Systemic Land Reform in Rural Pakistan

Executive Summary

As a heavily populated and nuclear-armed state straddling South and Central Asia, Pakistan will play a large role in the future of the greater region. The country is nevertheless plagued by domestic issues. Pakistan is subject to repeated natural disasters, economic instability, and open-ended insurgencies.

These challenges seriously affect food security and livelihood opportunities in the Pakistani countryside. Throughout the rural south of Punjab—Pakistan’s richest and most populous province—terrorists often exploit poverty, inequality, corruption, and alienation to win local hearts and minds. This poor provincial sector has long been an operational base for jihadist groups.

There is no direct relationship between these public grievances and extremism, but such troubles are often employed as terrorist recruitment tools and reduce the opportunity costs associated with joining an extremist group.

Conversely, reform promotes economic growth and improves government capacity to craft better policies and provide adequate services to its citizens. Successful development projects can help to disincentivize membership in terrorist organizations by improving people’s livelihoods. Recent land administration reform in rural Punjab therefore has the potential to address various socioeconomic, political, and security challenges.


Throughout the rural south of Punjab—Pakistan’s richest and most populous province—terrorists often exploit poverty, inequality, corruption, and alienation to win local hearts and minds.


The World Bank and the Government of Punjab partnered to confront an inaccessible and corrupted legacy land administration system. The Land Records Management and Information Systems (LRMIS) project digitized a major registry and systemically reformed land administration in the challenging environment of Punjab.

Inherited from the British Raj, the legacy system languished due to unresponsive local administrators known as Patwaris, who elicited bribes, tampered with registries, and marginalized poor farmers and women. The resulting substandard tenure security contributed to difficulties in the transfer of land, unequal access to capital, and wealth disparity.

The LRMIS project learned from previous pilots to utilize flexible software and engage with stakeholders during the implementation process. Digitization of the rural land registry and construction of sophisticated record centers were completed in conjunction with bureaucratic restructuring. In large part due to the political support of Punjabi Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, the Patwaris’ administrative role was minimized through legislative amendments.

Through an adaptable and scalable project design, provincial land administration ultimately transitioned from a disjointed, and often corrupt, handwritten system to a transparent and computerized one. The project lasted ten years (2007-2016), involved a budget of U.S. $115 million, and altered the socioeconomic fabric of the countryside. Fifty-six million land records were digitized; five million records were corrected during digitization; and over 140 service-based centers—operational in all 36 provincial districts—now serve 20 million landowners.


Digitization of the rural land registry and construction of sophisticated record centers were completed in conjunction with bureaucratic restructuring.


More secure from fraud and corruption, the accessible new system improves tenure security. In turn, land value indirectly increases due to easier loan procurement and investment. Women, in particular, can now reliably assert their land inheritance rights through gender-specific services.

Greater access to capital, services, and the formal economy for previously marginalized groups promotes balanced development and encourages civic inclusion. Such improvements can help to diminish the political and socioeconomic factors that indirectly contribute to extremism.

The collection of more accurate land records also contributes to more effective government planning. Data can be used for tax collection, resource allocation, and disaster management. In the future, the new system can be leveraged for other development initiatives—such as GIS mapping. More responsive governance can confront local alienation in Punjab and may allow for greater political participation. Political injustices contributing to extremism may also subside as a result.


Reform promotes economic growth and improves government capacity to craft better policies and provide adequate services to its citizens. Successful development projects can help to disincentivize membership in terrorist organizations by improving people’s livelihoods.


Despite impressive implementation and results, the project has not received sufficient recognition within the property rights space. In a field crowded with frustrating case studies of inadequate reforms often derailed by bureaucracy and/or corruption, this case offers a clear illustration that tenacity, leadership, and collaboration can achieve significant results.

The lessons learned, best practices, and benefits of the project can help to influence other executives and policymakers to pursue systemic reform and technological modernization in relation to land administration. States and/or subnational units with localized, disjointed, and corrupt legacy land systems, which can engender rural unrest, are particularly well-suited to emulate LRMIS.

 

 

Fard (for record) from your nearest Nadra E-Sahulat-Center

Fard (for record) in just under five minutes from your nearest Nadra E-Sahulat-Center
Fard (for record) facility has been made operational from Nadra E-Sahulat-Centers of Rawalpindi, Multan, Sargodha, Sahiwal and Okara. Fard (for record) could be retrieved by paying only an additional Rs. 100 from any of the 655 Nadra E-Sahulat-Centers of these five districts.
Punjab Land Record Authority earlier this year signed an agreement with NADRA, as per the agreement 3700 E-Sahulat Centers of NADRA would provide Fard (for record) across Punjab. This service would be made fully functional from the province by another month time. The provision of Fard (for Record) from E-Sahulat Centers would reduce, as high as, 82 % load from ARCs.

PLRA launches express counters for applicants to book space

FAISALABAD: The Punjab Land Records Authority (PLRA) has launched the project of Express Counters for people to book their space at the Faisalabad Land Record Centre before their visit.

Similar counters will be set up at other divisional headquarters in Lahore, Gujranwala, Multan, DG Khan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, Rawalpindi and Sahiwal within a couple of days.

The citizens would avail the service by calling the authority helpline to obtain the advance booking. For obtaining Fard (ownership document) through express counters; processing fee is Rs1,500 while transfer processing fee is Rs5,000. Both fees will be additional to the existing charges.

Faizan Elahi Zaheer, a representative of the authority, said the Express Counters at the land record center would save the citizens` time. He said the time for the counters would be 3pm to 7 pm and the Land Record director and officer would be available during this time to verify the required procedures.

