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SVAMITVA, which stands for Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas, is a recent initiative by the Union Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Government of India. It was introduced on April 24, 2021, on National Panchayati Raj Day, with the aim of addressing property validation issues in rural India. This scheme employs cutting-edge drone technology to accurately delineate residential areas in rural regions, providing much-needed clarity and validation for property ownership.

About the Scheme

  • In 2020, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Ministry of Rural Development, and the Survey of India collaborated to introduce the SVAMITVA scheme, which stands for Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas.
  • Its primary goal is to provide a comprehensive solution for validating property ownership in rural India, thereby empowering rural communities.
  • Through SVAMITVA, rural residents receive digital records confirming their property ownership rights.
  • The scheme’s implementation is happening gradually, with plans to cover all villages in the country by 2024.
  • Utilizing drone technology, SVAMITVA maps rural villages and digitizes property records.
  • We’re implementing the scheme using a public-private partnership model.

Objectives for SVAMITVA Scheme

  • We aim to empower rural Indians by allowing them to use their property as a valuable financial asset, enabling access to loans and other financial opportunities.
  • Our goal is to establish accurate land records in rural areas to facilitate effective planning for the future.
  • By determining property taxes, we aim to either directly benefit Gram Panchayats in states where it’s decentralized or contribute to the overall state revenue.
  • Through the utilization of GIS maps, we strive to aid in the creation of higher-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDP).
  • Our efforts also focus on minimizing property disputes and legal cases, thereby promoting stability and harmony in rural communities.

Need for SVAMITVA Scheme

Improper maintenance and sometimes an altogether absence of land records in the rural areas in India demand an immediate need for the SVAMITVA scheme. Some other needs are listed below:

    • Many decades ago, researchers conducted a survey of rural settlements in India.
    • Many states didn’t survey inhabited rural areas and villages, so there are no available land records in those areas.
    • In the absence of legal property documents, the owners are unable to monetize their own property as a financial asset.

      Thus, in order to provide the legal rights of property to the owner in a speedy and cost-effective manner, the SVAMITVA scheme is very much needed.

      Working of the SVAMITVA Scheme

      The implementation of the SVAMITVA scheme can be categorized into three stages:

      • Pre-Survey
      • Survey Activities
      • Post Survey Activities

      Challenges in Implementing the SVAMITVA Scheme

      The visionary SVAMITVA scheme also faces some tough challenges in its implementation; they are:

        • The legal validity of SVAMITVA cards is uncertain as there’s no specific provision ensuring it.
        • Different states have varying laws governing land record-keeping practices, adding to the confusion.
        • We must ensure that we adequately include marginalized communities such as sharecroppers, SC, ST, and women.
        • Southeastern states should legally empower Gram Panchayats to collect property taxes.
        • We need to establish a strong grievance redressal mechanism that actively addresses concerns and empowers individuals.
        • Make sure to follow the guidelines of the Open Geospatial Consortium closely.

        Way Forward 

        The SVAMITVA scheme targets to complete the land record survey exercise by March 2025.

        • The authority responsible must ensure that property cards serve as legitimate proof of land ownership that financial institutions will recognize and accept.
        • State governments should establish expert committees to review and amend state laws as needed to fully implement the SVAMITVA Scheme and achieve its objectives.
        • We should empower gram panchayats in all states to collect property taxes by amending existing laws as necessary.
        • When demarcating Abadi areas for the first time, we must take great care to ensure that we don’t overlook or exclude marginalized and vulnerable groups.
        • It is advisable to involve local communities in the mapping and documentation process to promote inclusivity and reduce the likelihood of disputes.

        Read Also: Gram Swaraj Abhiyan

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