ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Evaluation of Land Pooling Policy in Delhi

Institutional Innovation in Land Development

Institutional innovations in land development and planning like public–private partnerships, negotiable developer obligations, and flexible zoning regulations have taken centre stage in policy discussions. Given this, an unprecedented large-scale land pooling policy has been enacted in Delhi to facilitate planning and development by making landowners partners in development. The policy is proposed to be implemented in land pooling zones by sector-based planning. Although the policy proposes a paradigm shift in its approach by empowering private sector and landowners, rigidity in land use distribution and development control regulations at the sector level make implementation difficult. The development of city-level commercial and public/semi-public facilities is difficult in the sector sizes proposed by the Delhi Development Authority. Alternatives would be the optimisation of “developable area” in sectors and making land use regulations and development control norms open to negotiations with private developers or landowners.


The author thanks the anonymous reviewers for their critical comments and suggestions which immensely improved the quality of the paper.

There have been many institutional innovations in land development and planning in the 21st century. We have come a long way from compulsory land acquisition to leveraging the private sector and making them partners in dev­elopment (Lindsay 2012). Compulsory acquisition by development authorities using eminent domain causes human displacement and loss of livelihood (Keith et al 2008). Developed countries have moved towards different institutional instruments like land reconstitution (Alterman 1990), land readjustment, negotiable developer obligations (NDOs) and non-negotiable developer obligations (N–NDOs) (Turk 2018), transferable development rights (Shahab et al 2018), flexible zoning regulations, and public–private partnerships (PPPs) (Crook et al 2016) from land acquisition for planning and development of urban areas. Municipalities and development authorities have used land readjustment and town planning schemes (TPSs) for redevelopment of unplanned fringe areas, especially in developing countries (Hong and Brain 2012; Mathur 2013). NDOs and N-NDOs and plan notes were used for developing large parcels of vacant urban land. These planning instruments provide flexibi­lity to municipalities and create a conducive environment for developers (Turk and Demircioglu 2013; Turk 2018).

This paper analyses the provisions of the land pooling policy (LPP) of Delhi (Land Pooling Policy Notification 2018)—that envisages shifting the planning paradigm from “compulsory acquisition” to “voluntary participation” by making landow­ners partners in development—and inquires how the policy is different from previously used planning tools like land reconstitution and TPSs in the context of India. This policy is proposed to be implemented for the development of 18,858 hectare (ha) of vacant urban land in Delhi. Land pooling at such a large scale has not been implemented in any developing economy. Hence, the policy has the potential to set an example for fast-paced development of land under the pressure of urba­nisation, especially in metropolitan cities. The policy was analysed by taking a case study of planning zone—zone P–II—to understand how the policy will impact the development of large-scale commercial, public or semi-public facilities, and inf­rastructure. Development of large-scale commercial infrastructure and facilities was analysed with respect to “land use distribution recommended by the policy,” “share of land contribution by landowners,” and “sector sizes.”

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Updated On : 5th Mar, 2022
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