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Land Utilization and Land Use Pattern in India

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  • Last Updated : 08 Jun, 2022
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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 Resource

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 area 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 at 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 drier 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, 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.

Sample Questions

Question 1: Which category has the most land area in India?


More than half of India’s land area is dedicated to agriculture. For pastures, just 4-5 percent is allocated, whereas woods receive over 23%. (official forest cover). Topography, soil, temperature, minerals, and water supply all influence how land is used. Land use patterns are influenced by human factors such as population and technology. As a result, more than half of the land is devoted to agricultural techniques, owing to the fact that agriculture employs the bulk of the people, there is a strong demand for food, and so on.

Question 2: Land that may be cultivated and planted with crops are?


Land that can be utilized to cultivate crops is known as arable land. The United States has the most arable land in the world, accounting for 10.5 percent of global arable land. With a production rate of 9.22 percent, India is in second place.

Question 3: When do landslides occur?


Landslides occur when large volumes of terrain slide down, devastating everything in their path. Deforestation occurs as a result of various development operations such as dam construction, reservoir construction, and road construction. This action raises the likelihood of landslides.

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