Land is an important source of identity, symbol of social status and source of rural power structure 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.


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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

    24 July 2017

    Hyderabad, Jul 24 (PTI) People’s groups today called for rejection of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the mega Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which is currently being negotiated in the city.

    People’s groups from different parts of the city took out a protest rally demanding to stop RCEP talks.

    The RCEP is a proposed mega regional FTA, which 16 countries including India and ASEAN countries are negotiating.

    25 July 2017

    Title deeds have been issued to only 472 persons so far; work to distribute them is under way, says government

    More than a year after the Supreme Court had vacated its stay on a Madras High Court order and facilitated distribution of land title deeds to those entitled,under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, the State government had issued title deeds only to 472 persons so far.

    25 June 2017

    Tribespeople say individual ownership could lead to fragmentation of land

    Edamalakudi’s Oorukkoottam — assembly of people in the tribal hamlet and officials — arrived at an unusual decision last month: no individual household in the panchayat would individually own forestland as guaranteed by the Forest Rights Act.

    12 June 2017

    The FRA sought to correct the historical injustice done to the traditional forest-dwelling communities by conferring rights to hold and own forest land where they traditionally lived and cultivated

    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 1296
    Conference Papers & Reports
    March 2017

    This paper was presented at the “2017 WORLD BANK CONFERENCE ON LAND AND POVERTY”, The World Bank - Washington DC. This paper provides a comparative appreciation of all the datasets especially the metadata and methodology along with a SWOT vis-à-vis reporting requirement of SDG indicator.

    Conference Papers & Reports
    March 2016

    This paper analyzes the state’s Land Governance in terms of the five themes for
    administrators, technicians and professionals working in the land sector as per the gender-framework of FAO’s VGGT along with an additional theme on community perspectives on women land rights, and recommends strategies for moving towards it.

    August 2015

    This workshop was orgainized at Bhubaneswar, India by Center for Land Governance, NRMC, Bhubaneswar with support of The World Bank, New Delhi. In this workshop salient findings on processes and progress made around gender equitable land tenure arrangements, best practices and challenges along with ground-happenings and post –land rights situations captured through community and stakeholders opinions were shared.

    Monitoring Framework for WLR in India
    Manuals & Guidelines
    Policy Papers & Briefs
    May 2016

    This framework is prepared by Center for Land Governance, NRMC, Bhubaneswar with 
    support of The World Bank, New Delhi. The monitoring framework envisages on reliable and accessible appropriate data set, well laid out procedure to calculate and report WLR indicators across administrative layers as well as an institutional mechansim to sustainably carry this process to address regular monitoring of WLR in Indian context to meet the SDG requirement.

    Policy Papers & Briefs
    December 2015

    This is the proceedings of a Workshop organized at India International Center, Lodi Road, New Delhi, India by Center for Land Governance, NRMC, Bhubaneswar with the  support of  The World Bank, New Delhi.  In this workshop, the study team shared the state and district-wise WLR maps segregated across caste and economic categories along with temporal trend. Usefulness and relevance of Agriculture Census data, Status of women pattwaris, Inter-state variations around women’s land rights parameters, Operational holdings and tenancy were discussed by the participating experts.

    Policy Papers & Briefs
    May 2016

    This Policy breif, prepared by Center for Land Governance, NRMC, Bhubaneswar with support of The World Bank, New Delhi provides breif information on legal framework and changes, institutional processes, measuring and monitoring changes, compares operational holding with ownership and plot level data around women's land rights in India. It also proposes policy recommendations on measuring and monitoring women’s land rights.