Revenue Department Digitalization of new Jamabandies

Mohd Amin Mir
Revenue department is the oldest one and very important. Land records are maintained by this department. Categories of land- agriculture, non agriculture, Banjri jaded, Bangri Qadeem, etc is looked after by this department. The department maintains all the relevant records viz. Jamabandies, Girdawaries, Mutation registers, records of rights, Fardi Portal, etc and so many other records. Revenue department’s basic solider patwari having the hectic schedule always keeps and maintains these essential records ready for reference to the government in particular and the public in general.
Jamabandi as an essential document contains all the information of different types of land mentioned with different survey numbers. A survey number is a fixed number given to a fixed pieces of land during settlement in an estate. There are twelve columns in a Jamabandi form. It is believed that reading of Jamabandi is a very specialised task of revenue officials and far away from the knowledge of general masses. But in the present scenario everybody should have a basic knowledge of revenue records. Having 12 columns each columns depicts unique information. Jamabandi is also called “char sala” meaning it is written after an interval of four years. The mutations attested from the preparation of previous Jamabandi of an estate needs to be incorporated in the remarks column of that Jamabandi with red ink as these entries become visible and entries in the Khanakast should be tallied with the current Girdawari.
Maximum Jamabandies of all the estate were prepared in year 1969-70 and 1970-71 before the commencement of Agrarian Reforms Act
After a gap of twenty years new Jamabandies were prepared in all estates of the eristwhile state I,e 1992-93, 1993-1994, 1994, 1995 till 1999. The then officials prepared this essential document but maximum Jamabandies were not checked and are without signature of the attesting officials and officers. This unattested record gave birth to many embezzlements and many litigations, suits are yet to be decided that are languishing in many competent courts (revenue and civil) for judgments, and resulted in many poor people of the society face hardships. Someone has lost ownership rights and another one has his ternary rights. On the other hand this non-seriousness gave rise to land-mafias.
Again after a gap of almost 30 years land records information system was launched in the year 2017 in UT in the name of Aap Ki Zameen Aap Ki Nigrani under the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme. All the land records of the country have been made available online. Our union territory has also launched this programme. All the previous available records have been scanned by the revenue department in collaboration with Ram Tech company. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have used this online system to check the records of their land. For this purpose people visit Common Service Centres to check their land records and status of land. As a result, rush has decreased in Central and District Record Rooms and also Tehsil Offices, because it is a single window that handles the land records like Jamabandi, Girdawari extracts, mutation copies, information about other miscellaneous works of revenue department etc. This online system of revenue land records has so many benefits Such as, the transparency in maintaining land records is enhanced thereby reducing property disputes, saves one’s time, fuel and efforts, speedup the process of land acquisition. For home buyers and donor, the complete details of the ownership of the property he/she wants to buy or sell and it will help him/her to check for transparent market based pricing before buying a plot of land. It also shows clarity over ownership status, easier online approval of plans and occupancy certificates, Court cases will be reduced implies litigations will come down and land mafia system will be checked. By digitalizing of revenue records manipulation will be curbed and improvement in functioning of revenue officials and officers will be mentioned effectively. The Revenue Department in collaboration with Ram Tech have already scanned the records. Writing of new Jamabandies took place from year 2016.It is mentioned that a patwari has many villages in his charge and almost all 6912 villages got completed till 15th August 2021. These Jamabandies either prepared by retired persons of the Revenue Department or hurriedly by a patwari himself were not cross checked properly and were deposited in Regional Director Land Records (RDLR) for scanning. But this wing of the department took the best initiative for the first time by thoroughly verifying these written documents and called patwaris for cross check and correction. Once it was done, these Jamabandies were scanned by the Ram Tech company that had already developed a software for it. Meanwhile settlement commissioner ordered that it is mandatory on the part of revenue department that once the scanning is complete, the entries of these Jamabandies should be read before the Zamindars infront of Lumberdars and Chowkidars for their genuineness.
Instead reading these essential documents, the department engaged all the field functionaries as computer operators from other departments in digitalizing these Jamabandies. Insiders believe that once digitalization is complete and the record of these newly prepared Jamabandies becomes available for the public domain, its impact on society will be dangerous. Fresh disputes and litigations will arise and somewhere the department will be on the toes. It is suggested that once the digitalization that runs on war footing basis is complete, these Jamabandies should be read before zamindars and mistakes found(if any and it is believed these are many) shall be rectified before making it an online document. I salute to these brave patwaries who are working day and night in digitalization.
The information of land records especially recent prepared Jamabandies are made available to the global audience there by access is not restricted to those who visit the physical location, saving time. Before digitalization, manual processing was delaying work. By digitalizing new Jamabandies, we can expect reliable outcomes every time and related work will help Revenue Department to achieve greater transparency and fairness. It will reduce the time to complete a task. By digitalization, as the manual job ends the employees of the department can focus keenly towards difficult work ahead I, e settlement. The work will be done faster and mistakes will be fewer. But a patwari can make better use of his /her time at work. Transparency is critical for a long term success of Revenue Department. Recently prepared Jamabandies is a well documented process and it will boost revenue departments visibility. Human is prone to error than computers. So digitalization process can minimize errors.
Jamabandi is updated after every four years. However same pattern was not followed in past , resulting into a good number of these Jamabandies are without any updation from last five decades. Truly saying it is the failure on the part of our colleagues over the last five decades that has put my colleagues in a tight spot. The patwaries were directed to update these Jamabandies on war footing basis.
It is expected that all changes in title and interests of the estate coming into the notice of revenue department were not reflected in these Jamabandies as was found visible when these Jamabandies were re-verified at Regional Director Land Records Offices. Even few patwaries hired retired revenue officials at the fixed re-numeration that ranged from Rs 2500 to one lakh. At Regional Director Land Records Offices these Jamabandies got re-verified and later checked by patwaries for error.
(The author is Incharge District Record Room Anantnag)