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Explained: What is SVAMITVA, the property card for rural households?

The SVAMITVA scheme was launched by the Prime Minister on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day, April 24, earlier this year and the distribution of property cards began on October 11.

Written by Harikishan Sharma , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 21, 2020 12:15:17 pm
The SVAMITVA scheme aims to provide an integrated property validation solution for rural India.

On October 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the distribution of property cards under the SVAMITVA scheme through video conferencing. The government aims to provide such property cards to each household in the next three to four years in every village across the country.

What is the SVAMITVA card?

The acronym SVAMITA stands for Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas. It is a Central Sector Scheme aimed at “providing ‘record of rights’ to village household owners possessing houses in inhabited rural areas in villages and issuance of property cards to the property owners.” The plan is to survey all rural properties using drones and prepare GIS based maps for each village.

The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day, April 24, earlier this year and distribution of property cards began on October 11.

During the current financial year, the scheme is being implemented as a pilot project in about 1 lakh villages across 8 states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. The aim is to cover all 6.62 lakh villages in the country by the end of financial year 2023-24.

How is a SVAMITVA property card generated?

The framework for implementation of SVAMITVA scheme, finalized by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, provides a multi-stage process of generating a property card, which starts with signing of a memorandum of understanding between Survey of India (SoI) and respective state governments. The SoI is responsible for preparing the National Topographic database on all scales, using technology for topographical mapping at various scales including the use of airborne photographydrones, satellite imageries, and Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) or drone platforms.

Once the MOU is done, a Continuously Operating Reference System (CORS) is established. It is a network of reference stations that provide a virtual base station that allows access to long-range high-accuracy Network RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) corrections. “The CORS network supports in establishing ground control points, which is an important activity for accurate Geo-referencing, ground truthing and demarcation of lands,” says the framework.

The next step is the identification of villages to be surveyed during the pilot phase, and make people aware of the process of mapping properties. The abadi area (residential area) of the village is demarcated and each rural property is marked with limestone (chunna). Then, drones are used for large scale mapping of rural abadi areas. Based on these images, a GIS database on 1:500 scale, and village maps — Gram Manchitra — are drawn. After creation of maps, a ground verification process by drone survey teams follows, on the basis of that corrections, if any, are made. At this stage, inquiry/objection process – conflict/ dispute resolution is completed. After this, final Property Cards/Title deeds or “Sampatti Patrak” are generated. These cards will be available on digital platforms or as hard copies to the village household owners.

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How will the SVAMITVA property data and maps be updated in the future?

The framework states, “Once the GIS database is prepared encompassing the 6.62 lakh villages, state governments will be responsible for conducting future surveys and updating the GIS database.” They will also decide the update frequency of the re-survey.

Who will own the SVAMITVA data?

According to the framework, the orthorectified base maps shall be jointly owned by the Survey of India, Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the state government. The GIS data will also be jointly owned by Centre and State. However, the data related to property details will be owned by the State Revenue Department as it has the authority to mutate the Right of Records (RoRs) and update the maps. Hence, the State Revenue Department will be the owner/host of this data and others will have a right to view. Other updated GIS data layers will be shared by the “Talathi/Patwari” level officer once every year incorporating updates that have been done in the preceding 12 months.

What is the benefit of issuing a SVAMITVA property card?

According to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, which has piloted SVAMITVA, the scheme will benefit rural residents in many ways. First, it will enable rural households to use their property as a financial asset for taking loans and other financial benefits. Second, it will help in determination of property tax, which would accrue to the Gram Panchayats directly in states where they are empowered to collect such taxes. The cards will help increase liquidity of land parcels in the market and increase the financial credit availability to the village. The scheme will also pave tje way for creation of accurate land records for rural planning. All the property records and maps will be available at Gram Panchayat, which will help in taxation of villages, construction permits, elimination of encroachments, etc.

The property maps will be made using the GIS technique and the same can also be used for better-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).

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