With piles of documents strewn about, dusty government offices are a common sight.
However, the revenue sector of Maharashtra will not be like it is in a few years as it will be transformed by adopting blockchain technology.
Officials told PTI that this digital method of storing records in commercial networks will allow district collectors to process documents faster and save costs.
At the Global Fintech Festival in Mumbai last month, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the role of governance, especially in the tax sector, will change forever in the next two to three years.
“Blockchain technology will save a lot of time for district collectors who have to spend a lot of time in hearings related to document errors. Once we turn to documents based on blockchain technology, he said.
The tax department handles records of land, title/lease of property, registration of purchases and sales, etc.
Citizens have for years raised concerns about errors in recording exact details of names and property.
Human intervention also sometimes leads to land grabs and forged documents to buy and sell properties.
Another collector-level official said the use of computers had increased the speed of documents and land title records were now available online, but if some changes were made (illegal) it was difficult to find and act on.
“Blockchain technology will record every document an officer has accessed and the changes made to it. So, it will check for misconduct and help find out when and why changes were made,” he said.
Maharashtra has more than ten million land title documents, the official said.
Farmers often use these documents to obtain crop loans and other purposes.
He pointed out that the marriage registration process also falls under the tax department.
Blockchain technology will significantly ease the burden on regional collectors, he said.
“Economically, it’s a win-win situation for the country,” said a senior tax department official.
As the documentation process becomes error-free, it will be easier for governments to focus on efficient use of time for governance,” he said.
It would also reduce concerns among citizens, especially those with poor education and economic status, about the security of their land records, and minimize document tampering, he said.
“It will also help save hundreds of crores of rupees spent on using paper and clerical staff requirements just for maintaining records,” he said.
The Office of Registration and Stamps for Registering the Sale, Purchase or Lease of Property The Inspector General’s Office (IGR) has begun electronic registration of new properties in the state.
It is entirely based on blockchain technology, and more than 450 developers have chosen the system so far, an IGR official said.
He said the sector is one of the largest revenue generators in the state, contributing more than Rs 45,000 crore annually.
According to IGR Commissioner Shravan Hardikar, the number of real estate transactions registered in Maharashtra every year is between 2.8 million and 3 million. Of these, about 400,000 are newly built properties and registered with the IGR.
IGR faces several complaints each year about property registration errors, such as misspelled names and incorrect property descriptions. Even to correct 20 per cent of real estate transaction registrations within a year would require a significant amount of staff time,” said a senior IGR official.
Blockchain technology promises to save this time so the department can focus on its core work of registering and collecting stamp duty, he said.
A senior tax department official said that, like the IGR, the rest of the tax department will also turn to blockchain technology in the coming days, which will forever change the way the government operates.
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