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Faculty of Law

[Sustainable Land Administration and Sustainable Land

COURSE ON ‘U.P. Land Law’

Submitted by
[Ashwani Singh]
Academic Session: 2018-19

Under the Guidance of

Mr. Gulaab Rai
Ast. Prof. in Law & Faculty for U.P. Land Law
Faculty of Law
Dr. Shakuntala Misra National Rehabilitation


1. Introduction
2. Review
 Sustainable Land Management
 Sustainable Land Management Plays a Central Role
in Development
 Sustainable Land Management From Different
 Sustainable Land Administration
 Role And Functions Of Land Administration
3. Problems
4. Conclusion
5. Bibligraphy

Sustainable development can be defined in technical terms as a development path along
which the maximization of human well-being for today’s generations does not lead to
declines in future well-being. Attaining this path requires eliminating those negative
externalities that are responsible for natural resource depletion and environmental
degradation. It also requires securing those public goods that are essential for economic
development to last, such as those provided by well-functioning ecosystems, a healthy
environment and a cohesive society. Sustainable development also stresses the
importance of retaining the flexibility to respond to future shocks, even when their
probability, and the size and location of their effects, cannot be assessed with certainty.
Beyond this technical definition, the notion of sustainable development has gained a
broader political usage. Here, it embodies a concern for taking a broad view of what
human welfare entails, and for balancing the goals of economic efficiency, social
development and environmental protection. These elements have made sustainable
development a key objective for domestic and regional policy formulation, as well as
for international relations between countries in the 21st century.
It is necessary to take a critical look at the term "sustainability", which is frequently
defined absolutely, uniformly or globally. But the concept of sustainability can only be
put into practice within a real-life local context. The views and experiences of local land
users - which are already included in locally adapted and accepted indigenous
technologies - can serve as a basis and be incrementally supplemented by the views of
external stakeholders, such as scientists, urban dwellers, politicians, etc. Sustainability
should be thought of as a desirable direction in which to proceed rather than a goal in

Sustainable land management (SLM) can be defined as the use of land resources such as soils,
water, animals and plants for the production of goods - to meet changing human needs – while
assuring the long-term productive potential of these resources, and the maintenance of their
environmental functions1.
Land administration is the “process of determining, recording and disseminating
information about ownership, value and use of land when implementing land
management policies”2
Sustainable Land Management: Guidelines for Impact Monitoring.
Questions on Sustainable Land Administration , By András OSSKÓ, Hungary


Sustainable Land Management: Guidelines for Impact Monitoring.

Sustainable land management (SLM) deals with essential elements of the global life
support system. Since experience with the detrimental effects of resource exploitation
has become widespread, there has been growing awareness that productive lands are
getting scarce, land resources are not unlimited, and that the land already in use needs
more care. The health and wealth of all people depend on the quality of the land
resources, but those who are directly using them may be the first to experience decline
in the quality of the land. In developing countries the majority are direct land users who
have an immediate interest in using the production potential of their resources, but also
in maintaining this potential as the basis for their livelihood and survival. SLM is a
delicate balance of production and protection, and the overall goal of sustainable
development cannot be reached without giving due consideration to SLM.

Sustainable Land Management Plays A Central Role In Sustainable

The wealth of indigenous resource conservation practices indicates that unsustainable
land management and degradation of resources is not always due to lack of awareness
on the part of land users. Often, there is more reason for concern that political, social
and economic factors limit land users' choice of options to manage land resources in a
sustainable manner. For example, insecure land tenure prevents the necessary
investment in land care; market prices do not reflect the costs for protection of land
resources; conservation activities usually last only as long as inappropriate incentives
and subsidies are paid. In this context, SLM seeks to harmonise the complementary but
often conflicting goals of production and environmental protection. The aim must be an
agreed trade-off from farm level and community level to the international level.

