Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) or Bhu-Aadhar: Leveraging Geospatial Technology for Effective Land Administration
Effective land administration is a major precursor to the proper management of natural resources, residential and commercial developments, as well as agricultural management, access, and ownership. At the same time, land registration is also one of the most important sources of tax revenue for the majority of states and union territories (UTs) in India.
And yet, land remains a challenging administrative sector that governments have been tackling for years on end. Land administration in India has lagged behind in the past due to the lack of integrating frameworks, data, and attributes with technical and conceptual accuracy in line with global best practices.
This landscape is now changing rapidly for the better.
Land administration in India is pacing towards efficacy, accuracy, and improved management on the shoulders of Geospatial technologies. By replacing outdated and unproductive land administration methods with cutting-edge tools and insights, Geospatial technologies like Remote Sensing, GIS, GNSS, and so on, are enabling faster and more reliable updates and distribution of land-related data – a much-needed transformation.
A notable example of this new era of land governance is the Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN), also known as the Bhu-Aadhaar. The 14-digit alpha-numeric number called ULPIN is helping achieve the vision of complete digitalization of the country’s land records as part of the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP. The ULPIN serves as a single, authoritative source of truth for all information pertaining to any given piece of land in order to offer integrated land services to all interested parties and citizens.
Understanding the ULPIN: Aadhaar for Land
The Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) is a unique, 14-digit alphanumeric identifier assigned to each land parcel in a geographic area. Part of the DILRMP initiative, the ULPIN serves as a critical component of India’s visionary and modern land administration system for efficient land registration, management, and dispute resolution.
The ULPIN uniquely identifies each land parcel, including its boundaries, ownership, and other attributes. It can also be used to link all relevant information about a land parcel, such as cadastral maps, land ownership records, and land use information.
How does ULPIN Work?
The unique ULPIN identifier for each land parcel is generated based on the latitude and longitude of the land parcel’s vertices using geo-referenced cadastral maps and thorough surveys for precise location information. After importing the geo-referenced shape file into BhuNaksha, a NIC cadastral mapping system, the ULPIN is created utilizing the Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA) guidelines.
The location information so obtained can then be linked to other relevant information about the land parcel, such as ownership records, land use information, and zoning regulations. By linking this information to a unique identifier, land administrators can easily access and manage the information, reducing errors, and improving the efficiency of land administration.
In the near future, ULPIN will voluntarily incorporate Aadhaar numbers into its land records database along with court and bank documents related to revenue. In the long run, ULPIN could help establish land banks and usher in Integrated Land Information Management Systems (ILIMS) for effective governance and delivery.
The Benefits of ULPIN
One of the major benefits of the Bhu-Aadhaar or ULPIN is that it can lead to the establishment of single-window services for citizens, with all key land-related information available in one place. Besides, ULPIN is enabling unprecedented transparency in land records and transactions, answering one of land governance’s most critical challenges in India over the past many decades.
The ULPIN is also making it easier for various stakeholders to share data on land records with each other, while still maintaining their immutability. Communication over land titles will become simpler between ministries, investors, and all customers, while associated agencies and line departments, including revenue, panchayats, forests, registration, and survey & settlement, can all benefit from consistent core data on land and properties.
Here are some other advantages of ULPIN in India:
Seamless Land Registration Process
Land registration involves verifying the ownership and boundaries of a land parcel, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process. By assigning a ULPIN to each land parcel, land administrators can easily access all relevant information about the land parcel, reducing the time and costs associated with land registration.
Reducing Land Disputes
One of the main advantages of using the ULPIN in land administration is its ability to reduce land disputes. Land disputes arise when there is ambiguity in land boundaries or ownership, leading to conflicting claims. The ULPIN can provide a clear and unambiguous identifier for each land parcel, ensuring that there is no confusion about boundaries or ownership. The absence of land disputes will lead to significant savings in the time and costs associated with litigation as well.
Land Use Planning and Management
Sustainable and efficient land use planning entails determining the best use of land resources, which is affected by several factors related to the terrain, environment, demography, ownership, regulations, and so on.
The ULPIN can be used to link all such relevant information, including cadastral maps, land ownership records, and land use information to the zoning regulations and environmental regulations in the area. By linking such comprehensive information to a unique identifier, land administrators can easily access the key parameters necessary to assess and improve land use planning and management.
Land Taxation and Revenue Collection
Land taxes are an essential source of revenue for governments in India, and efficient land administration systems are necessary to ensure that these taxes are collected efficiently and fairly. The ULPIN can be used to link land ownership records to tax records, ensuring that land taxes are collected accurately and efficiently.
Conclusion: Current and Future Outlook of the Aadhaar for Land
ULPIN has already been rolled out in 26 states so far, including Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Goa, Bihar, Odisha, Sikkim, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Kerala, and Ladakh.
The Bhu-Aadhaar is all set to offer significant benefits to land governance in India. As a single source of information for the authentication of ownership, ULPIN will also help resolve all concerns connected to doubtful land ownership cases as well. It will also make it easier to identify government property and protect it against hoaxes and fraudulent transactions.
Moving ahead, ULPIN and other initiatives under the DILRMP could benefit from the integration of cutting-edge technologies, such as 3D and 4D functionalities in conjunction with Geospatial information to more accurately capture both horizontal and vertical developments on land parcels. “Digital twins” may be leveraged to reinvent the conventional land administration approach and integrate real-time data, reports, analysis, and user experiences for historical evaluations, present observations, and future projections. The use of blockchain technology could further improve transaction structures and transparency on a single, decentralized framework and be scaled as per changing needs.
With time, the focus should shift towards developing new frameworks and procedures based on best practices, international standards, and existing frameworks like FELA and IGIF. A “fit-for-purpose” approach with the open participation of subject matter experts is a key requirement to this vision.