Digitalising Land Records

By Accommodation Times Bureau

Digitization is a process that has touched and transformed every industry and the Indian real estate has not been unscathed either. This digital phenomenon is transforming real estate in all aspects of the sector. However, it is interesting to note that although the land is a precious commodity in real estate accounting for major cost component, until recently, only a few countries boasted of having an electronic public register of real estate. India is leapfrogging in this space but much more needs to be achieved.

In the past, most of the land records in the country were through village maps marking boundaries and/or paper records which included names of all occupants. Due to the lack of maintenance of actual land records, there have been litigations and property scams. One of the biggest challenges faced was the land ownership issue which led to property disputes. Hence, making land records available to all to check property frauds became one of the objectives of the Government of India around the late 80s.

To this effect, The Digital India Land Records Modernization programme (DILRMP) was launched by Government of India in August 2008. The objective of the programme was to streamline and reduce the scope of land and property disputes, thereby improving transparency in the maintenance of land records. The main aim of the programme was to computerize all land records, digitize maps, upgrade the survey and settlement records and sustain the same.

Digitization of land records was introduced to computerize all land records including mutations, improve transparency in the land records maintenance system, digitize maps and survey, update all settlement records and minimize the scope of land disputes. This would provide clear titles of land ownership that could be monitored easily by government officials, facilitate quicker transactions, and reduce disputes. Most importantly it would reduce construction timelines and overall cost for the development.

Transparency brought through digitization of land records will make it difficult for the general public to evade property tax. Planning of industrialization and smart cities by the government will become easier. The government’s initiation towards digitization will not only speed up the process of land acquisition but will also help in building up of local revenues through property tax billing and collection and also by providing conclusive titles to landowners. It is worth mentioning here that to an extent, RERA has taken up the initiative of being transparent about real estate projects.

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