Bangladesh is expected to have a modern land management system functional by 2026, as the government is working tirelessly to provide people with efficient land-related services.
Parallel to the digitization of public service delivery across all sectors, the digitization of land services has been crucial. It will alleviate the difficulty caused by land disputes and other issues that are typically associated with receiving land-related public services.
All parties involved, including government agencies and interested parties, have already taken steps to raise public awareness about land management and inform the public about extant land-related laws and regulations. To put an end to the harassment of service seekers, the land ministry seeks a breakthrough in the struggle against all forms of corruption and irregularities.
You can also read: Bangladesh Population and Housing Census 2022: What does it reveal?
The digital management system will prevent corruption at all levels of government, from local to central land agencies. The land distribution system will need to be digitized in order to specify land ownership, thereby resolving family and communal issues relating to land distribution.
E-services to be offered for smart land management
The Land Ministry is automating all of its functions, from land acquisitions to the Jalmahal system and E-mutation. People will receive online access to E-Namjari mitigation, E-Porcha, E-Dakhila, land development tax, mouza-map, and other services. In this regard, the land ministry will digitize the nation’s 1,380,00 maps and acquire satellite imagery. The government has already implemented online land transfer, DCR with QR code, and land tax payment.
Prime minister, Sheikh Hasina has launched an app on March 29 that helps people readily locate their land and determine its characteristics. In addition, citizens can obtain land-related services, such as mutation, khatian, and the payment of land development tax, from anywhere in the globe by dialing 16122 and visiting land.gov.bd.
Md Mustafizur Rahman, the land secretary, stated that the government needed to know who seized the land and how much land each person owned; a map and khatian would suit this purpose. Now, a person’s land status can be searched using his national identity certificate (NID).
When the country’s entire land management system is digitalized, the country’s marginalized population will benefit from the digitalization of land management. Through this system, citizens will receive land services from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need to visit the land office in person. The mobile APPS Barta for officers involved in the land management system will be released shortly, according to officials of the land ministry.
Amending laws to solve land disputes faster
It is highly typical in society for both brothers and sisters to deprive one another of paternal property, which can lead to attacks, murders, and fights. Disputes involving paternal property are a common source of family strife, particularly among siblings, and can result in violent confrontations.
When an appropriate land management system is implemented, the issue will be resolved.
The land secretary stated that they were eager to pass a law mandating the use of mobile courts to resolve land-related disputes as quickly as feasible. ‘Many land disputes are pending with the court for years,’ Mustafizur Rahman pointed out.
Tax collection and property protection
After completing all other preparations, the government will begin collecting taxes via the digitalization system within a few months. The government has worked persistently to bring services to the doorsteps of the people through a variety of methods, including digitalization.
The authorities have taken steps to secure the land ownership rights of all domestic and international citizens. As a result of the government’s efforts to secure and defend their rights, people’s property will remain secure wherever they reside, at home or abroad.
Prime minister’s initiatives
At the first-ever National Land Conference, held in March, the prime minister unveiled seven initiatives for the Ministry of Land and urged authorities to reform land administration.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has requested that land management services be digitized to put an end to ownership disputes and assure hassle-free service. She stated that the system must be digitized in order to resolve “family and social problems” resulting from land ownership issues. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh stated that the government had taken steps to protect the land rights of all Bangladeshi nationals residing in Bangladesh and abroad.
HPM Hasina has also introduced seven initiatives on the first day of the three-day conference. These included the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Monument and the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Guchhagram Complex in Lakshmipur, Registration-Mutation Interconnection, Smart Land Map, Smart Land Records, Smart Land Pedia, Smart Land Service Centre, and Modern Land Offices in 400 upazilas throughout the nation.
“Each of the seven initiatives, taken by our Ministry of Land, will play a significant role in building a developed, prosperous and smart Bangladesh,” she said.
The need of extended digital access
Access to the internet and smartphones/technology is crucial for effective smart land management in the digital age. It is crucial to ensure that all citizens have simple access to the Internet so they can utilize the various tools and resources available online to manage land in a literate and sustainable manner.
Referring to recent data, the executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, Iftekharuzzaman, stated, “There are 69 per cent people in our country that do not have digital access, and Bangladesh is the lowest in terms of internet speed among the south Asian countries.”
He urged the government to expand internet access and technology usage in order to maximize the benefits of digitalization.
Not all citizens have equal access to the internet or smartphones, which can create disparities in the capacity to effectively administer land. In many rural areas, Internet access is extremely limited, and residents may lack the knowledge or resources to utilize online tools and resources.
To address this issue, the government and organizations must ensure that all citizens have access to the internet, especially in areas where connectivity is lacking, in order to create a ‘Smart Bangladesh’.
In addition to digital access, it is necessary to educate citizens about land management and inform them of the applicable laws and regulations.