As part of the Indian government’s aim to digitise 100% of land records by 2024, 28 States and Union Territories have adopted the National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS), which is a digital portal developed to maintain land records. This portal will create a unified database for land and property records.
The objective of the application is to provide a single platform for document registration and property evaluation that will be used by sub-registrars, citizens, and apex users from registration departments across the country.
The NGDRS application has several features such as online document entry for citizens, online valuation modules, SMS and email alerts to citizens and departmental users, role-based access to citizens and departmental users, and UID-based authentication, among others.
The project comes alongside other government initiatives to digitise health and education records through a foundational plan that involves creating separate registries for stakeholder entities, a unique ID — Bhu-Aadhaar — linked to common national IDs like Aadhaar and integration of these databases through APIs which allow for the interoperability of various services like registrations or transfer of land ownerships.
Bhu-Aadhaar is a 14-digit alpha-numeric number generated based on the latitude and longitude of the vertices of each land parcel. This unique ID will also be integrated with other governmental programs like Agristack, Minimum Support Price schemes, land acquisition projects, border management, hydel and power projects, loans and mortgages, among other purposes.
The Bhu-Naksha project introduced in 2022 is another project under the Digital India Land Record Modernisation Program implemented in 2016. The Bhu-Nakasha initiative provisions for mapping boundaries and conducting spatial measurement of land to computerise land records and produce digitised maps of a region with parcels of demarcated lands. These parcels of land are then identified by a Bhu-Aadhaar number.
Karnataka was the first state to computerise land records under the Bhoomi project followed by Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in 2001.
While the digitisation of land records is expected to mitigate land-related disputes in Indian Courts, concerns related to accuracy in mapping areas as per physical demarcation, lack of documentation, manipulation of digital records, and the uncertainties about mechanisms to challenge digital records on the basis of existing rules, demand attention.
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