CHENNAI: Administrative reforms in state government departments like revenue, registration and town and country planning have a long way to go in the country, which is often riddled with red tapism and malpractices like registration of fake documents, entering of wrong owners’ names in revenue records and proliferation of unauthorised buildings.
Southern states, however, have a much better track record and Tamil Nadu is next only to Andhra Pradesh in providing quality service to people through these departments, says a book on property registration, land records and building approval procedures.
The book, perhaps the first of its kind in the country, has been written by G Shyam Sunder, a lawyer who has been doing legal work for leading banks, by travelling to various states to collect firsthand information on varied administrative practices followed across the country. The book also throws light on various kinds of real estate frauds being reported in the country. “It is high time we followed common standards in these departments across all states and Union territories to preempt frauds,” said Sunder. Andhra Pradesh has adopted the maximum best practices in these departments, he said.
It had computerised issuance of encumbrance certificates (EC) for properties, way back from 1980. Moreover, encumbrance of a property can be checked online from 1983 onwards. Andhra has uploaded even residential layout details dating back to 1941 on the town and country planning department website. With a view to reining in unscrupulous builders, the state has made it mandatory for every builder to obtain licence from the government.
On the contrary, TN provides computerised EC only from 1987. In neighbouring Karnataka, computerised EC is available only from 2004 because old property records have not been computerised. In Kerala, it is available only from 1992, in Gujarat from 1994 and in Orissa from 2010. No other state issues computerised EC.