SLM requires a comprehensive understanding of a specific society within its
environment. Usually, projects cannot wait until detailed studies are conducted and
project activities need to be started as early as possible. In this case, there is a high
probability that a lot of unexpected impacts will occur later on. To avoid negative
effects, projects need a point of departure to enhance SLM. One of the main questions
is, which activities or corrective measures can contribute to SLM? In this respect, the
Guidelines suggest two approaches, by looking at SLM in terms of
(1) unsustainability and
(2) the choice of options land users have to manage their land in a sustainable

Sustainable Land Management In Terms Of Unsustainablility

Analysis of unsustainable land management can start with the identification of land
problems (some publications use the term "land issues"). These are often similar in
areas with the same agro-ecological conditions. Symptoms or signs of resource
degradation are indications of unsustainability and usually do not occur in isolation.
Processes that start degrading one resource will soon affect other resources as well. For
example, if drought prevents the growth of plants it leaves the soil bare and soil erosion
is likely to occur during the next rain storm. In turn, soil erosion removes part of the
fertile topsoil layer, which further limits plant growth. So it is necessary to identify a
complex of related land degradation processes to properly design corrective activities.
Looking for symptoms of unsustainability is a useful point of departure as long as it is
not restricted to resource degradation but accompanied by an attempt to look for the
reasons behind such symptoms. Most obvious direct causes of degradation are related to
inappropriate land management.
Again, the identification of inappropriate land management practices is only an
intermediate step leading to another level where indirect causes of resource degradation
need to be found.

Sustainable Land Maangement In Terms Of Land Users' Choice Of
Land users trigger degradation processes through inappropriate land management. This
fact raises two questions: a) what choice of management practices is likely to result in
farming systems more sustainable than the current ones; b) what keeps land users from
adopting these management practices and systems? A close look at the choice of options
available to land users and at limiting factors to more sustainable land management
helps to identify both economic options (e.g. proper resource allocation, off-farm
income) and political strategies (e.g. secured land rights, tax abatements), rather than
only technical options (e.g. relay cropping, irrigation, soil and water conservation). Any
improvement in land management options must be made within the bounds of the
natural environment, but it must also optimise inputs, provide better returns on
investment and labour, etc. The object of improvement is a step-by-step progression of
management options.

Land users' choice of options depends on:

 individual skills, gender-specific experience and knowledge,
 cultural norms and values,
 the economic framework,
 and policies regulating access to and the control over natural resources

Enhancing The Sustainability Of Land Management5

As seen above, SLM can be pursued through two alternative but complementary
approaches: (1) unsustainability and (2) land users' choice of options. Both approaches
have their benefits and limitations and basically serve to raise awareness of land
problems. They should be used according to the project's preferences and needs.
Despite the differences, both approaches should basically lead to the same
understanding: SLM needs to address resource degradation processes, land management
practices, and the social, economic and political framework as well as their inter-
linkages. If such systems are identified in a participatory manner involving different
stakeholders, indigenous experience and external knowledge (scientific,
interdisciplinary expertise, etc.) can form a broad, common pool of possibilities for
Sustainable Land Management: Guidelines for Impact Monitoring
Sustainable Land Management: Guidelines for Impact Monitoring

enhancing SLM. Starting points for corrective action can be found from the farm plot to
the national level. When searching for project activities that have a positive impact on
SLM, it is important to consider not only technological options, but also activities that
create awareness, improve knowledge, land management skills and local planning
procedures, support training and education, enhance institutional development, and
tackle important policy issues.


In India, as in many developing countries, land continues to have enormous economic,
social, and symbolic relevance. How access to land can be obtained, and how
ownership of land can be documented, are questions essential to the livelihoods of the
large majority of the poor, especially in rural and tribal areas. Answers to these
questions will determine to what extent India’s increasingly scarce natural resources are
managed. Moreover, land policy and administration are critical determinants of the
transaction costs associated with accessing and transferring land, both for business and
residential use. This will affect how easily land can be used as collateral for credit and
the development of the financial sector. Land continues to be a major source of
government revenue through stamp duties, and is a key element in implementing a wide
range of government programs. Land policies and institutions will have a far-reaching
impact on the country’s ability to sustain high rates of growth, on the degree that
economic growth benefits the poor, and on the level and spatial distribution of
economic activity. This importance of land, together with the central institutional role of
land administration that dates back to colonial days, implies that land policy has long
been the subject of animated debate. There is consensus that land administration—
which fell into neglect after independence—is in urgent need of improvement. How to
bring about such improvement most effectively, to improve land access and productivity
of land use in a sustainable fashion are important questions. The issue is not ‘whether’
but rather ‘how’ to do so most effectively and how to sequence policy interventions.


