SVAMITVA Scheme
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This article is written by Raslin Saluja, from KIIT School of Law, Bhubaneswar. This is an exhaustive article that attempts to analyse and explain the SVAMITVA scheme.

Introduction

The scheme has been in news ever since its launch on the National Panchayati Raj Day by the Prime Minister through video conferencing with the aim of distributing the e-property cards to the citizens of rural India. On the occasion of the launch itself, 4.09 lakh property wonders were given their property cards. The scheme has various benefits as it brings about Centre-state collaboration, there will be a spin-off benefit for municipalities and gram panchayats for property tax collections, using the property as a financial asset, maintenance of land records, and also in avoiding many natural calamities which will be observed by data processing.

What is the SVAMITVA scheme

The SVAMITVA Scheme as had been described in the national portal is a scheme under the central sector that was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 24th April 2020, the National Panchayat Day. SVAMITVA stands for Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) is the central coordinating agency for the implementation of the scheme. The scheme shall be carried out in the states under the supervision of the Revenue Department / Land Records Department which will be the Nodal Department supported by the State Panchayati Raj Department. They also have a technology partner known as the Survey of India (SOI) who shall work in the area of implementation.

Aim

The aim of the scheme is to provide an integrated solution for property validation in rural India. They would make use of the Drone Surveying technology for the demarcation of rural Abadi (inhabited) areas. Many village household owners possess properties in inhabited rural areas which they can use as a financial resource and monetary asset for applying for loans and other monetary benefits from the banks. This scheme is to help them do so by providing the record of rights and to empower them to use their assets to their advantage by the issuance of property cards to the property owners.

Objectives

As mentioned on the government website, the objectives of the scheme are as follows: 

  1. To encourage financial empowerment of the village residents residing in rural India by helping them in receiving loans against their properties and gain other financial benefits.
  2. Creating accurate land records for future rural planning.
  3. To determine the property tax based on the survey and demarcation, which would also lead to tax buildup of the Gram Panchayats (GP) directly in States where it is devolved or else, add to the State exchequer.
  4. Creating survey infrastructure and Geographic Information System (GIS) maps that can later be leveraged by any department for their use.
  5. To use GIS maps and support in the preparation of an improved-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).
  6. To reduce any legal cases or disputes related to property.

Need

Settlement and record of rights survey of the rural land in India was completed decades ago, however, it missed out on several Abadi areas of villages which were not mapped in many states at the time. This led to a lack of legal recognition for such properties, thereby not allowing their owners to make use of them. Thus this scheme with the help of the latest drone technology and Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) technology would help in capturing images and help in the demarcation of the properties. By taking the high-resolution images, topographical mapping can be done thereby enabling the government to create long-lasting records of property ownerships in areas with no legally recognized revenue records.

Coverage

This scheme eventually aims to cover about 6.62 lakh villages in the country over a period of four years. The year 2020-2021 will witness the pilot phase which will extend to six pilot states namely Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand which includes approx. 1 lakh villages and CORS network establishment is planned for two states (Punjab and Rajasthan). The list of villages will be finalized by the respective state governments during the signing of the MoU with the Survey of India (SOI). Further for states which have already conducted the Abadi surveys, their scope will be decided in the second phase.

Stakeholders involved

  • Nodal Ministry (Ministry of Panchayati Raj), Govt of India.  
  • Survey of India SoI (Technology Implementation Agency)  
  • State Revenue Department.
  • State Panchayati Raj department.
  • Local district authorities.
  • Property owner.               
  • Gram Panchayat (GP).
  • National Informatics Centre (NIC) – GIS Division.
  • Other departments having assets in Rural inhabited areas (if any) for preparing a comprehensive database.

Components involved in the implementation flow

Establishment of CORS network 

It is a network of reference stations that will provide a virtual base station and allow access to long-ranging and high accuracy network Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) corrections. It helps in the process of georeferencing, ground-truthing, and land demarcation by establishing ground control points. The activities for establishing CORS will include:

  • Completing the tender process in order to outsource civil construction work;
  • Installing work and commission of the stations;
  • Site selection for CORS stations;
  • Civil construction work by the outsourced agency;
  • Installation and commissioning of CORS stations by the outsourced agency;
  • Establishment of Control Centre and Disaster Recovery (DR) by SoI;
  • Operation and maintenance of CORS Network by SoI;
  • Instruction and capacity development in CORS network-based uses or applications.

Benefits of using CORS

  • Supports in forming ground control points;
  • Could be used by any department/agency for survey, implementation, or using GIS-based applications;
  • Facilitate in using the network for road construction, irrigation works, and infrastructure works, etc;
  • The pilot phase established network will also be used for covering the border areas of other neighbouring states;
  • For phase II, those areas already covered under the network can directly start with the ground survey.

Large Scale Mapping (LSM) using drone

A drone survey will be used for mapping the Abadi area by SOI. It will produce high-resolution and accurate maps. Based on this data, ownership rights will be conferred and property cards will be issued to the rural household owners. To that end, the primary functions include image acquisition, in-depth features extraction, base map generation, getting ground validation and accuracy checks of ORI and digital maps by SoI. Other functions include validating land parcel maps (LPM), creating final LPMs, village maps, and GIS databases. 

The final deliverables (Final maps and GIS database) will then be given to the State Revenue Department and to the State Rural Development/Panchayat Raj Department duly vetted by MoD. The village maps and digital GIS database will be handed over to MoPR (through NIC-GIS division), and Property cards will be issued by the State Authorities/ Revenue Department.

Acquisition of images include:

  • Procurement of Drone by SoI.
  • Taking permissions or clearances for drone flying from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Ministry of Defence ( MoD), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), etc.
  • Issuing notices to nearby landowners for demarcating the Abadi area.
  • Ground marking the areas of parcels/properties that have to be surveyed using white limestone powder (Chunna) etc.
  • Planning missions before flying the drone with the help of available maps/satellite imagery data which would be done using professional survey grades UAVs.
  • Processing of data acquired through Drones, Data Processing Block Control and Adjustment -AT (Aerial Triangulation)/DEM (Digital Elevation Model) generation and DTM (Digital Terrain Model) processing and ortho-rectified images (ORI).

Feature extraction and base map generation include

  • Using ORI for extraction of topographical features by SOI.
  • Attribute demarcating and extracting features of 2D/3D on the digital map in accordance with state revenue department requirements.
  • Incorporating the attribute information and other secondary information in the database of GIS conforming to the standards of OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) compliant.
  • Creation of Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and generation of Land Parcel maps of 1:500 scale.
  • Numbering of properties/structures within the Lal Dora area as per the numbering system provided by the State Revenue Department.

Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) activities

This is mainly for spreading awareness among the people of rural areas about the survey methodologies and their benefits. It will include running campaigns, circulation of good practices, and other campaigns on the national level through social media platforms. It is upon the state government to develop a comprehensive communication strategy to sensitize the local population. It can be done through manuals, posters, billboards, flipbooks, role plays, puppet shows, distributing pamphlets, making public announcements in villages, having permanent displays, putting up information walls, and having counters for informing citizens on fixed days. Other methods include:

  • Showcasing short films and good practices on survey and innovation;
  • Sensitization and Mobilisation of Gram Sabha;
  • Using social media, audiovisual media, community radio, special programs/features in television channels;
  • Cultural activities, exhibitions, mobile vans to disseminate information about the survey and its benefits;
  • Having a core group of officers and staff from the States/Union Territories (UTs) who might be sent on exposure visits to other States/UTs who have demonstrated considerable success in implementing the project.

Enhancement of Spatial Planning Application “Gram Manchitra”

In order to support the preparation of the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP), the digital spatial data created using the drone survey shall be leveraged.

Online monitoring system

It is important to monitor the activities and their progress for which reporting dashboard and online monitoring system will be used.

Program Management Unit

It has two units namely the National Programme Management Unit (NPMU) and State Programme Management Unit (SPMU). These will assist the departmental mechanism in the implementation of the scheme.                                                        

National Programme Management Unit (NPMU)

It will be set up at the National level. It will be for overall management and monitoring of various activities under the scheme and to provide support to States and SOI. They will have appropriate experts with required experience and qualifications from the relevant domain along with some short-term consultants/outsourced professional agencies that may be hired by MoPR.

State Programme Management Unit (SPMU) 

It will be set up at the State level. It will look after the overall management and monitoring of various activities under the scheme and provide support to the State Revenue Department, District officials, GP functionaries, and SOI. They will also have qualified and experienced experts from the relevant domain and along with short-term consultants/outsourced professional agencies that may be hired by the State Revenue Department. 

