Soil Erosion – Writing Wednesdays UPSC CSE IAS Mains Answer Writing Sample Key Points to Consider: With Detailed Answer

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Q- Write note on Causes of Soil erosion and its control in India.

1) Heavy population pressure on land:- forest cover as low as 20.55 % of total area – population continues to rise at a rapid rate – more forests are destroyed – heavy pressure on land.

2) Nature of Rainfall:- receives 80 to 90 per cent of rainfall in the monsoon season. – heavy downpour during monsoon months causes floods. - remaining months – droughts – these affect soils.

3) Overgrazing – number of domestic animals, especially cattle highest in world – cattle freely graze in open lands making them bare of vegetation-winds carry away dry soil particles – Rajasthan

4) Bad farming techniques – plough fields in traditional ways – small size of holdings, absence of terracing, contour cultivation, crop rotation, improper use of manure have caused erosion

5) Topography – Northeastern parts of India, Shiwaliks and the hilly regions in south India are affected by soil erosion because of steep slopes and heavy rainfall. During heavy rainfall, soils are washed away by running water down the slope.

6) Deforestation: destruction of forests for cultivation – cutting of trees exposes the soil to water and wind which leads to soil erosion

Missing Points

  • Runoff – water erosion
  • Slope - water erosion
  • Erodibility – water/wind erosion
  • Unsheltered distance – wind erosion
  • Roughness of soil – wind erosion
  • Uncontrolled livestock access – bank erosion
  • Surface water concentrates – rill erosion
  • Raindrop splash – rill erosion
  • Anthropogenic Causes – farming, grazing, mining, logging, construction and recreation

Soil Conservation Schemes

1. The centrally sponsored scheme of Integrated Watershed Management in the catchments of flood-prone rivers was launched during sixth Plan in eight flood-prone rivers of the Gangetic Basin covering seven States and one Union Territory. It aims at enhancing the ability of the catchment by absorbing larger quantity of rainwater, reducing erosion and consequent silt load in the stream and riverbeds and thus helping to mitigate the fury of floods in the productive plains.

2. A scheme for reclamation and development of ravine areas was launched in 1987 - 88 in MP, UP and Rajasthan included peripheral bunding to halt further ingress of ravines, afforestation of ravines for fuel, fodder and reclamation of shallow ravines.

3. Control of shifting cultivation is implemented since 1994 - 95 in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura. The integrated program envisages settling of families practicing shifting cultivation. It helps them to practice terraced cultivation, raising of horticultural plantations and afforestation to support animal husbandry and to meet fuel and fodder requirements.

4. In urban areas, rainwater harvesting is means of checking soil erosion, besides recharging ground water.

Alongwith it- new farming techniques- contour bunding, ploughing, terrace farming, strip cropping, shelterbelts and afforestation. Erosion because of steep slopes and heavy rainfall. During heavy rainfall, soils are washed away by running water down the slope.

Missing Points

Tillage and cropping practices

Land management practices

Contour ploughing

Strip cropping



Mulching - Crop residue – reduce impact of breaking the soil particles

Forages – anchor soil to top layer


Crop rotation

Use proper drainage canals

trash blanketing – after sugarcane is harvested, leaves and tops are left on the ground

Schemes (Soil Health Card)

  • State Plan Schemes
    • Soil & Water Conservation in General Areas.
    • Watershed Management Program.
  • Centrally Sponsored Schemes
    • Integrated Wasteland Development Program (IWDP)
    • Integrated Watershed Management Program (IWMP) - During 2009 - 10, GoI, MoRD, Department of Land Resources approved treatment of 30,000 hectares in 18 watershed projects of the State.
  • Additional Central Assistance
    • Watershed Development project in Shifting Cultivation Areas (WDPSCA)
    • Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Program (AIBP)
  • NABARD Loan
    • Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF)
  • Other Government of India Schemes
    • Soil Conservation to enhance productivity of degraded lands in the catchment of River Kopili in Jaintia Hills District under Macro-Management Mode of Agriculture Department, Meghalaya.
    • Rastriya Krishi Vigyan Yojna (RKVY)
  • Special Plan Assistance
    • Cherrapunjee Ecological Project- Restoration of Degraded Lands Under Sohra Plateau.