Registration of non-agricultural properties ought to be a revenue-spinning department. But the migration from the Computer-Aided Administration of Registration (CARD) system in Telangana to the ambitious Dharani portal a few months ago has been fraught with problems, most of them self-goals by the government, reducing revenue to a trickle. CM K Chandrashekar Rao conceived Dharani as a fast, user-friendly and transparent portal, but it was seen as intrusive since furnishing Aadhaar details of sellers and buyers apart from their caste and community information was made mandatory.
Soon, it hit a judicial brick wall as the Telangana High Court disallowed seeking Aadhaar data, citing the Supreme Court’s ban on it except for reaching benefits of welfare schemes to individuals. Registrations on Dharani came to a halt on September 8, turning off the revenue tap.
Three months later, it was reopened after the court said it was okay with registrations under the CARD system without seeking Aadhaar details. But the response to this was rather low-key as the government had earlier ordered that unauthorised layouts have to be regularised under the Layout Regularisation Scheme (LRS) before seeking registration, but the court stayed the LRS.
During the three months when registration remained suspended, transactions of about Rs 25,000 crore could not take place. On the first day of registrations on Monday last, only 2,536 transactions happened as against 4,000 on a normal day, fetching Rs 71.73 crore for the exchequer. For the government, it is a double whammy. It should have known that seeking Aadhaar data would not stand judicial scrutiny. As for the LRS, it is clearly a ploy to generate revenue and not to ensure planned development.
Had the government really wanted planned development, it would not have allowed unauthorised layouts in the first place. While several thousands of land transactions were understandably stuck during the lockdown for a few months, many of them remain hanging in the post-lockdown mess. No wonder the ruling party’s poor show in the Dubbaka seat and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections is also being blamed on the Dharani botch-up.