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  3. THE ‘W’ QUESTIONS WHAT - Bhoomi is a project jointly funded by the Government Of India and the Government of Karnataka to digitize the paper land records and create a software mechanism to control changes to the land registry in Karnataka. WHY - The project was designed to eliminate the long-standing problem of inefficiency and corruption in the maintenance of land records at dispersed and poorly supervised and audited block-level offices known as "taluka" offices in South India and "tehsildar" offices in North India. WHERE AND WHEN - Bhoomi was implemented by the Government of Karnataka in the year 2001.
  4. INTRODUCTION E governance is the application of information and communication technologies to the processes of government functioning so as to have simple, accountable, speedy and responsive governance. E-governance involves new styles of leadership, new ways of debating and deciding policy and investment, new ways of listening to citizens and new ways of organizing and delivering information and services.
  5. E GOVERNANCE IN INDIA • The establishment of NIC ( National Informatics Centre ) in 1977 was the first major step towards e governance in India. • The government approved the national e governance plan, comprising of 27 mission mode projects in 2006. • A large number of initiatives have been undertaken by both central and state governments to promote e governance in the country. • Bhoomi is one such significant e governance initiative jointly funded by both government of India and government of Karnataka to digitalize paper land records and create a software mechanism to control changes to the land registry in Karnataka.
  6. IMPORTANCE OF LAND RECORDS  The collection of land revenue and the existence of the institutions of the state have been co-terminus. A historical analysis of ancient Indian policy suggests that tax on land played a pivotal part in the evolution and maintenance of the systems of governance. In ancient times, land revenue was possibly the only source from which the entire income of the government was derived.  Further, it was levied on a large section of the population as a major proportion of the people relied on land for their livelihood and existence. Thus, tax on land proved to be the primary source of the state’s wealth. The revenue collected varied among regions and also depended upon the regimes.  The mode of assessment and collection underwent a change when the British took over the administration. Lands were measured roughly and village records of lands were gradually built up.  Thus, closely linked to the collection of land revenue was the creation of an array of land records wherein collection of revenue could be systematised and recorded.  India’s independence ushered in the era of the welfare state and accordingly ‘land revenue’ or the tax on agricultural land also witnessed a reduction.
  7.  Further, other sources of taxation became the primary sources of income for the Government. In spite the decline in the importance of land revenue, the importance of land records cannot be undermined. The entire structure of land records management that was associated with revenue collection now had to sustain its relevance suo moto.  Thus, the concept of collection of revenue necessitated the maintenance of land records, in a rudimentary form in ancient times and a more systematic form during the British administration. Maintenance of land records has now become more vital for administrators and creation of a land information system is one of the key issues governance is facing today.  Land records itself is a generic expression and could include, in Karnataka State, records like the Register of Lands of Khetwar Patrika, Records of Rights, Tenancy and Crop Inspection Register (RTC) Form 16, Khata Register (Form 24), Khirdi (Form 25), Mutation Register (Form 12), Disputed Cases Register (Form 8), etc.  However, certain types of information relating to land play a more important role. These may include primary information about land presented in terms of its geological information like the shape, size, land forms, soils; economic information related to the use of irrigation and crops; and the information pertaining to legal rights, registration and taxation. No improvement in land can be made without acquiring rights to the land.
  8. BEFORE BHOOMI  In Karnataka State, the land records were earlier maintained through a manual system, involving 9,000 village accountants, each serving a cluster of 3–4 villages.  Eight registers were maintained to record the following types of information: 1. Information on current ownership of each parcel of land, its area and cropping pattern, disputes, mutations and 2. Village maps that reflect the boundaries of each parcel. Requests to alter land records (upon sale or inheritance of a land parcel) had to be filed with the village accountant. • However, for various reasons (cases of disputes or to extract bribes) the village accountant could afford to ignore these ‘mutation’ requests. Upon receiving a request, the village accountant is required to issue notices to the interested parties and also paste the notice at the village office. Often, neither of these actions was carried out, and no record of the notices was maintained. Notices were rarely sent through post.
  9.  Theoretically, if no objections were received within a 30-day period, the land records were updated by a revenue inspector. In practice, however, it could take 1–2 years for the records to be updated. Landowners found it difficult to access the village accountant, as his duties entail travelling. The time taken by village accountants to provide RTCs ranged from 3 to 30 days, depending upon the importance of the record for the farmer and the size of the bribe.  A typical bribe for a certificate could range from Rs.100 to Rs.2000. If some details were to be written in an ambiguous fashion, out of selfish motives, the bribe could go up to Rs.10, 000.  Land records in the custody of the village accountant were not open for public scrutiny. Over a period, several inaccuracies crept into the old system through improper manipulation by the village accountant, particularly with respect to government land.  Even where accountants were law-abiding, village maps could not remain accurate as the land was parcelled into very small lots over generations. The system of physical verification of records by deputy tahsildars (supervisors of village accountants) became weak as the number of records multiplied and these functionaries were burdened with a host of other regulatory and developmental work.
