India’s Digital IDs for Land Could Exclude Poor, Indigenous Communities, Experts Warn


Plans by the federal government to assign digital identification numbers to plots of land may exclude rural and indigenous individuals who don’t maintain titles, and additional marginalise these with out web entry, specialists stated.

The 14-digit Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) was launched in 10 states earlier this yr and shall be rolled out throughout the nation by March 2022, authorities on the Department of Land Resources instructed Parliament this week.

The ULPIN shall be primarily based on the latitude and longitude of every parcel of land and can depend on surveys and cadastral maps, authorities stated. Individual plot numbers may also be linked to financial institution data and the nationwide ID Aadhaar numbers, they stated.

Officials have billed the programme as a option to deal with corruption and land disputes, however critics warned of many potential pitfalls — from outdated land registry data to flaws within the Aadhaar database.
Linking land data to Aadhaar requires “extreme caution”, stated Kanchi Kohli, a senior researcher on the Centre for Policy and Research think-tank, citing frequent circumstances of mismatched IDs, or an absence of registration within the system.

“It may further complicate existing tensions in creating and maintaining land records, and gets particularly exclusionary when land is being used seasonally by pastoral communities or common use for forest produce or fishing,” she added.

The land ID scheme is a part of a push to digitalise India’s land data that started in 2008 and was scheduled to be accomplished by the tip of March this yr. It will now be prolonged to 2024, authorities stated.

Land division officers instructed lawmakers digitalising land data was “a game changer in reducing corruption” in addition to land disputes, saying it empowered unusual individuals by permitting them to entry data on-line.

About 70 p.c of land in creating nations is undocumented, leaving greater than 1 / 4 of the world’s inhabitants weak to disputes, evictions, and encroachment, in keeping with the Washington-based land rights nonprofit Cadasta Foundation.

While documenting land information can result in larger effectivity in land administration and elevated prosperity, authorities might not be consulting communities, failing to safe information, or utilizing it to evict weak individuals, human rights teams say.

Some Indian states haven’t surveyed their land in additional than a century, and specialists have questioned the logic of digitalising present data, and raised considerations over information entry and privateness as data are made accessible on-line.

Pranab Choudhury, convener on the Center for Land Governance think-tank, stated the digital ID scheme was probably helpful however may change into ineffective “and even highly contested” if it was primarily based on outdated data.

“Many plots have been subdivided since the last survey, yet remain as one plot in cadastral maps. Subdivisions are often not recorded to avoid transaction cost, so ULPIN should be implemented only after a complete resurvey,” he stated.

In addition, ladies, Dalits, and indigenous people who find themselves usually prevented from proudly owning land danger being shut out, he added.

“Implementing ULPIN hurriedly, without addressing legacy issues can seriously undermine citizen trust and may lead to more disputes. The poor and other disadvantaged groups may be further alienated and excluded,” he added.

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