Land is our basic resource.
It has many physical forms like mountains, hills, plains, lowlands and valleys.
It is characterised by climate from hot to cold and from humid to dry.
Land supports many kinds of vegetation.
Land includes soil and topography along with the physical features of a given location.
Availability of Arable Land
India is well endowed with cultivable land which has long been a key factor in the country’s socioeconomic development.
In terms of area, India ranks seventh in the world, while in terms of population it ranks second.
Arable land includes net sown area, current fallow, other fallow and land under tree crops.
Arable land covers a total area of 167 million hectares which is 51 % of the total area of the country.
However, the arable land-man ratio is not as favourable as in many other countries like Australia, Canada, Argentina, the USA, Chile, Denmark and Mexico.
Conversely, the land-man ratio is more favourable in India than Japan, the Netherlands, Egypt, United Kingdom, Israel and China.
What is the land-man ratio?
Land-man ratio is defined as the ratio between the habitable area and the total population of a country.
About 30% of India’s surface area is covered by hills and mountains.
These are either too steep or too cold for cultivation.
About 25% of this land is topographically usable which is scattered across the country.
Plateaus constitute 28% of the total surface area but only a quarter of this is fit for cultivation.
The plains cover 43% of the total area and nearly 95% of it is suitable for cultivation.
Soils, topography, moisture and temperature determine the limits of cultivability and the quality of arable land is determined by these factors.
As a result of this, half of the surface area is cultivated.
This proportion is one of the highest in the world.