India diverted 10 million hectares of productive agri-lands, replaces them with barren lands for cultivation

• In the reports of the Committee on Doubling farmers’ Income, the Committee has found a systemic change in land use that has been hurting farmers’ income.

• According to this report, India has been diverting large tracts of productive agricultural lands for other purposes like making way for new townships and to accommodate expanding settlements besides being given for industrial purposes.

• More and more barren and uncultivable lands are being brought under farming.

• This has impacted the farmers’ productivity, income security and also the viability of cultivation.

==> Highlights

• Since 1970-71, the area under non-agriculture has increased by 10 million hectares (mha).

• On the other hand, during the same period (1971-2011-12), lands under the barren and uncultivated category have declined from 28.16 mha to 17.23 mha.

• The report argues that given India’s net-cultivated area remaining the same, this indicates farmers are now more dependent on barren and uncultivable lands for survival.

==> Land put to Non-agricultural Uses

• Land under settlements (rural and urban), infrastructure (roads, canals etc.), industries, shops, etc. are included in this category.

• An expansion in the secondary and tertiary activities would lead to an increase in this category of land-use.

==> Barren and Wastelands

• The land which may be classified as a wasteland such as barren hilly terrains, desert lands, ravines, etc. normally cannot be brought under cultivation with the available technology.

==> Area under Permanent Pastures and Grazing Lands

• Most of this type of land is owned by the village ‘Panchayat’ or the Government.

• Only a small proportion of this land is privately owned.

• The land owned by the village panchayat comes under ‘Common Property Resources’.

==> Culturable Waste-Land

• Any land which is left fallow (uncultivated) for more than five years is included in this category.

• It can be brought under cultivation after improving it through reclamation practices.

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