Property registration set to go digital

The Registration Department in Tamil Nadu is all set to go the digital way. The Minister for Registration and Tourism N. Suresh Rajan announced recently that electronic stamping would be introduced in the state and all the deficiencies and constraints of the existing system would be removed.

At present, those who wish to register a document have to buy stamp papers to the required amount, write the details of the property and transaction and then proceed for registration.

The Registrar would then verify the stamp duty paid and register the document. In the proposed electronic stamping of documents, the customers have to visit an authorised collection centre and fill up a form where in the details of property and its value will be entered.

Then the necessary stamp duty has to be paid either by cash or demand draft. Once the payment is done, an electronic certificate will be stamped with security features on the face of a plain paper.

This would become the first page of the document registered and it can be followed by any number of ordinary printed pages necessary to complete the transaction.

Each electronic certificate will have a unique identification number and will be issued in 3 to 5 minutes depending on the speed of the internet connection.

The Sub- registrar will then scan the stamp certificate and register the document.

Such a system is in operation in New Delhi, Karnataka and Gujarat. Some officials feel this will pave the way for online trading of property in future.

Advantages

“Electronic stamping is an easy, safe and secure web-based mode of payment of stamp duty,” says an official of the Registration Department.

“The round-the-clock purchase of stamp paper electronically ensures online verification of stamp duty on the internet. This also ensures fast payments to the government accounts.

The electronic stamping system can be operated by any user with basic facilities such as a personal computer, specified printer and internet access.

The system eliminated stamp papers, stops revenue leakage and easily verifies the stamp duty paid. It is transparent, secure and simplified administration of stamp duty payment,” says an official with the Registration Department.
Resistance

Existing stamp vendors, however, seem to be pessimistic as they feel their profits may decrease with e-stamping and are reluctant to accept the advantages of the system to be introduced.

“People will be reluctant to accept innovations in stamping such as franking and e-stamping. People get a sense of fulfilment only when the document is on a stamp paper,” says A. Roufbasha, a stamp vendor.

However the officials and administrators have a different view. “The electronic stamping system will lead to the elimination of cash dealing in sub-registrar offices. Some feel cash dealing in sub-registrar offices may be one of the reasons for alleged corruption in some offices,” says a police official.

“The amount of stamp duty collected through electronic stamping is remitted into the Government account on the very next day.

The scheme is cost effective as the need for commission does not arise. As the system is locked once the transaction is done, it is not possible to tamper with the electronic stamping system”, says an official.

“The need for verifying if the stamp papers are genuine or not by the public and the registering officer will not arise in the case of electronic stamping system,” says M.K. Sundaram, Chairman of the Builders Association of India (South Centre).

“As our profits would be affected by the introduction of electronic stamping system in the state, we have planned to request the government to consider our hardship,” says a stamp vendor.
Special counters

Opening of special counters for electronic stamping at sub-registrar office will enable the public to ascertain the value of stamps to be purchased for the documents from the same office where they get the electronic stamp certificate.

The Department of Post has agreed to as the authorised collection centre in Tamil Nadu.

“The new process reduces the burden of sub-registrars in handling cash and remitting it safely to the treasury,” says a Sub-Registrar.

The Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance, in accordance with the announcement made in Parliament in the wake of the stamp paper scam, appointed Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) as consultant to suggest alternative methods of collection of stamp duty.

IFCI proposed a mechanism to prevent paper-and-process-related fraudulent practices and set up a secure and reliable stamp duty collection mechanism with a central data repository for better storage, retrieval and verification of information.

The Government of India has authorised Stock Holding Corporation of India as central record keeping agency for this purpose.

The agency will facilitate the computerisation of stamp duty administrative system. The Stock Holding Corporation of India is a public undertaking which is the custodian of stocks of organisations such as LIC and banks, according to the official.

Officials recently visited New Delhi in order to study the scheme in New Delhi and the Registration Department of Tamil Nadu is keen to implement the proposal by December.

Highlights

•?Stamp certificate will have unique identification number

•System will be multi-lingual and web based

•Transaction data will be stored in a centralised facility

•Enquiries and verification will be processed online

•Secure and transparent transaction

•Tamper proof certificate with optical watermark

•The system can be accessed at all times

Source: The hindu

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