India as a nation has effectively strived for development through numerous government-driven schemes. The Central Government, as part of the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) has developed a unique way to digitise land records across the country. It essentially intends to create unique identification for every piece of land. Land pockets will have an Aadhaar-like unique identification for the convenient referral.

The initiative has been named Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN). The plot pieces will be assigned a geo-referenced 14-digit alphanumeric ID. At present, the programme has been initiated in about 11 states across the country and the rest of the states are slated to be covered by March 2022.

There is no doubt about the fact that the programme will help format the data on land and make it easier for citizens to access the same. It is also intended to improve the process of obtaining land resource information in real-time, better optimise the use of land and assist states in undertaking effective policy planning.

Digitizing of Land Records – The Immense Opportunity

The physical management of land records until now has been extremely inefficient. The ripple effects of this practice are especially witnessed in the fertile lands of the rural regions across the country. Common inhibitors of the small towns are at the mercy of revenue officials. The digitization of land only comes as a modern and efficient way to record land data and keep these administrative issues at bay.

The idea of digitization of land records began in 2018 and the benefits have been recognized across states. At the moment, the people of Jharkhand can view their land records through the ‘Jharbhoomi’ portal. The land records of Gujarat too can be viewed on the official “AnyRoR Gujarat” website. The portals can be used to view the status of land tax, make a land tax payment, register property and even apply for online land mutation.

ULPIN further aims to enhance the service for citizens and effectively prevent the risk of land fraud. The system can bring about transparency in land-related transactions and assure unique identification of land even when the records are outdated. For people of rural areas, this initiative will help access home loans. ULPIN can indeed turn out to be a very successful initiative.

Are there possible downsides?

While India is heading towards being the most well-equipped IT hub, it is still not there yet. There continues to be a major digital divide within the country as most regions do not have access to even basic digital means. The pandemic has further crippled the ongoing developments and digitisation of land could lead to more out of the pocket expenses for rural region citizens.

The Legacy issue is another aspect that has to be addressed. While the centre has assured that the linking of the Aadhaar number will only be done post consent, it is bound to become mandatory with time. Additionally, other possible issues can arise from the complexity involved with linking the Aadhaar card and carrying out biometric identification. The programme can also have a counter effect on the Forest Rights Act (FRA). It could go against traditional living conditions that forest inhibitors have been following for centuries.

To Conclude..

Digitising land records can truly help to effectively manage land administration in India. However, like any other system, it does have its own set of drawbacks that could surface over time. India is especially a country with disputed land records and outdated data. If the risk factors are not weighted well, the digitization of land records will hardly end up being a game-changer as it is currently pitched to be. The key lies in rectifying the previous injustices and updating existing land details before they can entirely move towards the new process.

To stay updated on everything related to the digitising of land records and all the updates on the government land record portals, you can visit Finserv MARKETS.