New Delhi, Nov 5: The Wastelands Atlas 2019 has estimated the spatial extent of wastelands for entire country to the tune of 55.76 million hectares or 16.96 per cent of geographical area of the country i.e. 328.72 million hectares for the year 2015-16.
This is as compared to 56.60 million hectares (17.21 per cent) in the year 2008-09. During this period 1.45 million hectares of wastelands are converted into non-wastelands categories.
There is a net conversion of 0.84 million hectares (0.26 per cent) 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 and grazing land.
Realizing the importance of availability of reliable database on the wastelands of the country, Union Minister for Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday released the 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. India with 2.4 per cent of total land area of the world is supporting 18 per cent of the world's population.
According to an official statement, unprecedented pressure on the land beyond its carrying capacity is resulting in degradation of lands in the country. Robust geospatial information on wastelands assumes significance and effectively helpful in rolling back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmes.
The wastelands have undergone positive change in the states of Rajasthan, Bihar (0.11 Mha), Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal.