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What is land conversion and how is it done? written by Sunita Mishra, published in March 17, 2020

Discussed in this article is how a landowner can convert his agricultural land to use for other purposes such as building residences, shop or an industrial establishment.


Did you know that land conversion is a legal necessity in India if an owner wants to use his agricultural land for purposes other than farming? This is primarily because of two reasons &ndash India&rsquos economy is largely based on agriculture and unless the land use has been changed by the owner, all land falls under the agricultural category. Secondly, tax is imposed on land depending on its use. While there is no tax imposed on agricultural land, owners using their land for residential, commercial and industrial purposes have to pay taxes on their annual income through this asset. Based on these two broad reasons, &lsquoland use&rsquo of a land parcel must be changed following all pre-set guidelines, if you want to use it for purposes other than farming. This process is also referred as district collector (DC) conversion.


How to apply for land use change?


Since land is a state subject, all states have their own set of guidelines with respect to land use change. While the revenue department is authorised to award land use change in some states, this responsibility lies with the planning authority in other states. Typically, the applicant will have to submit an application to the district collector, the district commissioner, the sub-divisional officer or the tehsildar of his city to get a land conversion certificate.


Authorities that grant land use conversion certificate



Land conversion authority

Andhra Pradesh

Tehsildar/ revenue divisional officer


Sub-divisional officer






District collector


Commissioner Land revenue dept




Tehsildar/ sub-divisional officer

Uttar Pradesh

Sub-Divisional Magistrate

Tamil Nadu

Directorate of Town and Country Planning


In states where the power to allow land conversion is not designated to a specific authority, the land owner has to approach the district magistrate or the district collector to receive a land conversion certificate.


Why is conversion certificate important?


A land owner is legally bound to change the land use if he plans to use his land for a purpose other than what he is legally allowed. For instance, running a business activity from a property which is meant for residential use or building a house on a land parcel that is meant for farming is illegal. The authority in your area has the right to not only impose a penalty on you but also demolish the property if the conversion is not done after multiple warnings.


To steer clear of all hurdles, it&rsquos of utmost importance that a conversion certificate should be applied and received before the owner starts using his property for other purposes.


&ldquoIrrespective of the fact that you are the legal owner and have the land in possession, you would have to produce all documents establishing ownership over this immovable asset. Authorities concerned can refuse to entertain your request in the absence of even the most non-significant documents. This would delay the whole process and also amount to a big hassle. Ensure that all papers needed are attached along with the application for land conversion request,&rdquo says Prabhanshu Mishra, a Lucknow-based lawyer, who specialises in property law.


Process to apply for land use conversion certificate


Step 1: Approach the authority under whose jurisdiction the land to be converted falls. Write an application addressed to the officer, requesting conversion. Ensure that all the details mentioned in the application are correct.


Step 2: The land owner must attach copies of all the supporting documents along with the application. Carry the original copies of all these documents along for verification purposes.  If your application is accepted, you will be required to pay a fee and a receipt would be issued to you stating the particulars.


Step 3: After verifying your application, the officer would forward your application to the officials concerned, who would both examine the documents and carry a physical inspection of the site.


Step 4: Once officials are satisfied that all the criteria are met and you are eligible for land conversion, a conversion certificate would be issued to you.


Step 5: Once the conversion is done, the revenue department would make the required changes in the government records to reflect the land use change.


Step 6: Once you receive the conversion certificate, you have one year&rsquos time to make the changes with regard to the land-use change. If you fail to do that within the specified time, the conversion will be withdrawn and the money paid for the same will be forfeited.


Can I apply for land use change online?


Barring the states including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and West Bengal, majority of states issue land conversion certificates manually.


Process to apply for land use conversion certificate online


Mentioned below is an example on how to apply online for land conversion, in Karnataka.


Step 1: Log on to


Step 2: Using your Aadhaar number as the login, fill in the record of rights, tenancy and crops (RTC) details along with duly sworn-in affidavit. You will also have to submit a copy of the 11E sketch in case a part of the property is to be converted.


Step 3: After the successful submission, the department would issue a conversion certificate in a month&rsquos time after an official goes for physical inspection of the land and sends a positive report.


List of documents required


While the list may vary from state to state, some of the key documents that you will have to submit along with the application are:


  • Identity proof
  • Copy of sale deed
  • Copy of title deed
  • RTC (record of rights, tenancy and crops)
  • Copy of partition deed (in case the land has been inherited)
  • Copy of mutation certificate
  • Copy of survey map
  • Copy of land record
  • Receipt of payment of land revenue
  • Past receipt of bill payments
  • Proof of occupancy


Fee for land conversion


Land conversions involve a one-time fee. Charges for land use change differ from state to state, district to district in a state and area to area in a district. In case of residential change, these charges may vary from Rs 100 to Rs 500 in different states.  In New Delhi, however, the conversion charge ranged between Rs 14,328 to Rs 24,777 per square metre. The Bihar government, on the other hand, charges 10% of the land value as conversion fee.


Do note here that the charges are higher if you are converting the land for commercial or industrial use when compared to the conversion for residential use.


How much time would it take


In states like Karnataka where land use changes are carried out online now, conversion certificates are issued in a month&rsquos time after the applicant submits his request for the same. In states, where the process is still manually carried out, it might take several months before a conversion certificate is issued to the applicant.  The process might also be delayed if the applicant fails to submit all the documents at the time of the submission of the application. To avoid your application getting caught in a back-and-forth tangle, understand what documents you would need to get the conversion done and arrange them before you make the application.




Who can buy agricultural land?

Earlier, only farmers could buy agricultural land in India. Several states, including Uttar Pradesh, in recent years changed laws to allow non-farmers to purchase farm land.


Can I convert fertile agricultural land for residential use?

Historically, most states didn&rsquot allow conversion of fertile land for non-agricultural use. However, various states have in the recent past made changes in their legal framework to offer owners the liberty to use their fertile land for residential purposes.


How can I convert my agricultural land for non-agricultural use?

The land use of an agricultural land could be changed by applying at the authority concerned in your district. This could either be the revenue department or the planning department.


What happens if I fail to convert my land use after receiving a conversion certificate?

After a specific period, if the land owner fails to change the land use, the conversion certificate is withdrawn by the authority concerned. The fee deposited by the owner is also forfeited.


Which are the states that offer land use conversion certificate online?

States that offer land conversion certificate online are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and West Bengal.