Some Proposals : Reform Land Administration and re-distribution of Revenue Department functions in the Districts

Some Proposals : Reform Land Administration and re-distribution of Revenue Department functions in the Districts

The Objective:

Firstly, a new Act should de-concentrate the power of decision-making and execution of various functions from the Revenue department and the district collector by handing them over to the concerned departments present in the district.

Secondly, it should reflect further devolution of functions, functionaries and funds to the local self-governing bodies, as envisaged in the 73rd Constitutional Amendment.


Measures:

  1. While acknowledging the historic contribution made by the Revenue Department for administrative unification of the country, now, it should be abolished in toto, along with the Village Revenue Assistants, Village Revenue Ofices, Tehsildars, Revenue Division Officers and Joint collectors.
    1. The Chief Secretary should re-assign various functions exercised by the Tehsildars, RDOs and Joint Collectors to other departmental heads in the district head-quarters. Incidentally, it will do justice to the personnel in other departments by increasing their chances of promotion to the IAS cadre, since at present nearly 80% of the promotees to IAS cadre are claimed to be from the RD. But, the transfer of personnel to other departments has to be done by the Chief     Secretary very judiciously, as it may affect the morale of other departments.
    2. The District Administrative Officer would be coming from the General Administration Department of the state secretariat to coordinate the activities of various state departments, as well as to ensure the respective roles of the Central, state and local bodies in the field.

(Explanation: The Collector, at present acts as the single head of all the administrative   departments and executive of all the welfare schemes. He makes all the elected functionaries in the district mere recommending bodies. He has more than 200 committees to preside over and does not delegate out of scrupulousness.)

3. Revenue collection from the agricultural land and Irrigation, drinking water if any should be entrusted to the village secretary of the P.R. department.

4. Collection of Revenues from the lands put to other uses than agriculture, such as commercial crops can be handed over to the Commercial Tax department.

5. The judicial aspects of their functions can also be conferred upon the heads of various departments at the district level. Or, a special civil judge may be assigned permanently so as to speed up the proceedings.

6. A Special Tribunals may be set up to expedite the disputes between the RD and the land-owners, where charges of corruption, delays and harassment could be heard, with powers to reconcile and arbitrate.

7. The Department dealing with Disaster Management should have a district centre for training and equipping a corps of volunteers and the local civil society organisations in fighting all disasters and pollutions. It is done in many organised countries.

8.All departments should have consultative committees of the local civil society organisations. Especially, each Police station should have a room for consultation and counselling by the    specialised local NGOs.

9. The present style of functioning of the Collector might still be necessary to continue in some ‘problematic’ districts.

10. The DAO would also be the ex-officio Chief Executive Officer of the Zilla Parishad.


Objective: The Commissioner & Inspector-General of Registration and Stamps should also be abolished.

Measures:

  1. Stamps and Stamp paper have no relevance anymore, as there is no need to keep original documents. They can be sold anywhere, and they also can be non-material or used by franchising machines, like postal stamping.
  2. Private land sale transactions, mutation of titles and their registration should be processed by the recognised panels of the Notaries, who attest for the authenticity of the documents and the  transaction, while ensuring the payment of charges, duties and taxes to the treasury. In case of any dispute, they will also be accountable. It is done in many organised societies.
  3. It is futile for the government to insist on obtaining the Non-Encumbrance certificates and imposing the Minimum Market Value. It is also unnecessary for the Government to issue land title certificate, which is feudal and legalistic concept. In modern economic terms, land is also a commodity. Ownership is presumed on the basis of other documents and is easily verifiable by the citizens themselves.
  4. Such computerised registrations would be approved, recorded and maintained by a Registrar, operating from the Parishad office or by the Commissioner of Land Administration directly.

III. The office of the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration should hold all clear records of the private lands and the government lands at the state-level and coordinate the work of the Estate Officers of the government lands, as well as the registrars of land registration. He would also complete precise surveys, conduct settlements, and revise and issue the title-holds. With the use of Black-chain technologies, these transactions are verifiable and visible by the public online from a single office.

Measures:

  1. He should proceed to the mapping of all the government lands since the Accession of the state of Hyderabad.
  2. Sovereign lands should never be alienated permanently. Their privatisation should be conditional in time, purpose and adequacy.
  3. The CCLA has to plan recovery of un-authorisedly occupied lands in the past, and offer incentives to those who help identifying such assets.
  4. Land Acquisition procedures are to be radically modified and to be more efficient in view of the past delays and cost over-runs in projects.
  5. After the 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts, the government lands within the boundaries of the local self-governing bodies, should be handed over to them for their possession and management. They should, in turn earn an income from the users by way of a modest rent.
  6. All departments should revise and update their Citizens’ Charters regularly in consultation with their users, and exhibit them widely. Delivery of most of their services to the public should be processed through the e-Seva centres. Deficiency in the delivery of quality services in time should entail penalties and punishment, expeditiously by administrative tribunals without having to go to the Courts. Public Information Officers, under the RTI Act should also be well-trained to be effective.
  7. Lokayukta and ACB must be able to proceed to enquire, file FIR and prosecute any public servant, after informing the concerned department, but without waiting for the consent of their hierarchy.

 

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