Are Land Conflicts Documented Sufficiently in India?

Singh, Pramod K.; Nair, Abhishek; Issac, Jofri


Land conflicts are impediments to socio-economic development. Understanding drivers and types of land conflicts is vital for peaceful conflict resolution and enhancing the effectiveness of institutions and agencies dealing with such issues. This article tries to develop and apply a methodology for tracking and characterising drivers and the types of land conflicts in India. We have applied the methods to peer-reviewed articles and thesis in the English language on land conflicts in India. Our results shed light on the most evident drivers and types of land conflict in India while challenging and supporting common assumptions. The key finding of our study indicates land administration as being the primary driver of land conflicts in India, followed by political, socio-economic and sociocultural factors. The most important type of land conflict occurring in India involves boundary or territorial conflicts. Of late, several conflicts are reported over special economic zones, which are also related to poor land administration and erroneous planning processes by the government actors. However, the published study reporting land conflicts in India fails to identify the root cause of such conflicts. In order to ensure better land administration, there need to have reasonably accurate and up-to-date records, which studies have not been able to identify. Another primary reason of land conflicts, which the studies have failed to acknowledge, is the problems germane to the prevailing land tenure system in India.