Even as 86% of India’s land records were computerised by September 2017, progress across the 36 states and union territories remained uneven with 15 states/UTs having more than a fifth of records yet to be digitised, according to a report from PRS Legislative Research, a New Delhi-based advocacy.
The Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme was launched in August 2008 to “modernise management of land records, minimise scope of land/property disputes, enhance transparency in land records maintenance system, and facilitate moving eventually towards guaranteed conclusive titles to immovable properties in the country”.
Under Indian law, land titles are currently presumptive: that is, they only tell you in whose name the title is at the moment, not who all own the land. The title does not specify if others have a claim of ownership to the land, often leading to disputes after the land has been sold. The buyer is supposed to find out all the owners and settle their claims.
In contrast, state guarantees ownership in conclusive land titles and provides for compensation in case of disputes.
Tamil Nadu, Goa and Kerala were among the richer states that had digitised less than 80% of land records.
Digitisation of record of rights — documenting details of a property — remained marginal-to- absent in 23 states/UTs.
Andhra Pradesh was the only large state that had digitised more than 80% records of rights at 98% by September 2017.
By September 2017, only 16 states/UTs had digitised cadastral maps, which record the area, ownership and value of a plot.
(Vipul is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)