Farmers may visit the Bhoomi centre (kiosk) at the sub-district office to obtain a document, be it the RTC, a mutation extract for a piece of land that has been sold, or a title deed. Farmers can get an RTC for any parcel of land and Khata extract (statement of total land holdings of an individual) in 5-30 minutes.
At the Bhoomi kiosks, a comprehensive software programme provides for printing of land records and online updating of RTCs. The software also records and identifies the fingerprint of the official who enters the change of ownership or sale of any piece of land in the state (to ensure that no one can hack into the system). Bhoomi also enables the scanning of original mutation orders and notices served; this method provides a record to the revenue inspector and ensures that interested parties do not claim in court that they were not served with a notice before the change was made. The software also aims to facilitate more informed policy decisions through the generation of various reports based on type of soil, land-holding size, and type of crops grown.
To prepare field officials for the shift to computerisation, twelve state-level information seminars and four division-level workshops were organised to train 2,000 officials. In addition, selected field level personnel were invited to participate in the software development process for various Bhoomi modules through a formal state level Bhoomi committee.
There are plans to use the Bhoomi kiosk for disseminating other information, like lists of destitute and handicapped pensioners, families living below the poverty line, concessional food grain card holders, mandi rates, and weather information. Such information is already available at one taluk on a pilot basis.
Before Bhoomi, the process of obtaining land use documents took weeks and required farmers to pay between Rs.100 and Rs.2,000 in bribes to officials. Now, manual land records in operationalised taluks are illegal. All the mutations to the land records database are done on the computer to ensure that data is current. 400,000 records have been issued every month from the Bhoomi kiosks since October 2000, when the project was launched in one sub-district. The Department of Revenue in Karnataka has computerised 20 million records of land ownership of 6.7 million farmers in the state.
An independent evaluation conducted in November 2002 (click here to download the full evaluation in PDF format) found increased ease of access afforded by the computerised system. For example, 66% of users were able to utilise the Bhoomi kiosks with no help, as compared with 25% of users in the manual system. Most users of the Bhoomi system (78%) found the system to be very simple. Almost all users of the Bhoomi system had confidence to complain and sought rectification when errors were perceived (93%), as compared to less than half in the manual system. Further, Bhoomi kiosks have significantly reduced the time that users spend on getting the certificate.
Bhoomi is among the finalists for the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management Award, the winner of which will be announced in September, 2002. The World Bank, the Ford Foundation, and the Public Affairs Centre in Bangalore are undertaking research to study the social impact of the programme. The United Nations Development Programme has expressed interest in replicating Bhoomi in other developing countries.
National Informatics Center, Bangalore; Government of India; State Government.
Bhoomi website, January 28 2010.