Questions on Sustainable Land Administration , By András OSSKÓ, Hungary

The definition of land administration makes clear that “The land administration activity
is not an end in itself, but that it facilitates the implementation of land management
“Land administration serves various functions in a society. Documents like
Habitat, etc. relate the land issue very much to poverty reduction, sustainable housing,
sustainable agriculture and the strengthening of the role of vulnerable groups in society
women, farmers. indigenous groups. A land administration system not a purpose in
They are part of such a broader land policy” Land policy shows the way how
governments want to deal with land matters in sustainable development or as the
Guidelines say “land policy consist of the whole complex of socioeconomic and legal
prescriptions that dictate how the land and benefits from the land are to be allocated.
That of course depends on the culture, history and attitude of people
Now is understandable that the development of operational Land administration is an
increasing importance and interest world wide, especially during the last decade. There
is no doubt that the creation of legal and institutional framework concerning land and
property related activities is the most important step towards the operational land
administration, but it’s very well known by experience, the existence of legal and
institutional framework itself doesn’t guarantee the sustainable operation of land
administration. There are many other conditions which are important for the operation
of sustainable land administration.

−legal and institutional framework( cadastre, land registry, valuation, taxation, etc.)
−registration of all land and real estate properties
−cadastral maps any kind
−Continuous updating of legal and cadastral mapping data
−decentralised institutional network
−sufficient number of educated staff
−political decision to support land administration activities
−technical development, IT
−sufficient financial sources for operating land administration activities
−public awareness and acceptance of land administration activities
−exercise of rights and performance of obligations by citizens

Land is an important input for producing goods and services for urban development. Under
the conventional analysis, factors of production i.e. land, labour and capital flow to make
goods and services but the social and environmental consequences are not reflected in such
analysis. Sustainable development does take account of social and environmental effects
and means balance between the development of the areas and protection of the environment
with an eye to equity in employment, shelter, basic services, social infrastructure and
transportation in the urban and rural areas. For this to happen, one has to ensure that land
is properly used to meet these objectives. India is plagued by shortage of housing facilities
and scarcity of land for social overheads like roads, footpaths, parks, schools and so on.
The roots of these problems can be found in the inadequate, inefficient, iniquitous land
policy of the country. This is why it is important to have an effective and appropriate land
policy that would promote sustainable development.

 Inefficiency In Land Policies – Unreasonable Acquisition 7
With the increasing pressures on land due to urbanization, rapid economic development,
increasing infrastructure requirements etc., especially in a fast growing economy like
India, the acquisition of land by the Government has increased. Undoubtedly the
government has been trying its level best to give adequate development plans to its
citizens, but still the laws responsible for such developments remains, ironically, the
main hurdle in such targeted development. The neglected problems while framing the
laws pertaining to compulsory acquisition has resultant into unreasonable displacement
in lieu of the development projects in India.
In India, there are a rising number of protests against compulsory acquisition of land
for construction of manufacturing units such as Tata’s Nano car in Singur, in which 997
acres of agricultural land was acquired to set up a factory for one of the cheapest cars in
Asia, (the project was subsequently shifted to Gujarat) or for developing Special
Economic Zone such as Nandigram or construction of large dams like Sardar Sarovar
Dam on the river Narmada, which led to a cancellation of grant by World Bank due to
protests under the argument that the tribal population was getting displaced under unfair

The effects of displacement spill over to generations in many ways, such as loss of
traditional means of employment, change of environment, disrupted community life and
relationships, marginalization, a profound psychological trauma and more. Such
consequences lead to the requirement of legislations that address not only the issue of
compensation, but also of resettlement, rehabilitation and participation in negotiation.

Also, the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12) of India emphasizes, “governments at
appropriate levels including local authorities, have to strive to remove all possible
obstacles that may hamper equitable access to land”.17 It identifies failure to adopt
appropriate urban land policies and land management practices as the primary cause of
inequity and poverty. Thus the Eleventh Five year Plan calls for a flexible land policy
which will make conversion from one use to another, cost efficient and promote equity.
Displacement due to land acquisition for “development” projects in india: The
problems with the existing legislation and policy, By kelly a. Dhru

It judges that urban planning tools like master planning, zoning and regulations are not
enough for the requirement of land supply for rapid urbanization. The problem has also
been addressed somewhat by Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission in India.

 Rehabilitation

The only legislation pertaining to land acquisition currently in place is the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894 (“The Act”) which, though amended several times retains its
colonial flavor by granting an unfettered powers to the Government. It is time the
legislators test it against the needs of the society of a democratic India of today.