As per the procedure, the citizens would appear before the authority`s officers on the scheduled time. Then the officer concerned would proceed with issuance of Fard (ownership document) or Intigal (mutation document) as per the procedure, he said and added that the initiative had been taken to provide working class people with a hassle-free opportunity to avail the ARC services. With the evening timing of the Express Counters, the applicants would be able to continue with their office or business routine, he claimed.

Mr Zaheer said due to the great number of people at the land record center, the applicants had to wait for long hours to avail their service, wasting their entire day there.

The authority has also signed an agreement with the National Data Record Authority (NADRA) according to which 3,700 E-Sahulat Centers of NADRA around the province would also issue Fards. Mr. Zaheer said the land record of 23,162 mauzas (revenue states) of total 60 tehsils of the province had been successfully stored in the central database while previously, the data of the land record was only available with the relevant land record centers. After the centralization of the land record, the entire data from 151 land record centers had been safely secured at the PLRA Data Centre in Lahore.

To ensure the safety of the record, a backup storage facility has also been established in Islamabad where the entire data has been stored. In case of any untoward incident, the data of entire land record of 151 land record centers can be retrieved from the backup storage facility within minutes. Previously, the automation and now centralization of the land record have completely eliminated the risk of any sort of tampering with the land record data. The centralization not only protects the land record but also the ownership right of the people. Staff Correspondent

Conducive environment for business

According to the recent census, Punjab has 53 % of Pakistan’s total population. Providing basic necessities and resolving problems of one hundred and ten million people of the province is Punjab government’s main priority. For creation of job opportunities it’s imperative to have a conducive environment for business .

An environment which has business friendly policies that resultantly will not only create job opportunities but also improve the economy of the country.

In this regard, Punjab government keeping in view the index factors of doing business is moving ahead with its reformation program. To understand this program, we need to understand priorities of doing business . World Bank in 2002 started a Doing Business Program with the basic purpose to ease out business regulations and create conducive environment for investments. In this project, reformatory initiatives of business regulations of large economies and selected cities are analyzed and are provided with suggestion for improving their business environment . Doing Business encourages these economies for formulating effective regulations and business policies.

The Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the sub national and regional level. The Doing Business project looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle. By gathering and analyzing comprehensive quantitative data to compare business regulation environments across economies and over time, Doing Business encourages economies to compete towards more efficient regulation; offers measurable benchmarks for reform; and serves as a resource for academics, journalists, private sector researchers and others interested in the business climate of each economy.

In addition, Doing Business offers detailed sub national reports, which exhaustively cover business regulation and reform in different cities and regions within a nation. These reports provide data on the ease of doing business , rank each location, and recommend reforms to improve performance in each of the indicator areas. Selected cities can compare their business regulations with other cities in the economy or region and with the 190 economies that Doing Business has ranked.

The first Doing Business report, published in 2003, covered 5 indicator sets and 133 economies. This year’s report covers 11 indicator sets and 190 economies. Most indicator sets refer to a case scenario in the largest business city of each economy, except for 11 economies that have a population of more than 100 million as of 2013 including two cities of Pakistan where Doing Business , also collected data for the second largest business city. The data for these 11 economies are a population-weighted average for the 2 largest business cities. The project has benefited from feedback from governments, academics, practitioners and reviewers.

The initial goal remains: to provide an objective basis for understanding and improving the regulatory environment for business around the world.

These indicator are starting a business , dealing with construction permit, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across broader, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Of these indicators, Registering Property is a subject of Punjab Land Record Authority. The authority for improving registration of property is taking necessary steps. It is worth mentioning that according to 2017 business indicators, Karachi was better in ranking regarding the business environment .

Despite outstanding performance of several departments of the Punjab Government, it requires some basic reforms. PLRA is successfully working on these reforms which could be seen in the upcoming Doing Business report.

PLRA has successfully reduced seven step for property registration to four steps in accordance with the key indicators of doing business . Reducing the total time required of property registration from 56 days to 18 days. Issuance of ‘Fard’ is now possible in mere 30 minutes.

PLRA from 1July 2016 to 30 June 2017 has received 24769 application for property registration and on average an application was process in just 18 days. PLRA has successfully digitalized the land record of the entire province.

PLRA is managing both registration and mapping so that the process can be made easier and convenient for the people of Punjab and also for the foreign investors. Land record of the entire Province Punjab is available on our website (Punjab-zameen.gov.pk).

We also have a tailor made complaint system for redressing grievances of the General Public. PLRA obtains feedback through a third party which has shown more than 95 % satisfaction level of the people befitting from our services.

Due to such revolutionary initiatives of PLRA, Pakistan is expected to improve its ranking on the Doing Business rank chart where we are currently ranked at 147th position, by the project of the World Bank Doing Business .

CM Message

Shehbaz Sharif has said the land record management information system (LRMIS) is a revolutionary step of the government which has eliminated obsolete Patwar culture.
He was presiding over a meeting through video link
here on Saturday.

PLRA

Punjab Land Records Authority(PLRA) is always on front to provide relief to the people of the province after computerisation of land record of 143 tehsils of 36 districts from the LRMIS centres,” he added. He said that land record computerisation systems are operational in 143 Tehsils of Punjab and any person can receive the record of his property within 30 minutes.

LRMIS

A special centre has been established to monitor the performance of Land Record Management Information System (LRMIS) officials and the use of mobile phone by the staff has been restricted during duty

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