Digital data for India’s Defence Estate

On 30 July, the Ministry of Defence announced in a press release that the Defence Land project (Raksha Bhoomi) that was developed to protect land and prevent encroachment by digitally storing records is still in play.

The computerisation of defence land records under the project Defence Land (Raksha Bhoomi), was undertaken by the Directorate General of Defence Estates in association with National Informatics Centre (NIC).  Defence Land Records contained in General Land Registers (GLRs) and Military Land Registers (MLRs) were entered in the Raksha Bhoomi Software and made operational after verification and authentication of the database in July 2011. The software was developed to digitise land records.

The term land registration refers to systems and matters concerning ownership, possession or other rights of land that can be recorded (usually with a government agency or department) to provide evidence of a title, facilitate transactions and to prevent illegal disposal.

The process of integrating the data of encroachment on defence lands in the Raksha Bhoomi database is an ongoing process. 

According to their website, the Directorate General of Defence Estates maintains two types of lands registers. One register is for lands within Cantonments, and the other register is for lands outside Cantonments. The former register is called the General Lands Register (GLR) and the latter register is called the Military Lands Register (MLR). Both the registers record data about the ownership of land, its area, who occupies it, any transfer or sale transactions and other summary details.

In 2007, the Raksha Bhoomi software was designed to store the information electronically in both these registers in all the DEO (Defence Estate Office) and CEO offices.

The Raksha Bhoomi project revolutionised the way records were kept; land records data from various offices can be consolidated at one place and earlier with manual registers this consolidation was not possible. Therefore, the computerisation of this data with the facility to generate state-wise and country-wise reports along with the preparation of software for managing this data was developed.

The software after its development in 2007, has undergone a number of version changes and a stable version 3.3 was released in 2011. The software is currently functional in all 62 Cantonment Boards and all 37 Defence Estate Offices. Data entry, verification and authentication has been completed by all the field offices and all the data has been compiled.

The press release said that detection, prevention and removal of encroachment is a continuous exercise. Action for the removal of encroachments on defence land is taken under the provisions of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 as well as under the Cantonment Act, 2006. Cases are also taken up with State or Municipal authorities for resolution of the problem.

With the continued digitalisation of land records, survey, demarcation and verification of defence lands, the Government of India expects to prevent and stop all encroachment in the county.

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