/Tech glitches mar Karnataka’s Kaveri Online portal, block access to digitally-signed property records

Tech glitches mar Karnataka’s Kaveri Online portal, block access to digitally-signed property records

BENGALURU: Online services related to accessing property documents have gone for a toss in Karnataka less than two years after the government launched the Kaveri Online amid much fanfare.

Citizens visit the portal, owned by the Stamps & Registration department, to view and apply for digitally signed copies of documents such as encumbrance certificate (EC), and certified copies (CC) of registered deeds of properties.

EC is one of the most sought after papers as property buyers and bankers rely on them to ascertain ownership. Owners can get e-khatas for their properties only if they furnish EC copies to BDA, BBMP, other municipal bodies and panchayat bodies.
A few users ET spoke to said problems started at the payment gateway. The site shows a few payment options, but would sometimes deny credit/debit card options to users. It accepts payment via BHIM or NEFT, but takes the user into the domain of Khajane (state treasury). Sometimes the portal accepts the card payment as well. But in the end, the user is back to square one as an error message pops up, asking to go back.

Screenshot of the portal

“In reality you cannot go back as the Kaveri Online is poor on navigability — it does not allow users to go back & forth. One has to login again, and go through the whole process. I could see my EC, but could not get a digitally signed copy. I gave up,” said Guruprasad Srinivasan, chief operating officer, India region of Quess Corp.

The experience could be frustrating for a generation used to doing transactions in a flash on ecommerce sites or government portals such as IRCTC. In Kaveri’s case, first the bank has to confirm payment to Khajane (treasury) which in turn has to confirm to Kaveri. Sometimes this process can take two days, said a registration official.

Queries in the government revealed it takes more than one department as well as technology partners to fix the problem. While the Kaveri portal was developed and managed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Khajane (K2) is managed by TCS. In between, there is this e-governance department tasked with the responsibility to fix tech issues, and take online citizen services to the next level.

Revenue Minister R Ashoka told ET that he was aware of the problem, and has asked the Stamps & Registration department to fix it at the earliest. C-DAC did not respond to emails seeking comments, while TCS said it cannot comment on client specific information.

Since the online system is broken, citizens have been forced to visit sub-registrar offices where they run into agents demanding a hefty charge. “They did not allow me inside due to covid restrictions. An agent offered to get me the EC for Rs 1000, but I refused,” said V Vishalakshi, a homemaker in RR Nagar.

People would shift to a new system only if they find it better than the existing one. But in this case, citizens seem to prefer the off-line option as they find the online option frustrating. The problem always existed, but people started complaining when the government told citizens they could apply only through online for ECs and CCs. When complaints swell, the government had to re-open the off-line, an official explained. But that has not helped citizens as sub-registrar offices don’t let them in citing covid pandemic.

Kaveri Online: What Needs A Fix

  • Issue starts at payment gateway
  • No back & forth navigation
  • Credit/debit cards not accepted
  • User exits Kaveri portal & gets into Khajane portal
  • After payment accepted, error message shows up
  • User has to login again, start fresh session

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Tech-Economic Times