The office of Settlement Commissioner has now turned to Virtual Account Number (VAN) for effective collection and reconciliation of revenue from land record document issuance fee, which is issued through talathis across the state. After digitising land records under the ambitious Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP), citizens can either download copies of land documents — 7/12 extracts, 8A or mutation records — on their own or approach the local talathis to procure them.
A citizen has to pay Rs 15 as the issuance fee to the talathi, who can keep Rs 10 and transfer Rs 5 to the office of settlement commissioner in Pune.
In the existing system, the talathis have to go to banks to transfer the accumulated share of the Settelement Commmissionerate by filling up a challan. While this is cumbersome for talathis, the office of settlement commissioner also was unable to keep track of the revenue generated.
According to Ramdas Jagtap, Deputy Collector in-charge of DILRMP, since April 2019, while a total of 3.15 crore copies have been issued via talathis and the settlement commissioner should have received Rs 15.75 crore in revenue, only Rs 13 crore has been received so far.
“The talathis submit copies of the challans to the local tehsildar but it doesn’t reach us. Thus, it was not possible for us to track reconciliation of copies issued and revenue generated. With VAN, every talathi will be allotted one virtual account number, which will be used to deposit money every month using any online transfer process. Thus, the reconciliation will be automatic for us and talathis won’t waste their time in bank queues,” Jagtap said.
There are a total of 12,500 talathis in Maharashtra, who are involved in various record collection and record-keeping activities pertaining to land and farming.
Jagtap said the Office of Settlement Commissioner had conducted a pilot project about the use of VAN in Khed taluka of Pune district before submitting the proposal to the state government.
“In Khed, we created VANs for 55 talathis. It worked fine,” he said.
According to officials, the office had conducted a meeting of all the nationalised banks, with more than 1,000 branches, to discuss opening VANs for talathis. Of all the banks, only State Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of Baroda had requisite facilities.
Among the two, SBI could provide VAN with deposition option of RTGS and NEFT only, while Bank of Baroda provided RTGS, NEFT, IMPS and debit card option for money deposits. Considering this, a proposal was made by the settlement commissioner to the government to open a depository account in Bank of Baroda with VAN facility.
The DILRMP was launched in 2008 — known as National Land Records Modernisation Programme (NLRMP) until 2015 — with an aim to bring in transparency and easy accessibility to land records.
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