Since 2014, the Union Government has had plans to link land records to Aadhaar numbers.
In January 2021, Mr Narendra Singh Tomar, the then Union Minister for rural development, approved a proposal to integrate the Aadhaar number with land records as a part of the government’s land records digitisation programme.
The proposal is forwarded to the Finance Ministry, and the decision is expected by the end of September 20, 2021. Once the Finance Ministry approves the proposal, it will be presented to the Union Cabinet for its decision. Once approved, Aaadhaar would be linked to the ”Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme” (DILRMP). This programme aims to digitise India’s age-old paper-based land records and land registration system. This programme was scheduled to conclude on March 31, 2021. However, a requisition for the extension of this programme for two years is awaiting the Finance Ministry’s nod.
Under this initiative, Aadhaar numbers will be linked with a unique assigned number of each land parcel, known as Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN). Also, the Union Government has proposed that the linkage will be “consent-based”. This means that prior approval of citizens would be needed to link their property records to their Aadhaar numbers.
So far, the recent news is more focused on the introduction of ALPIN. In contrast, the proposal to link the Aadhaar number of landowners has not been publicly announced by the government or issued in any press release. Also, no response is received on the details related to the Aadhaar linking component by the head of the DILRMP department.
According to the DILRMP report, there are in total 301.6 million land records in India.
The Aadhaar linking is expected to begin in nine states: Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Sikkim, Bihar, Goa, Bihar, Odisha, and Tripura, and Haryana, where the government has rolled out the ULPIN.
According to the submission made to the Parliament, the department is assuming an expenditure of Rs.3 per record for linking ULPIN with the Aadhaar number. Along with this, another spending of Rs.5 per record towards “Aadhaar seeding plus authentication” is also estimated.
The plan to link land records with the Aadhaar has been in the minds of the government for years.
In recent years, the department of land resources had also requested the states to use Aadhaar number as identity proof for registering the lease and sale of the properties.
The letters from the department explain that how linking Aadhaar would help in the issue of Benami properties (Benami properties are those where the buyer/seller’s name in the property is not genuine). Aadhaar integration can also prove essential in checking Benami/fraudulent transactions of land and promoter Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
Later on, in 2019, the department released a guideline recommending the states to enable “consent-based Aadhaar linking” in their land records software.
Also, in the same year, the central government had asked for mandatory linking of the Aadhaar number with agricultural land records. This was a part of the income support scheme for farmers, PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), wherein the records had to be linked by March 2020.
If the Aadhaar-land records linkage scheme gets approved, it will mark as a completion of this timeline.
The Supreme Court had cautioned against the excessive use of the UID in the past and have ruled out its use in some instances.
In past times, father’s name, last name, and village were used to validate a person’s identity. With the growing population and migration from rural to urban, a robust scheme to validate the identity has grown in importance.
The step towards linking Aadhaar would satisfy the growing need to integrate identity proofs in land records documentation.
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