July 2007

Re-engineering Land Records Computerisation

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The system of land records in Madhya Pradesh is governed by the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code 1959, the Revenue Book of Circulars, and the Land Records manual Vol. 1 to 4 (2). The availability of IT as a tool for modernisation of land records started in 1988. The Ministry of Rural Development sanctioned a scheme for computerisation of land records (CoLR) in 1988 in many states of India, with the assistance of the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The easy access of internet has also made it more relevant to have good and robust software for land records.

Status of Land Record Computerisation in India

Almost all states have started land record computerisation in India. The States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Gujarat are fully operational and have banned the manual distribution of records of rights. The states of Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Pondichery and NCT are already in an advanced stage of computerisation of land records. Various kinds of land records software operational in different states include Bhoomi (Karnataka), Tamil Nilam (Tamil Nadu), e-Dharni (Goa), Bhuyan (Chhatisgarh), Apna Khata (Rajasthan), e-Dhara (Gujarat), Bhumi (West Bengal), Himbhoomi (Himachal Pradesh) etc.The experiences in various states have been studied by various authors. Some of them are available in the book, “Computerisation of Land Records”, edited by Wajahat Habibullah and Manoj Ahuja.The scheme of Comprehensive Modernisation of Land Records has been launched by the Government of India from the year 2007-08 in the 11th plan as 100% assistance to the states showing the importance been given to computerisation of land records.

Current Status in Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh has 48 Districts and 272 Tehsils. The number of Khasras records (traditional Indian rural land records, which originally developed in the medieval period) computerised at present is 57.31 million for 11 million owners in 55897 villages.

The project of land record computerisation started in the year 1988 when Morena District was selected for the pilot project of Government of India (GoI). The process of computerisation went on in phases in a DOS based environment. The GoI funded the data entry to 2002. The Government of Madhya Pradesh (GoMP) then involved NIC from the year 2002. NIC came up with the version 1.0 of the Bhuabhilekh software in 2003. The present version is version 3.0 launched in October 2006. This version is being implemented in all the Tehsils of Madhya Pradesh. NIC has also developed software for the District Data Centre in October 2006.

Bhuabhilekh comprises a computerised master database of land records that stores plot-wise and owner-wise details on land, crops, revenue, irrigation, demand, collection, land type, tenancy, and so on. This data can be retrieved, changed and updated. The system also allows periodic reports to be generated and issued to landowners including the two important documents Khasras -the record of rights (ROR) – and Khatauni (Khatauni is the register of all persons cultivating or otherwise occupying land in a villa.

The version 3.0 also provides for all types of mutation (Mutation indicates the changes that have to be brought about in ownership and title of the land. Mutations are done on the basis of sale deed, inheritance, gift deed, relinquish deed, will, etc.). Version 3.0 is able to generate various kinds of notices in the prescribed formats. It can scan supporting documents for storage, retrieval and printing. It restricts backdated data entry and manipulation and leads to automated updating of revenue records. It can also be used for generation and issue of periodic reports including computerised copies of ROR (P-II), Khatauni (B-1) etc. to the landowners on pre-printed, plain and A4 size stationery.

The land records system of MP has in the year 2005-06 provided 1.06 million copies and has generated revenue of INR14.67 million.

Vision for the Future – Re-engineering Land Records Computerisation

The experiences of computerisation have all focused on the conversion of the manual data into an electronic format and providing copies out of the database. In some states the land record computerisation program has also attended to the mutation process. The database available in the system is actually not being used to do a lot of other activities involved with the revenue department. In the re-engineered computerisation the following objectives are to be fulfilled

  • To maintain accurate land records
  • To forecast crops accurately
  • To manage land revenue
  • To process permissions quickly and accurately
  • Issue of notices automatically from the database
  • To reduce drudgery and desk work of field staff in favour of more time in the field
  • To provide information to public easily
  • To generate accurate statistics quickly
  • Generate alerts based on deviations in land use
  • To generate management reports for the Tehsildar (revenue officer), Collector, Commissioner
  • To provide data to allied agencies (Banks, Agro-Processing Companies )

The above concept has been used to develop a model for future computerisation of land records in MP. This effort has delivered this model along with a Unified Modeling Language (UML) document for usage by the department.

The New System

The proposed system will be a relational database management system (RDBMS) on client server platform. The database will be maintained at the I level. Once the baseline data has been entered the data entry will be done at a weekly frequency at the tehsil level by operators or Patwaris according to a schedule. (A tehsil consists of a city or town that serves as its headquarters, possibly additional towns, and a number of villages. It is the ultimate executive agency for land records and related administrative matters).

The data entry with proposed system will be of two kinds, one which upgrades routinely and another for the changes in ownership, which will be on demand basis. The features of data security e.g. audit log for changes, will be provided. The applications for the proposed system will be accepted on the system. The reports will be generated automatically on a fixed time schedule with missing entries being flagged.

The system will have ten functionality modules: baseline data entry; changes in records; revenue collection; crop forecasting and estimation; compensation for natural disasters; management reports; reports as per manuals; alerts; queries and external usage of data
The above modules have been modeled in Rational Rose Module using UML.