  10. BHOOMI • Land records management system known by the name Bhoomi, was implemented by Government of Karnataka in the year 2001, in collaboration with National Informatics Centre (NIC) as technical partner. • The project was designed to eliminate the long- standing problem of inefficiency and corruption in the maintenance of land records at dispersed and poorly supervised and audited block-level offices known as "taluka" offices in South India and "tehsildar" offices in North India. The project development and implementation was done by National Informatics Centre.
  11. INCEPTION • Prior to Bhoomi, the Government of Karnataka had launched a scheme of computerization of land records in 1991. The Gulbarga district was the pilot chosen from among 24 districts, and by 1996 the project was extended to cover all districts of the state. Though funds were sanctioned for digitizing the land records data, there was not enough clarity about their validation and subsequent updations. Due to varying reasons, ranging from apathy to bureaucracy, the project failed in its objective. • Bhoomi was born out of this failure. In 1999, a new project was envisaged digitizing of 20 mn odd land records belonging to 6.7 mn landowners in 177 talukas of Karnataka. But implementing this project in 177 locations was a daunting challenge due to the poor quality of the manually maintained records, and the task of entering this enormous data. Thats when the National Informatics Center designed the Bhoomi Software. • The project was implemented at the cost of Rs 20 crore, jointly by the Government of India and the Karnataka state government, and was officially launched in February 2001.
  12. DESCRIPTION OF BHOOMI PROJECT • The computerisation of land registration project was spear headed by the then State Additional Secretary Rajeev Chawla and had already computerised 20 million records of land ownership of 6.7 million farmers. • Now, all that farmer has to do is pay Rs.15 and get a print out of his / her RTC. Touch screen kiosks at district offices help farmers view their records directly. • In this system, when a change of ownership takes place through sale of inheritance, farmers can apply for a mutation of the land record at the Bhoomi centre. • Each application is given a number, which can later be used to check the status of application. The computer generates notices which are handed over to the village accountants.
  13. • The Revenue Inspector approves changes to the land record 30 days after the notices are served, provided that there are no objections. • It takes few days for the approval to reach the Bhoomi kiosk and handed over to the village accountant for his / her record. The new owner receives a copy on demand. • Another significant aspect is that the Bhoomi kiosks create scanned copies of original mutation orders and notices to avoid litigation troubles.
  14. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF BHOOMI • To facilitate easy maintenance and regular update of land records. • To make land records tamper proof. • To provide farmers easy access to their land records. • To create databases of land revenue, cropping pattern, land use etc,. • To utilize the data for planning and formulating development programmes. • To enable usage of this data base by courts, banks, private organisations and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). • Integrating all land related activities electronically with Bhoomi and to update all ROR with minimum or no human intervention.
  15. FEATURES OF BHOOMI • BHOOMI is an online system to carry out mutation on the live data. • It has built-in workflow automation, which moves transactions from one officer to another in the system. • The process of mutation on the BHOOMI is fully synchronised with the fieldwork done by the revenue officials • It also facilitates scanning of the filed mutation order passed by revenue authorities and notice served on the public and storing into database so that it can be referred easily in future for various purposes. • It has also been integrated with Fingerprint ( biometrics) technology to ensure better authentication system instead of traditional password system. This enforces the concept of non – repudiation.
  16. • The software is in local language ( kannada) for easy use by officials. • Various analysis reports can be generated in text format and also viewed in graphical style • Approval of the transactions is on first-in-first-out basis • Transactions will be pushed into next approval authority if it had not been approved by the concerned personnel after specified period.
  17. KEY PLAYERS Three organizations have helped in bringing up the project to this stage. (a) Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, has sponsored and funded the scheme from the initial stage. (b) The ranks of Revenue Department of Government of Karnataka from V.A. to Secretary level have played important role in successful implementation of this project. (c) National Informatics Centre, Karnataka State Unit and the District centres have provided the full technical and implementation support.
  18. WHAT IS RTC? • Record of rights, tenancy, and crop inspection is known as RTC or Pahani. • It is basically a land record that contains details relating to land such as owner’s details, area, assessment, water rate, nature of possession of the land, liabilities, tenancy, etc. • It is a cross-verification document required to know the genuineness of the owner while purchasing land and also helps in raising farm loan from the bank. • When the sale transaction is being carried out it is required at the Sub-Registrar’s office.
  19. The RTC includes the owner details and land details such as: • Name of the landowner and cultivator. • Identification of soil type. • Type of land. • Crops grown on the land. • Area of the land. • Commercial, agricultural, non-agricultural and residential etc. • Nature of possession. • Water rate, i.e. how much water is to be utilised to keep the land. • Tenancy. • Liabilities on the land, such as bank loans, etc.
