India: Overview Of Proposed Land Reforms

Last Updated: 3 February 2015
Article by Sunil Tyagi, Santosh Singh and Anu Chowdhry

The demand for land reforms recently reached fever pitch in October 2012, when the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) entered into a 10-point agreement on land reforms with members of Jan Satyagraha, a non-violent march organized by Ekta Parishad. MoRD had inter-alia agreed to initiate a dialogue with States for establishing Fast Track Land Tribunals and Courts and introduction of a National Land Reforms Policy. This once again brought to light the compelling economic and political arguments for enacting land reforms – primarily to tackle the scarcity and unequal distribution of land on one hand and growing demand of housing and industrial development on the other. Since land forms the basis of economic activity, land serves as an essential asset for a country to accomplish economic growth and social equity. During the last few decades, various land reforms have been enacted and numerous proposed amendments to existing laws, new legislations and policies are in the pipeline. Land reforms are closely linked to agricultural productivity, industrial growth, infrastructure development, employment opportunities, housing, foreign investment, to name a few. There are some policies and reforms which when enacted and implemented, will bring wide-sweeping changes.

Land Acquisition: Acquisition of land is the first and foremost hurdle in the development of any industrial, real estate and/or infrastructural project. The NOIDA-Greater NOIDA dispute brought to light the flawed acquisition process and the urgent need to address concerns of land owners and developers alike. The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 seeks to address these concerns and replace the outdated Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Bill provides a smoother acquisition process coupled with rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) scheme, Social Impact Assessment, equitable compensation and annuity to displaced persons. Significant proposals include the requirement of prior consent of 80% of persons affected for certain projects and employment opportunities in such projects for members of displaced families. Further, the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority is proposed to be established for settling disputes relating to acquisition, compensation, and R&R. The industry has expressed its concerns that the method of calculation of compensation may hamper the acquisition of land at competitive rates, further pushing up land prices. Also, the requirement of obtaining prior consent of persons affected and conducting Social Impact Assessment, though imperative and laudable, may make the acquisition process more elaborate and time-consuming, thus affecting large-scale projects and industries dependent on speedy availability of land.

Land Pooling: Since the land acquisition, development and disposal policies framed previously have failed to address the issues involved in the land acquisition process, planned development is struggling to keep pace with the increasing demands of urbanization. The process of acquisition and quantum of compensation is increasingly being challenged by land owners. Keeping this in mind, various States including Delhi, Haryana and Punjab are coming up with innovative land pooling schemes and models. For instance, the land pooling policy proposed by Delhi Development Authority for Delhi is based on the concept wherein the land parcels owned by individuals or group of owners would be legally consolidated by transfer of ownership rights to the designated land pooling agency which would later transfer the ownership of the part of land back to the land owners for undertaking development of such areas, thus giving land owners an option to become partners in the development process.

Land Records: The National Land Records Modernization Programme was conceptualized in 2008-09 by Ministry of Rural Development for the creation of an integrated land information management system with up-to-date and real time land records, mutation records, digitization of maps as well as training of officials, with the ultimate goal of conclusive titles with title guarantee in India. This is integral for securing property rights, minimizing land disputes, and increasing overall efficiency of the economy. Other services such as providing land-related certificates (e.g. caste certificates, income certificates, domicile certificates etc.), abolition of physical stamp papers and electronic payment of stamp duty and registration fees, automatic mutations and single-window services are also envisioned under this programme.

In this regard, the draft Land Titling Bill, 2011 has also been proposed. The current system of physical property records has many drawbacks – such as duplication of property records maintained by different government bodies, inaccurate and missing records, time-consuming process of updating property records, to name a few. This Bill provides for the establishment, administration and management of a uniform system of conclusive property titles through digitization of property documents. Any title recorded in accordance with the provisions of this Bill when enacted, shall be considered as evidence of the marketable title of the titleholder, subject to other provisions of the Bill. All such information will be available in the public domain and furnished upon request. Many States such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi are already undertaking digitization of land records.

e-Stamping & Registration: In various States like Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, to name a few, physical stamp papers have been done away with and e-stamping facility has been introduced. E-stamping is a computer based application and a secured way of paying stamp duty to the Government. Upon payment of the requisite stamp duty, a unique identification number is generated by the system which essentially acts as proof that stamp duty has been duly paid, making it easy to verify transactions. Payment for e-stamps is done via secured electronic payment channels, hence curbing fraudulent transactions and hoarding of stamp papers. Similarly, e-registration facility has replaced the conventional registration process in certain states including Mumbai and parts of Delhi, making registration transparent, accessible and free from touts.

Real Estate Bill:The land acquisition disputes in NOIDA and Greater NOIDA are yet to subside, confirming the need for establishing a real estate regulator. Specialized regulation of the sector would boost planned development and both domestic and foreign investment to meet the demand for housing.

The much-awaited Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 20131, covers a wide range of aspects viz. obligations of promoters vis-à-vis project disclosures, execution, setting up of regulatory mechanism, dispute resolution mechanism between promoters and allottees and allottees inter-se. With definitions of terms such as 'carpet area', 'common areas', etc, the Bill seeks to standardize best practices in construction sector. The main criticism of previous drafts of the Bill was that a multi-stakeholder approach was missing and that it focused almost entirely on regulating the developers, to the exclusion of other stakeholders such as contractors, sub-contractors and local authorities. As per the press release, real estate agents have been brought within the ambit of the latest draft of the Bill. To achieve the goals set out in the Bill's Preamble, the real estate regulators to be established in the various States and Union Territories will have to play an independent role have been mandated to evolve a consensus amongst Central and State Governments, local bodies, promoters, association of real estate developers. As instances of developers battling cost and time over-runs are numerous, provision of a single window clearance and time-bound process of granting approval would facilitate objectives of the Bill.

Right to Homestead: The right to property guaranteed by our Constitution was deleted by the 44th Amendment. However, recently the notion of right to property has taken an interesting turn with MoRD's proposal to introduce the National Right to Homestead Bill, 2013. This Bill is an ambitious entitlement-based legislation which promises that every landless and homeless family in rural areas shall own a 'homestead' of not less than '10 cents' (0.1 acre or 4,356 sq. ft.), consisting of a 'dwelling' with 'adequate' housing facilities. The Bill is expected to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament. The Bill proposes that the title to the homestead would be in the name of the adult woman member of the family and that priority in allotment will be given to marginalized communities. The introduction of the Bill is a politically contentious issue, and it will be interesting to see the course of its developments.

States like Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat are devising affordable housing policies by encouraging private developers to undertake affordable housing projects aimed primarily for the urban poor. The entry of private sector can help tackle the burgeoning issue of housing shortage and fiscal constraints. Earlier this year, then Union minister for Housing and Urban poverty alleviation Mr. Ajay Maken had assured that affordable housing may soon be granted the much-desired 'infrastructure' status and an Urban Housing Fund would be set up to facilitate financing. These innovative financial schemes and legislative reforms promise to change the landscape of realty.

The Authors assert their copyright over this article. No part of this article may be reproduced, copied, stored or transmitted in any form whatsoever without the prior consent of the copyright holders. The Authors retain the right to re-present and publish this Article in other media without requiring any consent of a third party.


1 As on the date of submission of the article for publication, the draft Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013 was unavailable in public domain.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Singh & Associates
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Singh & Associates
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions