Just like citizens of India are getting an Aadhar card and number, properties to are all set to have a similar facility. A unique identification number and card is in the offing for real estate owners across India. To be sure, the efforts towards this are still at nascent stages but the idea has a lot of merits.
In 2016, the Gujarat government passed orders to make property cards mandatory for all properties falling in urban areas. Modeled along the lines of Aadhar card, this card will also help the authorities keep track of right records and also help in resolving discrepancies.
Municipal Corporations lead the way
South Delhi Municipal Corporation last year started a pilot project with UPIC (Unique Property Identification Code) being assigned to various properties. The cards have a QR code which can help people link their cards with online records of property. The SDMC also plans to start e-passbook services to property owners and also develop a mobile app based on the data.
In Mumbai, CIDCO too has a similar program for property owners. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation also has what they call a PTIN assigned to properties under their jurisdiction.
Now, Bengaluru which has a very high rate of property tax defaulters is also taking a similar initiative. It has included the project to assign smart cards for properties in the smart city plan.
One of the biggest advantages to authorities in issuing smart cards is tax compliance. Property-related taxes are seeing very high default rates. With clear records, it will help civic bodies in tax collection. Property cards also necessitate geospatial tagging of properties. This is advantageous for better accuracy of maps and boundaries in a specified region. There is also the obvious benefit of clearing out and authenticating old property records.
The central government too has shown a lot of interest in strongly enforcing the recently amended Benami property law. Successful implementation of ID card scheme will aid in the efficient enforcement of the above-mentioned law.
Indian real estate market, in order to reform further needs digitization of land records. The issuance of property cards can accelerate the digitization process of land documents.
The biggest challenge remains political and bureaucratic will needed for such projects. The unique identity project for properties in urban areas has been hanging for long. In regions where the program has been implemented, it has taken years to get the set up done. The challenge also remains to expand the scope of IDs to semi-urban and rural areas.