present system, the titles to property are merely presumptive and the State does not give guarantee for such titles.

Once some substantial progress was made in implementing the programme, the country could switch to the system of 'Conclusive Titles' as followed in most advanced and some of the developing countries.

The system of 'Conclusive Titles' functions on four basic principles: (i) a single agency to handle land records (including the maintenance and updating of the textual records, maps, survey and settlement operations, registration of immovable property mutations, etc.); (ii) the 'mirror principle, which states that at any given moment, the land records mirror the ground reality; (iii) the 'curtain' principle.

The curtain principle refers to the fact that the record of title was a true depiction of the ownership status, mutation is automatic following registration, there is no need for probing into past title transactions, and title is a conclusive proof of ownership; and (iv) title insurance, which refers to the fact that the title is guaranteed for its correctness and the party concerned is indemnified against any loss arising because of inaccuracy in this regard.

At the moment, land records in India do not reflect any of these principles, he said.

UNI NAZ RC KP2109

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