Under Section-4 of the Act, the Government is required to make a public notification of
the intention to take over the land for a “public purpose”, the definition of which under
Section-3(f) is inclusive, and is often interpreted very liberally to include a variety of
uses such as housing schemes, roads, play grounds, offices and factories, benefiting
only a portion of the society by the Collector and State Government taking advantage of
the wide definition. In fact, the Supreme Court in various cases has laid down that not
only is “Public Purpose” hard to define, the Government is the best judge to decide
whether a purpose falls under this definition. Under the existing legislation, even
private corporations are granted the right to acquire land under certain sections

After independence, the constitutional interpretation took a socialistic turn. Parliament

added the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution through the very first amendment in 1951
as a means of immunizing certain laws against judicial review. Under the provisions of
Article 31, which themselves were amended several times later, laws placed in the
Ninth Schedule pertaining to acquisition of private property and compensation payable
for such acquisition cannot be challenged in a court of law on the ground that they
violated the fundamental
rights of citizens. It must, however, be noted that a lack of rehabilitation policy violates
Right to Life under Article 21 and Right to Equality under Article 14 (interpreted as
against arbitrariness) of the Constitution of India

Displacement due to land acquisition for “development” projects in india: The
problems with the existing legislation and policy, By kelly a. Dhru

 Some Other Relevant Issues

 Degradation of forests and watersheds

 Unplanned urban development
 Squatting
 Illegal and non-conforming development activities
 The occupation of hazard prone and other unsuitable areas
 Environmental pollution
 Inadequate distribution of land

While referring to the acquisition of land for “development” purposes, it is important to
understand what constitutes “development” itself. Since last few decades, development
has been looked at as something beyond a “mere growth in GDP”, that is, an over all
Human Development. The Human Development Reports look at “Development” as
“increasing people’s choices”26. There have also been theorized certain basic needs or
basic capabilities that all people are entitled to, for a society to ensure true development.
If this be so, it is essential that the laws of a democratic country ensure that due to
acquisition of land for the growth of few, the displaced persons are not made worse-off.9
In developing countries the task is to develop the conditions of sustainable land
administration. Because of poor financial sources the development could be step by step
approach looking for low cost solutions. The technical development is important but
very expensive investment and requires educated staff. It’s advised to develop other
conditions of sustainable land administration, like legal and institutional framework,
institutions sufficient number of educated staff, continuous maintenance of legal and
mapping data- even without comprehensive IT development- countries can start in
traditional environment with analogue data but of course the technical development
should speed up the development of sustainable land administration.10
For a country that aims to maintain an 8% annual growth in GDP, it becomes important
to address wealth distribution within the society, for a sustainable growth. The state
cannot expect to get away with an unjust land acquisition policy. Compulsory land
acquisition itself should be minimized. The current land acquisition policy violates the
democratic fabric of the constitution of India. The issue of Displacement is an example
of how law has to be consistent with socioeconomic and political circumstances, and
appears to have failed in doing so. To conclude, there is a strong need to put legal
thought into issues concerning the land acquirers as well as to thoroughly investigate
issues regarding removing the imbalance from the system.

Displacement due to land acquisition for “development” projects in india: The
problems with the existing legislation and policy, By kelly a. Dhru
Questions on Sustainable Land Administration , By András OSSKÓ, Hungary

Primary Source:

1. Re-engineering land administration systems for sustainable development:from

trhetoric to reality, by Ian P. Williamson, Visiting Professor, Department of

Geodesy, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

2. Sustainable Land Management: Guidelines for Impact Monitoring.

3. A Strategy for Improving Land Administration in India , By KlausDeininger

4. Questions on Sustainable Land Administration , By András OSSKÓ, Hungary

5. Comparative Study of Land Administration SystemsWith special reference to

Thailand, Indonesia and Karnataka (India) , By Anne-Marie Brits, Chris

Grant and Tony Burns

6. Land Policy Administration And Management, By United Nations Commission

on Sustainable Development New York

7. Current Land Policies in India, By R.S. Deshpande , Professor and Head,

Agricultural Development and Rural Transformation Unit, Institute for

Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, India

8. Review of Mainstreaming of Sustainable Land Management in Government

Policies and Plans

Secondary Source:

1. Sustainable Land Governanace, By Prof Stig Enemark, FIG President,

Aalborg University, Denmark (


2. Displacement due to land acquisition for “development” projects in india: The

problems with the existing legislation and policy, By kelly a. Dhru