Computerisation of Land Records and E-Dhara
Land records are being maintained for various purposes including levy and collection of various taxes and land revenue, which was the principal source of revenue for the states. Cadastral survey was completed in the year 1960 for the entire state. This survey served as the basis of the land records. Transfer and changeover take place over lands due to Sale, Inheritance, Hier, and Distribution etc.. These changeovers are considered as mutations are brought in records by way of updating the land records manually by Talati at the Village.
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"The Bombay Land Revenue Code, 1879” is the governing law for land Records in the State. Requisite changes and amendments have been effected in the Code from time to time. This Land Revenue code is uniform across Gujarat
The importance of instant availability of these land records has become significant in this era of development. Record of Rights (RoR) is maintained, updated and is needed for various purposes such as - for obtaining crop loans, hypothecation of land, getting electricity connection, subsidies etc. Land records are updated with crop data every season and this information is used for various analysis purposes. Land records also form the basis to carry out mutations such as changes in ownership title due to inheritance, sale, acquisition, inheritance etc.
Land records are extremely important since land is the primary source of sustenance for a majority of population. However, the manual system of record keeping has become cumbersome, opaque, susceptible to manipulations and hard to administer. Traditionally, Talati maintains this data in a manual register known as Village Form 6. He is the custodian of this data and carries out all changes to when authorized by competent revenue officer (Circle Officer, Dy mamlatdar-Land, Mamlatdar etc.) who approves for changes in the land records.
Revenue Deparment took the initiative of digitizing 7/12 and 8A by Computerization of Land Records Project. It took mammoth efforts of 8000 manmonths to digitize 1.5 crore land records across the State. Data digitization was not an end to the problems faced with manual records. Tasks viz. online validation of data at the time of data-entry, bulk printing of 4 types of verification prints of 1.5 cr. records, verification of prints with manual original record by multi-level revenue officials, corrections in computerised data as suggested during verification, display of computerized record for public observation at village etc. need to be charted out and completed in time, else dizitised data become obsolete before put to use.
It was envisaged that if dizitised data is not to put to use and manual system is still continued, computerized data shall in turn become only an archived repository of land record data and nothing more than that.
A complete system consisting of (1) Issuance of computerized RoR from dedicated counter in Taluka office and (2) Receiving mutation application and processing it in online mode was envisaged to be in place immediately.
The key factor in introducing computerized RoR as the only legal record in force was stopping of the manual record. A preparatory exercise of free copy distribution for public verification prior to stopping of manually maintained land records at village level was taken-up. The exercise included activities viz. updating computerized data, first hand on-screen verification, bulk printing of free copy in computerized format, verification of prints with manual original record by multi-level revenue officials, distribution of free copy, accepting objections thereof, conciliation of objection with manual record, Tehsildar’s order to carry out correction followed by correction process. 97% of the landholders have been given the free copy of the computerized RoRs. Certificates from the revenue officials are obtained as regards the distribution. This exercise brought awareness about new system in end-user citizen and affirmation of data quality from end-user.
System of regular and as & when updating of computerized record according to registered mutations decided to be established. Receiving mutation application and processing it in online mode through computer which in turn update computerized RoR data needed a complete computerized Land Record Management System in place. Thereby, e-Dhara Land Records Management System was conceptualized to manage land records by using IT as a tool. The envisaged system was designed to provide prompt issuance of computerized RoR across the counter & online updation of land records. to implement the project in a controlled fashion, initially at Junagadh district on pilot basis. Within pilot district Vanthali Taluka was selected as Pilot Taluka, based on which district wide roll out of e-Dhara was done.
The new system brought about a sea change in the way land records maintained and administered in the Junagadh District. The system not only simplified the process of record keeping but also provided many collateral benefits.
The State has initiated online mutation state-wide implementation roll-out Plan. Required minimum hardware as per revised guidelines of GOI to implement online mutation management system is not provided to talukas. GOI fund for this purpose has been received very recently. Every district has started online mutation operations at least in 2 talukas as pilot work. The State has implemented online mutation operations in all 225 talukas as on 01-04-2005.