How the state can make life easier
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First, land legislation. Land law still lives in the colonial British thought-world of land revenues rather than land title. The notions of lal dora (land records only for uninhabited land), banjar qadim (land not cultivated that can be acquired after three years), hasab rasad (by equal share), rehan bakabja (mortgage with possession), dakhil kharij (approved), and khaatha maintenance (land use records of the patwart/ tehsildar) sabotage the emergence of a transparent and vibrant land market. Without process re-engineering, many current state government attempts to digitise land records are like ATM machines with a physical teller sitting behind the façade, handing out cash. State governments that combine easing land use restrictions with unifying land title and revenue records on an open web platform with workflows (for transfer, name change, etc) will see higher registration revenues, enable low-cost housing by releasing locked land, and pleasantly surprise citizens.
Second, first information reports (FIRs). The current horrific experience in registering FIRs at police stations has roots in the kneejerk reaction of the British to 1857, which shifted the mandate of maintaining law-and-order from the military to police stations that had previously dealt only with petty crimes. Concepts like jama taalashi, dus numbri (the 10th of 24 registers required to be maintained), and discretion around registering FIRs under Section 307 vs 323 (violence with intent to murder, which is non-bailable, versus normal violence) echo the Indian Police Act of 1861. Combining the launch of an online web portal for FIRs — contrary to impression, they are only information for further investigation — with a directive to not exercise arrest powers in situations other than murder and national security without investigation will greatly increase transparency, lower corruption and grant the justice of being heard.
Third, procuring birth and death certificates. Many Indians can testify to how the joy of a new child and the sorrow of losing a loved one are compounded by the silly and humiliating process of obtaining birth and death certificates. In the case of deaths where post-mortems are required, releasing bodies from the morgue requires certificates that are often only possible to obtain with money or influence. While cross-referencing the records of hospitals or cemeteries may take time but should be the goal, it is easier to have municipal offices accepting birth or death information from a web portal after allowing individuals to upload copies of documents extracted from relevant registers.