Directorate General, Defence Estates  (DGDE) is the  Headquarters of the Indian  Defence Estates Service. DGDE provides advisory inputs on all  Cantonments and Land matters to the Ministry of Defence and Service Headquarters ie Army, Navy,  Air Force  and other organizations under Ministry of Defence.  Acquisition of lands,  Resettlement and Rehabilitation of displaced persons, Hiring and requisitioning of lands and buildings, are some of the responsibilities of DGDE. It also ensures implementation of Cantonments Act 2006, Policies, Rules & Regulations and Executive instructions. 

DGDE has under its jurisdiction six Principal Directorates namely, Principal Directors, Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern,  South-western  and Western Command. Under the Principal Directorates there are 39 Defence Estates Offices and 4 ADEO Circles for management of defence lands in the country.

There are 61 Cantonment Boards.  These are local bodies  responsible for providing civic administration and implementing the Central Govt schemes of social welfare, public health, hygiene, safety, water supply, sanitation, urban renewal and education.    

Organisational structure of DGDE Headquarters is here.


Effective Land Management and Development of Cantonment Areas as Model Townships by deploying latest technologies, building capacities and ensuring responsible administration.


  1. To leverage space technology and drone imagery in land management particularly for updating defence land records, mapping of defence land pockets, polygon reconciliation of survey numbers inside Cantonments and extracting features for urban planning of Cantonments.
  2. To undertake pilot projects and gradually adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools in land use optimization, change detection, planning and execution of public utility projects and minimizing manual intervention in work processes & regulatory functions.
  3. To maximize Information Technology in all domain functions and processes of Defence Estates Organisation to attain highest efficiency, full transparency, ease of business for all stakeholders and ease of living for Cantonment residents including Military population.
  4. To build capacities internally & for other Government organizations externally in latest land and urban management tools through National Institute of Defence Estates Management (NIDEM) and its Centre of Excellence (CoE) by bringing in knowledge partners.
  5. To effectively protect defence land, remove or regularize encroachments, improve management of old grant and leased land, process land transfers for infrastructure and public utility projects within timelines and advise Government in evolving desired policy framework in management of all land cases, without adversely affecting security concerns of Armed Forces.
  6. To effectively manage land acquisition processes and handle pre-post land acquisition cases with a view to minimize capital cost on acquisition and post-acquisition compensation cost.
  7. To enable effective litigation management by DEOs to protect Government interest in the title suits, post-land acquisition litigation and other defence land disputes.
  8. To be capable to undertake land surveys and land record management of other Central Government Departments as an expert agency.
  9. To enhance the financial management capacity of Cantonment Boards by augmenting local revenue, obtaining requisite revenue share & grants from State Governments and receiving benefits of all Central & State Government infrastructure development & social welfare schemes while optimizing establishment expenditure.
  10. To develop and maintain highest quality public infrastructure of Cantonment with greater emphasis on drinking water supply network, sewage lines & STP, drainage, schools, hospitals and dispensaries, Divyang Centres and old age homes.
  11. To make Cantonments as model townships in India providing highest quality of life by adopting:
    • a). Sustainable
      • building growth;
      • solid and liquid waste management;
      • smart municipal solutions;
    • b).
      • enhancing green cover;
      • addressing timely public grievances and
      • promoting ease of living.
  12. To develop and maintain a repository of important and precious documents showcasing evolution of administrative, socio-cultural and Military history of Cantonments.
  13. To enable Cantonment Boards to strengthen Military-Civil liaison for a peaceful co-existence and improved quality of life for all residents.