Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday released Wastelands Atlas - 2019 that has geospatial information which will be helpful in turning wastelands to productive use through land development schemes.
This Wastelands Atlas-2019 provides district and state-wise distribution of different categories of wastelands including mapping of about 12.08 million hectare (Mha) hitherto unmapped area of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Department of Land Resources has brought out the wastelands atlas in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC). Wastelands Atlas has earlier been brought out in 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2011.
A Rural Development Ministry release said India with 2.4 per cent of world's land area supports 18 per cent of its population. The per capita availability of agricultural land in India is 0.12 hectare while the world per capita agricultural land is 0.29 hectare.
The release said that unprecedented pressure on the land beyond its carrying capacity is resulting into degradation of lands in the country and robust geospatial information on wastelands will be helpful in rolling back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmes.
The changes in wastelands between 2008-09 and 2015-16 have been presented in the Atlas.
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 2015-16 as compared to 56.60 Mha (17.21 per cent) in 2008-09.
The release said that during this period 1.45 Mha of wastelands were converted into non-wastelands category. There is a net conversion of 0.84 Mha (0.26 per cent) of different wasteland categories in the country during 2008-09 to 2015-16.
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 ravinous land, the release said.
The wastelands have undergone positive change in 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 and Kashmir (0.038 Mha) and West Bengal (0.032 Mha).
Majority of wastelands have been changed into categories of 'croplands' (0.64 Mha), 'forest-dense/open' (0.28 Mha), 'forest plantation' (0.029 Mha), 'plantation' (0.057 Mha) and 'industrial area' (0.035 Mha).
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