  20. BHOOMI IMPLEMENTATION - STAGES • The Government of Karnataka has set up a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary (Revenue) to take major policy decisions in respect of financial, technical and administrative issues. • In addition to this, a BHOOMI Advisory Committee has been set up under the chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner of the rank of Secretary, to decide and review the software requirements for BHOOMI. • The Karnataka Government has entrusted the responsibility of execution of this project to, IAS, Additional Secretary, Revenue Department, who is instrumental in execution of the project by coordinating with district officers, technical providers etc…. • The implementation process of computerization of land records starts with digitizing the legacy data.
  21. A. DIGITISATION OF LEGACY DATA • The first and most important step to kick-start the Bhoomi system was to capture legacy data records, numbering about 20 million, which the village accountants were in possession of. • For this purpose, a comprehensive data entry software, Bhoomi, was designed after extensive discussions at various workshops at division, district and state levels. • The manual records were withdrawn in a phased manner from the entire state. • A print out of the computerised records was individually signed by village accountants (100%), revenue inspectors (30%), shirasthedars (5%), tahsildars (3%), assistant commissioners (2%), and deputy commissioners. (1%) after comparing the record with the manual registers to authenticate the data. • They also put their seal with the name and designation along with the date of verification. • As and when the process of comparison and certification is over in a taluk, a notification is issued by the Deputy Commissioner prescribing use of only computerised RTCs for all legal and other purposes.
  22. B. MUTATION • Mutation is the process of updating textual information, of the changes in data, due to sale, inheritance, partition, donation, gift, mortgage, grant from the government, conversion of land, acquisition, court orders, will, etc. • When a change of ownership takes place through sale or inheritance, farmers can file an application for a mutation of the land record at the Bhoomi centre at a separate operator- assisted counter that handles mutations. Data from the application is entered into the terminal at the counter and a checklist is generated for manual verification of data and documents by a supervisor. • Each request is assigned a number. The number can be used by the applicant to check the status of the application on a touch-screen provided on a pilot basis in some of the computerised kiosks. • Once the manual verification is complete, an entry is made in the back end server which automatically generates notices that have to be served to the affected parties.
  23. • Notices are collected by the village accountants on their visit to the taluk office; he serves these notices to interested parties and gets their acknowledgement on one of the notice copies. • If everything's in order, the revenue inspector passes the appropriate mutation order in the mutation registers after a prescribed period of 30 days from the date the notice is issued to the party. The mutation order is then brought to the Bhoomi centre. • The revenue inspector who has passed these orders in the field authenticates the data entry. The deputy tahsildar verifies that everything typed and scanned is as per physical mutation records. The system then automatically updates the particular land record. • Nearly 90 per cent of the mutations are due to registration of the documents and remaining 10 per cent are reports received at the taluk Bhoomi center directly from the public
  24. C. PHODI (DIVISION OF LAND) • Acceptance of Mutation in Bhoomi is followed by Phodi in Survey section. • Phodi is a series of activities, like giving notices to the interested parties, surveying the field, mapping, recording measurement, information on adjacent lands, etc. • The entire process of phodi would normally take 30 days.
  25. D. CROP UPDATION • Crop updation is a batch process done three times a year. Bhoomi data of concerned crop fields are supposed to be provided to a private data entry agency for the updation process. Checklists are to be generated after crop updation and should be validated and signed by village accountants before updated data is merged with the Bhoomi main database
  26. E. LEGAL FRAMEWORK • The unamended Karnataka Land Revenue Act did not provide for a computerised system. The Act has now been amended and provides for the storage of data on storage devices and use of Bhoomi software as provided by the government from time to time.
  27. TALUKA INFRASTRUCTURE • The Bhoomi project has following components in the taluka: (a)The first component is the back-end where the revenue officials will carry out updating activities on the BHOOMI. (b) The second component is the Land Records Centre; set up at the entrance of taluka/block office, which is operated by a Village Accountant. This provides the public interface from where one can collect the signed land records document on demand or submit a request to carry out the mutation on his/her land. The authenticity of the printed RTC is the signature of the Revenue Assistant, designated in the center for certification. (c) The third component is the Touch Screen Kiosk, established at the entrance of taluka/block office. The farmer can use this to see his document and the status of the mutation-in-process without intervention of Revenue officials.
  28. TECHNOLOGY USED • Online process of land records system has been built using state-of-the-art technology. It is designed and implemented using Client/Server architecture under Windows NT 4.0 operating system. It uses one of the powerful Relational Data Base Management System (RDBMS),Microsoft SQL Server 7.0, as a back end tool to maintain the data. • The front-end GUI based BHOOMI software is developed using Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 for effective transaction processing. • As BHOOMI software has established the e-governance in Karnataka State, the fundamental principle of owning the transaction committed by a government official is well taken care of. • For the foolproof security of data Compaq's Fingerprint (Biometrics) Technology is interfaced with BHOOMI software. • ‘ISM Soft’ Software of C-DAC has been interfaced for local language (Indian-Kannada) • Past experiences of NIC in developing the application software include Interfacing biometric devices, local language support, understanding the revenue system including variations in the manual processes at various taluks and providing additional security features within the operating system and the database chosen for the development.
