Computerisation of land records in India

Government Initiatives
The Government of India and the state governments have been seized with the recurring problem of inadequately maintained

land record system as it had made the administration of land reforms difficult and had served to neutralise their benefits. A weak land record system had also been viewed as a systemic weakness that has helped the perpetration of atrocities on the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. The following are the major initiatives taken by the Government of India for computerisation of land records:

  1. The Conference of Revenue Ministers of states/UTs (1985) advocated that computerisation of land and crop-based data be taken up on a pilot project basis as a technology proving exercise in one Tehsil/Revenue Circle of each state/UT, as a Central sector scheme.
  2. A Study Group (1985) comprising representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Central Statistical Organisation and from the Governments of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh also recommended computerisation of Core Data in land records to assist developmental planning and to make their records more accessible to the people. However, the Planning Commission considered it premature to take up the scheme at that point of time.
  3. A workshop on computerisation of land records (1987) reviewed the experience of different states in computerisation of land records made at their own initiative and recommended that the Government of India should fund this programme on a pilot project basis. The Department of Rural Development selected 8 districts in 8 states. Morena was one of the districts selected for computerisation of land records, the others being Rangareddy in Andhra Pradesh, Mayurbhanj in Orissa, Sonitpur in Assam, Singbhum in Bihar, Wardha in Maharashtra, Dungarpur in Rajasthan and Gandhinagar in Gujarat. While approving the pilot projects in 1988, the Government took the following decisions:
    • The timeframe for the pilot project should not be more than 6-8 months.
    • The states should clearly bring out the benefits that would accrue as a result of these pilot projects and these should be highlighted in the project reports.
    • The state governments should show a clear commitment to computerisation of land records.
    • An officer with knowledge, training and experience in handling computers should be made incharge of the project and should be posted in the district chosen for the purpose.
Objectives of the ‘CLR" Scheme
Keeping in mind all the aforesaid ideas, the final list of objectives of the scheme as conceived in the Memorandum for Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC Memo), submitted in 1993 by the Ministry of Rural Development, was as given below:
  1. To facilitate easy maintenance and updating of changes which occur in land database such as changes due to availability of irrigation/natural calamities/consolidation/ or on account of legal changes like transfer of ownership, partition, land acquisition, lease etc.
  2. To provide for comprehensive scrutiny to make land records tamper-proof, which may reduce the menace of litigation and social conflicts, associated with land disputes.
  3. To provide the required support for implementation of development programmes for which data about distribution of land holdings is vital.
  4. To facilitate detailed planning for infrastructural as well as environment developement.
  5. To facilitate preparation of an annual set of records in the mechanised process and thereby producing accurate documents for recording details such as collection of land revenue, cropping pattern etc.
  6. To facilitate a variety of standard and ad-hoc queries on land data.
  7. To provide database for agricultural census.
Progress of the Scheme
The centrally-sponsored scheme on computerisation of land records was started in 1988-89 with 100% financial assistance as a pilot project in the eight districts/states mentioned above was with a view to removing the problems inherent in the manual system of maintenance and updating of land records and to meet the requirements of various groups of users. It was decided that efforts should be made to computerise the CORE DATA contained in land records, so as to assist development planning and to make records accessible to people/planners/administrators. By 1991-92, the scheme had been extended to 24 districts in different states viz., Haryana, H. P., J&K, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi UT.

During the Eight Plan, the scheme was approved as a separate centrally-sponsored scheme on computerisation of land records. The total expenditure on the Scheme during the Eight Plan period was Rs. 59.42 crore which was utilised for covering 299 new districts and also for providing additional funds for the on-going pilot projects. Thus, by the end of the Eight Plan, 323 districts in the country were brought under the scheme with an expenditure of Rs. 64.44 crore.

The scheme is being implemented since 1994-95 in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) which is responsible for the supply, installation and maintenance of hardware, software and other peripherals. NIC is also responsible for providing training to the revenue officials and technical support for proper implementation. The Ministry of Rural Developemnt is providing funds to the state governments for site preparation, data entry work and for purchase of necessary furniture and other miscellaneous expenditure.

Since inception of the scheme, the Ministry has released Rs. 109.37 crores upto March 31, 1999. The utilisation of funds reported by the states/UTs as on November 30, 1999 is Rs. 62.15 crore which is approximately 57% of the total fund released. During the first year of the Ninth Plan i.e. 1997-98, Rs. 20.19 crore was released to states for covering 177 new project districts and also for providing funds for purchase of software, hardware and other peripherals for tehsil/taluk level operationalisation of the scheme. Accordingly, during 1997-98, 475 taluks/tehsils were brought under the programme of operationalisation (@ Rs. 2.20 lakh per tehsil/taluk). During 1998-99, Rs. 24.75 crore was released for covering 28 new districts and operationalisation of the scheme in 625 more tehsils/talukas. At present the scheme is being implemented in 544 districts of the country leaving only those districts where there are no land records.

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