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Digitising land records is “complex, sensitive and voluminous work”: government in Parliament

Digitising land records is a “complex, sensitive and voluminous work, involving cumbersome and time consuming processes,” the Ministry of Rural Development said in response to a Lok Sabha question on Sunday. The question the ministry was responding to, submitted by INC MP Ramya Haridas and BJP MP Poonam Mahajan, asked whether the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme hadn’t achieved even 50% of its goals. It has been 12 years since the scheme was first launched in 2008.

Why the delay? In its reply, the government said that the “gestation period” of this scheme was higher than other government programs, and that a lot of the progress depended on state governments. Even still, Union Territory Jammu & Kashmir hasn’t even had work start on the program, and has missed two deadlines to do so, according to Greater Kashmir.

What is the funding? The Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme has disbursed ₹797.77 crore over the last five financial years, the government said in its reply, with ₹150 crore disbursed in 2019-20.

What work has been finished, and where? Different states have finished work to different extents. More than 90% of the work on Computerisation of Land Records has been done in 24 states/UTs, and “substantial progress” has been made in in 10 others. 90% progress in updating cadastres (authoritative land ownership maps) has been achieved in 21 states with “substantial progress” in nine others.

Linking property registration offices (SROs) with Revenue Offices is more than 90% complete in 18 states/UTs, with “substantial progress” in nine others. Finally, modernisation of record rooms has only been completed more than 90% in seven states/UTs, with “substantial progress” in 12 others.

Which states are furthest along? The government did not provide a list of which states constitute the progress listed above. However, they did provide a list of which states or UTs have a) computerised their land records; b) digitised cadastres; c) computerised registration; and d) finished surveys/resurveys; under the DILRMP.

Surveys and Resurveys have been completed (i.e., more than 90%) in Gujarat, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Goa, Tripura, and West Bengal (five states/UTs); work is ongoing in that regard in 16 states/UTs, and has not yet started in 16 other states/UTs. These five states/UTs have seen the most progress under the programme.

Land records have been computerised in 24 states/UTs, with work pending and not started in ten and three states/UTs, respectively. Cadastres have been updated with a progress of over 90% in 21 states/UTs, with work pending and not started in nine and seven states/UTs, respectively. Computerisation of registration has seen the most widespread completion rate, with 26 states/UTs having more than a 90% completion rate, and seven and four having pending work or work yet to start, respectively.

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