Survey methodology

Two methods are used for the survey broadly, either through drone or through UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) basing on which large scale mapping is done which itself requires various other projects under different stages. These are:

Pre-survey activities

  • Establishing the CORS network.  
  • Acquiring permission from the Collector’s office for conducting the survey by the regional revenue officer. After permission is granted, the survey area is then notified by the Collector through a public notice.
  • The Panchayati Raj Department organizes a Gram Sabha for the residents of the village for disseminating the survey schedule information and to make them aware of the surveying methodology and its benefits.
  • Carrying out demarcation and identifying different individual properties, assets of  Government, Gram Sabha land parcels, roads, open plots, etc. and ground marking of the areas to be surveyed.
  • SoI takes requisite permission for flying Drones from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation/ Ministry of Defence.
  • Making use of the available maps/satellite imagery to plan missions for flying the drone.

Survey activities

  • SOI will be provided with the scanned maps by the regional revenue office.
  • Before flying, SOI shall check the ground control points.
  • Acquiring aerial images using Professional Survey Grade UAV/ Drone for LSM of rural Abadi area, inhabited areas contiguous to Abadi and wadis/basties in rural areas.
  • Processing of the images captured through drone in the Geographic Information System Lab by SOI.
  • Data processing, base map generation, and 2D feature extraction:
  1. Generating DEM & ORI.
  2. Using ORI to extract 2D topographical features.
  3. Producing LPM at a scale of 1:500 accuracy.
  4. Linking of Attributes with extracted topographical features.
  5. Creating village boundaries.
  6. Using the State Government’s numbering system for numbering the properties/structures within village Abadi area /Lal Dora area for clear identification and demarcation.
  • Creating GIS database.
  • Ground validation of the processed images is better than 10cm accuracy.

Post survey activities

  • State Revenue Department and Gram Panchayat carry out the joint verification of ownership by posting a legal notification.
  • Inquiry Process for ownership adjudication by survey officials to verify the ownership of land parcels with the help of gram sabha, landowners, and review the existing documents.
  • Adjudication of final results will be provided through an issue of notification.
  • Re-verification of the ownership details along with the resolution of objection received post-survey from the owners of the properties which is done by the Enquiry Officer (from the Survey Department).
  • After conducting all the above-mentioned activities, generation of the final Digital maps/ LPM /DEM/ GIS datasets would take place which then will be handed over to MoPR/Authorised agency as per the standard procedure for use.
  • Printing and distribution of the generated property ecards to the respective owners.
  • Making provisions for the proper storage and regular update of records.
  • The property tax and asset register of GP will be regularly updated and the State Revenue Department shall perform and be responsible for regular updation of maps.
  • Training and Capacity building of Revenue Department Government Officials by the SOI.

A broad outline of survey methodology

Legal notification for habited area survey

           ↓                       

Gram Sabha organization

          

Legal notice for a property survey

          

Identification and marking of roads, public spaces, plots, and open areas

      

Delineating property parcels

          

Permission for flying drones by SOI

          

Flying drone for data acquisition

          

Large scale mapping by drone

          ↓ 

Drone data processing

         

Features extractions

         

Ground truthing of captured data and issue of notification for joint verification of ownership

         

Ownership adjudication

         

Issue of notification for providing results of adjudication

         

Generation of final LPM maps, digital maps, GIS databases, and property cards

         

Issuance of property card.

Roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders

Ministry of Panchayati Raj

They deal with :

  • Providing financial structure and resources for the implementation of the scheme at the central level along with monitoring them.
  • The funding for large-scale mapping using drones is provided to the following stakeholders and SOI for establishing the CORS network.
  • State Revenue Department for State Project Management and IEC Activities.
  • NIC for creating spatial analytical tools and to enhance Gram Manchitra application to support the preparation of GPDP, for developing and maintaining monitoring dashboard to report the progress of the scheme.

