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IIHS Brief 2: Taking Property Registration Online: the iSarita Model

The registration of property transaction documents has a direct impact on ease of doing business by way of the average time and resources spent on the process. Registration both serves as the acknowledgement of a transaction by the government and is a source of revenue for the latter in the form of stamp duty levied on such documents. While the Registration Act of 1908 lists compulsorily registrable documents, which include deeds of conveyance, these do not guarantee title. In the deeds-based presumptive system followed in India, the focus is on guaranteeing the transaction and not the title on the records, which is open to challenge in civil courts.

In 2012, Maharashtra became one of the first states to launch a web-based platform for registration, called ‘iSarita’, which is currently used by all Sub-Registrar Offices (SROs) in the state. This platform was immediately successful and drastically improved the land registration process in the state. This brief looks at this model and analyses what lessons can be drawn from Maharashtra to be applied elsewhere in the country.