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India plans to assign digital ID numbers to plots of land nationwide



India is expecting to ascribe digital ID numbers to all parcels of land in the country by March 2022 in a move intended to modernize land management and fight against land fraud, The Hindu reports.

The central government laid out the plan in a parliamentary standing committee report recently submitted to the Lok Sabha (the Lower House of Parliament).

This move, the report said, will see a 14-digit identification number known as the Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) assigned to every plot of land and the land records database integrated with revenue court records, bank records and Aadhaar numbers on an optional basis. Indian authorities have been linking up Aadhaar accounts to various government services in the past.

The ULPIN has been described by Indian Land authorities as “the Aadhaar for lands,” according to The Hindu.

Already, the plan, which falls within the framework of the Digital India Land Records Modernization Program (DILRMP) launched in 2008, has been rolled out in 10 States of the country, according to information from the Department of Land Resources.

The 2.7 billion rupees (US$36.8 million) cost of the scheme on citizens has also been elaborated in the report, and defended by the Department of Land Resources to the parliamentary panel.

Aadhaar ID data privacy not compromised

Meanwhile, India’s Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI) has rejected accusations that it has been careless with the biometric data and other personal information of citizens it is keeping for the Aadhaar program, per a report by The New Indian Express.

The outlet quoted UIDAI as saying that all personal information collected from citizens for the digital ID system is used solely for the generation of numbers for Aadhaar identification and authentication purposes.

“The recent allegations that UIDAI has shared residents’ details in bulk for purposes other than provided in the Aadhaar Act are factually incorrect. UIDAI is committed to protecting privacy of residents always,” the body said in a statement.

It added that no information has ever been shared with anyone except with Authorized User Agencies. But even in this case, UIDAI explained, such disclosure “…can only be made pursuant to an order of a Judge of a High Court, and that too after giving an opportunity of hearing to both UIDAI and the concerned Aadhaar number holder as per Section 31 of the Act.”

PAN linkage deadline extended

India’s government has also extended the deadline for taxpayers to link their PAN (Permanent Account Number for tax records) with their Aadhaar by three months to June 30, 2021, according to The Wire.

The digital ID integration has been delayed since 2018, with the tax department attributing the latest change to the impact of the pandemic.

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