Computerised land record

An inordinate delay by the provincial government to issue a notification

August 12, 2021

The Sindh government has computerised around 70% of the land record in the province, but the ground reality nullifies the effort and expenses incurred on undertaking the exercise. Unfortunately, stakeholders, especially farmers, are not benefiting from the digitisation as computerised record is practically of no use because of an inordinate delay by the provincial government to issue a notification. In the absence of an official notification, computerised record is not recognised as a valid legal document. Farmers have to produce land record for obtaining agricultural credit from banks and other financial institutions. They are hampered by the existing stagnant situation. Even those whose land record has been computerised have to do much running around to obtain the digitised record.

Growers blame the provincial Board of Revenue for their troubles. The alleged inefficiency of the board is leading to one of the lowest disbursements of agricultural credit in Sindh adversely affecting farm productivity in the province. Sindh contributes 23% of the national agricultural GDP but its credit allocation, due to official apathy, is a mere 16% and this too remains underutilised. In other provinces, the disbursement is sometimes higher than the set target, and farmers do not have to face other problems as there the computerised land record is treated as a legal document.

The Sindh government began computerisation of land records around two decades ago with much fanfare. The computerisation programme was also publicised raising farmers’ hopes that this would eliminate irregularities in land record and also make it easy to get access to records but these hopes are yet to materialise due to tiresome slowness at the official level. Since the digitisation scheme is proceeding at a snail’s pace, it is not serving the purpose for which it was meant. Farmers realise the importance of computerisation of land records, so they have demanded of the government to expedite the whole process to facilitate them as it will increase agricultural productivity in the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2021.

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