Farmers in Tamil Nadu are complaining that they are finding it difficult to get crop loans and other services from co-operative societies or nationalised banks due to issues in registration of details in e-Adangal, a web-based registry of farmers’ land details.
Adangal was introduced by the revenue department to keep a record of each wetland, dry land and wasteland in every village, and document these in a register, with survey numbers, name of the land owner, type of crops cultivated. To make the process faster and easier, the department went digital with ‘e-Adangal’ in July 2019.
With details of their land and crop on e-Adangal, farmers could avail crop loans, crop insurance, and subsidies.
However, farmers claim they are facing issues with the system, including delays in registering, getting loans and other services.
According to PR Pandian, president, Tamil Nadu All Farmers Association Coordination Committee, said, “Since there are hitches, the primary agricultural co-operative societies and banks have stopped issuing crop loans from October 1.”
Until the introduction of this system, the Adangal document was issued by the Village Administrative Officers (VAO). But now, the farmers themselves can register their land details through ‘e-Adangal’ website or mobile app. Similarly, they can download the copies of the Adangal whenever needed.
Selvan, state general secretary, Tamil Nadu Village Administrative Officers’ Association, too noted that the e-Adangal system has more disadvantages than advantages.
Listing the advantages, he said, “The government can get accurate data about crop cultivation and harvest details. Having those data, the policy-making will be easier, while deciding over the export and import of a particular food crop. Besides, farmers can get the documents anywhere any time, without the need of meeting a VAO.”
He pointed out that since farmers are given the option of registering their land details by themselves, there might be an ‘area difference’ between a VAO’s registration and a farmer’s registration, since the latter “lacks knowledge of hectares”.
“While registering, the farmers usually include some part of the area, which is near to their land, and claim ownership of that surplus area. But when a VAO registers, it is done according to the records and other surveys. This ‘area difference’ creates a lot of disputes between a farmer and a VAO. This is one of the major disadvantages,” Selvan stressed.
He said the Updating Registry Scheme (UDR), which was introduced in 1985, to settle land ownership issues, was not carried over properly, and said, “When there are any natural calamities like flood or cyclone while distributing compensation, this is creating a problem now.”
“Compensations are given in the name of the person who has a patta. But many farmers have their patta in the name of their forefathers. Since the UDR has not been updated in the past few decades, the ownership of the land has also not changed. So, we are unable to distribute the compensations, when farmers are in need. Moreover, land records that were documented in ‘Tamil Nilam’ database by the survey department personnel also have many errors. Correcting those will be the first step in the smooth running of e-Adangal system,” he said.
Apart from technical problems, shortage of VAOs in the state also delays the e-Adangal process, the official said.
For the 9,436 VAOs, the state government has given only 6,000 laptops and there are no scanning machines or other additional devices. “In many villages, there is no proper internet connection. VAOs need to spend on the internet charges from their pockets. The salary of a VAO is ₹19,500 and asking them to spend ₹1,000 for the internet, is not correct. Also, the farmers who hitherto bought the documents for free earlier, now need to pay ₹100 to get an Adangal.”
Demanding action on the issues, the VAO association and farmers are set to stage a demonstration jointly on October 2.