India has made great strides in digitizing land records over the past decade with the implementation of the Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) system, also known as Bhu-Aadhaar. This system aims to provide a unique digital identification number to every plot of land in the country and link land records to this identification number. Here is an overview of ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar, how it works, its key benefits, and the progress made so far.

What is ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar?

ULPIN or Bhu-Aadhaar is a 14-digit unique identification number issued to each plot of land in India as part of the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DI-LRMP). This ambitious project was launched in 2008 to digitize India’s land records and provide an integrated land records management system.

The key objectives of ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar are:

  • To assign a unique ID to each plot of land for easy identification and retrieval of records
  • To create accurate digital land records with details of land owners, plot boundaries, area, usage etc.
  • To link land records and property registration processes
  • To facilitate online delivery of land record services
  • To assist in government planning by maintaining updated land data

How does ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar work?

The ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar number is assigned to a plot of land through the following steps:

  1. Geotagging: The plot is first geotagged using GPS technology to identify its precise geographic location.
  2. Surveying: Land surveyors then carry out physical verification and measurement of the plot boundaries.
  3. Attribute data collection: Details like land owner name, usage category, area etc. are collected for the plot.
  4. Data entry: All the collected details are then entered into the land records management system.
  5. ULPIN generation: The system automatically generates a unique 14-digit ULPIN for the plot which is linked to the digital record.

The 14-digit ULPIN contains the following information embedded within it:

  • State code
  • District code
  • Sub-district code
  • Village code
  • Unique plot ID number

Once the ULPIN is generated, it is stamped on the physical land record document held by the owner. The same ULPIN will be permanently attached to the plot of land. Even if the land is transferred, sub-divided, or undergoes any change, the ULPIN will remain the same for that geographic boundary.

Key Benefits of ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar

ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar offers several game-changing benefits when it comes to land records management in India:

  • Provides unique digital identity to every plot of land
  • Ensures accurate land records through ground-level mapping and measurement
  • Removes ambiguity in plot identification which often leads to land disputes
  • Enables online access to land records through linking with Aadhaar
  • Entire history and ownership details related to a plot can be tracked using the ULPIN
  • Provides government with accurate land data for policy making
  • Cuts red tape by automating land record processes like mutations
  • Helps in establishing clear land ownership and property rights

Progress So Far

The Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme under which ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar is being implemented has made significant progress, with several states taking the lead.

  • Andhra Pradesh was the first state to complete 100% ULPIN coverage with over 60 million land parcels assigned ULPINs.
  • Other top performing states include Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh which have achieved 60-90% ULPIN coverage.
  • 5 states have fully integrated Registration and Land Records through the ULPIN system.
  • As per latest government data, approximately 50% of the total land parcels in India have been assigned ULPINs so far.
  • 13 states have enabled online delivery of land records to citizens using ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar.
  • To accelerate ULPIN coverage, drone surveying and geo-tagging technologies are being deployed in some states.

In spite of the rapid progress across several states, certain states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam are lagging behind in ULPIN implementation due to administrative and operational challenges. Lack of digitized cadastral maps has also hampered inter-linking of records in some states. However, given the major efficiency gains of this system, the goal is to achieve pan-India integration by 2025.

Going forward, integrating ULPIN/Bhu-Aadhaar with other applications like agriculture credit, soil health cards, and irrigation facilities has the potential to transform service delivery for farmers. ULPIN will play a key role in truly modernizing India’s land records system and enhancing land governance.