Inroduction (contd...)

After independence the same institutional structure was adopted in the country with the concentration of the government mainly on the land and the Agrarian Reforms. In that direction, the land policy in India has undergone three phases that included,

a) Abolition of Intermediaries;
b) Tenancy Reforms;
c) Fixing ceilings on land holdings.

The history of Land Revenue administration in the State of Jammu and Kashmir is similar to the rest of the country. The first regular settlement was carried out under the patronage of Sir Walter Lawrence, the first Settlement Commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir in the year 1885 under the reigns of Maharaja Partap Singh.

In the year 1887 Mr. Andrew Wingate started his settlement operations in Kashmir. During his stay in Kashmir he made the survey of two Tehsils in the Valley, namely Lal and Phak. He felt the necessity of ameliorating the condition of local peasants whom he regarded as “a machine to produce Shali for a very large and mostly idle population”. He found that the cultivator have no rights either to his land or to his crops. Mr.Wingate recommended the following:-
a. A survey and new settlement of all cultivable land in the State;
b. Reduction in taxation;
c. Drastic changes in the revenue machinery;
d. More rights to the peasants including hereditary and proprietary ownership of Land ;
e. Abolition of forced labour.

When Mr. Walter R Lawrence succeeded Mr. Wingate as the Settlement Commissioner, the political situation in Kashmir had considerably changed. Mr. Lawrence carried on his settlement operations in a systematic way. He drew up a map of every village, and all the facts were recorded on a prescribed form relating to each field concerning areas class of lands, source of irrigations, number and kind of trees, revenue payable etc. He classified the soil into different types and divided the entire area into assessment circles. In each assessment circle, estimate of average produce were obtained by conducting crop cutting experiments for different crops. On the basis of prevailing prices, gross assets for each circle were worked out. Out of these, certain deductions were made on account of some requirement of the peasant, like cost of cultivation, seeds, draught, animals etc. and finally the revenue rates were determined as a percentage of the net assets.

An important feature of Mr. Lawrence's Settlement was that it pertained to the ownership of land. The fixation of the State Revenue demand for a long time helped the cultivators to improve the soil and this, in turn, increased production. Lawrence had fixed the State demand for ten years. A revision of the Land Settlement was commenced in the year 1898 and completed in 1905. The methods applied for the revision being similar to those followed at the first regular settlement. While the first Settlement had raised the revenue by Rs 1, 85, 103 annually, the revision raised the revenue to Rs.13 .4 lakhs of J&K State.

Most important step taken towards the implementation of this program was the enactment of the Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976. Under this measure, absentee landlordism was completely abolished and a ceiling of 12.5 standard acres was imposed on agricultural land holdings. The reform was bound to achieve the twin purpose of giving the cultivator his rightful place in the social order and also ensure more efficient utilization of the state’s resources.

In order to prepare / revise the existing record of rights, the Govt. has issued notifications from time to time under Section 22 of Land Revenue Act whereunder various estates of different Tehsils, where the record of rights was either partially or totally damaged or not existed were notified to make/revise record of rights, as the case may be.

The tasks to carry out fresh revision were assigned to the two Settlement Officers viz., Jammu and Srinagar. The traditional chain method of measurement was adopted earlier but the department switched over to the Electronic Total Stations in the year 1998 under the programme “Strengthening of Revenue Administration & updating of Land Records”(SRA and ULR) and computerization of Land Records (CSL)However, after subsuing the earlier two programmes CLR & SRA &ULR in the year 2008 launched a modified Programme called National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP). A total of 920 villages (Jammu District-421, Samba District-16, Kathua District -174 ,District Udhampur -184, District Reasi-25, District Ramban -80 ,District Doda-03 and District Rajouri -18) were completed in Jammu Province.

In order to execute the NILRMP smoothly, a PMU was constituted by the State Govt. vide Order dated 20.01.2012, headed by Chief Secretary as Chairman and Financial Commissioner (Revenue) as Chief Executive Officer. The PMU constituted with a two tier system i.e. Executive Body headed by Chief Executive Officer and Governing Body headed by Chief Secretary as per guidelines of the Scheme. It was registered with the Registrar of Societies, Kashmir as a Society on 28.06.2013 in the nomenclature of Jammu and Kashmir Land Management Agency (JaKLaRMA). Bye laws of the society were formulated and approved by the Governing Body in the meeting held on 20.05.2013 under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary J&K.

It also provides for a Regional Level implementation setup with Regional Director Survey & Land Records as Regional CEO. The Additional Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioners Revenue/SDMs have been designated as its members. The Regional CEO may co-opt any other member as he/she desires.

However, in the year 2013, it was felt that the present organizational structure may not achieve the desired purpose. Therefore, in order to rejuvenate the Settlement Organization in the State, the Government re-organized and re-structured this wing in 2013. Seven Regional Directorates of Survey and Land Records (Ex-Officio Settlement Officers) have been created in the whole state to carry out the settlement operations. The jurisdiction of this Directorate (RDSLRJ) extends to three district viz., Jammu, Samba and Kathua.

Now, the records in the State is being updated/modernized under “Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme” (DILRMP). The said programme is 100% centrally funded for all its components, the objective of the programme is to develop a modern comprehensive and transparent Land Records system so as to minimize the scope of land/property disputes, to provide single window services to citizen, to preserve old revenue records etc.

For the smooth & effective implementation of DILRMP, the Govt. has outsourced the implementation of the said programme to M/s RAMTeCH Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd. a Noida based IT company after following due procedures .Accordingly, an agreement between the State Govt. and M/S RAMTeCH Software Solutions Ltd was signed on 02-06-2015 at a cost of Rs 45.42 crore for execution of Project work of two Districts Jammu & Srinagar and other tasks of 20 Districts of the State in Phase -1 with a time line of 28th months in the presence of the then Revenue Minister and Members of the Governing Body. Subsequently, a work order was issued to Service Provider on 18-06-2015.

The Hon’ble Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation had formally inaugurated the Project on 18-04-2016 and 22-04-2016 at Jammu and Srinagar respectively.

The Society has taken 02 Districts viz, Srinagar and Jammu for an end to end solution along with three parallel activities across the State on pilot basis in Phase-I which are as follows:-
a) Scanning of Revenue Documents and Digitalization of Cadastral Maps.
b) Establishment of Ground Control Points (GCPs)
c) Development of web-based enterprise GIS Cadastral Information System.

After successful completion of Phase-I, the remaining 10 districts will be taken up in Phase-II and rest of 10 districts in Phase-III.

This directorate has taken up District Jammu for an end to end solution i.e from scanning and digitization of Revenue Record to the establishment of Web based CIS & GCPs. However, in District Samba and Kathua, scanning of Revenue Records is underway. All the works under the DILRMP are being implemented by the JaKLaRMA through the Regional Directorates, Survey and Land Records.