New Delhi: A parliamentary panel scrutinizing the work of the rural development ministry has slammed its failure to implement ambitious programmes for computerizing land records started two decades ago despite spending over 1,000 crore.

The parliamentary standing committee in its report tabled in Parliament last week has criticized the failure of the department of land records of the ministry for the “slow pace of progress" it made even after the merger of two schemes—Computerization of Land Records and Strengthening of Revenue Administration and Updating of Land Records. The two schemes, begun in 1980s, were merged into the National Land Records Modernization Programme (NRLMP) in 2008.

The committee, chaired by opposition Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentarian Sumitra Mahajan, said that it was “disappointed to note that even after the passage of more than four years of bringing in modified and enhanced scheme of NRLMP, still a lot needs to be done to achieve the objective of universal computerization of land records."

Land acquisition is a complex and contentious subject in India due to the lack of documentation and the absence of contemporary land records. This has been causing problems for investors trying to buy land for infrastructure projects. As many as 69 infrastructure projects are facing time and cost overruns due to land acquisition problems, according to the ministry of statistics and programme implementation.

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