Department of Revenue and Land Survey (Kerala)

Department of Revenue and Land Survey (Kerala)
Department of Revenue and Land Survey
Bhandra Bhoo Vakkuppu
Seal of Kerala greyscale.jpg
Agency overview
Formed 1811
Jurisdiction Kerala
Headquarters Thiruvananthapuram
Agency executives TBC, Minister for Revenue
Smt. Niveditta Haran, Revenue Principal Secretary
Child agencies Land Bank of Kerala
State Commission on Land Revenue
Department of Registration, Stamps and Duties

The Department of Revenue and Land survey, is a key government department under Government of Kerala, that manages all government owned lands and decides land use policy in the state of Kerala. The department is also key government agency, to derive various taxes on land as well as lease amounts from various government lands which are principal sources of income for Government. In addition, the department manages land-use policy, survey of land areas and effective management and implementation of land reforms.



The land Revenue Department was in existence even before India became independent in 1947. Revenue Department was in existence in the erstwhile Princely states of Travancore, Cochin, and also the Malabar region which was part of the Madras Provinces. The Revenue administration got special attention during the reign of Marthanda Varma, the founding Maharaja of Travancore. Marthanda Varma entrusted the work of settlement of lands, both wet and dry to Mallan Sankaran of Palliyadi. Preparation of land records (Ozhuku) containing survey number, name and extent of property, number of yielding trees, name and address of the assignee etc, is one of the most important works connected with Settlement. There are Vilangipper records which give additional information on Ozhukus. The classification of lands was done under the main heads of Devaswom, Brahmaswom, Danam and Pandaravaka was introduced by Mallan Sankaran. The double crop lands were assesses at twice the pattom for single crop lands. Every landholder was given a patta specifying the tax levied on each item of land. The state establishment had a Valiya Sarvadhikaryakkar (Prime Minister), Neettezhuthu Pillai (Secretary), Melezhuthu Pillai (Head Accountant), Rayasam Pillai (Head Clerk) and several Rayasams and Kanakku Pillais (Clerks and Accountant). During the first revenue settlement each division or district in the state was divided into taluks called Mandapathuvatukkals which was further subdivided into Kelvis or villages. The Mandapathuvathukkal was under a Karyakkar and the kelvi under the parvathikar. The Karyakar and the Parvathikar have evolved into the present day Tahsildar and the village officer respectively. The department as such was established as part of Travancore Reforms of 1811, when H.H Maharani Gowri Parvathi Bai, the Queen of Travancore legalized the department and appointed Subba Rao as Diwan Peshkar of Travancore Pandra Vakkuppu.

Ayilyam Tirunal (1860-1880) who succeeded Swati Tirunal got the services of Sir.T.Madhava Rao as Diwan till 1872. The beginning of agrarian reforms in Travancore started with the reign of Ayilyam Tirunal. The Pandarapattam proclamation of 1865 enfranchised all Sirkar Pattam lands and made them heritable and transferable. The Janmi Kudiyan Proclamation of 1867 provided for fixity of tenure of the tenant. A comprehensive survey and settlement of the lands was conducted in Visakam Tirunal's (1880-1885) regime. Land reforms got a fillip under the next ruler Sree Mulam Thirunal (1885-1924). The settlement process which begun during the previous regime was completed with the settlement proclamation in 1886. Consequent on the re- organization of states, Kerala State was formed on 1.11.1956 integrating Travancore- Cochin and Malabar areas. Different set of Laws, Rules and procedures were in existence in Travancore, Cochin and Malabar and the administrative set up was also different. Unified Laws, Rules and Regulations were framed after 1.11.1956. The Department of Treasuries and Civil Supplies were part of the Revenue Department in the past. Later on, a separate department of Treasuries was formed in the year 1963 and Department of Food and Civil Supplies formed in the year 1975.


The activities and functions of this Department include;

  • Issuance of various certificates for general public purposes
  • Collection of Basic tax, Plantation tax, Building tax etc,
  • Effecting Revenue Recovery
  • Maintenance and updation of land records
  • Conduct Elections including revision of electoral rolls and issuance of photo identity cards for the purpose of voting
  • Assignment of Government land to various categories
  • Acquisition of land for public purpose.
  • Conservation of Government lands and trees.
  • Implementation of calamity relief operations and disbursement of funds to eligible persons.
  • Disbursement of Chief Ministers Distress Relief Fund to the needy.
  • Issuance of arms licence, explosive licence, etc.
  • Implementation of MPLADS and various other developmental schemes
  • Redressal of public grievances
  • Implementation of various pension schemes
  • Implementation of various housing schemes
  • Management and control of natural resources, regulation of sand mining,etc
  • Conduct of census operations
  • Transfer of government lands between departments.
  • Security proceedings under Criminal Procedure code
  • Maintain Law and Order
  • Removal of public Nuisance.
  • Lease of Government land
  • Survey and demarcation of land
  • Issuing death compensation to the legal heirs of NRIs
  • Sanctioning of burning and burial grounds

Organizational Structure

The Department is under the control of the Revenue Minister. In Secretariat, the department is headed by the Principal Secretary (Revenue Secretary) who is assisted by Additional Secretaries/ Joint Secretaries. The Revenue Department is headed by Land Revenue Commissioner who is assisted by Additional Commissioner and Assistant Commissioners. The State of Kerala consist of 14 districts, 21 Revenue Divisions, 63 Taluks and 1453 Villages. Each district is headed by a District Collector who is assisted by Deputy Collectors among others. Each revenue division is headed by a Revenue Divisional Officer and assisted by Senior Superintendent among others. Each Taluk is headed by a Tahsildar and Additional Tahsildar who is assisted by Deputy Tahsildar among others. Each Village is headed by a Village Officer who is assisted by Special Village Officer, Village Assistant and Village man.


  • Land Revenue Department:- The land revenue department possesses the authority over all government owned lands and administer it, which includes issuance of lease rights to tenants for farming and conservation purposes. Most of the government lands are often issued free lease or for nominal amounts to poor farmers and landless people, for farming, cultivation and settlement purposes.
  • Directorate of Survey and Land Records:- The DSLR holds copies of land records of the entire state as well as conducts survey of land, issuance of survey documents as well as decide on land taxes.
  • The State Land Board:- was formed as part of Land Reforms Act 1957, to manage effective implementation of the Act. The Board also decides implementation of land policy of the state.
  • Disaster Management Authority:- The intense damage created due to Tsunami 2004 compelled Government to focus on disaster mitigation in a time bound and effective manner. SDMA was formed to protect properties and lives from various natural disasters and to prevent such disasters repeating.

Institute of Land and disaster Management

Institute of Land and Disaster Management is an autonomous body constituted under the Revenue Department, Govt. of Kerala to impart professional training, including induction training, in-service training and refresher training to personnel of the Land Revenue and Survey Department of Kerala State.


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