CAG finds mismatches between physical and computerised land records in Tamil Nadu

Erroneous classification of private land parcels as government land in computerised records has caused owners hardship.


Published Jan 13, 2023 | 6:10 PMUpdated Jan 13, 2023 | 6:10 PM

CAG finds mismatches between physical and computerised land records in Tamil Nadu

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has found significant differences between the physical records and computerised A-Register entry in 61 percent of the sampled villages with regard to the total land area of the villages in Tamil Nadu.

Continued erroneous classification of 3.22 lakh private land parcels as government land in the computerised land records has put the land owners to hardship.

Also, multiple patta numbers assigned to a single land owner in a village and redundant patta numbers hampered the workflow processing of online patta transfers.

On the farmers’ crop entries, the CAG found that the e-Adangal data for the state, obtained from the Revenue Department, and analysed in respect of 18 taluks relating to seven out of eight sampled districts, that of the 38.87 lakh crop entries captured in the Fasli year 1429 (2019-20), 5,317 entries (0.14 percent) were made by farmers through common service centres.

None of the farmers’ entries were verified by the VAOs concerned despite mandatory 100 percent inspection.

As of March 2021, 1.42 crore computerised and validated Natham land records were not brought online even after four years. The e-Adangal project taken up in 2017 was not fully implemented, the CAG noted.

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Errors due to lack of validation controls in software

“Lack of validation controls in the application software resulted in errors and discrepancies in the capture of old survey numbers and assigning sub-division numbers as per notation rules,” the report for the year ended March 2021 on Performance Audit on Land Records Management in Tamil Nadu, tabled in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Friday, 13 January, said.

“The digitised land records had errors and deficiencies. There were differences in land area between manual and computerised A-Register in 61 percent of sampled villages. Though the department claims that all the field measurement sketches (FMS) in rural taluks are online, it was seen that 6.25 lakh out of 23.25 lakh (27 percent) Sub-divisions in the A-Register had no entries in the FMS database,” the report said.

Further, there were differences in land area in 2.27 lakh out of 15.89 lakh (14 percent) Sub-divisions between A-register and FMS data.

“About 3.22 lakh private land parcels were erroneously classified as government land in the computerised land records resulting in the private land owners not being able to transact their land in TamilNilam,” it said.

As multiple patta numbers were assigned to the same land owner, all the land holdings of an individual in a village cannot be ascertained.

Government to review A-Register

It recommended the government to consider reviewing the computerised A-Register, Chitta and FMS to ensure their correctness and completeness so as to ensure error-free conclusive titling.

Validating and bringing Natham land records online within a definite timeframe, making e-Adangal fully functional and integrate with TamilNilam on priority, imparting periodical training to VAOs and other line officials to avoid or minimise data entry errors and ensuring data entry is duly validated with physical records to ensure correctness were among the other recommendations.

Computerisation of land records has been in progress since 1998 and as per the latest target, the project should have been completed by March 2020.

“It is, however, a matter of concern that due to the lack of adherence to deadlines for the project, the desired objectives of providing timely and efficient services to the citizen were yet to be achieved,” the report claimed.

Hence, the government might consider accelerating the resurvey work besides completing pending settlement work in Town Survey in a time-bound manner, the CAG suggested.

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It was observed that deficiencies in data security resulted in the transfer or classification of government land as private land.

“The department does not have a disaster recovery system in place to safeguard the critical data of TamilNilam.

In the absence of Aadhaar seeding in the land records database, the system does not have a provision to uniquely identify land owners,” the CAG said.

It recommended speeding up the Aadhaar seeding of land records to avoid multiple patta numbers for the same pattadhar and facilitate consolidation of land holdings of individual owners.

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