  29. PHASES OF BHOOMI PHASE – 1: END OF MARCH 2001 • Captured about 50 lakhs RTCs data of 50 sub districts on digital media. • Commencement of the project in 50 sub districts. • Trained revenue staff up to Village Accountant level on data entry operation- total number 8000. PHASE – 2: END OF MARCH 2002 • Captured the data on 15 million RTCs of remaining 127 sub- districts in digital form. • The scheme began in remaining 127 sub districts. • Scheme decentralised to 5 sub taluks on experimental basis.
  30. PHASE – 3: APRIL 2002 TO MARCH 2003 • Interlinking of sub-district level systems to put the data online. • Use these data centres for disaster recovery. • Manage the sub-district servers centrally from the district centres. • Provide connectivity to banks and courts • Decentralize the scheme to about 100 sub-districts with private participation. PHASE – 4: FROM MARCH 2003 ONWARDS • Interlinking of district level data banks to the state level data warehouse. • To carry online mutation facility up to village level • To provide EIS, GIIS and other MIS data using multidimensional RTC hyper cubes.
  31. BHOOMI PORTAL • The Karnataka government launched the Bhoomi online portal in 2000. The Bhoomi online portal is the Land Records Management System (LRMS) of the state of Karnataka. This portal aims to prevent manipulation and fraud by digitising all land records in the state. • The Bhoomi online portal offers various services to the citizens such as viewing revenue maps, Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) and Mutation Register (MR), MR status, disputed cases details, etc. All the land records of Karnataka state are available online on the Bhoomi portal, making it quicker and easier to get land information. • Physical offices are also set up for Bhoomi in 6,000 Gram Panchayats across 175 Taluks in the state. A farmer or citizen can go to the Bhoomi offices and apply for an RTC by providing the necessary documents. They can also check the MR status and land dispute applications in these offices.
  32. Services on Bhoomi Portal • The Bhoomi portal provides the following services: • View MR, MR status and RTC. • i-RTC (Download Certified copies of RTC). • View revenue maps. • View survey documents, such as Tippan, atlas, pakka book, etc. • XML verification of RTC. • View Register of dispute cases. • Apply for land conversion. • Download Final Conversion Order. • View conversion status request. • Convenient for farmers to avail land- related records and documents over the years. • Farmers can obtain copies of land records to apply for loans or any other purposes. • The certified copy of the RTC can be obtained quickly, which will help farmers to insure crops and claim insurance. • Apply for mutation requests for inheritance or sale of land. • View the status of the application for mutation requests. • View the status of the disputes relating to the land. Benefits of Bhoomi Portal
  33. HOW TO CHECK KARNATAKA LAND RECORDS VIA BHOOMI PORTAL(ONLINE) • To view the Karnataka land records online, one will simply have to login to the Bhoomi Portal and follow the step-by-step process- • Step 1: Log in to • Step 2: Under the projects tab, click on ‘Bhoomi’ • Step 3: Under services, click on ‘Citizen services’ • Step 4: Next click on ‘RTC’ • Step 5: Enter your details such as name, mobile no, email id, and Aadhar card number • Step 6: Enter land details such as district, taluk, hobli, village, survey number, hissa number, and validity period of RTC. • Step 7: Click on ‘view RTC’ or ‘Pay & Download’ option • Step 8: Pay via your credit card/debit card/internet banking • Step 9: Download the PDF format and take a print out
  34. INTEGRATION • The interfaces of Bhoomi project were to be enhanced to bring in online data exchange from various stakeholder sources like Registration Department, land acquiring bodies, banks and most importantly deliver seamless services to citizens. As a part of complete end to end computerization and interdepartmental integration, 3 major innovative steps were taken by the Government of Karnataka, which includes • a) In 2010 concept of electronic integration of ‘BHOOMI’ and ‘KAVERI’ was conceptualized and piloted in five taluks. The integration with registration software was a key to get rid of malpractices in sale deeds. This integration was also going to be helpful for all citizens who had to go to Land records office post registration with physical papers. Because unless transaction is initiated on BHOOMI with these cases received in paper, Bhoomi solution had no means to locate the land deals Hence, Government of Karnataka took this ambitious and innovative step to integrate the Bhoomi System with Registration Department.
  35. • b) In the Land Acquisition cases, it was difficult for solutions to exchange the data between Bhoomi and Land Acquisition software BHOOSWADEENA. Operator had to manually enter the land acquisition cases post the acquisition. Also there were no means to command and identify the land acquisitions at run time. So, Electronic integration of ‘BHOOMI’ with ‘BHOOSWADEENA’ (Land Acquisition software in Karnataka) commenced in 2011. Project is currently running successfully in all 52 sub division offices of revenue department. • c) Volume of applications that were being received from the banks and co- operative institutions for creating liabilities on the land were huge and hence resulted in time delay. Revenue department therefore decided to integrate BHOOMI and Bank activities electronically. Electronic integration of ‘BHOOMI’ with ‘Banks’ was started in 2012 to bring in banks as an active stakeholder in Land processes.
