The Government of Andhra Pradesh approved the concept of the project and issued an order for piloting it Nizamabad district. Accordingly, the current department-centric approach will make way for a service-centric architecture. The system will deliver the entire gamut of land-related services to the end users through a unified interface.
The present system of maintaining land records in multiple government departments will be discontinued. A single dedicated agency will create, maintain and deliver all land-related services like survey, subdivision, maintaining title records, registering property transfers, and maintaining property tax records in rural and urban areas.
All records will be maintained in digital form. Processes will facilitate updating of records as and when transactions occur. The entire data will be maintained in a central repository, with multiple access points. Records will be integrated, transparent and easily accessible to everybody.
In India, the cadastral system has been in vogue for mapping land. Introduced by the British largely to suit revenue collection, this system requires updating of maps every 30 years. This functional mandate, however, has seldom been followed because of the complexity of the exercise as well as its cost and resource implications. Most of the survey and settlements records, prepared over 100 years back, have degenerated.
In Andhra Pradesh, the last survey of land records was done in 1920. Only about 30 of 130 towns in the State have been surveyed so far. As for the rest of the towns, there are no survey records. With regard to about five million land parcels in Andhra Pradesh, 49% of tippons are in good condition, while the rest of the maps are brittle, faded or torn. The current decline in India's GDP growth rate attributable to unclear land titles is estimated at 1.3%, with the loss in Andhra Pradesh translating to about Rs. 1300 crore per annum.
A sale deed is not a conclusive title of ownership. Yet, the typical sale deed, executed on a stamp paper, provides legal cover for most land transactions today.
Due to deficiencies in land records, it has become difficult for common people to safeguard their property, enforce their rights, and obtain quality service from government agencies. It is estimated that about 2% of lands in rural areas, 5% in urban and 28% in peri-urban areas are affected by land disputes. Land litigants end up spending about Rs.750 crores per annum, let alone the amount spent by the government machinery and the cost of time of courts.
There are other aberrations as well. The information and service needs concerning private property in Andhra Pradesh are currently handled by four wings of the State government: Survey department, Revenue department, Registration department and Local bodies. The survey department maintains graphical records (village maps/tippons/FMBs) and textual records (sethwar/diglott, RSR register). The revenue department maintains ownership and possession records (pahani/adangal, RoR, khatauni etc.) pertaining mainly to collection of land revenue. The registration department keeps land transaction records in the form of deeds executed on stamp paper (sale, purchase, gift). Local bodies maintain property registers, primarily for collection of taxes.
There are over a dozen archaic pieces of legislation, enacted between 1839 and 1923, that govern most land transactions. If the title to a piece of land is of doubtful authenticity for any reason, legal disputes ensue.
Thus, multiple departments, complex procedures and litigations cost heavily, hitting the poor and vulnerable sections most.
The Commissioner, Survey and Settlement & Land Records initiated the Bhu Bharati project after studying land reforms in countries like Australia, Thailand and New Zealand.
The pressing need for implementing the Bhu Bharati is the absence of a fool-proof method of granting conclusive title. Presently, the title that is granted is presumptive, with the registration system based on deeds.
A Project Implementation Committee, chaired by the State chief secretary, and a Project Management Team, headed by an IAS officer, will implement the project and monitor its progress. Depending on the outcomes, the Bhu Bharati project will be rolled out in four phases, covering four to six districts in each phase. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2012.
The highpoint of Bhu Bharati is the re-survey of land, utilizing modern and scientific surveying techniques like Photogrammetry, Electronic Total Station and Differential Global Position System. The use of such advanced technologies will make survey faster, less expensive and more accurate.
Bhu Bharati will replace the present system of deed registration with title registration. Under the new system, it would be the responsibility of the Registrar/Bhu Bharati Authority to verify the title of the owner before allowing transactions on the property in question. The objective of maintaining records will no longer be limited to generating revenue, as the authorities will maintain records of all private properties in rural and urban areas, be it agricultural, residential, commercial or industrial, for giving absolute title security. Absolute title security will be achieved by creating a Register of Conclusive Titles.
A unique Parcel Identification Number (PIN) will be allotted to every land parcel. The entire survey data will be stored on a Geographical Information System platform.
Being introduced in the public-private partnership mode, Bhu Bharati will be a self-sustaining system with regard to funding. Land information will be priced. An appropriate user charges regime will be introduced. As Bhu Bharati is a service project, payment will linked to services actually rendered by the partner to the citizens.
Bhu Bharati has made a significant progress. The Request for Proposal has been issued. In March 2006, Wipro & Speck Systems were selected as the project implementing agency. The draft of a bill that seeks to introduce legislative changes is ready.
Aerial photography has been completed in the identified areas. The field work done for survey and title enquiries has yielded significant data. Work relating to demarcation of agricultural land on bromide prints has been completed in 820 villages out of 922 villages of Nizamabad district. Wipro carried out the System Requirement Study and submitted the SRS for approval. The draft law is also prepared and submitted to GoAP for approval. The village site survey methodology is finalized and the survey is in progress.
It is planned to operationalize first set of 3 service centers by July 2009 and remaining 7 service centers by end of 2009. For Phase III, the Request For Proposal has been prepared and published on 21st January, 2008 and the Bid Process is also complete. Selection of Implementation Agencies will be completed by the end of this November so that the agencies can take up the task of aerial flying during this season itself.
For business queries, contact:
Mr. Sanjiv Mital Chief Executive Officer, NISG
Mr. Vijay Saradhi
Vice President, NISG