Baseline Data Entry

The baseline data of old records will be entered in the system in this module, so that system is operational for further processes. In the new system all the records will be in database format. In the present system many entries in the remarks and other columns are in free text format e.g. irrigation, lease, mortgage, trees, mutations in the year when done.

We have also proposed that the recording of addresses be done in the modern way instead of only recording the village name. This will help to communicate with parties through phone, mobile or email.

Changes in Records

Routine changes in records: The data in the land records regarding the crops sown and the status on the land (tree, well, diversion) is to be updated twice a year. A computerised data entry format for this voluminous data has been designed with validation at the entry time. This will save time and costs to produce accurate data at all times. The collection of land revenue from land owners is also to be entered on a regular basis.

Major changes in records: Based on requests for ownership changes, the records will be modified after due processing. Additionally the records also need to be changed on executive orders or judgments of the civil courts.

Revenue collection: Revenue demand will be generated and payments received will be entered for individual farmers. Long pending outstandings can be monitored in this module.

Crop Forecasting and Estimation: Crop production estimation and forecasting is a very important requirement which is handled in following two ways:

1. Eye estimation on the basis of status of various crops in a village. The reports of individual villages is converted into tehsil level expected production of a crop using the area sown.

2. “Annawari” process which includes identification of plots for sample crop cutting ( which can be automated based on sampling techniques), crop cutting and weight data entry, calculation of crop wise Annawari (percentage production compared to standard) at what ever level.

The software will calculate all these figures which are mathematical based.

Compensation for Natural Disasters: The state distributes relief when ever the crops are damaged by natural calamities. The damage is identified field wise and then calculations are done by the Patwari for each land owner. This calculation will be done by the system once the patwari enters the field wise damage percentage. This will save time and will bring transparency.

Management Reports: The management part covers the requirement of the various levels of officers involved in supervising the land records. This would include an executive-dashboard for each level i.e., commissioner Land Records (CLR), Divisional Commissioners, Deputy CLR, Collectors, Superintendent LR, Sub Divisional Officers, Tehsildar, Revenue Inspector and Patwaris. The requirements of reports would defer from level to level and this will cater to their individual needs. This will help in monitoring of the various processes at all levels efficiently.

Reports as per Manuals: The four volumes of land records manual and other GoMP circulars have prescribed a set of reports to be produced at various levels at different intervals and at prescribed dates during the year. We have proposed to automatically generate these reports for usage at different levels at the prescribed dates. Crop data is to be generated on fixed annual timelines. The collection of land revenue can be monitored effectively, officer wise. Reports will also be available for the various activities performed at different levels during monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

We have estimated that about 60 days of manual work can be saved for field staff if this work is done through computers. Besides the scope of errors, specially carry over errors will be reduced as in generating “Khasra Panchsala” (Khasra record for next five years based on earlier registers).

Alerts: Many alerts are to be generated for the management, field staff or land owners. Some of them are to owners about applications for their records, to government about diversion of government land, inordinate delays in processing, delays in filing reports or entering data, non payment of dues etc.

Queries: The system will be having facility for multiple queries on the fields available. The most common will be to be able to search for one’s land records and take a copy or search report for a Khasra ( 12 years )

External Usage of Data: The data available in the land record is also very relevant to many other users both within and outside the department. Some of them are  to banks for loans, issue of solvency certificates, insurance companies, fertilizer requirements planning, calculation of crop compensation in natural calamities, advance tie up for agricultural produce sale, registration of land sale, and selection of beneficiaries for criterion based on land. The usage of this data can be allowed by external users on a payment basis.

Impact Analysis

The above features when implemented will have the following impact:

Impact on Department

The system will allow better management by Tehsildar, Collectors and Commissioners as they will get the exact information required at their level accurately and online. They will be able to watch everything as it happens. The accuracy of field data would be higher as the field staff would not be involved in activities that are just compilation and their data entry status can also be monitored easily. The state would be able to forecast crop area and status accurately and very early as the data will be available online. The reports being sent at various levels will be on time as deviations will be easy to identify. The notices in the processes will be easily, accurately and timely issued. The public will also get services on time, thereby giving a better public image to the department. The record rooms would also be better as more and more records will be electronic.

Impact on Revenue

The collection of land revenue would improve due to better management and computerisation of information of individual land owners. The collection of diversion income would go up both due to monitoring of collection and identification of new cases on an automatic basis. The functionality in the software would make it more attractive for other external users to get data, thereby generating revenue from sale of data.

Impact on Field Staff

The field staff would be one of the major beneficiaries. It has been estimated that the reduction in unnecessary table work in preparing information and compilation of data would free sixty days for the patwari and ninety days for the revenue inspectors. This would give them more time for field activities like diversion, compensation, crop cutting and identification of encroachments.

Impact on Citizens

The model will also allow easy access to the public for their records using all modern means. They can also be alerted automatically for any issue regarding their land by a third party service provider using the electronic database and its functionality. The public will also be able to get electronic and hard copies much more easily.

If the proposed system is implemented and fully utilised it will provide easy access of information to citizens, timely reports, better monitoring, reduce drudgery of staff, ensure quick and accurate calculations, minimise missing entries, allow backup of data and minimise manipulations.

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