 Survey of India

  • Implementation of the part of the project pertaining to the processing of images shall be executed on SoI’s premises under its close supervision.
  • SoI will also look after the workspace and if required get the available space modified by the 3rd party in terms of computers/peripherals/servers/data centre.
  • For outsourcing the activities whenever required at different stages under the project, 
  • RFPs/Bids, bids processing, award of work, supervision, quality check, and work execution will all come under the responsibility of SoI as per contract agreement as well as the norms laid down by the Government of India.
  • The activities such as survey planning, execution, and monitoring of survey, and adherence to the norms as laid by the Government of India will be on SoI.
  • SoI will take all permissions for flying drones, vetting of data, and clearances for final classification from DGCA, MoD, MHA, etc.
  • Establishment of CORS along with looking after their operation and regular maintenance for five years.
  • Connecting all CORS with high-quality precision conforming to the standards of SoI’s benchmarks.
  • Acquisition of aerial images using Professional UAV/ Drone for LSM of inhibited rural areas of the state.
  • Post-processing of UAV images shall be carried out by SoI in the GIS lab at SoI regional centre. 
  • Extracting topographical features and processing data on ORI. 
  • Creating a digital spatial library by collecting attributes and linking them with their respective features. This shall be done by SoI in coordination with SPMU.
  • Numbering of the demarcated properties based on the provided numbering system.
  • Ground-Truthing and validating topographical features as generated from ORI
  • Updated LPM shall be generated in prescribed soft copy formats (.shp) and other compatible formats for easy access in GIS and for printing. 
  • Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant GIS database models shall be implemented for the generation of GIS layer data structure for storing spatial and attributable data.
  • Handing over the final deliverables to the MoPR/State authorities duly vetted by MoD.

State Revenue Department

  • In order to grant the format of the property card due authority and validity, the State will carry out suitable modifications to the Land Revenue Code.
  • They also check the extent to which Drone surveys can be carried out and if necessary bring out amendments and modifications in the State Revenue Act to undertake such activities. 
  • They facilitate in conducting activities related to field surveys with support from local authorities for establishing CORS, hiring of vehicles and labours, security equipment, etc.
  • At least one employee from the Revenue Department, GP has to accompany each Drone/ Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flying team, even police department officials as per requirement.
  • Marking with white limestone powder the boundaries of property boundaries with owners and GP before flying off the drone.
  • To facilitate feature extraction as per state requirements to the SoI team.
  • Provide Attribute information for entry and linking in a standardized data collection format.
  • Ground activities for checking  ORI data.
  • Responsible for checking the accuracy of feature data/layer and ensuring correctness of attributes data as supplied to SoI.
  • Issue of notification for providing final results.
  • Finalizing revenue maps and subsequent actions.
  • Training of officials/ functionaries for issuance of property cards in coordination with SoI.
  • Issuance of property cards to villagers.
  • State Governments would manage and maintain the data generated under the scheme viz,   
  1. Property data/maps, LMP maps, and digital data created would be maintained by the State Revenue Department.
  2. Hard copies of the maps created after the Survey would be kept at Gram Panchayats, Tehsil/Taluka Record Centre,  District Record Centres, and State Record Centre.
  • Data Centre Infrastructure available and funded under Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP) scheme of Department of Land Records, Ministry of Rural Development to be utilised for hosting and storing the data created under the scheme.

State Panchayati Raj department

It has to organise the Gram Sabha to inform the schedule of the survey and post-survey details and provides support to spread awareness amongst the villagers about the project work and its benefits leveraging RGSA funds. They also prepare and regularly update the Property (Tax) Register through GPs.

Gram panchayat

They provide help to the Panchayati Raj Department and State Revenue Department for completion of the survey and also sensitize village residents about it. They digitize existing tax registers and make them available for SoI and Enquiry Officer for preparing interim maps/records. They update the tax registers and coordinate for ground-level activities in surveys and help in resolving the disputes raised post-survey.

Property owner

They extend cooperation to the concerned authorities during the process of measurement and survey and producing necessary documents (if available) required for the survey by the authority.

NIC- GIS

They improve the Ministry’s Spatial Planning Application “Gram Manchitra“ efforts by leveraging digital spatial maps for making spatial analytical tools to support the preparation of GPDP. They develop and maintain the centrally hosted online monitoring dashboard and store and host the DEM and GIS database created under the scheme.

State Department of land records

They help in using the available Data Centre Infrastructure at different levels(State/ District/Tehsil).

