Madhya Pradesh’s Revenue Court Management System (RCMS) keeps track of the progress of revenue cases in all the courts!
When Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of India introduced the office of the District Collector in 1772, he had twin objectives in mind – collecting revenue and ensuring peace. But over time, land management and peace keeping have been on the backburner and district collectors are seen as representatives of the Central and state government to execute development projects in their respective territories. This has happened even as the number of land disputes and revenue cases have sky-rocketed, adding to the woes of the already distressed farmers.
The issue is compounded by the fact that unlike the National Judicial Data Grid that gives real time details about the number of disposed and pending cases from the level of District Courts to Supreme Court, there is no such platform for revenue cases. In some states, the chief secretary has to rely on the data shared by the same district collector who may have contributed to growing pendency.
“One of the fundamental weaknesses that all of us realise is that focus on land management, which was the main job of the department, is being diverted in favour of other areas—this has been an area of concern for all,” said Manu Shrivastava, principal secretary, department of science & technology, Madhya Pradesh.
To address this challenge and reduce pendency, the Madhya Pradesh government has recently launched the Revenue Court Management System (RCMS). It is an online platform that tracks the progress of revenue cases in all the revenue courts—from the level of nayab tehsildar to tehsildar to sub-divisional magistrate to additional collector to collector and the Board of Revenue.
The online platform provides details such as the number of cases pending in each revenue courts, their next hearing dates and the status of disposed cases on an intuitive dashboard. So, from a tehsildar to the chief secretary, any official can find out how many cases are pending in different courts.
According to Shrivastava, this information is now being used by the present Madhya Pradesh chief secretary, leading to a significant drop in pendency. “Law and order problems often originate from problems pertaining to land. Our new system has had an impact on the functioning of government and delivery of services. Our goal is not just to promote information technology (IT), but to impact government processes or final delivery of services in a meaningful way with the help of technological intervention,” said Shrivastava.
The RCMS is more or less similar to what states like Haryana and Himachal Pradesh already have in place but the differentiating feature with Madhya Pradesh is its indigenous nature—be it RCMS or the other key IT projects, they have been built by state’s own IT cadre led by the Madhya Pradesh Agency for Promotion of Information Technology (MAP-IT).
“Mostly in the government, where programmes are implemented, tenders are offered and outsourced to a company. However, we have software
engineers employed in our organisation who undertake these programmes. Project management is done by us, ensuring privacy and data ownership,” said Shrivastava.