  36. COMPARISON MANUAL SYSTEM COMPUTERISED SYSTEM 9,000 Village Accountants (VA) Around 220 Kiosk centers 1 VA looks after 3-4 villages 1 Software and Servers for whole state 3-30 days to get RTC Hardly 5-10 minutes More than 100 Rs. for VA and agents Rs. 15 to be paid for govt. Bhoomi has made computerization (digitalization)of 20 million land records of 6.7million land owners and also their maintenance.
  37. COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS The expenditure on data entry operations for about 2 million RTCs in 27 districts was Rs.80 million. The unit cost of providing hardware, and construction of computer rooms and kiosks was of the order of Rs. 0.64 million for each taluk. Thus, the total out-of-pocket expenditure on the project was Rs.185 million. This does not include the cost of software development (months of effort by nearly 100 individuals) done gratis by the National Informatics Centre. The cost of processing an RTC has been roughly estimated at Rs.13, assuming a life of 5 years for the hardware and an activity level of 2 million RTCs issued from all the kiosks (10% of all holdings). This cost includes an assumed operational expenditure of Rs. 2 for stationery, cartridges and electricity. The current user fee of Rs.15 seems sufficient to cover these costs. The benefit in terms of man-days saved is approximately 1.32 million man-days per annum, leading to savings of Rs. 66 million per annum in wages. The weighted average value of bribe paid in the manual system was Rs. 152.46 per person, while that in Bhoomi was Rs. 3.09. Even if we reduce the saving by the fee that they have to pay, of Rs. 15, the net saving is Rs. 134.37, and translates to a saving of over Rs. 806 million annually.
  38. MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS The achievements of Bhoomi Project include the following: • It presently serves 70 lakh farmers across more than 170 kiosks in the state. • It has created transparency of records for the farmers and the administrators. Most farmers have direct access to information about their properties at all times. All necessary records are available to them without the long delays that usually accompany applications to village accountants. • These records are available free of human arbitration and provide support for development programmes with the help of valuable land records data to departments like Agriculture, Industry and Planning. • It facilitates easy preparation of annual records like land revenue. • BHOOMI won several awards. Some of the prominent awards are: 1. Silver Award at the CAPAM Awards 2002 2. National e-Governance award for the year 2003 3. Commonwealth Innovation award for the year 2002 4. UN public service Award for the year 2006
  39. IMPACT Improving the land record delivery system has a significant social and economic impact in rural areas. • Nearly 2500 bank branches in Karnataka loan approximately Rs. 40 billion to farmers as working capital every year. A copy of the RTC is absolutely essential for the farmer to procure the loan. Effective land record management can help banks in recovery of such loans. In the long run, Bhoomi will help improve the investment climate of Karnataka by maintaining clean records of land ownership in urban and rural areas. A McKenzie report noted that India loses 1.3% of potential investments because of its poor land record system. • More than 70% of the disputes in courts are land-based. Adjudication of disputes can be faster if access to land records is made efficient. Many mutations in land records are challenged in courts. Such challenges are often upheld on technical grounds when the defenders fail to produce copies of notice that were served to the affected parties. As a million notices are served in a year, a manual storage and retrieval system makes it difficult to retrieve old notices for submission to courts. In the Bhoomi system every notice that is issued is scanned and a copy is easily retrievable from the Bhoomi kiosks. This facility in itself will create a huge impact on the resolution time of disputes. It will also reduce petty corruption for facilitating or hindering the process of retrieval of manual notices. The open access to data and the transparent and traceable mutation process will reduce the number of disputes.
  40. • Crop insurance has been made compulsory for those who take farm loans in Karnataka. Every year nearly one million farmers (15% of the farming community) insure their crops (paying Rs. 420 million as premium and collecting Rs.2960 million in damages). There has been a substantial increase in the number of insurers amongst farmers who have not taken a loan. Earlier, farmers could obtain falsified crop records from village accountants. As droughts usually destroy the entire crop, there was no way of verifying such records. Often, village accountants offered such favours to rich farmers who could afford to pay bribes. As insurance is a zero-sum game, the poor would suffer in future as premiums go up. With the implementation of Bhoomi, crop data on the back of the RTC is the only document that can be used to back a claim. As efforts are on to make the crop data more current (and accurate) and the VA more accountable for the data, corruption in the pay-out of insurance claims is likely to be reduced. At a later stage, insurance companies will be able to seek cropping data from a central computerised data base. This will make the insurance pay-out more equitable.
