Government initiatives

Digitisation of land records

  • Making land records available to all, to contain/check property frauds, became one of the objectives of the government of India in the late 1980s.
  • To address the same, the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) was launched by the government of India in August 2008.
  • The main aim of the programme, was to computerise all land records, including mutations, improve transparency in the land record maintenance system, digitise maps and surveys, update all settlement records and minimise the scope of land disputes.
  • Digitisation would provide clear titles of land ownership that could be monitored easily by government officials, to facilitate quicker transactions. This will also reduce construction timelines and the overall cost for the developer, the benefits of which can be transferred to the consumer, making property prices more attractive.


Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

  • Currently land acquisition is governed by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 which came into force on January 1, 2014.
  • Prior to this, the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 governed land acquisition


Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016

  • Niti Aayog came up with the Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016. To review the existing agricultural tenancy laws of various states, the NITI Aayog had set up an Expert Committee on Land Leasing headed by T Haque.
  • The model Act seeks to permit and facilitate leasing of agricultural land to improve access to land by the landless and marginal farmers.
  • It also provides for recognition of farmers cultivating on leased land to enable them to access loans through institutional credit.
  • The Prime Minister’s Office has set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to resolve differences over the proposed Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016.


Draft Model Contract Farming Act, 2018

  • Contract farming- Draft Model Contract Farming Act, 2018 has been released to strengthen rules and regulations regarding this.



On Panchayati Raj Diwas (April 24th), the Prime Minister of India launched ‘Swamitva Yojana’ or Ownership Scheme to map residential land ownership in the rural sector using modern technology like the use of drones. The scheme aims to revolutionise property record maintenance in India. The scheme is piloted by the Panchayati Raj ministry. The residential land in villages will be measured using drones to create a non-disputable record.

Property card for every property in the village will be prepared by states using accurate measurements delivered by drone-mapping. These cards will be given to property owners and will be recognised by the land revenue records department.

Present Coverage Area: The program is currently being implemented in six states – Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.


Benefits of the scheme

  • The delivery of property rights through an official document will enable villagers to access bank finance using their property as collateral.
  • The property records for a village will also be maintained at the Panchayat level, allowing for the collection of associated taxes from the owners. The money generated from these local taxes will be used to build rural infrastructure and facilities.
  • Freeing the residential properties including land of title disputes and the creation of an official record is likely to result in appreciation in the market value of the properties.
  • The accurate property records can be used for facilitating tax collection, new building and structure plan, issuing of permits and for thwarting attempts at property grabbing.


Need for and significance of the scheme

  • The need for this Yojana was felt since several villagers in the rural areas don’t have papers proving ownership of their land.
  • In most states, survey and measurement of the populated areas in the villages has not been done for the purpose of attestation/verification of properties.
  • The new scheme is likely to become a tool for empowerment and entitlement, reducing social strife on account of discord over properties.


  • The Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme dashboard shows that land records in 90.1% of villages across the country have been digitised across the country.
  • An analysis shows that only 61% of these villages have digitised mutation records. And the remaining 39% records may have digitised land records, but these have not yet been updated.
  • Only 41% have a clear record of rights; maps have been linked in only 40% of the cases. Survey or resurvey work has been completed in a meagre 11% villages.
  • A property card may help secure credit, but without clear titles
  • The large-scale tenancy that is envisioned to happen under the new farm reforms may not happen till the time the Centre rolls out a comprehensive land titling law.

States’ initiative

  • Digitization:
    • First, the Bhoomi Project in Karnataka led the way even before the Union government got into the act. The state government began to digitize land records at the turn of the century.
    • Second, the Rajasthan legislature passed the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Act in April 2016.
    • Third, Andhra Pradesh has taken a leap into the future. Its state government has tied up with a Swedish firm to use new blockchain technology to prevent property fraud.
  • Tamil Nadu became the first state to pass Contract Farming Act, as per the central guidelines.

Co-operative farming and land reforms

Co-operative farming is a voluntary organization in which the farmers pool their resources. The object of this organization is to help each other in agriculture for their common interests. In other word it is a co-operative among the farmers of limited means.

