To make land-related services more efficient, the National Land Commission (NLC) launched three online systems and six documents in Thimphu yesterday.
NLC Secretariat’s secretary, Pema Chewang, said land is an indispensable factor of production and most basic for socio-economic development. “It is one of the primary sources of wellbeing and happiness. Existence of human beings is utterly impossible without land.”
The online systems and documents aim to establish national spatial data infrastructure besides creating stronger legal frameworks and policies.
Pema Chewang said management and sustainable use of land was particularly important in the face of growing issues such as urban sprawl, loss of agricultural land, unemployment, rural-urban migration, human wildlife conflicts, increasing trade deficit and increasing demand for housing, among others.
“Currently, the state is left with about 141,000 acres of arable land,” he said.
As part of the establishment of national spatial data infrastructure, the Geo-information policy 2018, was formulated which aims to enhance data discovery, accessibility, and sharing mechanism without ensuing duplication in operation.
Pema Chewang said that the country’s drive to value geo-information stemmed from the difficult and fragile geographical settings. “His Majesty The King granted about 135,400 acres of land as kidu benefitting 125,000 households. With this intervention, per household landholding is about 4.74 acres and the per capita landholding is 0.64 acres.”
The National Land Use Zoning Guidelines 2018 was developed to use the limited arable land in a sustainable way and to address the conflicting interests and competing demand for its uses across sectors and agencies.
As part of preserving cultural, historical, spiritual and religious sites and heritages of the country, the first edition of Nye Atlas 2018 was launched which entail a mapping of major sites.
To address problems that come with unreliable and sophisticated strata transactions, the Strata Transaction Guidelines 2018 was developed. It was also formulated to facilitate administration and strata transaction with provision for proportionate land rights and ownership.
The Land Dispute Settlement Guidelines 2018 would institutionalise and expedite land dispute settlement functions in implementing the provisions of the Land Act and directives of the judiciary to solve land disputes.
The Land Lease Rules and Regulations 2018, is the revised version of Land Lease Rules and Regulations 2009. The new regulation incorporates socio-economic issues.
The Bhutan Online Land Tax Payment system (BOLTs) aims to address inefficient practice of collection, administration, and management of land tax. An individual can visit www.bolts.nlcs.gov.bt to avail the service.
Pema Chewang said that it would also prevent any corrupt practices. “For instance, if a landowner is in Samtse and has a land in Trashiyangtse, the owner has to go to Trashiyangtse to pay the tax. With BOLTs people to people contact would be minimised.”
The land transaction system called eSakor was developed to ease land transactions in rural areas. A similar online system for urban areas was developed in 2017. The service is available at www.esakor.nlcs.gov.bt
MyNLCS is a web based management platform that aim to enhance communication, document management, and to provide better customer care services.
Pema Chewang said that about 42 graduates were trained on land administration and technical aspects to help people in rural areas use the online system. “These graduates are certified to do any transaction but the service that they provide will not be for free.”
He said that the commission did not fix any rate for the service.