Government of India initiated a Pilot Project in 1991-92 in District Kangra for computerisation of Core data contained in the land records so as to assist development planning and to make the records more accessible to the people, planners and administrators. Thereafter a full-fledged Centrally Sponsored Scheme on computerisation of the land records was formulated in 1994 with the following objectives:
(a) To facilitate easy maintenance and updating of the changes which occur in the land database such as changes due to availability of irrigation, consolidation or on account of legal changes like transfer of ownership, partition, land acquisition, lease etc.
(b) To provide for comprehensive scrutiny to make the land records tamper-proof, which indirectly is expected to reduce the menace of litigation and social conflicts, associated with the disputes.
(c) To provide the required support for implementation of development programmes for which data about distribution of land holdings is vital.
(d) To facilitate detailed planning in the areas of infrastructural development as well as environmental development.
(e) & To facilitate preparation of periodical records through a mechanized process and thereby producing accurate documents for recording details such as collection of land revenue, cropping pattern etc.
(f) To facilitate collection/compilation/supply of all information in reply to variety of standard and ad-hoc queries on land data.
(g) To provide database for Agriculture Census.
(h) To issue of updated copy of Record of Rights (ROR) to land holders quickly and
at a cheaper rate.
Kangra Pilot Project
Initially in a Pilot Project in District Kangra, the Software was developed in Foxplus under UNIX. The computerisation efforts involved was confined to production of the Jamabandi (Record of Rights) in order to give copies. However, several difficulties were experienced in devising and operating the Software including the following:
i. The practice of writing Jamabandies varied from location to location as a result of which Software development became complicated.
ii. The process of updating Jamabandies through mutations was not properly incorporated into the Software.
iii. Various other revenue records such as Shajra Nasb and Khasra Girdawari were left out of the computerisation process.
iv. Since the objective was only to produce Jamabandies, no effort was made to develop a query system on agricultural and land records statistics, to meet the requirements of the Scheme.
The implementation of the Software in District Kangra between 1994 and 1996 revealed many practical problems in entering data with the accuracy required to maintain computerized records. The major problem was that the manually maintained records had numerous errors of a clerical, arithmetical and logical nature that had to be corrected before it could be accepted into the database. The correction process took enormous time because of the legal difficulties in determining the correct entry in many cases. The procedures required to be followed were also lengthy. The approach taken in Kangra as a result was to allow free data entry (with minimal validation), which compounded the problem because now the purpose of producing error free records from the computer was defeated.
After in depth review and with the assistance of another Pilot Project in District Sirmaur, a fresh effort was launched to develop a more comprehensive land records computerisation system. Technically the improvement started with development of the Software in Oracle 7.0 under UNIX instead of Foxplus under UNIX, because Oracle was more powerful Software and also improved the security of the data so essential to land records. The Software was made more comprehensive by including all the main land records. Separate Software modules were envisaged for:
i. Shajra Nasb,
ii. Jamabandi and associated statements,
iv. Khasra Girdawari, and
v. Agricultural statistics.
vi. Kisan Pass Books etc.
The Software uses data entered in one module to produce reports in all the relevant modules thus saving much time and effort. The Software also supports extensive queries and produces reports required for planning, to answer Assembly Questions, to give periodical reports required under the Land Records Manual etc.
Window Based Software
Due to change in technology as well as its implementation in Tehsils, the software renamed as ’HimBhoomi’ has been converted into the windows environment which is very robust and user friendly software operated by Patwaries(Matriculate) in the Tehsils themselves.
1. The computerization of Genealogical/Pedigree Table (Family Tree) is unique feature of this software and is not available in any other Land Records application developed in India. It allows entry of ’n’ generations of a family resulting in data of 500 years or even more as a family tree.
2. On the basis of Genealogical Table (Shajra Nasb), rationalization of large number of castes and sub-castes can be done.
3. It replicates the existing manual system with systemic improvements and process reengineering, thereby enabling its faster replication and better acceptability by the revenue staff.
4. HimBhoomi makes no distinction between rural and urban area land records whereas in other states only focus is primarily on rural area.
5. A Unique code is assigned to each individual appearing in any capacity in land records thereby enabling anyone to know the extent of land possessed, which could be a basis for many e-governance applications. In addition to this, numerous inferences can be derived from analytical studies to be carried out on the basis of this Unique Code. For instance, person claiming to be a small farmer (but actually having scattered land at numerous locations) can be easily identified. Similarly, extent of fragmentation of land and its impact on yield over the decades can be quantified. Moreover, a person enjoying different statuses illegally (e.g. a tenant and landowner at the same time) can be identified.
6. This software facilitates mutation entry and generation of Nakal and Jamabandi. Mutations get assimilated in to the database (and not merely as a text entry). Thus, theoretically speaking, a new Jamabandi can be generated instantaneously and automatically
7. Records of Rights which are normally updated after every five years in manual system is now up to date with each transaction.
