Desertification: ‘Droughts reduced India’s GDP by up to 5% in 20 years’

Down To Earth


Some 97.85 million hectares — nearly 30 per cent of the country’s land — underwent land degradation during 2018-19, according to Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India, released by the Space Applications Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation last year.

Drought impacts India’s dominantly rainfed agriculture that accounts for 60 per cent of the sown area on average.

A study undertaken by the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines and the Japan International Research Centre for Agricultural Sciences, in association with research organisations of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha, shows that drought is a major factor in keeping people below the poverty line forever.

The study, published in 2006, found that in a severe drought year, farmers in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha lost close to $400 million. The study found that almost 13 million people in the three states who live just above the poverty line, fall below it due to drought-induced income loss.


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