Why Revanth Reddy’s rant on scrapping of Dharani portal is absurd

Revanth Reddy’s latest rants exposed his obsession with the Dharani portal and his painstaking attempts to cast aspersions on a novel initiative with a heap of canards

Revanth Reddy

HYDERABAD: As the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) announced its ‘land declaration’, with an eye on the impending elections in Telangana, its chief Revanth Reddy vowed to unveil a series of ‘Dharani Files’ and reiterated his claim to have the unique integrated land record management system annulled when in power.

One can easily get over the ‘ifs’ and ‘when’s’ of Revanth Reddy’s hypothetical threats as the Congress party will have to first earn a popular mandate in Telangana before it can fancy any such thought. As is its wont, the TPCC continues to be an embattled paradise, eternally troubled by internal squabbles.

Putting the Congress infighting aside, Revanth Reddy’s latest rants exposed his obsession with the Dharani portal and his painstaking attempts to cast aspersions on a novel initiative with a heap of canards and half truths. Promising to blow the lid on its dark secrets, Revanth Reddy keeps harping on catchy monikers, like the ‘Dharani Files’ he bandied about on Thursday, for an intended larger reach. The barrage of his accusations are full of sensation sans hard facts.

Here is a look at some of those facts that Revanth Reddy will probably never speak about.

Land record systems in India are sacrosanct and thus scrapping them is only like opening a can of worms.

One must assume, both Revanth Reddy and the best brains of the Telangana Congress would be aware that Dharani portal (officially called Dharani-Integrated Land Record Management System) is an online database of land records and the far-reaching implications of their claims to scrap it. What exact components of the portal that Revanth Reddy and Co have an issue with and hence threaten to annul it? Is it the database or the registration of land records in it or the land itself of the Telangana people? And can the Congress and Revanth Reddy really do it with the same ease with which they claim to scrap it? The TPCC chief knows all too well that the spice in their claims will be nothing short of fiction in reality but that will be conveniently kept away from the public discourse.

Dharani portal came into existence to put an end to the ordeal of physical transactions pertaining to lands, their registration and regularisation. In a nutshell, Dharani enables multiple transactions, ranging from purchase and sale of lands to transfer of property and from change of name to sale mutation and many other services added to its functionality. Aided with new-age technology, the portal removed the scope of middlemen, a hitherto nemesis, and infused speed which has made even mutations a reality now on the same day.

Instead of following a cumbersome procedure based on multiple physical records, the BRS government created a centralised database with the ability to handle multiple transactions.

Unfathomable hardline stand against Dharani

History tells us that even the best of mechanisms that worked wonders for people around the world were at times fraught with sporadic systemic flaws. If the Congress finds any lacunae in Dharani portal, it can always promise people that it will rectify the existing systems and fix the problems. Effecting corrections in a system is a dynamic process, which the Congress too can emulate.

In contrast, KCR did not have to scrap anything to introduce the Dharani portal. After its inception, the Chief Minister, in a statesman-like observation, acknowledged that there could be some challenges which he promised to fix on the go.

No one will question the Congress and Revanth Reddy if they promise to unveil a better system. On the whole, the relentless campaign against Dharani gives the feeling that the Congress did not understand the basic fact that Dharani is a land record management system. A system where a bug can be identified and fixed but the entire portal cannot be scrapped for this trivial reason.

What KCR did was to use technology to simplify the process of land dealings.

1.5 cr acres already registered on Dharani

Out of the over 2.5 crore acres of land in Telangana, more than 1.5 crore acres have already been registered in the Dharani portal. Among the remaining, there are 44 lakh actres of forest land while rocky areas including mountains and hillocks and water bodies such as rivers, lakes streams and rivulets cover another 56 lakh acres.

And what would the Congress be achieving by regularising these remaining lands? The patta lands purported to be in the prohibited list belong to various communities and establishments. Is it practically possible for the Congress to amend the laws pertaining to these lands? Will the Centre consent to any such outlandish move?

The KCR Government in Telangana distributed pattas to 1.5 lakh beneficiaries covering a land stretch of 4.06 lakh acres.

The Congress comes with a blemished history of accounting for the lives of Adivasis when they struggled for the rights on their lands. The KCR Government stands out in contrast by bestowing land rights and pattas on them.

Is there a clear plan for the Congress other than bragging with opaque claims? Will they be able to come up with one single legislation to annul the more than 100 land acts in the country? Why the hue and cry over Dharani having turned a blind eye for 60 years to the pressing need of a simplified, user-friendly and tech-based system? Don’t be surprised if the Congress retaliatory fire will have everything except answers to these pertinent questions.

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