8. Automatic generation of new Jamabandi/RoRs takes place after incorporating changes from:
b. Government Orders / Notifications
c. Fard Badr / Errata
d. Possession Changes from Harvest Inspections
9. For any piece of land, the complete history of various mutations/transactions taken place is easily available.
10. This software includes Land Reforms (e.g. limitation on transfer of land on which a tenancy exists) detail. This is a unique feature that has not been attempted in any similar software in the country.
11. It has Customary Rights (called Wazib-ul-Arj in Himachal Pradesh) & Forestry (TD) Rights (Naksha Bartandari) details that are often requisitioned by various Courts of Law. This aspect too has not been incorporated in similar exercises elsewhere in India.
12. This software creates a complete MIS as it encompasses Minor Irrigation Census, Agriculture Census details there by helping the Department in smooth conduct of irrigation & agriculture census which are conducted after every five years. This may lead to substantial saving of effort and resources as much of the information related to it can be extracted from HimBhoomi databases.
13. Revenue village code in this software is same as the census village code. Hence,all the data can be correlated with the Land Records database to carry out various even micro level studies down to the individual level.
14. The process of writing the Records of Rights and associated documents/reports used to take minimum 3-4 months for preparation has now been reduced to maximum of 7 days thereby freeing the village level revenue officials to devote his/her time in other important activities.
15. The public can easily obtain RoR any time from the centers established for this purpose at nominal cost without any hassles.
16. With computerization, the record is uniform, neat and standardized.
17. Extensive codification like locational parameters based on census codification,land types, caste/sub-caste types, cultivator types, 9-fold land classification and general remarks etc. are the hallmark of the HimBhoomi
software. The pattern of 9-fold land classification has been adopted by the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India for uniform implementation in similar exercises in India.
The introduction of ICT have played a significant role by not only standardizing theLand records documents, procedures and implementation of various acts & policies but has also made life of people easy by making available legible records of rights (ROR) in time without any hassle and they need not chase the Patwari for copy of ROR. The computerisation has been adopted overwhelmingly both by department as well as the public. Patwari has more time to serve public and perform multiple official duties and at the same time, the public has been put into convenient position as one can obtain RoR from Tehsil/Sub-Tehsil centre on any working day by filling a simple application form. Instances have come to notice where for taking copy of ROR, one had to wait 2-3 months where as now it is available in just 10 minutes.
Following benefits are expected from the huge databases generated due to land records computerisation in Himachal Pradesh:
1. The meaningful MIS being generated from HimBhoomi Database can be used for planning poverty alleviation programs, supplying agricultural inputs to small farmer’s etc.
2. Banks and other financial institutions can be provided with access to the database for processing requests for crop loans.
3. Courts can access the database for settlement of land disputes between parties.
4. The system can also be effectively used to better administer the Land Reforms Act, such as enforcing ceiling on land holdings etc.
5. The unique code assigned to each individual (in whichever capacity) can help & form the basis of many e-governance applications which mainly focus on citizen.Few such areas which can benefit are citizen identity card preparation, voter list preparation and updation, ration card preparation and continuous updation,conduct of next human census.
6. The database generated will also be processed for the issuance of various types of certificates like caste, income, backward class, IRDP, Bonafide etc.
7. In knowing the pieces of lands /plots of particular size at various locations for the setting-up industry and other business.
(i) The process starts by taking-up the data entry from Misal-Hakiyat (Jamabandi prepared during Settlement Operations) or the last Jamabandi written for the village. The data entry is started by first entering the Shajra-Nasb. That is, each individual appearing in the Jamabandi is indexed and assigned a unique Code, and then the related Jamabandi details are entered against this Index.
(ii) After the initial data entry is completed, a printout of the existing Jamabandi, including its Shajra Nasb and other reports, is generated and given to the concerned Patwari for cross checking and reporting errors, if any. The Patwari and then the Kanungo concerned ensure that the existing Jamabandi is generated 100% correct, by getting the reported data entry errors corrected. They issue then a certificate also to this effect.
(iii) Once the existing Jamabandi is generated 100% correct, data entry from the Mutation Register for the village is started. After the Mutation Data entry is completed, printout of the Intermediate Next Jamabandi & Shajra Nasb is generated and given to the concerned Patwari for checking and reporting error, if any. After correcting the reported errors, if any, Final Next Jamabandi & Shajra-Nasb along with all the related reports is printed and given to the concerned Patwari for record.
(iv) Upon field verification of Jamabandi, the data is ported to Tehsil for onlineentry of mutations and issue of copy/Nakal of Record of Rights (ROR).
The whole process if goes smoothly then reduces the job of generating an average Jamabandi and associated reports to a period of less than 7 days at the maximum which is very short when compared to the time of 3-4 months devoted in the preparation of the record manually.