“We always endeavor to provide hassle-free service to citizens. In this direction, we have taken various steps. Citizens can submit online requests for registration of documents. They have the choice to select the desired time slot for appearance before the sub-registrar”, said Mahaveer Prasad, IAS, Department of Registration & Stamps, Government of Rajasthan in an exclusive interaction with Krishna Chandra Mishra of Elets News Network (ENN).
The role of efficient revenue administration cannot be overstated. Please tell us about some of your key initiatives to enhance the efficiency of your department.
Registration and Stamps department has a twin role. One is the registration of documents which involves authentication of the execution of a document and putting these documents in the public domain, so that anybody interested in the property may see the transactions made in respect of that property. The other role is the collection of stamp duty. It is called so because traditionally it is collected through stamps and stamp tickets. Otherwise, it is the transaction tax. Registration is the most suitable point for levy and collection of transaction tax. Therefore it goes hand in hand with the registration process. The efficiency of the department consists in playing both roles efficiently.
To enhance efficiency in the registration process, we have introduced a web- enabled registration platform e-Panjiyan. All 614 Sub Registrar offices are connected with this platform and the whole process of registration of a document is executed online through this platform. To make the process of registration easier and citizen-friendly, we have engineered the system in a way that citizens can initiate the process from their homes and after selecting a time slot may appear before the sub-registrar at the selected time. They can search for documents online from anywhere. We are also going to introduce the facility of obtaining certified copies of documents online.
We have introduced various modes of payment of stamp duty. Now stamp duty can be paid through e-GRAS, e-Stamps as well as through paper stamps. Since stamp duty is paid online and even details of paper stamps are also fed into the system, the information and reporting of revenue collection is much easier and more efficient.
Simplification of property registration services is a crucial step to empower the citizens and improve government-citizen interface. How is the department streamlining the processes, and enhancing the experience?
As I have already indicated, the whole registration process has been computerized through a web-enabled portal. Citizens can initiate the process of registration from the ease of their homes. After submitting an online request for registration, they may choose a suitable time slot and appear before the Sub Registrar at the chosen time. All the bio data of the parties to the document are captured electronically. We have also provided templates of documents on our website. The user can use these templates for preparing his documents without the help of an expert. We are in the process of establishing model sub- registrar offices on the PPP model to give the user a corporate experience and feel. Two model offices, one each at Bikaner and Jodhpur, have already been commissioned. Another eight offices at different places in the state will be established soon. To facilitate the valuation of property for stamp duty, a panel of private property valuers is being prepared. These property valuers will help the parties in the valuation of property and determination of stamp duty. If a document is presented with a certificate of valuation by the impaneled valuer, the sub-registrar will be bound to register the document without any further inquiry as to the stamp duty.
What measures, systems, and technologies does your department employ to prevent property-related fraud and ensure transaction integrity?
As per the law of registration, the Sub Registrar is not expected but rather not allowed to go into the title of the property which is the subject matter of the transaction or the instrument. Their proper function is to authenticate the execution of the instrument. They have to identify the parties and ascertain their free will to the transaction.
However, we have taken some steps which obviate the possibility of fraud. For example, we have integrated our system with the state online land record management system and the data regarding land transactions has to be fetched directly from that system. The parties are not allowed to feed the data manually. Thus, only authentic and verified data are used. Online land record management system also has details of encumbrances which give alerts to the parties.
Similarly, we have entered the details of court cases and stay orders in the system which gives alerts when registration of such properties is attempted. Details of the land sale which is prohibited are also being entered into the system. For verification of the parties, we use PAN and Aadhaar authentication.
How is revenue, mainly from stamp duties and registration fees, allocated and utilized to support government projects, and can you mention notable beneficiaries?
Stamp duties and registration fees form part of the general revenue of the state and go to the consolidated fund of the State. The revenue supports all welfare and developmental activities of the Government. We collect cess on the stamp duty, 10% each for cow, infrastructure, and natural calamities. Cow cess is utilized for the maintenance of Gosalas, infrastructure cess is distributed to local authorities to be utilized in creating public amenities and urban infrastructure, and natural calamity cess is utilized in funding mitigating efforts at the time of natural calamities, like widespread disease. This resource was of great support during covid-19 pandemic.
How does your department prioritize a citizen-centric approach in making property registration services accessible and convenient for Rajasthan’s diverse population, and can you provide specific examples of initiatives in this regard?
We always endeavor to provide hassle-free service to citizens. In this direction, we have taken various steps. Citizens can submit online requests for registration of documents. They have the choice to select the desired time slot for appearance before the sub-registrar. Anywhere registration facility is also available at many places. We also provide an on-the-spot registration facility where 20 or more documents are expected to be registered. We endeavor to provide registration facilities at the nearest places. For this purpose, we have established about 614 sub-registrar offices throughout the state. To provide an encouraging and ambient environment and better experience to the citizens we are establishing model registration offices with state-of-the- art facilities.