According to Sathish, a property consultant at South Zone Realty Consulting Pvt. Ltd., “investment rules for agricultural land in India vary among states due to the diverse geographical topographies, from eligibility criteria to land ceiling norms. To prevent future legal issues and losses, it is crucial for buyers to be knowledgeable about these state-specific investment regulations. Due to legal irregularities in the land acquisition process, the government has, on numerous occasions in the past, repossessed properties or severely fined purchasers.

Tips for buying agricultural land

Eligibility Requirements

The requirements for purchasing agricultural land vary from state to state. Tamil Nadu allows anyone to purchase agricultural land, however, there are some limitations in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. For instance, the 2015 amendment to Sections 79 A and 79 B of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act 1961 limits the purchase of agricultural land to either a state-based agriculturist or someone with a history in agriculture. Also, the buyer’s non-agricultural income cannot be greater than Rs 25 lakh annually.

Purchase of agricultural land is also restricted for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), People of Indian Origin (PIOs), overseas citizens of India (OCIs), and foreign nationals. NRIs, OCIs, and PIOs are permitted to purchase any type of moveable property in India, with the exception of agricultural land, farmhouses, and plantation land, in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property Outside India) Rules, 2015. Only their forebears can leave them the land.

State-wise land laws

State

Land laws

Tamil Nadu

Maximum of 59.95 acres of agricultural land can be purchased.

 

The district collector may order the land to be turned into non-agricultural if there hasn’t been any farming on it in the last ten years.

Karnataka

A maximum annual income of Rs. 25 lakh is required for non-farmers to purchase agricultural land.

 

Before making the investment, the necessary approvals from the Deputy Commissioner must be obtained.

 

Land conversion by investors is not permitted.

 

The land must be put to use for farming within a year of the purchase date.

 

The State government is authorized to seize the land if farming on the property is abandoned within five years of the purchase.

Kerala

Agricultural land can be purchased by anyone, excluding NRIs.

 

The maximum allotment is 7.5 acres for an adult who is single or the lone survivor of the family.

 

The maximum size allowed for a family of two to five people is 15 acres.

 

The maximum size allowed for a family of more than five is 20 acres.

Maharashtra

Only farmers can purchase agricultural land.

 

A person is considered to be a farmer if either their parents or grandparents are farmers.

 

The buyer can buy it in the mentioned state in addition to any other agricultural land in India.

 

An agricultural land purchase is limited to 54 acres.

Gujarat

Such land can only be purchased by farmers.

 

Any farmer in the nation can purchase agricultural land.

Rajasthan

Except for NRIs and PIOs, anyone can purchase agricultural land.

 

The land must be converted for non-agricultural purposes within one year of purchase.

 

Non-agricultural activity on the land should begin within three years of conversion.

Madhya Pradesh

Except for NRIs and PIOs, anyone can buy agricultural land.

Haryana

Except for non-resident Indians, anyone can invest here.

 

Certain areas are referred to as Controlled Areas.

 

Except for NRIs, buyers must obtain a certificate from the State indicating a change in land-use for non-agricultural activities.

Himachal Pradesh

A non-farmer cannot buy agricultural land.

 

The investor must be a resident of the state.

 

Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, allows for the acquisition of non-agricultural land after obtaining the necessary permissions from the state.

West Bengal

A maximum of 17.5 acres of irrigated land and 24.5 acres of rainfed land may be purchased for private ownership under the West Bengal Land Reforms Act.

 

A maximum of 7.5 kottah can be purchased in urban areas.

 

Tea gardens, mills, workshops, livestock, breeding and poultry farms, dairies, and townships are among the land types exempted from the Land Reforms Act.

Andhra Pradesh

Land can also be purchased by non-farmers.

 

A maximum size of 10 acres of Class A land (irrigated and double-cropped wetland) is allowed to a family unit (individual, spouse and three minors)

 

A family unit can only buy up to 54 acres of Class K land (dry and non-irrigated land).

