‘Launch of physical distribution of property cards under SVAMITVA Scheme’

Context

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the physical distribution of property cards under the ‘SVAMITVA’ (ownership) scheme, and asserted that it is a “historic move” set to transform rural India.

About

What is SVAMITVA Scheme?

  • The SVAMITVA scheme was launched in April this year with the aim to update rural land records, providing record of rights to village households and issue property cards.
  • SVAMITVA is a central scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development.
  • It will be implemented across the country in a phased manned over the next four years, covering around 6.62 lakh villages.
  • The scheme focuses on mapping rural-inhabited lands using drones as land records are inaccurate or do not exist for vast areas across India.

Launch of physical distribution of property cards

  • The launch will enable around one lakh property holders to download their property cards through an SMS link sent on their mobile phones.
  • This would be followed by the physical distribution of property cards by respective state governments.
  • These beneficiaries are from 763 villages across six states, including 346 from Uttar Pradesh, 221 from Haryana, 100 from Maharashtra, 44 from Madhya Pradesh, 50 from Uttarakhand and two from Karnataka.

Why land records are important?

  • Even though 60 per cent of the country lives in rural areas, villagers do not have ownership documents of their homes despite records being kept of agricultural land.
  • These land records play an important role for Gram Panchayats that currently struggle with generating revenues, especially through property tax, who can better invest in the needs of local communities.
  • Only 19 per cent of potential property tax was being collected by Gram Panchayats, according to the 2018 Economic Survey.
  • As once ownership of property becomes easy to demarcate and prove, its prices will also be fixed.
  • Then the property cards can be used to take loans, improving the tax regime at the Panchayati level.
  • Beyond that, this effort may bring about more financial stability for rural India, give accurate land records that can be used for planning, help in calibrating property tax and give a structural recourse for legal matters in property disputes.

Significance of the move

  • The move will pave the way for villagers to use property as a financial asset for taking loans and other financial benefits.
  • This scheme is an effective step in the direction of economic empowerment in rural India.

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