In this article we will discuss about the Land of India. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Land Area and Utilisation 2. Problems of Raising Cultivable Area of Land 3. Remedies.

Land Area and Utilisation:

The position of India in case of land resources is not so favourable. India is possessing 2.4 per cent of the total land surface of the world whereas it is possessing 15 per cent of the world population. Accordingly, India ranks seventh in the world in terms of area while it ranks second in terms of population.

Although total geographical area of the country is nearly 329 million hectares but statistical information available about the use of land i.e., total reporting area is about 305 hectares which is nearly 92.5 per cent of the total geographical area. Table 5.1 reveals the land utilisation pattern in India.

Land Utilisation Pattern

Table 5.1 reveals that out of the total reporting area of 306 million hectares in 1999-2000, 42 million hectares is classified as barren land, covering deserts, mountains etc. and it constitutes nearly 14 per cent of the total reporting area of the country.


Besides, forest area covers nearly 69 million hectares of land which constitutes nearly 23 per cent of total land area. Further, there are nearly 11 million hectares of permanent pastures and grazing land, 18 million hectares of culturable waste land and 25 million hectares of fallow lands.

Out of the total reporting area of 306 million hectares, net area sown in 1999-2000 is 141 million hectares which constitutes nearly 46 per cent of it and total cropped area is 190 million hectares or 62 per cent. Moreover, per capita arable land in India is only 0.27 hectares as against 0.92 hectares in USA, 0.94 hectares in the then USSR, 1.98 hectares in Canada and 3.42 hectares in Australia.

Moreover, with the increase in urbanisation process, the area used for non-agricultural purposes has increased from 0.93 crore hectares in 1950-51 to 1.78 crore hectares in 1984-85. Thus under these circumstances, it is quite essential that the fallow lands and culturable wastelands be converted into cultivable land through reclamation projects.

Problems of Raising Cultivable Area of Land:


By the end of the present century, India’s population crossed one billion marks which necessitated the production of about 250 million tonnes of foodgrains as against the current production of 190 million hectares at the end of the present century. Thus to face this challenge, proper management of our land resources is very much urgent.

To the Government the real challenge is to formulate a proper development strategy for making provision for integrated land use plan alongwith emphasis on the proper management of forest and grazing lands, barren lands, fallow lands and cultivable lands.

Agricultural scientists in India have already observed that India can meet such challenge, as the country possesses vast area of land, sizable water resources and suitable climatic conditions. At present, most of our land remains un-irrigated, single cropped, under-utilised and low-yielding. India possesses the vast potential to increase the irrigated area.

Agricultural production in the country can be raised through multiple cropping. During the period between 1951 to 1990 area sown more than once has already increased from 13 million hectares to 43 million hectares. But the most serious problem faced by the agricultural sector of the country is the growing mismanagement of our soils.


If we look at a different angle we can see that India has presently a higher proportion of cultivated area to total geographical area in comparison to that of most of the European countries and North America. In other countries also such a high proportion of geographical area has never been put into agricultural operation.

Land Remedies:

Considering the growing requirements of land necessary for non-agricultural purposes and to restore the disturbed ecological balance it would not be wise to bring more area under cultivation.

In his Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture, 1980, Mr. B.B. Vohra of the National Commission of Environmental Planning has advocated for reducing the total area under cultivation from the present 140 million hectares to 100 million hectares for protecting our land area from erosion and other environmental degradation.

Under such a situation, the requirement of more food production for the growing population of the country cannot be met by putting more area under cultivation but by the adoption of modern techniques of agricultural production, practising multiple cropping on single crop lands, introducing dry farming on dry lands etc.

Thus to raise the productivity level of the agricultural sector of the country, the formulation of a proper agricultural policy by the Government is the need of the hour.