Introduction to Project PLATINUM and its objective
The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India (MoUD) and the India Urban Space Foundation (IUSF) recognize the importance, relevance, and immediacy of the requirement of implementing a system that provides security of land title in urban areas and the adverse impact of the absence of such a system on the planned and equitable growth of urban areas. Towards this end, MoUD and IUSF have entered into a partnership for working out the policy and determining the modalities for implementation of a system of security of land title in urban areas, through a joint Project named ‘PLATINUM’ (Project Partnership for Land Title Implementation for Urban Management).
A National Working Group has been established for Project PLATINUM under MoUD for working on the development of the national guidelines on guaranteed land titles in urban areas. The list of members of the Working Group and its Terms of Reference are placed at Annexe 1. The working group is to develop a detailed framework for the implementation of guaranteed land title in urban areas that can be used by state governments.
Background to the issue of Guaranteed Land Title
India has had a long history of maintenance of land records, as land based revenues were important sources of incomes for kingdoms, empires and colonial administrators over the centuries. The present system, which is substantially unchanged since independence, does not provide owners of land with a substantive and conclusive title to land. On the other hand, what is available are only documents that are evidence for (a) having paid taxes on land (such as land revenue or property tax paid receipts), (b) having been listed and surveyed (such as records or rights of agricultural land, survey drawings and khata extracts from Municipal property registers) or (c) that a transaction of transfer of property has taken place and has been taxed (such as a registered sale or inheritance deed, or will). Each of these documents, or a combination of all, does not amount to a conclusive and formal recognition of property rights; all only presume the ownership of the land concerned. This is a fundamental weakness in the system of land administration and requires urgent resolution. Such a requirement is of greater urgency in Urban areas, given the relatively high values of lands and the galloping growth of urbanisation.
A guaranteed land title certification (GLT) system, which identifies, assures and protects rights to land and property, has wide ranging benefits for both citizens and government, as follows:
(a) Reduce in land related litigation;
(b) Reduce encroachments and land grabbing, thereby making more land available for social development and infrastructure;
(c) Facilitate effective urban planning;
(d) Enable the development of an efficient land and land mortgage market;
(e) Facilitate development and implementation of policies related to land management,
land acquisition, environmental protection and others aspects of land administration that depend on cadastral data;
(f) Improve governance activities that are dependent on clear land titles, such as more efficient provision of municipal services;
(g) Reduce opportunities for corruption and patronage arising out of ambiguous land titles;
(h) Improve tax estimation and administration of ULBs and States.
Implementing a system of Property title certification is one of the mandatory reforms under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and States are expected to implement this reform within the Mission period. An earlier Task Force on Property title certification system was set up in November 2008, headed by Shri Arun K Mehta, Joint Secretary, MoUD, GoI, with a mandate to provide recommendations for implementation of such a system. Based upon the discussions, a Primer was developed by IUSF and sent to state Urban Development departments by NIUA on behalf of the MoUD, GoI
Project PLATINUM is furthering the above mentioned initiatives of the Ministry and IUSF on land title security.