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 62 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.


The vision of the Defence Estates Organisation is to develop Cantonments as model townships which offer a wholesome environment and urban living to its residents, both uniformed personnel and civilians; to establish a system of land management that vigorously secures defence land and ensures its optimum utilization; and to maximize satisfaction of the public that comes in contact with it.


  1. To develop Cantonment townships as models of urban management and local self-governance.
  2. To provide in each Cantonment:
    1. quality school education, free of cost, to every child and ensure that no child upto 18 years of age remains out of school;
    2. affordable and quality health care for every resident;
    3. an inclusive social care system for the aged, the differently-abled and the disadvantaged sections of society; and
    4. an environment-friendly habitat.
  3. To leverage technology for record management to ensure safety (including against disasters) and regular updating of defence land records.
  4. To establish and maintain state-of-the-art archives as a repository for holding old records, for restoration and preservation of old/damaged paper records, and for their conversion into more durable forms.
  5. To devise capabilities and systems for keeping defence land free from encroachments and unauthorized constructions.
  6. To conduct regular land audit inter alia to optimize utilization of defence land.
  7. To provide a clean, transparent, accountable, efficient and responsive administration in every office of the Defence Estates Organisation.
  8. To maximize the level of satisfaction of stakeholders and of the public that comes in contact with the Defence Estates Organisation.
  9. To create a corps of professional and ethical manpower capable of realizing the Vision of the Defence Estates Organisation.