Co-operative farming and land reforms

  • In India, majority of the holdings are too small. About 76.4 per cent of the total holdings in India are below the size of 2 hectares and on these again 28.8 per cent of total operated area is engaged into these marginal and small holdings.
  • Cultivation in such a small holding is uneconomic and unprofitable.
  • Farmers retain their right to land.
  • Cooperative farming enables them to consolidate their small units of land for better utilization.
  • Solves the problem of sub-division and fragmentation of holdings.

Other benefits

  • Use of Machinery: A poor farmer cannot purchase the machinery but a cooperative society can easily purchase the various machines. The use of machines will not only reduce the cost of production but will increase the per acre yield.
  • Supply of Inputs: A cooperative farming is in a better position to get the adequate and timely supply of essential agriculture inputs like fertilizer and seeds.
  • Creates Love and Brotherhood: A cooperative farming society creates the brotherhood and love for the members because they work for their common interest.
  • Fair Price of the Product: A co-operative farming society will bargain in the market and will sell the product at maximum price. The income of the individual farmer will increase.
  • Guidance and Training: A co-operative society guides the farmer to increase their efficiency and production.


Causes of failure of cooperative farming

  • Attachment with Land: The farmers are not willing to surrender the rights of land in favour of the society because they have too much attachment with it.
  • Lack of Cooperative Spirit: The spirit of cooperation and love is lacking among farmers. They are divided in various sections on cast basis. There is no unity among them, so they are not ready to become the member of the society.
  • Illiteracy: In poor countries farmers are mostly illiterate and they are not ready accept any change in the cultivation process. Still some of them are using the old methods of cultivation.
  • Lack of Capital: The co-operative farming societies are also facing the capital shortage problem and these are unable to meet the growing needs of agriculture. Credit facilities to these societies are also not sufficient.
  • Dishonesty: The management of cooperative often turns out to be dishonest. The selfishness of the members make the cooperative farming society ineffective.
  • Loss of Independence: Under co-operative farming, farmers face loss of independence in their farming operation which the farmers find it difficult to accept.
  • Re-Payment of Debt: Sometimes debt is not repaid in time which creates many problems for the financial institutions. Some members do not realize their responsibility and it becomes the cause of failure.


Measures needed

  • The government must invest capital so that the cooperatives become capable to shoulder the responsibility of guaranteeing purchase of crops at remunerative prices, it’s storage at Gram Sabha level, ensuring cheaper loans for rural families, providing food grains to poor families under PDS .
  • Kudumbashree of Kerala and AMUL model are successful models of cooperatisation and there is need to learn from it.
  • One must keep in mind the class character of cooperatives and they must be formed on class basis. Cooperative agrarian movement will resolve the questions of caste inequality, sex-based discrimination and environmental conservation.
  • Agro-processing units may be installed so that their labour power may be deployed in productive activities other than agriculture.

The cooperative farming has been tried successfully in various countries like United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sweden. The agricultural cooperative movement would play a huge role in safeguarding democracy and it may play an inspirational role in mobilising the people in unorganized sector and the youth.


Way forward

  • Adoption of model land leasing law as suggested by Niti Ayog to aid in drawing private investment to agriculture.
  • Promoting cooperative farming by establishing cooperatives at village level.
  • Governments providing the farm equipment’s and machineries on lease to small and marginal farmers to increase the productivity
  • Achieving the convergence of MNREGA with farming to address the issue of farm labour crisis haunting agricultural sector.
  • Consolidation of land holdings so that huge machineries can be utilized
  • FDI in agricultural sector
  • Co-operative farming
  • Use of land banks and land pooling

Land reforms have upheld the socialistic directive principles of state policy which aims at equitable distribution of wealth. The objective of social justice has, however, been achieved to a considerable degree. Land reform has a great role in the rural agrarian economy that is dominated by land and agriculture.

However, there have been challenges which need to be overcome to attain the true objectives of Land reforms. The pace of implementation of land reform measures has been slow. The manifold problems of our land are to be solved through the introduction of a suitable land policy.

New and innovative land reform measures should be adopted with new vigour to eradicate rural poverty. Modern land reforms measures such as land record digitisation must be accomplished at the earliest.

Thus, with an aspirational goal of India becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2025 the imperative need today is to unleash the power of land and reap fruits by bringing about the much needed Land Reforms which are waiting to see the light of the day.