Joint responsibility (State and Survey of India)

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would be signed between SoI and the State Government for the execution of this project. The states that have an existing MoU with SoI, are not required to sign the new MoU. These two authorities together with a complete part of activities, relating to Ground Control Points including densification which shall be done using Ground Control Point library from both departments by SoI. Finally, they also reconcile the data with the records available and finalize the dimension of the land parcel.

Monitoring and evaluation

It shall have a three-layer monitoring and evaluation framework for regular and timely supervision and course corrections. It shall be operative at three levels which are- national, state, and district levels comprising relevant decision-makers and subject matter experts. The three-layer institutional mechanism is as follow: 

National Steering Committee (NSC)

At the national level, we have NSC and NPMU. NSC would be responsible for having an overall oversight, monitoring, and guidance of the program for the smooth operation of the scheme. Their task would be to review progress, grant approval to projects, and Annual Action Plans for the states along with initiating the timely advisory sessions to the states and SoI. Overall they would have a strategic direction, decide on policy-level issues and act as the final authority for approving all such engagements deliverables. They would meet at least once every quarter.

National Programme Management Unit (NPMU)

They will also be set up at the National level for the overall management, monitoring of various activities under the scheme, and providing professional and technical support to states and SoI. They will be working under the supervision of the Member-Secretary of the NSC. They will also have experts from relevant/GIS disciplines and some short-term consultants might be hired too by MoPR.

 Their key national-level activities will include:

  1. Overall implementation and stakeholder coordination.
  2. Assisting states and SoI by signing of MoUs, disbursing funds to states, monitoring of project timelines, etc.
  3. Collaborating with SoI and states to monitor the CORS network establishment using LSM Drone.
  4. Provide functional inputs towards the development and maintenance of the online monitoring and reporting dashboard of the scheme.
  5. Verify and validate the progress of the scheme thereby evaluating its effectiveness.
  6. Cross-State sharing and learning, documentation of good practices.
  7. Coordinate the IEC activities at the national level to mobilize people to participate in drone surveys.

State Steering Committee (SSC)

Their functions are similar to NSC, only that they will be responsible for a specific state. SSC shall look after the overall program oversight and provide guidelines for the smooth implementation of the scheme in the state. Their primary functions are providing operational guidance, reviewing the progress by regular participation in meetings and for vetting the deliverables, and recommending acceptance of deliverables to the NSC. They will monitor the progress and meet at least once every month to monitor progress and approve dashboard updating by the SPMU personnel.

State Programme Management Unit (SPMU)

As the name suggests, these will be set up at the State level for the overall management, monitoring of various activities under the scheme, and supporting the State Revenue Department, District officials, GP functionaries, and SoI. The Member-Secretary of the SSC shall be supervising their work and they shall report to him. They will also hire experts from the field and might hire short-term consultants or outsource professionals as and when required. Their state-level activities will include:

  • Managing the day-to-day program management activities.
  • Keeping track of project progress and keeping the important stakeholders informed about the project progress and providing handholding support to SoI and State Department.
  • Provide support by submitting reports of the progress of LSM to the State Revenue Department.
  • Gathering the attribute information and other secondary information to be incorporated in the GIS database.
  • Support the ground-truthing of maps and facilitate the signing of MoU between State and Survey of India.
  • Monitoring the implementation timelines and regularly updating the Monitoring Dashboard of Scheme for giving progress reports.

District Monitoring and Review Committee (DMRC)

DMRC is established at the district level and has to meet at least once a month to review and check the progress of implementation of the Programme, whose report will then be submitted by the District Collector/Deputy Commissioner to the SSC. Also, the Committee would be responsible for monitoring and oversight of the IEC funds granted.

They will also have an online monitoring dashboard that will be regularly updated. Further, the property data and the map data will be updated by the respective states in the future.

Conclusion

For the success of the plan, it needs to have an effective implementation which can only happen if the state and the Centre are willing to cooperate and coordinate. With an undivided focus, the scheme could benefit several areas such as the village households, the gram panchayats, the states for conducting welfare policies, drone industry, boosting the employment sector and other economic sectors, etc. It sure will have its own challenges such as the extent of data collection, its monetisation, data protection issues, different laws in different states, having maximum coverage of the villages, etc. However, with dedicated collaboration, they might as well find a solution to it.

References


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