| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The project implemented in phases as below:
Land Records being a mandatory system, the Computerized Management System becomes a comprehensive program of not only maintenance of data on a computer but also of systematic on-line updation of that data whenever a change in Record of Right is required. Thus the computerization is not a one-time job but requires a continuous effort and updation. It needs to be strictly monitored and ensured that any change when required to be carried out on ROR, is done on-line on the computer itself.
“Start small and up-scale fast” was the centre strategy adopted for this project. Significant strategy was developed for implementation stages, methodology adoption, business processes realignment, activity modifications to suit the business needs and the features.
Below are few strategic aspects adopted for conceptualizing, developing, implementing, maintaining the new system.
1. Conceptualization of the project
Enormity of task was assessed, enabling factors were identified, project phasing was worked out, Data types were categorized as static data and dynamic data, geographical spread of implementation was considered, pilot mode and upscale phases were thought of with “Start small and up-scale fast” conception, division of labor based on core competence was worked out in the conceptualization of the project.
2. Technical Partner
National Informatics Centre (NIC), Government of India (GOI) was the technical partner for the technical aspects of the project. NIC developed the ‘Bhulekh’ software for Computerised Land Record Management on-line System.
3. Guideline preparation and Data backlog completion
Procedures, activities and briefs describing updation of manual records, process of data entry and its validation and verification, functionaries involved, activity programs were prepared at the state level. Data entry of 8,000 man months was completed at 25 district headquarters by data entry agencies selected by the District Collectors through tender process.
4. Pilot run
Pilot for the statutory mutation process of the land record system was initiated in one block in on-line mode. Principal Secretary and SMC officials held series of visits and meetings with District/ block administration and meetings at block HQ officials, the operators and the development team of the NIC. After one month, on-line system was rolled-out to all the 14 blocks of the entire District.
5. Capacity Building
• Block-level technical hand-holding
• Specification of Role & Responsibilities/ Functional and Technical Training
• Upkeep and maintenance of the hardware
• Funds for running e-Dhara Kendras (Centres)
• eDhara manual is available for all types of system users
6. Legal Frame work
Free Copy Distribution
The exercise included activities like bulk printing of free copy, verification of prints, and distribution of free copy, accepting objections thereof, conciliation of objection with manual record, carry out correction followed through a process.
Closure of manual land record
The key factor in introducing computerized RoR as the only legal record in force is stopping of the manual record.
Legal status to computerized RoR
Only computerized land records were notified legal and valid through a Government notification with effect from 15-08-2004. In 2010, Gujarat Land Revenue Code 1879 was amended.
7. State-wide roll-out : Physical/ Digital/ Human Infrastructure
All necessary hardware were installed at all 225 blocks of the State. Necessary software products were installed and commissioned. Networking of LAN was supported by the Gujarat State Wide Area Network (GSWAN). ‘Bulekh’ Software was installed for on-line system.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
e-Dhara Land Records Management System is designed for complete transformation manual process for maintaining & updating land records across the state. Manual process was followed in pre implementation stage which was driven through physical issuance and monitoring while computerized process followed in post e-Dhara implementation which provides an insight into value addition done to involvement of stakeholders, bringing confidence of stakeholders in new system, improve quality of services provided to citizens.
Stakeholders in this system can be listed as –
(1) Khatedars – Land holders
(2) Functionary at village level - Talati
(3) Functionaries at Block administration
(4) Head of Block Administration – Mamlatdar
(5) Functionaries at Sub-division administration
(6) Head of sub-division administration – Prant Officer
(7) Functionaries in District level administration
(8) Head of District level administration – District Collector
(9) Functionaries and Apex administrators at State level administration
(10) People at large (farmers, rural citizens, etc)
Process of Involvement of the Stakeholders
Involvement of the Stakeholders is key factor in introducing a new revenue system. It not only brings involvement of stakeholders, but also brings awareness about the new system, brings buoyancy, confidence, and ensure reliance on a new system.
