'We are planning to introduce an online file tracking system'

The first woman revenue tehsildar of Pune District speaks about ways to improve the department’s functioning.

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The post of a revenue tehsildar is not only coveted, but also laden with responsibilities. While dealing with land-related issues of the district, the tehsildar also has to act as the secretary of the district collector. The appointment of Seema Holkar, as the revenue tehsildar early last week, has created quite a ripple in the revenue circles as she happens to be the first woman officer to be selected for this post. Partha Sarathi Biswas spoke with her about the challenges faced by her and her plan of action.
How would you describe your job profile? How difficult or easy would this be for you as a woman officer?
The job of a revenue tehsildar involves day-to-day dealing with various land related issues of the district. Granting essential permissions such as usage of non-agricultural land, change of tenancy and others are also dealt with at this office.

This office expects the officer to be proficient in land related laws and that is a challenge in itself. The office also deals with the departments of clerks and sepoys of the revenue branch. I believe that as a woman officer nothing is too difficult for me. However, the long duty hours are a bit taxing for me. Since land related issues are very complex, the officer has to be very cautious and alert before taking any decision and therefore clearing files takes time.
As this office deals with land related issues, allegations of corruption are rampant against it. How do you plan to counter this?
Corruption arises because many mediators try to take advantage of the complexities of the law. To counter this, I have decided to clear files on the first-in, first-out basis. Apart from that, people are encouraged to meet me for any queries. As land laws are complex, I am working on ways to simplify the process and make it easy. Once a robust system is in place, avenues of corruption would shut down automatically.
The revenue branch had the unique distinction of opening its files for inspection under the Right to Information (RTI) Act in the district collectorate. How do you plan to make the process more transparent?
We have decided to put all the major permissions and decisions related to the revenue department online. Thus, people would be able to check them at their convenience. Besides, we are thinking of introducing an online file tracking system that would allow people to track the movement of their files. This would take some time as the web-based system is a bit complex to design.

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