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Agricultural Land use Changes in India

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Vol NO: VOL. 15, ISSUE 88,

"The relevance of land for agriculture can be understood thus; firstly, agriculture is a land intensive activity, which means that it requires more land compared to non-agricultural activities in relation to the respective output. Secondly, quality of land has a critical bearing on agricultural output per unit area, while it is of marginal consequence to the productivities of the non-agricultural activities. Thirdly, ownership of land in rural areas, particularly in the less developed part of the world, has a lot to do with the social standing and identity of an individual in the place s/he owns the land. Hence, it is imperative that the dynamics of agricultural land use change is understood in the larger economic and political context more so in India where the majority still depend on agriculture in spite of its reduced importance in the income of the country.

What are the sources from which land under non-agricultural use can expand? The possibilities are numerous. The one that should have little or no bearing on rural livelihoods is the land categorised as barren and uncultivable waste land (BUW). Such exchanges have been marked as priority 1. If the stock of agricultural land has to experience an outflow in favour of non-agricultural activities, priority shou




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    Sucharita Sen

    Agricultural land converted to non-agricultural uses is often understood as ‘development’. While high growth, rich states have managed to hold on, the low growth poorer states have lost significant amounts of land under plough causing distress to their agricultural communities.

    The author is Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. ssen.jnu@gmail.com

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