Land titling is a form of land reform in which private individuals and families are given formal property rights for land which they have previously occupied informally or used on the basis of customary land tenure.
Land is one of the most controversial subjects in India. The lack of a proper system to maintain land records and provide persons with conclusive titles results in frequent and long drawn legal conflicts.
Issues with present system –
- Land records, land revenue, surveys etc are under state list while stamp duty, Registration and transfer of property are under concurrent list and Parliament has legislated on these issues. This creates a conflict among institutions.
- Registering any transaction under the Registration Act, 1908 is just an evidence of the transaction, which does not confer any title on the landowner.
- The system envisaged under the Registration Act runs parallel to the records maintained by the revenue department. These are supposed to reflect the changes in either record. However, this does not always happen.
- Some transactions (e.g. gifts) which may be part of revenue records are not necessarily required to be registered under the Registration Act.
- Certain systems of land ownership in states like Haryana and Himachal Pradesh only deal with ‘shares’ of particular persons without demarcating physical boundaries between them.
- Most land records do not really mirror property ownership at an individual level.
- The colonial system of deed-based registration, presumptive title (not conclusive title) and land records open to challenge, continue to limit proper land utilisation.
- Maintenance of land records, land revenue, survey and ‘record of rights’ are clubbed in the state list.
- The entire system of new officers and authorities proposed in the Model Land Titling Bill, 2011 does not clarify their functioning vis a vis the current or existing system.
- Creating separate court for hearing small land related dispute because for a fit of disputed land case is registered under same court jurisdiction.
- Geographical information system (GIS) help in better price determination of land in accordance with the provisions of the land acquisition bill. And it will improve targeting of fertilizer subsidies on the basis of estimates of real holdings as well as enhance transparency by bringing to light the total land holdings owned by an individual across districts or even states.
- Land Transformation Management System is a welcome steps. Its main agenda is integrating land records with Aadhaar, digitizing them and matching the real holdings with the documents. It will go a long way towards addressing historical problems—easing land acquisition, empowering land holders and enabling the use of land as an asset for accessing credit.
The government needs to modernize management of land records, minimize scope of land/property disputes, enhance transparency and facilitate moving eventually towards guaranteed conclusive titles to immovable properties in the country to allow land markets to function effectively and reduce judicial burden. One of the main goal of Digital India mission launched last year was the digitisation of land record. Union government in 2008 introduced National Land Record Modernization Programme with the aforesaid aims