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Wasteland Development Programme

Dr. A. Chelladurai & Dr. B. Manihar Sharma

Agriculture is the most important business of Indian economy and the natural resource base of the economy sustains performance of the Agriculture sector. So Agricultural activities have direct and immediate relations with the natural resources. The term natural resource includes land, water, rain, forest Land use pattern. In term of area and fertility of soil etc. India ranks seventh in the world and in terms of population, it ranks second with a total geographical area of 328.7 million hectares and reporting area at 306.03 million hectares. The net cropped area, which was 41.7 percent in 1950-51 has increased to 46.1 percent in 2000-2001 and it is believed that the area under net cropped area has reached a saturation point.

Table 1. Land utilisation pattern in India.

S.N.

Particulars

Area

Percent in million hectares

1

Total geographical area

329

-

2

Total reporting area

306

100

3

Barren land not available for cultivation

42

14

4

Area under forests

69

23

5

Permanent postures and grazing land

11

3

6

Culturable waste lands etc.

18

6

7

Fallow lands

25

8

8

Net area sown

141

46

9

Area sown more than once

49

16

10

Total cropped area

190

62

Source : Statistical Abstract, India 2002 (CSO)

An attempt has been made in this paper to understand the need for effective implementation of integrated wasteland Development Programme in India. When the present proportion of area under cultivation in

India is higher than in most of the countries in the world. It is not advisable to bring more area under plough in India as it may endanger the space for other uses. For instance in China it is 10 percent and the world average is only 14.7 percent. Table 1 describes the land utilisation pattern in India for the year 2000-2001.

Eighteen million hectares of land or 6 percent of the total land area is under culturable waste land i.e., land available for cultivation but not cultivated during the previous 5 or more years. And also total cropped area in India in 2000-2001 was 190 million hectares (it was only 185 million hectares in 1990-91).

 
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