Wednesday, July 26, 2017

‘Simplify documentation process for granting loans’

Times of India: Thiruvananthapuram: Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
A drastic overhaul of the documentation process for disbursing loans after pledging properties by banks and financial institutions is required, said a report by revenue additional chief secretary P H Kurien who probed the suicide of a farmer at Chembanoda village office in Kozhikode.
In the detailed report, which is accessed by TOI, he recommended that obtaining 'possession certificate' and 'location sketch', which were mandatory documents for mortgaging one's property with a financial institution, should be the responsibility of the funding institution where the property was pledged and not of the individual.
The report said both the documents were not compulsory for creation of mortgage. "The possession and enjoyment of land and its location sketch can be sourced by the bank by their own mechanism. The village officer shall be required to give only an ownership certificate based on the records," he said. He also recommended that the government should take up the matter with state level bankers committee (SLBC) or the Reserve Bank.
He also recommended that seeking possession certificates by other government departments from an individual for schemes like housing need to be dispensed with as the officials themselves could certify the status when they visit the property in connection with the scheme. "Only ownership and non-attachment certificate need to be issued by the village officer," he said.
Kurien stressed that since the village officers were overburdened with the task of issuing multiple certificates to the public for various purposes, they were unable to cater to the citizens approaching them with revenue-related works. He said the practice of issuing several certificates by village offices was the concept in 1950s and 60s when many of the departments did not have any field staff.
He also criticized the revenue officials in his report, and said that most often, the revenue officials at the village or taluk level behave as if they were the lords of the land. He cautioned that during the period of RTI Act and Right to Services Act, the public are more empowered and the high-handedness of the officials would not be tolerated. To improve the relations between the public and revenue officials, he recommended that a 'bhoo saksharatha' campaign should be organized at village levels by including public and village officials, outside the village offices.
The revenue secretary attributed majority of issues relating to land and the corruption at the village offices to the murky land records, to rectify which a proper resurvey and settlement was required. He said that the resurvey should be completed within two years, and special focus should be given to the non-surveyed villages in Malabar districts.