The socio economic conditions of the developed countries differ very much from those prevailing in the developing countries of the world. As a result, ideas for sustainable development have emerged to facilitate in planning theories and practice in the decades ahead. In the process of social and economic betterment, the developed countries are much ahead to render citizen centric services through the use of I.C.T..
So the developing countries can not lag far behind and had embraced the e-Governance policies in order to reach the goal of sustainable development and to be at par with developed countries. The Registration and Stamp Revenue Directorate of West Bengal embraced that aims of the State to reach beyond current efforts to re-establish governance by identifying breakthrough strategies that re-think the core value of key-Government services, improve service delivery, reduce costs and re-define administrative process.
Stamp duties appear to have been first imposed on instruments in India in 1797 and the present Stamp Act of 1899 is a fiscal measure enacted to secure revenues for the State on certain classes of instruments. The Registration Act and Stamp Act are made interlinked and the Registering Officers are entrusted to collect such revenue under different articles of Schedule 1A of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and the registration fees are collected under the Table of Fees of West Bengal Registration Rules, 1962. Prior to 1994 such duty and fees were collected on the consideration/set forth value in the instruments. On 31st January, 1994 West Bengal Stamp (Prevention of Under-Valuation of Instruments) Rules, 1994 has been implemented and the registering officers are told to determine the market value of the properties which are the subject matter of the deed of sale, gift, exchange, partition, settlement and certain other classes of instruments.
The collection of revenue in the form of stamp duties and registration fees for the State Exchequer grew from Rs. 236 crores in 1994-95 to ? 4234 crores in the financial year of 2014-2015.
The responsibility of the Registering Officers has become much more onerous as they are supposed to guard against drainage of revenue by determining proper market value of the properties and at the same time, he is to remain alert that the assessment made by him is proper, justified and transparent in every respect. The citizens should not be victim of arbitrariness for reasons beyond control of the Registering Officers. He has to maintain a balance in the application of his mind most judiciously to prevent loss of revenue of the State and at the same time to make due and proper justice to the citizens.
This Directorate keeps watch upon such activities of the Registering Officers (ARA-I,II & III,IV,DSR, ADSR & SR) through the DIGR- Ranges , Registrar of Assurances, Kolkata DIGR (Inspetion) of Presidency, Burdwan & Jalpaiguri divisions and District Registrars of the districts.
Upgradation and Modernization of Infrastructure : Office space in the Directorate is not sufficient for the accommodation of all the members of the staff. It is not congenial for controlling the functions and management of the offices under its control all over the State from the existing office.
Most of the registration offices in the State are functioning in rented buildings which are old, dilapidated in many cases and unfit to cope with the upgradation and modernization of offices. As such the Directorate has taken steps to shift such offices to better buildings available in the locality. For this purpose we have classified the offices in three categories considering the volume of works performed in such offices and looking for the space required for the offices according to its category. Since 2004-2005, it has been possible to shift a good number of offices to better accommodation. The Govt. has also incurred expenditure towards reconstruction and renovation of the Govt. buildings to make such building suitable for the computerization.
b) Use of franking machines : The use of franking machines for payment of stamp duty has been introduced under Finance Deptt. no. 563-FT dt. 25.2.2002 for franking impression of different kinds of stamps either by proper officers or by the Authorized Users. We have authorized Centurion Bank,. Standard & Chartered Bank, Alliance Bajaj Ltd., among others till date 54 different financial institutions have been authorized to frank their documents.
National Land Records Modernization Programme : The Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India has sponsored a scheme in the shape of National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP) with the ultimate goal of ushering in the system of conclusive title of the property in the country like Torrent System of Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., the USA, the Switzerland, Canada and Singapore. The integrated programme would modernize the management of land records, minimize scope of land disputes, enhance transparency in the land records maintenance system.
This is based on four basic principles -
i) a single window to handle land records;
ii) the mirror principle,
iii) the curtain principle and
iv) title insurance.
Under this programme the following components and activities of Registration Directorate have also been included:-
i) Computerization of the Sub-Registrar’s office;
ii) Data Entry of valuation details;
iii)Data Entry of Legacy Encumbrance Data;
iv)Scanning and Preservation of old documents, .
v) Connectivity of Registration Offices with BL & LRO offices. Vi)Web based centralized system of e-registration
COMPUTERIZATION OF REGISTRATION OFFICES :
State Govt. started computerization of registration offices on 1st January, 2001 and in the process 11(eleven) such offices, one at Bidhannagar, two in Kolkata, five at Alipore and three at Barasat were computerized in a phased manner. Even in such computerized offices, the market values of the properties are determined by registering authority manually. In order to remove all such difficulties, to render better services to the registrant public and preserve valuable records by scanning through computers, the State Govt. undertook to roll out a programme with the aim of spreading the benefits of e-governance to citizens in all parts of the State. For this purpose the offices of ADSR, Srirampur and Chandannagar, Janai, Singur and Chinsurah Sadar in the district of Hooghly had been fully computerized under the pilot project and the market value of the properties in those offices were determined automatically through the market value software. The Directorate replicated the experience of the pilot project to remaining 233 registration offices across the state. State-wide roll out of the project involved enormous investment and massive volume of work. So the rolls out project were being implemented in Public Private Partnership model. Accordingly M/s. WTL, M/s. CMS Computers Ltd and M/s. CMC Ltd. were selected as the private partners for Presidency, Burdwan and Jalpaiguri zones respectively through the evaluation of Request for Proposal. Deptt. of Information Technology, Govt. of India had also approved the project for roll-out in the whole of West Bengal . Pricewaterhouse Coopers was engaged as the consultant of this project temporarily. 229 registration offices had been fully computerized within the financial year 2009-2010. The Registration Directorate has come a long way through tiding over numerous difficulties and uncountable number of hazards, pushing inch by inch ahead to register such progress. A State Level Monitoring Committee was constituted to monitor the project where as the District Level Monitoring Committee supervised the programme within the District.
The period after 2010-11 saw a further leap by this Directorate. All the 247 Registration offices of the state are now computerized and the process of e-Registration is switched over from the decentralized system of CORD to a web based system centralized system of e-Nathikaran. All the services offered by this Directorate have become more citizen centric as starting from the initial steps like e-Requisition form filling for the purpose of market values, e-Assessment slip generation, payment of Stamp duties and registration fees through GRIPS, entire Registration process to post registration services like copies of deeds etc. can now be done online through internet.
Vision, Mission and objective of the project .
Vision – The computerization of Registration Offices in West Bengal is designed to eliminate the shortcomings of the conventional registration system and to improve citizen services by making them quicker, friendlier and transparent by re-engineering Department’s process as well as to build capacity of the members of the staff and to streamline the monitoring capability of the project team and infrastructure through the use of e-governance tools.
Mission - Improved and prompt citizen services through e-governance in registration.
- Improving the quality of services to the citizens,
- To introduce transparency in determination of the market value of the property through online software, as the market value of all plots under the jurisdiction of the registration offices are inbuilt in the system;
- Complete replacement of manual records through the introduction of a sophisticated imaging system;
- Replacement of current manual system of indexing, endorsement, accounting and reporting. Tedious back office functions as automatic;
- Introduction of biometric, web camera and signature pad for capturing thumb impression, photographs and signatures
- Seamless integration of all related system;
- Post registration functionalities like searching of deeds and printing of certified copies.
As a whole the goal is to provide SMART governance to the registrant people by the application of Information and Communication Technology.