THE Revenue Department of the Maharashtra Government claimed to have succeeded in standardising the land records system and making these documents error-free by bringing in uniformity in the terminology used differently in different regions of the State.
In the pre-Independence era, different regions of Maharashtra were controlled by separate regimes, which had their own land record systems and styles. Even the words used for describing the land ownership, shared ownership and categorisation of land as per its location or use - were significantly different.
In the last 75 years, the revenue administration faced huge problems in terms of maintaining the land records, change of ownership and changing the category of the land as each region was using its own set of words. It increased the legal complications as well, a senior official from the State Revenue Department said.
“Different terms were used in different regions of Maharashtra to describe 46 various points in land records documents. Of the eight revenue divisions in the State, each has a distinct choice of words to describe the land, its ownership and its categorisation as per the usage. The State Revenue Department has managed to remove these variations and bring uniformity through a standard format,” a senior revenue official from the land records department said.
The revenue officials used to face this same problem whenever they were transferred from one division to another. The department took nearly two decades to fix the problem, she said. “There are nearly 2.54 crore 7/12 extracts (land title document) of land records in Maharashtra. Now, the correction is left only in 46,000 such documents, while the problem has been fixed in the remaining documents. The work got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.
The land records department, which is part of the revenue department, has undertaken a computerisation programme to digitise all the records and make it available for people. A retired IAS officer, who had worked in the revenue department, said, “The earlier format of land records almost remained unchanged for nearly 100 years. However, in the past few decades, the revenue department was compelled to make these documents error-free because even the Government could not acquire some land due to its earlier complicated format.”
The standardisation in land record receipts will remove the problems faced by the lower level officials, he said.
“The process started two decades back with computerisation of the data, which minimised human intervention. It was followed by making all the changes in documents online only. The village-level revenue officials (including talathi) were given laptops by the Revenue Department,” the official said.
Once it was achieved and the officials also got used to the online format, the revenue department started working on standardisation of the land record documents. It took nearly four years for the department to achieve it, he added.