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Digitisation of records, land reforms turn ‘Naya J&K’ hi-tech


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 In October 2021, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha launched ‘Aapki Zameen Aapki Nigrani’ initiative to facilitate easy online access to the land records system, reduce manipulation, and improve efficiency of Revenue offices in the Himalayan region. Since then there has been no looking back.

‘Aapki Zameen Aapki Nigrani’ under the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme(DILRMP) was aimed at modernizing management of land records and enhancing transparency in the maintenance mechanism.

 Introduction of the new system has reduced the scope of land, property disputes, and has facilitated conclusive titles to immovable properties across the Union Territory.

The major components of the programme included computerization and digitization of land records, survey, resurvey and updation of all survey and settlement records, integration of property registration with land records and cadastral maps for enhancing authenticity and security of data.

After the launching of ‘Aapki Zameen Aapki Nigrani’ 1553 Patwarkhanas have empowered the common citizens in ‘Naya Jammu and Kashmir.’

The work of digitization of land records is going on in all 20 districts across the Union Territory. Of 6912 villages, the process of digitisation has been completed in 3049 villages i.e. land records of about 44.11 per cent villages have been digitised.

The government has embarked on the mission to create a database of all the relevant records and information for extending all the help readily on a real time basis. These steps have made the Revenue officials accountable as the process is on to make all the records available online so that every inch of the land owned or possessed by anyone remains in public domain.

Revenue records click away

Before August 5, 2019–when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J-K’s special status and divided it into two Union Territories–there was no mechanism available for citizens to view or monitor the status of their revenue records online. They had to move from pillar-to-post to obtain even a copy of land records like Jamabandi or Khasra Girdwari.

 The opacity in the system encouraged corruption, putting citizens at the mercy of the system. The digitisation of land records has ushered transparency and accountability.

The so-called elite class in J-K since 1947 to 2019 used to believe that it’s above the law and it could keep whatever it wants. During the past three years noose has been tightened around big business families that were allotted land on lease at throw away prices at prime locations by the former regimes. The properties under their possession are being re-evaluated and the records are being put straight. Lease period of many properties has expired. 

These families are being asked to either renew the lease as per the present market value or surrender the properties under their possession.

 The land leased out at prime locations to the influential people had remained away from the public glaze for 70 long years but after the digitisation process commenced everything came to fore.

‘Aapki Zameen Aapki Nigrani’ initiative has made the revenue records accessible at one click. The public users can now search and view copies of the scanned data online on CIS Portal- http://landrecords.jk.gov.in/.

Nearly 7.70 crore pages of revenue record and 55216 Musavi (maps) have been scanned, besides 3895 ground control points have been established, and a web-based enterprise Geo-Information System (GIS) has been developed.

After the notification of Jammu and Kashmir Agricultural Land (Conversion for non-agricultural purposes) Regulations, 2022 was issued Change in Land Use process has been simplified. The applications for the same can now be filed online and disposal shall be within 30 days.

Under Jammu and Kashmir Land Pass-Book Rules 2022, Land Pass-book with verifiable QR Code, Unique Numbers are being issued to the land owners this has led to decline in number of land dispute cases and has made it easy to check fraudulent transactions.

Adaptation of Central Laws

Nearly one year after abrogation of the abrogation of Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution, the Centre abolished 7-decade old “Big Land Estates Abolition Act 1950,” under which the erstwhile princely state witnessed the redistribution of land to end Zamindari system.

In October 2020, the Centre notified the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, enabling a host of new changes to the erstwhile state.

The implementation of the new law opened up Jammu and Kashmir to the world as it provided that anyone who wanted to buy non-agricultural land in J-K didn’t require a permanent resident certificate.

The Union Home Ministry also notified the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, paving the way for the acquisition of land in J-K by all Indian citizens. Prior to the implementation of this act the Article 35-A of J-K Constitution, which was scrapped on August 5, 2019, placed prohibitions on the sale of land to those who were non-state subjects.

The new law also empowered the government to declare any area in J-K as ‘strategic’ and intended for the direct operational and training requirement of the armed forces.

Real Estate Summit

After the new land reforms were introduced and implemented the J-K Government organized the first-ever real estate summit in Jammu in December 2021 in which 39 Memorandum of Understanding worth Rs 18,300 crore were signed with the country’s real estate investors for the development of housing and commercial projects in the Union Territory.

In April this year Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha held consultations with top officials and team from the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) including the members of its elected council, president and vice-presidents, office-bearers of JK Economic Growth and Development Dialogue (LEAD) and town planning consultants to chalk out the modalities for the second Real Estate Summit to be held in Srinagar.

The land reforms and the digitisation of land records in Jammu and Kashmir have proven to be major steps towards systematic growth of urban and rural areas in J-K.

The aim is clear i.e. to create robust urban infrastructure, and improve the system of public service delivery for quality living. Experts are studying the model of other cities to create affordable, inclusive, ecologically sustainable housing equipped with the best essential basic services for a common man. 

The efforts are on to transform the landscape of real estate across ‘Naya Jammu and Kashmir’ and the people are supporting each and every move of the government to transform the Himalayan region, which remained deprived of progress and prosperity due to Article 370 remaining in vogue for 70-years. 

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