NEW DELHI: At least 37 per cent of the total geographical area in the country is affected by various kinds of land degradation including soil acidity, soil and wind erosion and mining waste, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave told the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
In a written reply, Dave said the government is taking various measures including planting of trees for treatment of the degraded land.
"As per the information received from Ministry of Agriculture and farmers welfare, out of the total geographical area of the country, about 120.40 million hectare (37 per cent) is affected by various kinds of land degradation," he said.
He said that this includes water and wind erosion (94.87 million hectare), water logging (0.91 million hectare), soil alkalinity/ sodicty (3.71 million hectare), soil acidity (17.93 million hectare), soil salinity (2.73 million hectare) and mining and industrial waste (0.26 million hectare).
Dave said in order to prevent soil erosion, land degradation and to improve productivity of degraded lands in the country, the rural development ministry implemented Integrated Watershed Management Programme which is now subsumed under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana.
He said the Environment Ministry implemented centrally sponsored scheme of National Afforestation Programme (NAP) for regeneration of degraded forest and adjoining areas in the country. "Under this scheme, an area of 21.38 lakh hectares has been treated since inception of this programme in 2000-02,"he said.