Revenue minister’s first meeting to discuss digitization delay

K Rajan

Thiruvananthapuram: The delay in the digitization of land records will come up for discussion at an online meeting of district collectors Revenue Minister K Rajan has convened, his first after taking charge, on Monday.

Crores of rupees have been spent for the digitization process, which was to be completed in three phases. The digitalization of the basic task register and 'thandaper' (revenue record of the property) was included in the first phase.

While digitalization of survey documents has been envisaged in the second phase, the third phase involved digital mapping. Digital mapping was meant to offer maps to people through a geographic information system after a statewide field survey.

Though the State Budgets over the past five years had allocated Rs 350 crore for various projects, statistics revealed that more than Rs 140 crore was unutilized.

The funds lapsed included Rs 50 crore granted to the formation of Land Settlement Authority meant to provide digital maps of all villages online, another Rs 50 crore allotted for digital mapping, and Rs 42 crore earmarked for the delivery of land records and services.

The land tax could be remitted online only if all village records were completely digitized, which is also necessary for allowing mutation of properties online. The deal in implementing the facility has caused difficulties to people in several villages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State had launched the online mutation facility in 2015 August, followed by the acceptance of tax online in 2016 February.

The minister informed the other day that the digitization was completed in only 86 villages in the State.

It is alleged that opposition by service organizations has been the major reason behind the delay in the digitization of records. The modernization of village offices, too, have not been completed. Of the 1665 villages, only less than 500 have smart village offices.

The meeting will also discuss the distribution of 'pattayams' (first and original land records) to the landless, various projects under the Rebuild Kerala initiative, and pre-monsoon preparations in the districts. Revenue Principal Secretary and Land Revenue Commissioner will also attend the meeting.

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