What is the Unique Thandaper System (UTS) Currently in Implementation in Kerala?

Explainer Aug 3, 2022

The Government of Kerala in May announced its decision to implement a Unique Thandaper System (or UTS) for land registrations going forward. The Thandaper number is a reference number used by the Revenue Department of Kerala to track property tax information linked to the land in question.

Under the new system, every person who owns a property (or properties) in the state will have a unique Thandaper number which will be linked to all properties the individual owns. For example, a person owning 6 land parcels in the state will have a single Thandaper number linked to all properties registered under her name. Under this mechanism, confirming ownership for a parcel of land becomes streamlined and straightforward, as a search for the Thandaper number of the individual will return all land parcels owned by her. In case the land in question is under joint ownership, the Aadhar numbers of all owners will be linked to the parcel.

The unique Thandaper number will consist of 13 digits, and besides being linked with Aadhar, will also be available on the Digilocker portal. The module used for the the new system has been developed through the ReLIS suite of software, facilitated by the National Informatics Center (NIC).

Previously, a land parcel could have multiple Thandaper numbers, had the land been registered multiple times. This led to a number of inconsistencies, such as the prevalence of Benami lands - or lands with proxy ownership, and difficulty in tracking property tax payments, that are expected to be addressed by this system.

Another impact the change will have is a more robust implementation of sections under the Kerala Land and Reforms Act, 1963. Under Chapter 3, Section 82 of the Act, the following limitations on land ownership apply:

  • An individual cannot own more than 7.5 acres of land
  • A family consisting of more than 2, but less than 5 individuals cannot own more than 15 acres of land
  • A family consisting more than 5 individuals cannot own more than 20 acres of land

As ownership information becomes more transparent, tracking and identifying excess land owned by individuals or families will become easier.

Excess land owned, under Section 85 of the Act has to be surrendered by landowners. The government may then redistribute this land to people who do not currently own any. The revenue minister in his announcement of the measure cited this reason as an objective of the implementation of the UTS.

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