  41. • Bhoomi as a transparent land record system is a vast improvement over the manual system that it has replaced. The system is likely to facilitate the land sale and rental markets in Karnataka by reducing a part of the transaction costs. Many researchers have noted that any re-allocation of land in favour of landless and small farmers will increase their income and the overall agricultural productivity. • For a fee of Rs.15, a printed copy of the RTC can be obtained online in 5–30 minutes at computerised Bhoomi kiosks in 177 taluk offices. The land records are in the public domain. Copies of RTC can be obtained for any land parcel in the taluk by providing the name of the owner or the plot (survey) number and any record can be viewed through a touch-screen at a few kiosks. • Farmers can apply for mutation and expedite the process by reviewing the status of their request online, presenting documentary evidence to supervisors in the event that their request is not processed within the stipulated time period. With the computerised system, administrators can quickly determine the number of approved and overdue mutation orders. After computerisation, there was a 85% jump in the number of mutation requests. In the last year Bhoomi has carried out nearly one million mutations whereas in the previous two years, the average number of mutations carried out in the manual system were only at the rate of 0.55 million per year. This change would seem to indicate a level of approval of the new system by the population, and willingness to update changes in land ownership that were previously left undocumented.
  42. ADVANTAGES • Bhoomi has succeeded because it targeted a critical need for farmers and it has delivered significant benefits to them. • Among the most important of these benefits is a reduction in the discretion of village accountants, who are now forbidden to issue manual copies of land records. • Only computerized records are valid, and they can be obtained online without any formal application for about Rs. 15 at land record kiosks in 177 taluk offices. • Records are now tamper- proof and are in the public domain open for scrutiny. In addition, steps have been taken to allow farmers to submit mutation requests at the kiosks. At 20 of the kiosks, farmers can check the status of their requests using touch screens. • If a revenue inspector does not complete a request within 50 days, the mutation request automatically gets escalated to a second person in the taluka designated to authorize mutation requests. Moreover, these requests are now handled on a first-come, first-served basis, thus cutting down on favoritism. All these measures limit opportunities for bribery. • In addition, operators of the computerized record system are held accountable for their actions and decisions through a log of all transactions. Bhoomi also makes it easier for many peopleóparticularly the poor, the illiterate, and womenóto obtain land records. As a result about 0.8 million farmers obtain their land records every month and more come forward to get data based on the ground reality and changed in their land records.
  43. • Reduction in time to access and issuance of land records- With The computerisation all request in Revenue department are handled on a first-in -first-out (FIFO)basis, it has reduced the discretion of revenue staffs to pick and choose the files. Respondents reported that average number of days required to access and for the issuance of land records has come down from one week to one day after computerisation of land records. And it was reported that mutation which could take 5-6 months takes place within 30-45 days after computerisation of land records. • Encroachment of government land- Respondents were of the opinion that with the computerisation of land records the encroachment of forest land, land granted to Schedule caste, Schedule tribes has come down. This is because the agriculturists cannot manipulate the land records under computerised system of land records keeping. • Bribery- Field study reveals that, the computerisation of land records, has taken away the discretion village accountant to issue land records, as a result bribery at the grassroots level has come down. In the manual system of record keeping agriculturist had a chance to manipulate the land records by paying money to village accountant. • Staff behaviour: While the technical capacity of the system plays an important role in its success, the approach of people who handle the task is of critical significance too. Most Bhoomi users (85%) rated staff behaviour at the Bhoomi kiosks as ‘good’; none of the users of the manual system rated staff behaviour as ‘good’.
  44. • During the next phase of the project all the taluk databases will be uploaded to a Web based central database. Land records will then be available at private rural Internet access points. Many other benefits will flow from centralization of the database • Earlier to computerisation of land records, land titles were unclear and poor administration of land records, led to several legal disputes related to land ownership. Farmers could obtain falsified crop records from village accountants to claim various government benefits. Agriculturist was of the opinion that after computerisation of land records manipulation of land records has come down. As computerisation of land records has reduced the discretion of village accountants to issue the records of rights. It was reported that in manual records, it was easier for agriculturist to prepare wrong records by paying bribe to the village accountants. The common form of manipulation was increase in acreage of land to get loan. With the computerised land records crop data printed on the RTC which is the only document that can be used to obtain loan and claim benefits of various government schemes. • Computerisation of land records has brought about transparency in land records. The respondents were of the opinion that computerisation of land records has led to transparency and clarity in land related information. Earlier in manual records keeping system, issuance of Jamabandi was at the discretionary powers of village accountants and were not open for public scrutiny. In the manual Jamabandi, as the loan taken from banks on a land was not mentioned, there was chances of taking loans from different banks on the same land. With the computerisation, every loan on a particular land is printed in the RTC, so agriculturists cannot take loan more than once on the same piece of land.
