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Desert areas development UPSC | Regional Development and Planning | Geography of India

The following are desert areas in India:

  • Hot Desert areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Haryana
  • Cold desert areas of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.

 Cold Desert of Ladakh:

Location and physical characteristics of Ladakh cold desert:

  • Ladakh is in Great Himalayas
  • It is eastern of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Karakoram range in the North
  • Zaskar range is in south
  • Indus river and its tributaries flow in the region.
  • Many Galciaers such as Gangri are in Ladakh.
  • The altitude varies from 3000 meters in Kargil to 8000 meters in the Karakoram.

Due to high altitude:

  • Climate is extremely cold and dry
  • Atmosphere is thin
  • Temperature varies from -40 degrees c to 0 degrees centigrade

Economic opportunity:

  • No forest
  • There are scanty patches of grasses and shrubs for animal rearing
  • Summer; apple, Apricorn, walnut tree boom
  • Tourism from both international and domestic visit Gompas, Monasteries, Glaciers, and attend the festivals.
  • There are scanty water and fuel

Hot Desert in India:


  • Extreme temperature, water unavailability, unreachability. 

Economic opportunities:

  • Energy generation, Mining, farming, and tourism.

We can summarize that the following are major problems in the desert areas that can be managed through planning:

  • Water shortage
  • Depletion in Vegetation
  • Increase soil erosion

For solving the above problems, the Desert Development Program (DDP) was launched in 1977-78 with the following aims:

  • Minimize the adverse effect of deserts and control desertification by the restoration of natural resources to achieve ecological balance in long run.
  • Aim to overall Economic development and improve the socio-economic development of poor and disadvantaged section

In the year 1994-95, the Desert development program was under Rural development, and it had 131 blocks and 21 districts spread in 5 states.

Integrated Watershed development program for desert areas

In the year 1995-96, the Hanuman Rao committee evaluated the Drought Prone development Program and Desert Development Program and in recommendation:

  • New Block added in Desert Development Program
  • Some blocks transferred from Drought prone areas development to Desert Areas Development.

In the year 2000,

  • Drought-prone Area development, Desert Areas Development, and the Integrated Watershed Development program get merged and named to Integrated Watershed Management Program( IWMP).
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