Over one-fourth of India's geographical area is undergoing the process of desertification despite ongoing efforts to combat the problem, a government report says.
The Environment Ministry report submitted to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification said the problem of land degradation and drought continues in India which has a total geographic area of 328 million hectares.
Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) has hit 7,91,475 sq km of the territory covering almost all states and union territories of the country, it says.
"The problem of land degradation continues to be a major source of environmental concern in India with consequent implications for its sustainable development," the report says.
According to the Environment Ministry, the total area undergoing the process of land degradation in the country is estimated at 105.48 million hectares, which constitutes 32.07% of India's total land area.
India has a total geographic area of 328 million hectares, out of which drylands constitute an area of 228.3 million hectares (about 69.6%).
The new report says that major challenges remain in the area of land use planning, management of waste and degraded land, and efficient use of water resources.
"There is an inherent and urgent need for establishing a clear monitoring mechanism of the impacts of all these programmes and schemes in terms of improving the livelihood status and socio-economic conditions of the people as well as improvement of the ecosystem in the affected areas and regions," it says.
India has taken several steps including Integrated Watershed Management Programme, National Rural Drinking Water Programme, MNREGA, National Rural Livelihood Mission, Green India Mission to address the problem.