The Indian soils belong to different catego­ries and, hence, differ greatly in their physical prop­erties, chemical composition and fertility-level.

These are largely old and mature soils and are deficient in nitrogen, mineral salts and organic matter. While these soils have thick layers in the plains and valleys the hilly and plateau areas depict thin soil cover. Some soils like alluvium and recur etc. are fertile and yield good agricultural harvests.

Others like late rite, desert and alkaline soils are infertile and problem­atic. Exposed to centuries old agricultural opera­tions most of the Indian soils have lost their soil nutrients and need scientific treatment.

These soils are also facing the menacing problem of soil erosion which has been aggravated by rapid deforestation and unscientific land use practices. Due to tropical climate and seasonal rainfall Indian soils need arti­ficial irrigation to maintain soil moisture level and facilitate the use of chemical fertilisers. Some areas of the country suffer from the problem of salinity and alkalinity which is engulfing fertile soil regions. There is a need for countrywide detailed soil survey, devise sustainable land use and cropping patterns recoup soil fertility and reclaim degraded soils.