The Department of Land Resources (DOLR), under the Ministry of Rural Development, should provide financial service providers with real-time access to digital land records data through open APIs, said the FinTech report by the Department of Economic Affairs, under the Finance Ministry. To that end, the report said that India needs a dedicated National Digital Land Records Mission within the next 3 years.

What data will the digitised records include? According to the report, this data will include characteristics of the land, mortgages, encumbrances, ownership and other rights, etc. (this means that there might be more fields to this dataset)

But why should financial companies get this kind of data? The report argues that providing this data to financial companies will “enable” them to make “informed decisions about lending”. It also says that “national integration” of these records will help fintech companies that rely on advanced data analytics tools in assessing credit risks.

Citing an RBI committee report on financial inclusion, the report said that digitisation of land records should be done on a “priority basis” so as to “increase formal credit supply”. An interface should be provided to banks so as to ensure that multiple loans are not charged on the same piece of land, the report continues.

Drawing up the blueprint for this: The report also recommended that a steering committee comprising of Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural Development, DOLR and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology should be constituted to draw up a blueprint for the digitisation of land records.

What is the provision for digitising land records? The Digital India – Land Records Modernisation Program (DI-LRMP), previously the National Land Records Modernisation Program (NLRMP), aims to digitise all land records across.

Lot of efforts are being done in the country to digitise land records, but results have been “mixed”, the report said. While noting that most states have implemented digitisation of land records, it said that progress in certain states “has been very tardy”.

Here’s the FinTech report. For digitisation of land records, refer to page 55.