Land is an important source of identity, symbol of social status and foundation for rural power in India, often carrying significant emotional attachment. With a long history, diverse geography and pluralistic culture, land governance has evolved in India through communal, imperial, feudal, colonial and modern systems, gradually moving towards individualization and conclusive titling. Contemporary land tenure is dotted with mosaics of customary tenure and community ownership in tribal and hilly areas and dwindling rural common lands amidst expanding of privatized spaces in urban and industrial areas getting converted from once predominant forest and agriculture landscapes. Indian land governance is at a transition between nation’s economic growth aspirations incumbent upon making land available for investments, while the socialist state is committed to an agenda on land and forest reforms that allocate to and recognize the rights of landless and tribal respectively on government and forestlands. Environmental concerns restrict diversion of forestlands and promote expansion of protected areas. Land conflicts are on the rise as a result of competition, continued lack of tenure clarity around common lands and increasing demands for higher compensation for private lands, which bottlenecks investments.

Land governance in India in the post-independent period has evolved as a state-subject, with the land-revenue department as the main custodian, while the actual responsibility is shared by number of departments and agencies at the state and local level, making land governance complex with overlapping jurisdictions. There are high transaction costs to access and transfer land.  Land-related disputes constitute more than half of disputes in civil and a significant number in criminal courts cases, which are often dragged for long duration  and drain private and public resources.

Federal and state governments have brought in many institutional innovations, adopted new technologies to improve land records management, promoted women land rights, facilitated alternate dispute resolution and are now contemplating tenancy reforms. The last seventy years of land governance can be broadly divided into four phases of reforms:

  • 1) land reform aiming land to cultivators during 1960s-80s;
  • 2) attempts at involving local self governance institutions through decentralization of land governance,
  • 3) digitization of land records aiming at conclusive titling in the early 21st century; and
  • 4) forest, land acquisition, and tenancy reforms occuring mostly in the current decade. 
Source of the narrative

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parties indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.


Indicators Year Value Unit Dataset Source Remove

Loading data ...

Compare countries


Loading data ...


Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

Please, select year and panels to show the info.

    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
    • Weak Practice
    • Very Weak Practice
    • Missing Value

    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

    Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
    • Fully adopt
    • Partially adopt
    • Not adopted
    • Missing Value

    Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

    The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen, with support from Daniel Babare and Myat Noe (LLB Students, University of Groningen). The indicators assess national laws in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America against international standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement as established by Section 16 of the VGGTs.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in section 16 of the VGGTs. Hold the mouse against the small "i" button above for a more detailed explanation of the indicator.

    Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.


    Latest News

    9 October 2017

    In the world's second most populous country, there is an estimated shortage of about 20 million homes in urban areas

    CHENNAI, India, Oct 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sustainable, low-cost homes must become the default option for builders and buyers amid increasing pressure on land and the environment, according to a leading architect in India, which has among the most densely populated cities on the planet.

    25 September 2017

    Kajal (24) is in no hurry to cook dinner for her children who are running around as she sits with her husband, talking and complaining about their ‘neighbours’.

    Her husband Santosh, in turn, is in no mood to react to what his wife tells him.

    “I have bigger things to worry about. I want the government to make houses for us here,” he says, pointing to the pavement and the adjoining piece of land on the Bathinda-Goniana road.

    A prime land, located opposite Rose Garden, has currently been encroached upon by Santosh and many others like him who have come from Rajasthan.

    25 September 2017

    Land rights defenders from 29 countries call for greater vigilance in ensuring governments comply with laws

    MUMBAI, Sept 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Dozens of land rights defenders from 29 countries have written to the United Nations to draw attention to the increasing violence they face from states and corporations, and calling for greater vigilance in ensuring governments comply with laws.

    As States Create Land Banks for Private Investors, Conflicts Erupt Across India
    19 September 2017

    State governments are building land banks, using both private and common lands, to attract investment in manufacturing and infrastructure, but at the cost of people’s rights.

    Latest Blog


    By Madhu Sarin, Fellow of the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)


    Q: What is required to strengthen women’s land and community forest rights in practice in India?

    Traditionally, small ‘Pygmy’ communities moved frequently through forest territories, gathering a vast range of forest products, collecting and exchanging goods with neighboring settled societies. © Selcen Kucukustel/Atlas

    By  Lewis Evans, Survival International

    For Earth Day (April 22), Survival International reveals some of the amazing ways in which tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world:

    1. The Baka “Pygmies” have over 15 words for elephant

    The Baka people know so much about elephants, they have different words for them according to their sex, age and even temperament.

    Latest Events

    5 April 2017 to 6 April 2017


    India International Centre 110003 New Delhi

    Land Governance for Accelerated and Inclusive Development

    5-6 April, 2017, New Delhi, India



    10 February 2015 to 13 February 2015

    10 Feb 2015 - 13 Feb 2015

    The Soil Conservation Society of India, New Delhi (established in 1951 and have more than 2900 professionals as life members) is going to organize its 3rd International Conference on Natural Resource Management for Food and Rural Livelihoods from 10-13 February 2015 at New Delhi, India.

    The event has been sponsored by Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Government of India, New Delhi.

    Location: New Delhi, India

    First circular 



    Displaying 1 - 6 of 1353
    Rethinking post-disaster relocation in urban India cover image
    Policy Papers & Briefs
    August 2017

    After natural disasters, governments often relocate vulnerable urban communities in the name of humanitarian relief. But urban communities rarely welcome such relocation, since it frequently exacerbates their daily challenges or creates new risks. Indeed, resettlement after a disaster is often another form of eviction. This briefing discusses the situation in Chennai, where state and local authorities have been building resettlement tenements on inland marsh areas using centrally sponsored schemes for affordable housing.

    Conference Papers & Reports
    August 2017


    This report was prepared by Centre for Land Governance, NRMC, the Secretariat of India Land & Development Conference 2017. This report provides an overview of the proceedings of India Land & Development Conference, organized at India International Centre, New Delhi, India on April 5-6th 2017.

    This report consists sharing of experiences, knowledge and practices over eight thematic sessions, two panel discussions and a special session.

    Eight Sessions in the Conference are as follows:

    Reports & Research
    July 2017

    Since 1995, June 17th has been observed as the "World Day to Combat Desertification - 2017"  The main objective of commemorating WDCD has been to promote public awareness about international efforts to combat desertification and the effects of drought collectively.

    This report provides commemoration of WDCD 2017 across india on awraness, workshops, nature camps, schemes and events launched.

    This report highlights the activities pertaining to issues related to desertification, land degradation and drought, 

    Reports & Research
    July 2017

    Land is an important source of identity and a precious asset with significant emotional connection in India. It is also the main source of rural and feudal power structure for most of India’s history. Land is a symbol of social status, cultural identity and an expression of political power. The value of land is deeply ingrained in the consciousness and well-being of the poor farmers and indigenous communities who make up a substantial portion of India’s total population.

    Reports & Research
    June 2017


    This study on farmers’ suicides is done by Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS) through its local partner the Baitarani Initiative. This study was attempted to understand if farmers’ suicides were just a desperate reaction to events like droughts and crop loss or there were more fundamental roots.

    This study explores whether it is a failure of the state in providing relief to the farmers or its policies which have driven them to such a desperate situation in a slow and steady manner.

    June 2017

    Live statistics of forest and wildlife area clearances given by Ministry for diversion to non-forestry purpose for investment. Organized as per stages of clearance, level (district, state, national) where the proposal is being considered, Searchable database indicating state, proposal name, user agency, forest area requested, status of area clearance along with link to reports.