  45. ELEMENTS OF EMPOWERMENT Access to Information • Bhoomi empowers the small rural farmer in many ways. Their relationship with the lower rungs of civil servants can be on a more equal footing. In the manual system, land records were maintained in registers to which citizens had no access. The records of land ownership in Bhoomi can be collected by anyone. Similarly, the status of mutation requests can be tracked online. The process has become transparent to such an extent that the clients can observe the stored image of their land records through a second monitor facing them. Farmers have access to complete documentation of notices and mutation orders in case of a legal dispute. • Bhoomi will eventually make it possible for a 1000 rural telecentres to be established and be economically viable in Karnataka. These telecentres will help empower large segments of rural populations by enhancing access to information and services that will be delivered through the telecentres.
  46. Social Accountability • There are many elements in the system that enhance accountability. The bio-login procedure, the use of encryption and public–private key ensures that the issue of RTCs and changes in data records can be traced back to the operators who were on duty and supervisors that gave the go-ahead. By specifying a first-come-first-serve basis for processing mutations and allowing the deputy tahsildar to pass mutation orders in case the RI does not pass the orders in 50 days, the power to harass has been taken away. If an application is pushed down in the priority order, reasons need to be assigned for keeping it in abeyance. Inclusion and Participation • In the earlier system, a number of people, particularly the poor, illiterate and women may have found it difficult to obtain land records due to corruption, inefficiency, and cumbersome procedures. The Bhoomi system does not require an application to be filed in. Data is available to indicate that more people have started to collect RTCs and have also come forward to get data corrected when errors are found. • Often, farmers go to bank branches in groups to process crop loans in the hope that corrupt officers will find it harder to demand bribes in the presence of other people. The convenience with which RTCs can be collected, facilitates this group approach.
  47. CHALLENGES  Maintenance of equipment at 177 centres, many of which are located in far flung rural areas; dealing with isolated incidences of fraudulent certificates being presented at banks; mitigating problems of farmers who have to travel long distances to reach a Bhoomi kiosk; lack of currency and poor quality of crop survey data; and problems faced by illiterate farmers in filing mutation forms are some of the challenges that the project team has grappled with.  The printing process is being made more secure so as to deal with the problem of fraudulent certificates. But officers continue to enjoy a large amount of discretion in the process of mutation, even as some measures have been put in place to curb corruption. Illiterate farmers still face difficulties in filling out mutation applications. A key challenge is to create awareness amongst rural population of all the changes that have taken place in processing RTCs and mutation, so that unscrupulous elements are not able to take advantage of their ignorance.  Many of the future plans of Bhoomi are designed to deal with some of the key implementation challenges mentioned above. Recent Innovations and Improvements Carried out in Bhoomi The Bhoomi project started in the year 2002 with 177 taluks being operationalised. ‘Operationalisation’ means that there were servers in every taluk office with the local data bases residing on those servers. There was no connectivity with the state, connecting these taluks to any central location, making disaster recovery difficult.
  48. • As all the applications were in place (Bhoomi, Kaveri and Bhooswadeena), the integration requirements for the project was a challenge considering various pre-defined workflows, processes and technology platforms. • Considering the security of data and decisions requirements for executing a particular action, minimizing the human interventions from all departments was reduced to zero. No triggering required in the intermediate processes. • Making computerization of land records as primary activity was herculean task as this was seen as secondary activity compared to election, census, disaster etc. Project Champion struggled a lot to make it a primary activity by making every one right from top bureaucracy and political leadership understand that proper maintenance and updation of land records are important for an effective system. • Technical support and capacity building was required at all the stages of the project starting from LAO offices, Bank level data entry staff, creation of mutation NOC, integration requirements at registration staff, etc. Ensuring Service Continuity and ICT provisioning till village level, Maintaining Hardware, UPS and providing consumable such as secured stationery, holograms, printer cartridges etc., at taluk level was another important challenge. Revenue department had to come out with a concept called facility management under PPP.
  49. • With computerisation of land records, bribery has shifted to top brasses of the organisation. The respondents said that no work gets done in land revenue office without paying money. As the agriculturist are not able to understand the procedure in computerised system of record keeping, the middle men project the system in a complicated manner, and agriculturist end up paying bribe for correction in RTCs, change in ownership, fixation of taxation on land, to get individual records of rights on Jamma land, updating of crop information in RTCs, to get 11E sketch, and to get any documents from land revenue office. It was also reported that the bribery depends on acreage of land and urgency of document. News7 of one of the Deputy Tehsildars of the taluk being trapped in a corruption case was also reported in May 2018. • Though respondents were aware of the computerisation of land records, only few young respondents had accessed the land details through web portal. Those who had accessed the land details, had mainly done it to keep a track of their ownership, to check if crop details were updated in RTC, to purchase land and to check the mutation status.
