Land Resources

Topics: Soil, Rural economics, Acre Pages: 5 (1223 words) Published: September 25, 2010
Land, a critically important national resource,
supports all living organisms including plants
as well as every primary production system such
as roads, industries, communication and storage
for surface and ground water,among others. The
soil profile of land determines its ability to serve
socio-economic needs. It has been estimated that
more than 5,000 million tonnes of top soil is eroded
annually alongwith about 5 million tonnes of
nutrients. About a third of this is lost to the sea,
while the rest builds the silt load in reservoirs and
river beds leading to floods. About 38% of the
area in India suffers from moderate to high degree
of water-based erosion, most of which needs
suitable soil and water conservation measures
such as Watershed Development. Arid areas
suffering from moderate or high degree of soil loss
comprise upto 4% of the geographical area.
Therefore, about 42% of the country’s area
requires soil & water conservation efforts on a
priority basis.
The efficient management of land is vital for
economic growth and development of rural areas.
The integrated thinking about the need for a land
use policy started only in 1972 when a paper
entitled “A Charter for the Land” was circulated by
Shri B.B. Vohra. The paper highlighted the
dependence of majority of our people on land for
their livelihood and pleaded that care for this
resource must rank high in our priorities
notwithstanding that the Constitution has placed
the subject in the State List. It is in this context
that the Prime Minister in 1972 had given a
challenge to the nation for working out a viable
land use policy as follows:
Encouraging traditional methods of water conservation under
Integrated Wastelands Development Programme
Land Resources
……”We can no longer afford to neglect our
most important natural resource. This is not simply
an environmental problem but one which is basic
to the future of our country. The stark question
before us is whether our soil will be productive
enough to sustain a population of one billion by
the end of the century at a higher standard of living
than now prevails. We must have long term plans
to meet this contingency.”
The per capita availability of land in the
country has declined from 1.37 hectare in 1901
to 0.33 hectare in 2000. Moreover, all the land
cannot be made available for agricultural
purposes.Some land would be required for other
activities and would be located in centre of
economic grouth. However, effective steps are
required to be taken for preventing diversion of
land suitable for sustainable farming to non-farm
uses. Simultaneously, degraded lands and
wastelands would require to be improved through
efficient adoption of principles of ecological
The Department of Land Resources (DoLR)
was set up in April 1999 in the Ministry of Rural
Development to act as a Nodal Agency for Land
Resource Management. All the land-based
programmes/schemes, which earlier were with
different Departments of the Ministry, were brought
within the purview of the DoLR. The Area
Development Programmes as well as the
Wastelands Development Programme are now
being implemented through the Watershed
Development Approach in accordance with the
Guidelines for Watershed Development formulated
on the recommendations of the Hanumantha Rao
Committee since April, 1995. For achieving
comprehensive area development, instructions
have also been issued for convergence of all rural
development programmes in the areas where
watershed development is taken up.
The Department comprises two Divisions,
namely the Wastelands Development Division and
the Land Reforms Division. Secretary, Ministry of
Rural Development heads the Department. He is
assisted by one Addl. Secretary, two Joint
Secretaries and other officers and officials. The
Wastelands Development Division has been
implementing various programmes for the
development of wastelands/degraded lands....
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