Published by: KAMALINI KUMAR
The land is an important resource for everyone, especially the people residing in the villages. There are a lot of farmers and people involved in agriculture who are dependent on the land for their work. Therefore, there must be proper documents for the land owned by the people. However, the scenario is not the same in our country, there are a lot of people who do not have proper documents related to the land. These documents ensure the ownership and prevent any legal issues in the future and they are also essential when the land is transferred from one person to another.
The Indian government has taken a lot of steps to regulate these documents. One of the recent developments is the SVAMITVA scheme launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister. It is a central sector scheme. The term SVAMITVA is expanded as the Survey of Villages Abadi and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas. As the expansion suggestion, the scheme helps in the creation of property documents after measuring the land using advanced equipment like drones. This scheme was announced on April 24, on Panchayati Raj Day.
The Survey of Villages Abadi and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas (SVAMITVA) is a scheme which will be beneficial for villagers. This will also enhance the functioning of Panchayati raj system and the creation of record relating to property documents. This scheme was announced in the middle of the pandemic on Panchayati Raj Day. These were seen as an essential measure because the cyclone Amphan has destroyed a lot of documents which has left a lot of villagers without any proper documents and proof.
The scheme was launched by the Union of Ministry of Panchayati Raj. The revenue department and land record department will be responsible for the implementation of this scheme in the States. The main aim of the scheme is to create a geospatial database of all the properties located in village areas. They also aim to provide property cards to people residing in Abadi areas, which mean inhabited rural land. It is also said Google mapping will also be used along drones to measure the lands.
These documents are an important aspect in future especially for bank loans, thus this scheme was viewed as an important measure by the government. The Prime Minister Office said the scheme would allow one lakh people to download their property card through an SMS link sent to their mobile phones. The card will also be distributed physically afterwards when possible. The scheme also aims to create survey infrastructure and GIS maps that can be used by any department in the future.
All the State Governments and the Central Government is trying to implement the scheme. The beneficiaries are from villages across six states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Karnataka. According to the official website the property cards are already distributed in some places like Karnataka, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, however, the process is not completed entirely. The property cards are distributed to 430 villages as of now according to the official website which includes ten villages from Haryana, two villages from Karnataka, sixty-four villages from Madhya Pradesh, seven villages from Uttarakhand and more three hundred and forty-seven villages from Uttar Pradesh.
The drone survey is completed in 7669 villages which includes 2152 villages in Haryana, 231 villages in Karnataka, 808 villages in Madhya Pradesh, 1225 villages in Maharashtra, 943 villages in Uttarakhand and 2310 villages in Uttar Pradesh. The drone data processing is completed in 4765 villages. The ground-truthing (field collection of data) process is completed for 1261 villages. The enquiry process is completed in more than one hundred and fifty villages. The final maps are generated for 151 villages which include one hundred and forty-nine villages in Haryana and two villages from Karnataka.
The scheme if implemented properly has a lot of benefits:
Ø The land is viewed as a status symbol and symbol of power from times immemorial. Thus, proper documents provide power to the owner and increase his social and economic status. This provides more legitimacy to the owner.
Ø The property documents will act as a “record of rights”.
Ø The property documents form a valuable asset and can be later used for obtaining bank loans and other loans for agricultural purposes.
Ø These documents provide the people knowledge and understanding about how to use digital documents.
Ø The records will be original and reliable and the government can keep a record which can be accessed in the future.
Ø This scheme if properly implemented will reduce the litigations and issues relating to ownership and boundary of the land.
Ø The scheme if implemented properly will also help in calculation and collection of property tax.
Ø It will be a reform to the traditional process of documentation.
Ø The scheme will be a great help in the development of local self-governance.
Ø It might help in the development of rural planning process.
Ø The usage of drones will make sure the measurements are accurate and will prevent tampering.
Ø The storage is easy and it can be retrieved easily and will not be destroyed by any natural disasters.
Ø It will provide financial stability to people residing in villages if implemented properly.
The Survey of Villages Abadi and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas (SVAMITVA) scheme will have a lot of benefits to the people residing in rural areas if it is implemented properly. The scheme should be implemented to all the states and it must be expanded to maximum extent possible in order to provide a great benefit. The scheme is a perfect balance of involving the community and technology which is beneficial. The drones ensure accuracy to a maximum extent and it is also a time-saving process rather than manual examination and marking. There can be a grievance redressal mechanism to ensure all the complaints are resolved once the property cards are distributed, the grievances can be even minor like a mistake in name but resolving it within a proper time will ensure there will not be any issues in the future.
As the Hon’ble Prime Minister told, it is a “historic move” set to transform rural India.  The property cards were distributed to certain villages recently. This scheme will help to cater to the financial needs of the people residing in the rural areas, and it will provide a great chance to access bank loans. It will ensure transparency and will also save the villagers from money lenders and the interest in bank loan is also fixed. The property cards will provide power also to the future generations who can be benefitted from the ownership. The economic status of the people living in villages will increase and it will also help to broaden their horizons. The document can be used as a collateral to get the educational loan which will help in the development of the people and there will be an increase in literacy rate. Therefore, the scheme is advantageous to villagers in lots of aspects.
Footnotes:  The Economic times: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/how-svamitva-scheme-aims-to-transform-rural-india/articleshow/78602625.cms.  PM Modi launches Swamitva scheme will distribute property cards: https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-pm-modi-launches-swamitva-scheme-will-distribute-property-cards/361941  PM Modi launches physical distribution of property cards under SVAMITVA Scheme https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pm-modi-launches-physical-distribution-of-property-cards-under-swamitva-scheme/article32826213.ece.