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Rural Development Ministry Releases the Fifth Edition of Wastelands Atlas – 2019

KJ Staff
KJ Staff

In an attempt to efficiently use India’s wastelands, the ministry of rural development has come out with the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas -2019, eight years after the last edition was published in 2011. Union Minister for Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar released the ‘Wastelands Atlas’ – 2019 This is notable because for the first time it takes into account 12.08 MHa of unmapped area of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Rural development ministry last week said that "The effort has resulted in estimating the spatial extent of wastelands for entire country to the tune of 55.76 Mha (16.96 per cent of geographical area of the country i.e. 328.72 Mha) for the year 2015-16 as compared to 56.60 Mha (17.21 per cent) in the year 2008-09".

As per the Atlas, during this period 1.45 Mha of wastelands are converted into non wastelands categories. It said that “A reduction in wasteland area was observed in the categories of land with dense scrub, waterlogged and marshy land, sandy areas, degraded pastures / grazing land and gullied and /or ravinous land".

The department of land resources in alliance with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Department of Space has issued Wastelands Atlases of India - 2000, 2005, 2010 & 2011 editions. NRSC carried out the new wastelands mapping exercise by using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data is the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas – 2019. As India has got 2.4 per cent of total land area of the world and is carrying 18 per cent of the world’s population. India has also got per capita availability of agriculture land 0.12 ha and world per capita agriculture land is 0.29 ha.

According to the ministry, unequalled pressure on the land beyond its carrying capacity is resulting into dishonor of lands in the country. It further said that “robust geospatial information on wastelands will be significant & effectively helpful in rolling back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmes/schemes".

 The wastelands have experience positive change in the states are:

  • Rajasthan (0.48 Mha).

  • Bihar (0.11 Mha).

  • Uttar Pradesh (0.10 Mha).

  • Andhra Pradesh (0.08 Mha).

  • Mizoram (0.057 Mha).

  • Madhya Pradesh (0.039 Mha).

  • Jammu & Kashmir (0.038 Mha).

  • West Bengal (0.032 Mha).

Majority of wastelands have been changed into categories such as :

  • Croplands (0.64 Mha).

  • Forest-dense / open (0.28 Mha).

  • Forest plantation (0.029 Mha).

  • Plantation (0.057 Mha).

  • Industrial area (0.035 Mha) etc.

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