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Land Utilization and Land Use Pattern in India

Last Updated : 21 Mar, 2024
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Land Utilization and Land Use Pattern in India: Land use pattern refers to the arrangement or layout of the uses of land which may be used for pasture, agriculture, construction, etc., and factors that mostly determine this are relief features, climate, the density of population, soil and socio-economic factors. The effective and efficient development of natural resources without damaging the environment or human existence is referred to as resource development. Resource development helps future generations as well as current ones.

Land Use Pattern in India

In India, the land is primarily used for agricultural purposes, with nearly 60% of the country’s land area devoted to farming. India is one of the world’s leading producers of food, and agriculture accounts for a significant portion of the country’s economy.

Other uses of land in India include forestry and grazing, which make up about 15% of the country’s total land area. Less than 5% of India’s land is urbanized, although this figure is growing as the country’s population continues to increase.

Land Utilization and Land Use Pattern

Land Utilization and Land Use Patterns

Land Resources in India

India is one of the world’s most populous countries, with over 1.3 billion people, and its land area is correspondingly large. India’s land resources are important not only for the country’s own citizens but also for the global community. India has a diverse range of land resources, including arable land, forests, and minerals.

Arable land in India amounts to about 60% of the total land area. Most of this arable land is used for agriculture, which is the mainstay of the Indian economy. About half of India’s workforce is engaged in agriculture, and the sector contributes around 15% to the country’s GDP. The main crops grown in India are rice, wheat, pulses, sugarcane, and cotton. India is also a major producer of spices, tea, coffee, and tobacco.

Forests cover about 21% of India’s land area. The country has a rich variety of flora and fauna, and its forests are home to many endangered species of animals. Forests play an important role in the Indian economy, as they provide timber and fuelwood for industries and households. They also help to regulate the water cycle and protect against soil erosion.

India has significant reserves of minerals such as iron ore, bauxite, manganese ore, copper ore, zinc ore, limestone, and mica. These minerals are exploited for various purposes such as construction materials

One of the most valuable natural resources is land. Our living system is supported by the land. As a result, rigorous land resource management is required. There are several different types of land in India. Mountains, plateaus, plains, and islands are all examples.

  1. Mountains cover around 30% of India’s geographical area. Mountains help rivers flow year after year, carrying fertile soils, facilitating irrigation, and providing drinking water. Mountains provide excellent opportunities for tourism and adventure sports, as well as cash generating.
  2. Plains: Plains cover around 43 percent of India’s geographical area. Plains provide land for agriculture, industry, and housing, among other things.
  3. Plateau: Plateaus cover over 27% of India’s area, providing a diverse range of minerals, fossil fuels, and forests.

Land Utilization and Land Use Pattern

Both physical and human factors influence how land is used. Climate, terrain, and soil type are all physical influences. Population, technology, skill, population density, tradition, competence, and other human characteristics are all important considerations.

This means that the net sown area accounts for around 44% of the total land available. If we include fallow (4%) and current fallow (7%), we get to around 54% of the land being used for agricultural or associated activities. Wasteland is too low in quality to be transformed into cultivable land. Furthermore, the pattern of net planted areas differs from state to state. Punjab has a fairly high rate, although hilly states have a very low rate. The percentage of land covered by forest is 23% much below the national forest policy’s target of 33% (1952). Illegal deforestation, road and building development, human population pressure, and other factors all contribute to this. The following are the most common forms of land use in the country:

Sown Area Net (NSA)

The cropped area in the year in question is referred to as the net sown area. This sort of land use is crucial since the agricultural output is heavily reliant on it. This accounts for around 6% of India’s total reported area, or 141.58 million hectares, compared to the global average of 32%. The amount of farmed land per capita has decreased dramatically, from 0.53 ha in 1951 to 0.11 ha in 2011-12, necessitating population control. Rajasthan has the biggest NSA, with 18.35 million hectares, accounting for 12.96 percent of India’s total reported NSA; Maharashtra is second.

