Development, land use pattern and environmental degradation in India

Soumya Mohanty, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

This paper makes an attempt to study the trend in urbanization, socioeconomic development, and changes in land use highlighting the extent to which land under forest have declined over time and across states of India. It is hypothesized that urbanization which is considered as an indicator of development is likely to be associated with increased land utilization for non-agricultural purposes and density of population with intensity of cropping pattern. The study reveals that there is a phenomenal increase in population and urbanization. The population increase has taken place even in relatively land abundant and semi-arid states such as Rajasthan and Gujarat. The level of urbanization in India is also on rise and it has to deal with problems of land intrusions on productive agricultural lands. This is because urban land-uses persistently compete with rural land-uses on the basis of more favourable land rent in free market. However, from this study we did not find strong support for either of the hypotheses. The paper stresses that land use data produced by Indian government sources should be strengthened and publication should be made timely. The paper also reviewed the existing policies for controlling population and preventing forestland degradation and environmental pollution in India.

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Presented in Poster Session 3