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The issues of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) are extremely relevant for our country and have significant bearing on agriculture, rural development and water resources among other key sectors. The Government of India interventions on these matters is largely through programmes managed by the different Ministries.  There is widespread consensus that economic issues related to Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) are not adequately addressed and the lack of reliable data on the economic importance of sustainable dryland development is a major driver for the limited development investment in drylands. The lack of reliable economic data for sound and well-informed decision-making at all levels has been linked to the relatively limited scientific basis for the economic valuation of dryland ecosystems. Meanwhile, emerging environmental and socio-economic problems call for improving current land management practices based on sound scientific input.


At present, very few studies have been carried-out on the economics of desertification, or of land degradation in general, but few if any conclusions can be drawn.  The absence of comprehensive studies and reliable estimates severely constrains the ability to make optimal choices balancing trade-offs between competing priorities. Also there is need for greater engagement of private sectors players by developing innovative business models that embed social and environmental benefits. The partnership with the private sector can attract crucial financial resources and also drive technological innovations that can help combat DLDD.


The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has awarded a study to The Energy and Resources Institute on “Economics of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) in India”. The study will assess the actual impacts of land degradation in the country. This will help determine how optimal allocation of financial, technical and human resources to tackle DLDD can be achieved, thereby, facilitating the planning processes at the national level and informing action at the state level.  


Terms of Reference

  1. Examine economic valuation studies and data available from secondary literature and published sources.
  2. Review Government’s programmes and schemes relating to DLDD issues, targets, financial allocations and achievements.
  3. Select 6 case study sites for micro-economic assessment in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions of the country, identify the data requirements and sources of information
  4. A macroeconomic assessment for the entire Country and scenario development (till 2030)
  5. A micro-economic assessment for 6 case study sites for full economic assessment and scenario development (till 2030).

(The case study sites selected, based on data analysis and secondary literature, to be validated upon consultation with central and state government, concerned science and technology institutes, civil society organizations and other keys stakeholders)