Due to the gentle slope of the terrain, fertile alluvial and black soils, a large amount of the Satluj, Ganga plains, Gujarat lowlands, Kathiawar plateau, Maharashtra plateau, and West Bengal basin is farmed.
Climate-friendly Irrigation facilities that are second to none. Because of its rough topography, adverse climate, and barren soils, the mountainous area and dryer tracts have lower NSA.

More than One Sown Area

This land is utilized to cultivate more than one crop every year, as the name implies. This sort of land is important because, nearly all arable ground has been cultivated, and the only method to enhance agricultural productivity is to raise cropping intensity, which may be accomplished by expanding the area seeded many times. This group includes a substantial portion of the land in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar, as well as the coastal areas.


This covers any property that is legally designated as forest or is managed as forest, whether it is state-owned or privately held, and whether it is forested or kept as prospective forest land. The forest area includes the area of crops cultivated in the forest and grazing fields or areas open for grazing within the forest. More forest land is being reported in Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and the Andaman Nicobar Islands. Heavy rains and relief characteristics are to blame.

Land that cannot be Cultivated

There are two types of land in this category. Non-agricultural uses of land. Waste that is barren and uncultivable. Non-agricultural land comprises land occupied by communities, cities, highways, railways, or land under water, such as rivers, lakes, canals, tanks, ponds, and other bodies of water. All barren and uncultivated lands on steep and hill slopes, deserts, and rocky places are classified as barren land. And these places cannot be plowed without incurring significant input costs and perhaps minimal returns. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar are the states with the most acreage in this category. Chandigarh, Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Haveli, and Sikkim, on the other hand, have a smaller proportion of their land in this category.

Grazing fields and Permanent Pastures

Permanent pastures and other grazing fields cover a total of 10.3 million hectares. This accounts for around 4% of the country’s overall reporting area. Given the enormous number of cattle in the country, the current area under pastures and other grazing sites is insufficient. Pastures cover around a third of the reporting area in Himachal Pradesh. In Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Odisha, the percentage ranges from 4 to 10%. In the remaining sections of the country, it is less than 3%.

Land Covered in a Variety of Tree Plantations and Groves

This covers any cultivable land that is not covered by the NSA yet is used for agricultural purposes. This category includes land under casuarina trees, shrubs, thatching grass,  bamboo, and other fuel groves that are not classified as orchards. 

Agricultural Waste

This is land that is accessible for agriculture but is not being utilized for one reason or another. Due to limitations such as a shortage of water, soil salinity or alkalinity, soil erosion, and waterlogging, it cannot be used. Agriculture was once practiced in the Reh, Usar, Bhur, and Khola tracts of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana, as well as other regions of the country, but it had to be abandoned due to soil shortages caused by poor agricultural techniques. Due to several land reclamation programs conducted in India after independence, wasteland has decreased. Gujarat (13.6 percent), Madhya Pradesh (10.2%), Uttar Pradesh (6.93 percent), and Maharashtra (6.93 percent) are the states with the most cultivable wasteland (6.83 percent).

Vacant Land

This category contains all land that was once cultivated but is currently uncultivated. There are two sorts of it. Currently unused.  Other than the present fallow.  Current fallow lasts one year, but fallow that lasts two to five years is categorized as ‘fallow other than current fallow.’  Rajasthan has the biggest area of ‘fallow other than present fallow,’ with 1.7 hectares, followed by Maharashtra & Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh has the most land that is currently fallow.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much land does India use for agriculture?

India uses about 51.09% of the land under cultivation, about 21.81% under forest and 3.92 percent under pasture.

2. How can we utilise land in India?

We can utilise land in India by agriculture, forestry, mining, building houses, roads etc.

3. What is the land use for most of India?

The land use in India is for agricultural land, for cultivation of crops, making it important for sustenance of nation food supply.

4. What percentage of India is farming?

About over 54% of the land in country is arable and for agriculture industry which comprises almost half of labor market.

5. What percentage of land in India is fertile?

About 2.4% of land in India consist of fertile plains.

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