Uttar Pradesh

Anyone, except NRIs, can invest in agricultural land.

 

The maximum allowed area is 12.5 acres.

Land ceiling 

The amount of agricultural land that a buyer is permitted to purchase is known as the land ceiling, and the standards differ greatly between regions. To avoid fraud and legal inconsistencies, it is crucial to be aware of these land-ceiling regulations.

Conversion of land

“Before beginning any development, agricultural property must be converted into residential land. Wetlands cannot be converted; only dry pastures can be used for land conversion, Sathish continues.

Send an application for a “change of land use” along with an explanation of the conversion’s justification to the commissioner of the land revenue department. Include a copy of your identity evidence, a letter of mutation, the original sale document, tax payment receipts, and a photocopy of the survey map for verification. Also, a cost that may vary from state to state is required for the conversion process.

Get through the legal obstacles

Special approval would be needed to transfer ownership rights if the agricultural land was given by the government. Also, the property should be fully in the owner’s possession. For instance, a landowner’s caretaker or guardian who is a minor cannot sell the property because they do not have complete ownership rights. Agricultural land that is leased is also ineligible for transfer. The government may even take the property in the event that the lessee transfers it dishonestly, in addition to punishing him.

Required documents to purchase agricultural land 

The land’s title deed

This document is required to verify the seller’s legitimacy, particularly if there are many owners. To ensure that all of the owners agree to the transaction, the buyer must confirm the paperwork. The buyer must verify that his name appears in the official village records when the sale is finalized.

Sale contract

The buyer and seller both sign the sale agreement, which outlines all the specifics of the transaction. Once the deal is finished, it guarantees the transfer of the property.

Stamp duty 

In accordance with the state’s regulations, stamp duty must be paid. From one state to another, this sum may be different.

Registration

The terms and circumstances of the property transfer to the buyer’s name are contained in the paperwork that is signed at the registrar’s office. In the presence of two witnesses, both parties sign the contract. The original title deed, the house tax receipts, and information about the property are typically included in the paperwork.

Tax bills and receipts

It is the buyer’s duty to check all prior paperwork, statements, and tax receipts to confirm that the property is free and clear of any outstanding debts.

Encumcrance certificate (EC)

An Encumbrance Certificate that the property is free from any financial or legal disputes. The EC must be picked up by the purchaser from the sub-registrar’s office.

Certificate of Land Measurement

It is the certificate indicating that land measurements are in accordance with the data mentioned in the title deed, which must be obtained from registered surveyor. 

Power of attorney 

NRIs cannot buy agricultural land for themselves, although they are able to sell whatever land they have inherited. An authorized, reliable third party who would represent the sale should be given a power of attorney. The paperwork must be acknowledged and signed by a representative of the Indian embassy in the country where the seller is located.

Before finalizing the purchase, prospective buyers of agricultural property in Gujarat and Maharashtra should review supplementary documents such as the 7/12 and 8A extracts.

Zoning for agriculture

The government frequently creates zones to designate certain areas as land. Zoning is used to encourage strategic development and guarantee that the property is used to its full potential given its kind. Shades of yellow, for instance, indicate the usage of land for residential purposes, whereas red designates the development of facilities like those for religious and educational purposes. Similar to how light and dark blue represent commercial land lots for offices, business centres, and retail facilities like restaurants, malls, and movie theatres.

The colour “Green” is utilised for agricultural and landscaping tasks. A town planning scheme or a city’s master plan may use various shades of green to represent a forest, lake, valley, pond, garden, agricultural area, or cemetery.

It is essential to understand the rules governing the selling and purchase of agricultural land in a State. In the event that there are many owners, the buyer should be cautious about the paperwork and double-check the title deed, land agreement, encumbrance certificate, and release certificate. Understanding the validity of the documents is essential for thwarting fraud.

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Bhanu has a passion for writing for various verticals, including real estate and finance. He approaches bringing about change and serving society through his writings. Besides this, he loves to travel in the mountains and explore new heights. He is an eternal optimist and worships nature.