The federal republic of India is an Union of 32 states(25). 7 of these states (including Delhi - the federal capital) are called Union Territories, for receiving special assistance from the Centre - unlike the other 25 States which are required to generate sufficient funds on their own. Currently there is a move to convert Delhi into a State. India has the seventh largest land cover in the world (about 3.28 million sq. kms), but the second highest population (846 million in 1991). With land being static, the land : man ratio has dropped rapidly from 0.99 hectares per capita in 1901 to 0.39 in 1991 (0.81 in China). The projection for 2051 is 0.22 hectares per capita (0.66 for China). Of the 20 largest countries in the world (in terms of area), India has the most unfavourable land : man ratio. With at least 10 per cent of this land being topographically unusable, the problem is further compounded. Clearly, land in the Indian context, is a very finite and scarce resource. Despite this, the track record has been poor in its use and management, mainly due to uncoordinated exploitation and abuse.
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