Digital India: After Aadhaar for individuals, land units to have unique IDs

Published: September 19, 2019 7:17:15 AM

According to official sources, an inter-ministerial committee consisting of the ministries of rural development, IT, agriculture and law — has already started the work for roll-out of the Aadhaar-like IDs for land within the next six months.

Digitisation, Adhaar, individual, land unit, unique ID, Adhaar card,  agriculture credit, GIS tagged, rural development, IT, agriculture, law Since land is a state subject, a lot of efforts will go into convincing states to deliver within a deadline, the official added.

By Prabhudatta Mishra

Thanks to the headway made by the states in digitisation of land records — as many as 16 have reported that 100% of their land records are now digital —, the government has embarked on a plan to provide a unique identity number to each landholding, so that the land titles/ownerships are clear and indisputably defined and the location of each plot is GIS-tagged.

The unique identity numbers for landholdings have multiple benefits: Clear titles and the resultant facility to track transactions could spur the urban and rural real estate markets, which have been in the doldrums for quite a while; determination and collection of taxes like stamp duty and registration fees would be easier and as a result government revenues will be protected, disbursal of various subsidies and sops which are linked to land holdings (like agriculture credit, PM-Kisan handouts, fertiliser subsidy, crop insurance) could be made faster and more targetted.

According to official sources, an inter-ministerial committee consisting of the ministries of rural development, IT, agriculture and law — has already started the work for roll-out of the Aadhaar-like IDs for land within the next six months.

“Data on land and farmers are very crucial to ensure the subsidies reach them directly,” said an official privy to the discussions on this subject within the government. Since land is a state subject, a lot of efforts will go into convincing states to deliver within a deadline, the official added. The inter-ministerial panel is headed by HS Meena, joint secretary in department of land resources.

So far, 22 states have validated digitally signed land records. The Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP) was started in 2008 by merging two previous schemes. One of the key objectives of DILRMP was to ensure automated and automatic mutation, and replace the present deeds registration and presumptive title system with that of conclusive titling with title guarantee.

The plan for unique land IDs has faced delays. Initially, the idea was to link land records with Aadhaar numbers of individuals, but the September 2018 Supreme Court order – barring use of Aadhaar in a way that could be construed as state surveillance of citizens but allowing its use for transfer of state subsidies/benefits and services – came as a stumbling block.

Once the unique land IDs are issued, agriculture credit, where the diversion is estimated to be 30-40% –, could become less leaky, said noted economist Ashok Gulati. “A massive misuse of agriculture credit is going on since it is subsidised and offered at 4% interest rate,” he said. Any person taking a crop loan will be immediately traced whether he used it for agriculture or some other purposes, Gulati said. It is estimated that 4-7 times the value of agriculture inputs is being shown under agriculture credit.

In 2017-18, Rs 11.63 lakh crore was disbursed under farm credit, according to official data; the target for 2018-19 was Rs 11 lakh crore, but it may have been crossed.

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