HITTING OUT at the Opposition for its protests against his government’s farm reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday launched the Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology, or Svamitva, a new scheme to distribute property cards that will enable beneficiaries to take loans and resolve land disputes.
“With the help of property cards, a lot of disputes in villages can get resolved. No one needs to be worried about issues like encroachment anymore…Experts across the world have stressed that property ownership rights play a big role in a country’s development,” Modi said while launching the scheme via video conference.
The scheme will pave the way for residents in villages to use property as a financial asset for taking loans, Modi said, adding that it is necessary for a developing country like India to have clear land ownership rights.
The Prime Minister said that the scheme will also make management easier for gram panchayats “in a systematic way”, like municipalities and municipal corporations. The government will try to provide the cards to every rural household over the next three-four years, he said.
How the card works
To begin with, over 1 lakh beneficiaries will be able to download these cards through an SMS. This will be followed by the distribution of cards.
The first phase will cover 1 lakh beneficiaries, including residents of 346 villages in UP, 221 in Haryana, 100 in Maharashtra, 44 in Madhya Pradesh, 50 in Uttarakhand and two in Karnataka. The scheme envisages mapping all 6.62 lakh villages in the country, to be carried out by Survey of India with a very low estimated error margin of plus-minus five centimetres, officials said.
The target is to complete the exercise in four years whereas this year, the government plans to complete about a lakh villages, they said. The states will implementing the scheme using state laws under the Panchayati Raj or Revenue Act, and can decide on the type of card to be distributed.
“Everything is available digitally. So through digital technology, states can give the card in whatever manner they deem fit,” said Sunil Kumar, Secretary, Panchayati Raj. So far, states have not decided on whether they want to distribute a digital card like Aadhaar or a chip-based card with embedded data, he said.
In a statement, the UP government said: “As many as 39,989 rural residential/land records have been prepared in the 346 villages of 37 districts of eastern UP in the initial stage of the pilot project… With the help of the initial map, made with the assistance of a drone, physical verification of all the personal, institutional, semi-government and government properties was done by the survey team.”
At the launch, Modi also targetted the Opposition, saying that those who do not want India’s farmers to become self reliant, or “atmanirbhar”, have problems with the farm reforms.
“History says that it has been the basis of the politics of some people to keep villages and the poor in penury. The past says that. We have run a mission to free the poor from deprivation,” Modi said.
“Such people think that if the villages, the poor, the farmers and the tribals get empowered, who will respect such people? How will the businesses of those people run? They wanted people to stay entangled in their problems. Nowadays, these people have a problem with the historic reforms done in the farm sector. They are perturbed and misleading the country,” he said.
“People who weaved a web of middlemen in the country are protesting against the reforms in the farm sector,” Modi said.
Speaking against the backdrop of images of socialist icon Jayaprakash Narayan and RSS stalwart Nanaji Deshmukh — Sunday marked their birth anniversaries — Modi recalled their ideals of village empowerment while interacting with Svamitva beneficiaries.
He said that an unprecedented level of development has taken place in villages over the last six years, including benefits such as bank accounts, electricity connections, access to toilets, gas connections, pucca houses and piped drinking water connections.
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