According to data collected so far, the government owns 13,505.44 sq kms, of which the railways ministry owns the biggest chunk.

The government of India is finally getting some idea of how much land it owns. According to information provided to the Centre by 41 of the 51 Union ministries and 22 of over 300 public sector enterprises, the government owns at least 13,505 square km, with the number expected to rise as more data comes in.

A chunk of this land – about nine times the size of Delhi (1,483 sq km) – could be monetised or used for housing and other infrastructure projects, officials said.

The government started the process of making an inventory of its land last year. Details are being uploaded to the Government Land Information System (GLIS), a first-of-its-kind centralised database created by the ministry of electronics and information and monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The GLIS portal records total area, geo-positioning maps, and details such as ownership rights.

According to the portal, the railways is the biggest landowner among Union ministries, and owns 31,063 land parcels spread over 2,929 sq km. On previous occasions, the ministry has given varying figures of the land it owns. “Though the track record of the railways, as well as other government agencies, on land asset management is poor, data uploaded on the GLIS portal is easily verifiable (because of the level of details provided),” said an official from the housing and urban affairs ministry.