Land conversion to be online

Continuing its wave of tax administration reforms, the state government has decided to bring the entire process relating to the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural use online.

As a result, applicants should immediately file conversion requests online and the conversion process will run seamlessly through Dharani, the portal of the Integrated Land Registry Management System. Upon completion of the conversion, the land would instantly be electronically entered into Dharani’s non-farm portal.

The Legislature on Tuesday passed the Telangana Agricultural Land (Non-Agricultural Conversion) (Amendment) Act 2020.

Legislative Affairs Minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy, who piloted the bill on behalf of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in the House, said the amendments were aimed at increasing transparency in revenue administration.

The changes would ensure the public interest of the tax administration hassle-free and lead to the evolution of good practices to end corruption.

The bills were considered because of the problems encountered in the conversion process which left discretionary powers to officials.

Deviations

The divisional revenue officer who was the competent authority received the applications and discrepancies were noted in the collection of the conversion fee. There was a huge backlog of claims as well as 826 crore dues to be paid for pending government conversions. Existing laws required effective coordination between the tax, Panchayat Raj and municipal government departments, resulting in delays in completing conversions.

There was no mechanism to verify these aspects in the past and therefore it was decided to simply the provisions of the Act and make it more transparent.

The government had therefore decided to ensure conversions based on time slots by hosting the entire process online. As a result, the conversion process would be completed on the same day with the transfer and the ownership document would be delivered to the parties involved. The government had previously posted data for 95% of the land, 1.48 crore acres on the Dharani portal.

Congressman Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, however, expressed doubts about the veracity of the tapes entered into the Dharani portal, saying allowing erroneous entries would lead to chaos in the coming days.

The state government should therefore complete surveying and settlement of all land across the state before bringing the processes online, the congressman said.

“Entering incorrect information will result in the issuance of incorrect certificates more than once. This must be avoided, ”he said.

However, Mr Prashanth Reddy said that as the investigation and resolution process would take over a year, the government decided to ensure that the data was hosted online in the land administration processes.