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Poverty Times #1

Computerization and land registration Andhra Pradesh, India

Buying property in Andhra Pradesh used to be complex and take a long time. After the purchase the buyer visited the local office of the Sub-Registrar of Assurances in person, had the property valued and stamp duty calculated, purchased stamp paper and had a writer draft the deed in the requisite legal language. The purchaser also had to provide additional documents related to income and other properties owned. All these documents were then scrutinized by the registrar, and recorded, before an exact copy of the final deed was copied by hand and certified.

In Andhra Pradesh, 387 subregistrar offices registered about 1.2 million documents a year, 60 percent of them for agricultural land. A yearly manual update of property information was carried out, since hundreds of thousands of property files were updated with the new sales from the year.

Land registration offices throughout the state are now equipped with computerized counters under the Computeraided Administration of Registration Department (CARD) project, initiated and financed by the state government to improve efficiency and increase duty collections. Starting with a pilot project in 214 locations over 15 months, the entire database was transferred to computers, the copying and filing system was replaced with imaging, and all backoffice functions were automated. Standardization and greater transparency in property valuation procedures boosted stamp duty revenues. Registration processing time was cut from ten days to one hour.

Source: Subhash Chandra Bhatnagar, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, World Bank, E-Government Focus Group, 2000, available at www1.worldbank.org/publicsector/egov/cardcs.htm