How Karnataka saved Rs 4,000 crores using Digitization of land records 

With the help of Bhoomi database combined with the land survey, Aadhaar and ration card databases along with bank data, CLWS ( Crop Loan Waiver System) scheme had saved around Rs 4,000 crore in double payments to around 5 lakh farmers since December 2018

How Karnataka saved Rs 4,000 crores using Digitization of land records 
How Karnataka saved Rs 4,000 crores using Digitization of land records 

How Karnataka saved Rs 4,000 crores using Digitization of land records 

When 'Bhoomi' project was undertaken and developed by the State Government of Karnataka, no one knew that the results would eventually help the Government to save 4000 crores in all. Yes, the Bhoomi database (digitized records of all land ownership in the state), having details of about 40 lakh farmers helped the Government to check eligibility of farmers for loan waiving, electronically.

With the help of Bhoomi database combined with the land survey, Aadhaar and ration card databases along with bank data, CLWS ( Crop Loan Waiver System) scheme had saved around Rs 4,000 crore in double payments to around 5 lakh farmers since December 2018, when the waiver was rolled out for 40 lakh farmers. It has also helped eliminate as many as 8 lakh loans that were identified as non- farm.

Then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said-"The chairman and MDs of banks are telling us that we have carried out the bank loan waiver in an exemplary manner. There is probably no other examples from the whole country where a loan waiver scheme has been carried out so scientifically without leakage of funds."

The details of about 40 lakh farmers were obtained to check eligibility electronically. According to the CLWS portal, which is accessible to farmers, bankers, the Government and the public, 22.19 lakh outstanding crop loans have been identified in 6,538 branches of commercial banks and 18.71 lakh loans in 5,346 cooperative banks as on June 26, 2019.

During the loan waiver process, farmers were asked to bring only three things- an Aadhaar number, the survey number for the land on which he obtained the Loan and the ration card number. The minute farmer gave his aadhar number in the cooperative bank and the commercial bank, they got to know he has two loans. Some 5 lakh such farmers were found that saved the Government almost Rs 4,000 crore.

About Bhoomi project

A flagship project by Govt. of Karnataka to computerize all land records. The project was sponsored by the Ministry of Rural Development and Government of India with the State Government of Karnataka. The project was implemented in year 2000 under the Computerization of Land records scheme of the central Government.

Main features of the project are:

  • Software for printing land records at any time, (whenever needed) was created.

  • Online updating of record certificates for farmers.

  • Bio-Login metrics system (from Compaq): Authentication of users through fingerprints; to avoid imitation of users and hack of the database system.

  • Using the software for generation of reports on soil, landholding size, types of crops grown and many more ( to make informed policy decision).

Benefits for Farmers

They can get their land records quickly from kiosks. The land record will be proof of land property or lease. Farmers won't face extortion or harassment. They can easily access to farm credit and able to resolve any legal matter quickly.

Benefits for Administrators & outside Agencies

The Bhoomi database will help maintain and update the records. It will provide quick and easy access to the documents for analysis. Monitoring of government lands will become easier. Financial institutions can provide farm credit by accessing information on the financial status of each farmer as well as information about the land. Private sectors will also get well informed with Bhoomi database.

What Loan waiving for Indian farmers and Indian Government means?

Agriculture is an integral part of the Indian economy. It has always been the focus of the Government's development agenda. Crop loss due to various factors is already very traumatic for farmers. Thus, the involvement of Government is needed to protect farmers from price rising because of market forces.  During Indian elections, every party promises farm loan waivers, but do the farmers gain? Does it go in the right hands? Do Government suffer financial loss due to fraud candidates?

There have only been two nationwide loan waiver programmes in India after Independence, in 1990 and 2008. Lowest of all Agricultural NPAs ( non-performing assets) was in March 2009 ( 2.1%), just after the implementation of the 2008 scheme.   

Karnataka towards Smart farming

Latest marketing reforms like e-NAM, e-auction halls, computer-aided centres have been taken to increase transparency in the market process and increase price realization to farmers. Some evidence of online marketing by farmers of United Platform in Karnataka shows significant benefit to farmers.

The recent profit by Bhoomi database has shown how Karnataka is moving towards smart farming. This comprehensive database of important documents and details like The Records of Rights, Tenancy and Crop Inspection ( RTC)  also known as pahani, mutation details, as well as ownership demarcation maps etc. Before the Digitization, land records were kept with the village Patwari in physical form and were prone to error and manipulation. They often led to disputes over ownership and scams.

The Digitization of land records in Karnataka has not only helped the rural population but also helping the urban areas through the Dishaank mobile app, which was launched in March 2018 & works in coordination with Bhoomi database.

Also, even the process of purchasing agricultural land for the industrial purpose under section 109 of KLR ACT 1961 has been erased. The procedure under section 109 was simplified in February 2016, and the integration with Bhoomi initiative has further simplified it.

When there is a discrepancy in information between the digitized record of Rights & cadastral maps, patch surveys are conducted using Total Station ( TS) and GPS, following which the correct data will be entered in the digital version to produce a 100% correct digitized map.

The Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP)

DILRMP was launched by the Central Government in the year 2008 which was a continuation and enhancement of an even older scheme called the Computerization of Land Records (CLR), started in 1989.

DILRMP is a flagship programme under the 'Digital India' initiative of the Government of India. The main objective of the programme is to develop a modern, comprehensive and transparent land records management system in the country, to implement the conclusive land- titling system with title guarantee, based on four basic principles- a single window, mirror principle, curtain principle and the title insurance.

Using a GIS-based database, the Indian Government could simplify many complex issues and frauds. India has a large population, and it is tough to remove corruption because so many people are involved in any scheme. Digital India is the best solution to keep an eye on the system and catch any leakage at the correct time and exact point.