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Day 35 – Q 5.Do you think a National Land Use Policy should be formulated urgently? Substantiate your views.

5. Do you think a National Land Use Policy should be formulated urgently? Substantiate your views. 

क्या आपको लगता है कि एक राष्ट्रीय भूमि उपयोग नीति को तुरंत लागु किया जाना चाहिए? अपने विचारों को सारगर्भित करें।


The National Land Use Policy is necessary to achieve improvement of livelihood, food and water security, and best possible realization of various developmental targets so as to ensure sustainable development of India. There was draft National land utilisation policy formed in 2013.


To ensure optimal utilisation of the limited land resources in India for addressing social, economic and environmental considerations and to provide a framework for the States to formulate their respective land utilisation policies incorporating state specific concerns and priorities.

Necessity of National Land Use Policy:

  • Unregulated land use shifts: the net sown areas in the country have increased from 41.8% to almost 51%, the forest areas have increased from 14.2% to  almost 23%, and the areas under non-agriculture uses, which include industrial complexes, transport network, mining, heritage sites, water bodies and urban and rural settlements has also increased, since 1950. These increases of land use as above have lead to reduction of land use elsewhere. During the same period, the “other areas” that include barren & un-culturable land, other uncultivated land excluding fallow land and fallow lands have drastically decreased by nearly half.
  • Reduction in per capita uses of land resources: Protection of agricultural lands from land use conversions so as to ensure food security and to meet consumption needs of a growing population and to meet livelihood needs of the dependent population.
  • Urbanisation demands: According to the world population prospects by the United Nations, 55% population of India will be urban by the year 2050. The demand for non-farm land use will increase further in future. There is a need for appropriate land utilisation and management strategy and land use planning to cater to the growing urbanisation needs. There is scope for re-densification, proper augmentation of land under municipal corporations, PSUs. 
  • Meeting industrialisation demands: The industrial development occupies a lot of land. The industrial development is associated with supportive development which also requires considerable amounts of land.
  • Protection of social interests: To identify and protect lands that are required to promote and support social development, particularly of tribal communities and poor section of society for their livelihood.
  • Protection of heritage: To preserve historic and cultural heritage by protecting, places/sites of religious, archaeological, scenic and tourist importance. 
  • Protecting lands under natural resources and ecosystem services: To preserve and conserve lands under important environmental functions such as those declared as National Parks, Wild Life Sanctuaries, Reserved Forests, Eco Sensitive Zones, etc. and guide land uses. To preserve the areas of natural environment and its resources that provides ecosystem services. 

As there is continuous stress on land resource in India as around 17% of world population has only 2.4% of world land area.

  • Nearly 30% of its land area in India, as much as the area of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra put together, has been degraded through deforestation, over-cultivation, soil erosion and depletion of wetlands.
  • This land loss is not only whittling away India’s gross domestic product by 2.5% every year and affecting its crop yield, but also exacerbating climate change events in the country which, in turn, are causing even greater degradation.
  • Recognition of the customary tenure of indigenous people who have knowledge about local ecosystems like forests, and involving them in the decision-making and governance can help advance the efforts against climate change. “Insecure land tenure affects the ability of people and communities” to fight climate change, said the IPCC report. 
  • An ongoing case in the Supreme Court of India also threatens to evict 2 million forest dweller families whose Forest Rights claims have been rejected. Currently, 21 state governments are in the process of reviewing all the rejected claims. 
  • Land pollution due to excessive use of chemical fertilisers, biocides (pesticides, insecticides and herbicides), polluted liquids and solids from urban and industrial areas, forest fires, water-logging and related capillary processes, leaching, drought.

Detailed National land utilisation policy could help to do away all aforementioned issues regarding land use in India. 


There is urgent need to formulate National land use policy with perspective of ‘New India’ to minimise land use conflicts or negative environmental impacts. For implementation of land utilisation policy, all concerned at different levels, viz. national, state, regional and local should suggest a general implementation framework and undertake capacity building.

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