The recently concluded National Conference on "Land Governance in North Eastern States" held in Guwahati in May 2023 highlighted the need for digitization and modernization of land records for the development of the region. The conference was organized by Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, and the Department of Land Resources with the support of the Revenue Department, Government of Assam. Representatives from various territorial and autonomous district councils in the states of Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, and Meghalaya participated in the conference.
Task Force for Land Governance to be constituted for North Eastern States
The conference focused on various sessions, including current state practices and modernization of land records, land governance assessment framework, customary and indigenous laws, and the role of Survey of India in land records modernization. The discussions revealed that while computerization and digitization of land records and maps have shown good progress in most parts of Assam, serious gaps still exist in the areas under Bodoland Territorial Council, Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council, and Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council.
Unlocking the Development Potential of North Eastern States Through Digitization and Modernization of Land Records
One of the main outcomes of the conference was the realization that the digitization and modernization of land records are essential for the development of the region. Land records are critical for planning and implementing development programs, as they provide information on land ownership, land use, and land development potential. Digitization and modernization of land records can help in improving land governance and promoting transparency, which, in turn, can attract more investments in the region.
Need to Address Land Governance Gaps in North Eastern States
The conference also highlighted the importance of addressing the gaps in the areas under the territorial and autonomous district councils. For instance, the Bodoland Land Policy is being framed, and it is expected to be finalized shortly. Surveys and settlements in the Karbi Anglong areas have not been done, while large tracts of land in the Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council have non-cadastral areas that need to be surveyed. The Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous Council has eight districts, and approximately 10,000 sq. km. under Sixth Schedule and ten customary laws, and there is a need for survey/resurvey of the areas. The Lai Autonomous District Council areas of the Sixth Schedule also require survey/resurvey, while land ownership in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council areas is largely owned by the community. The Garo Hills Autonomous District Council has a system of issuing annual pattas by the district council, while the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council follows the Meghalaya Land Survey and Records Preparation Act 1980.
Land Record Modernisation Essential for Progress in North Eastern States
The digitisation and modernisation of land records are essential for the development of North East India. The National Conference on "Land Governance in North Eastern States" highlighted the importance of addressing the gaps in the areas under territorial and autonomous district councils and promoting transparency and improving land governance. These initiatives can attract more investments in the region and help in planning and implementing development programs.