Revenue Department took the initiative of digitizing Land Records. It took mammoth efforts of 8000 manmonths to digitize 15 million land records across the State through District Administration, Block Administration and Village level functionary.
Involvement of District/ Block/ Village level administration and Khatedars
Data digitization was not an end to the problems faced with manual records. Activities undertaken involoves online validation of data at the time of data-entry, bulk printing of 4 types of verification prints of 15 million records, verification of prints with manual original record by multi-level revenue officials, corrections in computerised data as suggested during verification, display of computerized record for public observation at village, etc.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The eDhara Land Records Management System was an innovative step in the development of online service delivery model for the overall transformation of development and maintenance in the Land Records Domain. The process involved:
• Approval for standardization of the application, processes and setting up the delivery channels.
• Amount of Act for provision of legal sanctity to electronic documents and thereby stopping the paper-based RoR issuance. Manual RoR records issuance was stopped.
• Administrative control over the system implementation and state-wide monitoring of every activity starting from digitization, verification, issuance, day-to-day monitoring and control from overall revenue administration.
• In last quarter 2003, government declared it as mission to make land records computerized from 1st April 2004
• In 2006, RoR issuance started from village panchayats (e-Grams) for over 13685 villages
Infrastructural and Technological provision:
• Mutation software developed by NIC and implemented in each taluka and was maintained in distributed district level servers till 2010. The application was brought on to state level central server in 2011. Software development, training and support was provided by NIC
• Special application (RoR@Village) designed and developed for request of RoR transformation to local block server and ready RoR availability to e-Grams to print
• Used GSWAN and NIC SDC along block and village infrastructure.
• Provision for opening 225 e-Dhara Kendra (e-DK centres) across 225 blocks of state was facilitated by Government with all physical infrastructures, Working staff, ICT requirements (computers and other necessary devices) and connectivity.
• In 2006, eGram Vishwagram (eGVG) centres at village level were also taken onboard for provision of Land Records services along with their existing rural development department services. This was a major step in ramping up the reach of Governments’ Land records services to grass root level.
• Initially GSWAN connectivity was about 2 Mbps available across the state which was upgraded to 10 Mbps in 2011.
• In 2013, LR interface on intranet was provisioned to view land records for verification
• Upfront training is a major element towards changing the mindset of all level functionaries and setting up of the new system.
• The Data Entry operators, all Dy Mamlatdars & Circle Officers, Mamlatdars, and Talatis planned are thoroughly trained on e-Dhara Land Records Management System, before operationalization in a Block.
• All-level functionaries given training on all or relevant topics viz. Correction Module, Mutation Module, Front Office Module, MIS reports, Scan Module, Crop Updation Module, Process flow, Roles-Responsibilities, System Maintenance, Hardware, Backup.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Improvement in Service Delivery for Land Records at reduced cost: eDhara proved to be effective in quality improvement in land records services delivery to citizens reducing bribery, hassles, and malpractices in the land domain. Cost of availing services has reduced drastically due to availability across ATVT JSK centres (at Block level), e-Dhara Kendra (e-DK) and also eGram Centres (Available at village level). The cost of services and travel has resulted in huge saving to citizens and poor farmers.
Ease of Services and Access: The land record services are available to the citizen at minimal cost at their door-step allowing farmers / citizens an easy access to their records: Access to the records is hassle free with limited direct interaction across departments due to single window services. The facility of single window services is available across 14000 centres thereby reducing the travel time, cost and efforts of rural population in getting the RoR and mutations done. Manual process required multiple follow-up and hassles to the rural poor citizens which even used to cost them a wage loss for the day.
Infuse transparency in providing the services to citizens: Transparency and accountability is a key challenge in maintaining and updation of the land records data. Online availability of the data has brought about the transformation in the land records database. The eDhara LRMS has helped making land records tamper proof. The data managed and maintained at SDC and is tamper proof with defined access control for any updation.
Ease of administration in Land Records Function: Administration bodies can now rely on the ICT network through e-Dhara Kendra and eGram Centres for service delivery of land records. This relieves the revenue administration bodies across the block and village level for focusing on other administrative functions. This facilitates easy maintenance of Land records database through the application developed for provision of ROR and carrying out mutations online.
