Information and Communication Technology: A case study of computerization of land records in Manipur

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N Irabanta Singh

Introduction:
Information and Communication technology (ICT) is transforming the way of life as it goes on, but to date, the change has been limited to a range of activities in certain technology – intensive enterprises. The pace of change and the opportunities, which are being presented, are of such potential significance that the efforts need to be made to ensure as broad based participation as possible. Further, information technology is all about connecting – connectivity brings proximity, which improves the delivering of services by the government, local self-governments deserve maximum attentions as they are at the cutting edge and therefore immensely affect the daily lives of the citizens.

We are now moving on from IT to Information and Communication Technology (ICT and from IT to Information Society (IS). The old model of IT was providing automation to the internal working of government by data processing. Whereas the shift to a new model of Information and Communication technologies (ICT) is that support and transform the external working of governance by processing and communicating data. From a focus on processing applications (i.e. computers, the I in ICT) to a focus on communications (i.e. networks, the C in ICT), the focus has now shifted to both processing and communications. As the power and reach of ICT grow, so does the power and reach of change in governments. A final trend is the move of ICT from within to outside the governments (Heeks, 2001).

NIC Imphal East District centre started data entry work about land record computerization from June 2002 through a computer software called “Loucha Pathap” on the line similar to BHOOMI – implemented by the Revenue Department, Government of Karnataka State (Chawla and Bhatnagar, 2001). Loucha Pathap referring to loucha or paddy field or land and pathap as rules indicates “Rules governing the land” was inaugurated on 2nd July 2004 by the Ex-Chief Minister of Manipur, Shri O. Ibobi Singh. Now, any records for the district can be viewed through KIOSK system and internet through any cyber cafe without any intervention or help. This study will analyze the entire system of land records in Imphal East District that was in existence earlier to computerization and changes thereafter.

Methodology: The following methods were employed for collection of data from various sources:-
Primary sources: Interview was the mode of data collection
Secondary sources: The following documents were consulted – (i) LRC user’s Manual (Draft). National Informatics Centre, Imphal East District, Manipur, (ii) Observation of available land records under Imphal East District, Manipur from the office of the SDC (Porompat) Revenue circle.

Data analysis:
It consists of (i) Analysis of entire land records system prevalent in Porompat SDC circle under Imphal East District with computerization; (ii) comparative study of the role of computerization of land records using Loucha Pathap in selected revenue village under Porompat SDC circle with pre-computerization and changes thereafter computerization; (iii) MLR form of Land records – comparative study of an individual Jamabandi patta prepared by manual and computerized systems.

Discussion: The scheme for computerization of Land records (CLR) was started in 1988-89. This is a 100% grant in-aid scheme executed by the state governments. The main objective of CLR scheme is that land owners should get computerized copies of records of rights (CORs) at a reasonable price. As regards to Manipur state, the merits and demerits of computerization Information officer, Imphal East District, was interviewed who states “If other States can have, why can’t our State have land records computerization’ (Personal communication August 12, 2008).

Computerization of land records in Manipur was started in 2000, but only Porompat Revenue circle under Imphal East District has been completed. Out of 34 revenue villages under only Porompat Revenue circle, only village No. 39 – Wakha has been taken into consideration as a case study.

Further, the transparency is also boosted by the faith of the general public in computerization system. As such as 30 students who visited Porompat SDC office for collection of computerized Jamabandi patta, being owned by their parents as one of requirements for applying other backward classes (OBC) certificate issued by the D.C. Imphal East District were also interviewed. Now, with a fee of Rs. 15/- (Rupees Fifteen only), is charged by the concerned LDC, the Revenue official can directly scan and print out the required Jamabandi Patta. The printed paper would be signed by the SDC concern. The students are happy with the Loucha Pathap land record maintenance for quick delivery of service. Prior to 2006, any person desiring information has to submit an application first to the SDC office and then processed in a long procedure. The Jamabandi Patta is issued by the concerned SDC. Now, at the NIC office, the required documents are scanned, copied and printed. Accordingly, the Loucha Pathap has great cut down on the loss of time and has helped the general public by reducing corruption and bribery. Similar opinions are also expressed by the public of Karnataka for introducing BHOOMI (2001) and in Haryana State for introducing HALRIS (2005).

Conclusion:
The computerization of land record in Imphal East District, Manipur has revolutionized the whole system. Thus, the success of Loucha Pathap is demonstrated by the fact that in terms of land revenue collection, Porompat Circle, Imphal East District has been adjudged as the best circle in land revenue collection. It is hope that in future computerization of land record in Manipur will extend to remaining 15 districts of Manipur state.

(The writer is former Professor (HAG)/ Life Sciences, MU and former Co-Ordinator, Bioinformatics Infrastructure Facility, MU and can be contacted at [email protected])

Source: The Sangai Express

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