India is digitising records of almost 300,000 Muslim religious properties across the country. In another related project, the southern state of Andhra Pradesh plans to geospatially map Muslim religious properties.
These religious properties, known as wakf, are donated for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. There has been little development of these properties and they have generated limited income due to large-scale encroachment. Digitisation of data on wakf properties is expected to introduce transparency, streamline record keeping and enable monitoring.
Andhra Pradesh has announced intentions to map 72,000 wakf properties in the state. The data on each wakf institution will include boundaries and nature of the endowed land and the custodian’s name, among others.
An official from the implementing organisation, Andhra Pradesh Minorities Welfare Department, said, “The project will begin with a few wakf institutions from the capital city, Hyderabad, being electronically mapped on a trial basis. The concerned government agencies will submit a report within 15 days after which the project will go ahead full steam in various districts of the state.”
In a related nationwide project, India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA) is undertaking the ‘Computerisation of Records of State Wakf Boards’ project. The project began in 2008 and has been implemented in three phases.
Phase I includes the creation of a centralised web-enabled database for use by various stakeholders and cross-checking of data on wakf across multiple state-level databases. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has developed a platform called Wakf Management System of India (WASMI) to be used for the computerisation of the records.
After the evaluation and success of this, Phase II is to be implemented with the GIS mapping of wakf properties to develop coordinates and prevent encroachment. Phase III is to ensure improved administration of the State Wakf Boards with the computerisation of its peripheral activities.
The MMA has budgeted INR 250 million (US$ 3.7 million) for the project. Grants-in-aid are to be provided to each State Wakf Board provided they meet certain targets set by the MMA. According to the Ministry’s latest public records, about 9 per cent of the records have been digitised so far, across the country.
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