Prompt updation of land records – Ontime updation of RoR and Mutation across the state land record systems. The project also facilitates 24*7 availability to end user (over the Internet which started in 2013). Project provides this facility to view the land record details online by selecting village and survey number. This web based facility has resulted to be highly beneficial to citizens.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Administrative and Monitoring Mechanism: A state level steering committee headed by the Principal Secretary of the Revenue Department was created. State Monitoring Cell (SMC) was created in Revenue Department. Monitoring and guidance was constantly provided to the block and district level administration through Video conferences using the GSWAN infrastructure. Technical issues were also addressed in this VCs. District level Implementation Committee, Block Implementation Committee, Block Core Group and Block e-Dhara staff consist the administrative and monitoring structure of the system.
To monitor effective digitization: In order to ensure legitimacy of documents and proper indexing based on manual records, various steps were taken like online validation of data at the time of data-entry, bulk printing of 4 types of verification prints of 15 million records, verification of prints with manual original record by multi-level revenue officials, corrections in computerised data as suggested during verification, display of computerized record for public observation at village etc. need to be charted out and completed in time, else digitized data become obsolete before put to use.
Pilot roll-out of application: The project pilot was done in Bhesan Block of Junagarh district in Gujarat. This was done to ensure the success of the solution and also recognize the probable challenges that could be faced for the state-wide implementation of the solution. Mock runs of operations prior to roll-out were conducted.
Software and Application control: Every Software Module version was thoroughly tested for bugs/errors, and reported. Services were rolled-out only after the testing of delivered module and rectified version of Module.
Monitoring and ongoing Operations:
For the problem solving mechanism at every e-Dhara centre (225 centres), one register is stationed. Whenever some problem occurred during issuance of services or any other system problem, operator will take print scan and e-mail the same to SMC and also keep record in the mentioned Registered
Backup and service continuity:
Different intervals at which backup is required to be taken on different devices is designed to ensure utmost safety of computerized land records.
Operational and Administrative Control:
Various stakeholder functions are involved at various stages in ensuring the service continuity to the citizens.
a. Nodal Officer is appointed at every e-Dhara Centre (225 Location)
b. Prant level committees had been formed to monitor
c. SMC established
d. District Administration is involved.
Training and Capacity Building: Training and capacity building was a continuous process involving Technical, Functional, Operational and Administrative sessions.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The implementation of the Land Records Management System was an overall transformation involving multiple stakeholders, ground level participation, regulatory changes, digitization efforts and buy-in from internal and external stakeholders. Below mentioned are the challenges faced by the District Administration during the implementation of eDhara LRMS project:
• Data Digitization of all the traditional RoR and Mutation records for the complete State was a huge task. Provisioning the digitization facilities and getting the same completed by the cut-off date was a big milestone.
• Ensuring the distributed servers had the data indexed, exchangeable and updated across the regions to the latest for the delivery to citizens. The timely updation of the RoR and Mutation was to be ensured in parallel with the huge data digitization activity carried out (over 9.8 million 7*12 and 5.4 million VF8A were digitized in short span of time across the 18000 villages)
• The village level connectivity and e-literacy was a challenge back in 2011. This was overcome through upgradation of GSWAN link from 2 Mbps to 10 Mbps across e-DK and eGram centres in Gujarat.
• Verification of the digitization activity and ensuring the data is up-to-date to the latest was a big challenge. This was overcome through 100% validation at village level by Talathi (Village level Administrative staff available at all 18000 Villages), Readout and notice banners at all villages for comparison between physical and digital records, 20% sample validation from District Magistrate and Sub-magistrate offices, Incorporating feedbacks and corrections raised through the verification process.
• Bringing together the various data attributes during the digitization and standardization across the state level application was a huge challenge faced by the implementation team. Physical to digital conversion of millions of RoR forms (Village Forms 6, 7, 12, 8A) across 18000 villages was a challenging job.