  50. PRESENT STATUS • 200 lakh RTCs of 70 lakh farmers • Self sustaining project: No financial support of State Government • Old manual system fully disbanded • Highly successful and acclaimed project • National e-Governance award for the year 2003, Commonwealth Innovation award for the year 2002 and UN public service Award for the year 2006 • 1 million farmers get serviced every year • National model for replication for all States • Delivery of records in 5 minutes • First in First Out (FIFO) in mutation: No favouritism: Social equality • Records available centrally at State Data Centre all 200 lakh records centralized • Taluks networked through a dedicated VSAT network • 800 rural Tele Centres are being set up
  51. FUTURE AHEAD The BHOOMI software is regularly being improved and enhanced based on the operational feedbacks at the taluka level by providing additional features. The land records documents are required basically to purchase/sell the land, to take loan and for legal purposes. Hence, the connectivity will be provided to these institutions to access the land records details easily to provide better service to the public shortly. Further, the Government of Karnataka is contemplating to extend the service to the public through private operated Kiosk at the villages. The pilot scheme is in progress for this purpose. The data centre's at the state level will be established to provide this data on Internet and for replication of the data.
  52. CRITICISM • Although it was being hailed as a remarkable implementation of technology and a feather in the e- governance crown in India, Bhoomi has not been able to eliminate land disputes in the state. Earlier, the village accountants employed by the state government used to keep maintain the land records and any change that had occurred in ownership of lands. There were numerous accounts of allegations against the government officials being a part of corruption and exploitation of the rural poor, especially in case of ‘mutation’or change of ownership of lands. • The main problem regarding the Bhoomi project is that fraudulent land records have gone online. The government is being criticised for hurrying through the project without tallying old records with current data, by which excess land could have been distributed among the landless and cheated landowners. • Farmers who were being cheated by rural rich landowners as well as by government officials have complained that old land grabs have been legitimized by Bhoomi and they do not have any chance of recovering the land.
  53. • The other, more basic problem with Bhoomi is that most of rural farmers are illiterates and cannot avail the services provided by the project. Many farmers lost their lands due to illegal land grab by wealthy families who took land documents as collateral for loans and later usurped the lands. Although the program has made way for transparency in land records in future, it has been prey to digitizing fraudulent records in many cases. • The government analysts and policy makers have conceded the fact that Information Technology cannot address fraud in primary data which is put online. The flaws inherent in implementing Bhoomi can be a lesson for the government machineries in case of implementing further e- governance projects in future. • Some of the problems that still exist, and have been voiced by the beneficiaries of Bhoomi are: wrong entries of name and acreage in the records, corrections and changes in RTC leads to delay and requires numerous trips to taluk office, due to complexity of procedure. The field study indicates that Bhoomi centres are most often plagued by problems of non-availability of employees, dysfunctional computer systems, disruption of electricity, server problems and non- availability of paper to print RTC, which causes delay in the issuance of documents. As the crop information are not updated season wise, it poses a problem for the agriculturist to obtain bank loan. With computerisation of land records, bribery has shifted from grass root officials to the top brasses of the organisation, as it was noted by some of the beneficiaries that no work gets done in land revenue office without paying money.
  54. SUGGESTIONS • Rural population should be educated about the bhoomi project. They should be given sufficient training about how to avail the services of bhoomi without the help of anyone. • A suitable machinery should be designed to prevent the corruption at all levels. • The personnel working at the block level offices should be well trained so they can can deliver their services to the people more efficiently. • Even the previous documents should be verified thoroughly before legitimizing the land documents as many people who were cheated in the past ,before bhoomi, will not have any chance for their land recovery once the land ownership is legitimised by the govt. • Since bhoomi is an electronic system of land record management, continous power supply is indispensable for delivering services. Hence, required machinery should be devised like generator etc at every kiosks and taluka offices so as to not to interrupt the services. In addition to that, all the offices should be well equipped for effective data management.
  55. CONCLUSION • BHOOMI- Computerisation of land records has brought about transparency and clarity in land records. With transparency of land records and easy accessibility of land records through web, the purchaser of land is able to get accurate information and can be sure of his investment. With the computerisation of land records, the mutation period has come down to30-45 days. However, this computerisation is not completely flawless. Some of the problems that still exist, and have been voiced by the beneficiaries of Bhoomi are: wrong entries of name and acreage in the records, corrections and changes in RTC leads to delay and requires numerous trips to taluk office, due to complexity of procedure. The field study indicates that Bhoomi centres are most often plagued by problems of non-availability of employees, dysfunctional computer systems, disruption of electricity, server problems and non-availability of paper to print RTC, which causes delay in the issuance of documents. As the crop information are not updated season wise, it poses a problem for the agriculturist to obtain bank loan. • However Bhoomi has tackled a lot of delays and inefficiencies of the manual record keeping. Bhoomi has brought about transparency in maintenance and updating of land records. The program has provided farmers easy access to their land records as it provides printing of RTC as and when required. It has reduced the discretion of officials as First in First out (FIFO) strategy has been adopted in disposal of all types of mutation cases in Bhoomi. It won the National e-governance award in2005. The successful implementation of computerisation of land records under the software Bhoomi has made the Government of India replicate the same in other states.