From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Wastelands in India
Mains level : Land records management
- Realizing the importance of the availability of a reliable database on the wastelands of the country, the Union Minister for Rural Development released the Wastelands Atlas – 2019.
Wastelands Atlas – 2019
- The Department of Land Resources in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Department of Space has published Wastelands Atlases of India – 2000, 2005, 2010 & 2011 editions.
- The new wastelands mapping exercise, carried out by NRSC using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data is brought out as the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas – 2019.
- This 2019 Atlas provides district and state wise distribution of different categories of wastelands area including mapping of about 12.08 Mha hitherto unmapped area of J&K.
Need for such Atlas
- Unprecedented pressure on the land beyond its carrying capacity is resulting into degradation of lands in the Country.
- Therefore, robust geospatial information on wastelands assumes significance and effectively helpful in rolling back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmes / schemes.
- India with 2.4% of total land area of the World is supporting 18% of the World’s population.
- The per capita availability of agriculture land in India is 0.12 ha whereas World per capita agriculture land is 0.29 ha.
Highlights of the Atlas
- 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 % of geographical area of the Country i.e. 328.72 Mha).
- During this period 1.45 Mha of wastelands are converted into non wastelands categories.
- There is a net conversion of 0.84 Mha (0.26%) 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 / or ravinous land.