Agricultural change in the Indian and Pakistan Punjabs has been brought about by their respective governments through formal organisations—cooperatives, credit banks, agriculture departments and/or special interest groups at the local level. The changes produced during 1960s and in subsequent period were dramatic but unsettling. Many have argued that the achievement of agricultural change in the region has depended to an important extent on the effectiveness of rural institutions in executing their role as agents of planned change.1 The present paper seeks to review the debate on the role of rural institutions in producing social and economic changes in the agrarian sectors of the Indian and Pakistan Punjabs and present some of the data which have stimulated this debate. The paper commences with an overview of the agrarian change in the two Punjabs. Then the programmes of planned change in the two regions are described, and the particular institution of change—cooperatives, credit banks, agricultural departments etc. are discussed in detail. At the specific level, the study aims at delineating the role played by rural institutions in initiating, stimulating, sustaining or retarding change in agriculture sectors of the two Punjabs. The role of rural institutions as a policy instrument for the promotion of agricultural expansion is examined. And finally the paper points out the implications of the past experience for the future role of rural institutions in the two Punjabs.