Various attempts have been made by scholars to classify the Indian soils during the last 100 years but none of this classification fulfills the interna­tional criteria. The empirical classification by Voeleker (1893) and Leather (1898) distinguishes four main soil types-(a) Alluvium, (b) Regard, (c) Red soil, and (d) Laterite soil.

In 1932 Z.J. Schokalskaya, taking inspiration from the Russian penology, gave a new direction to the classification of Indian soils and grouped them into 16 broad types:

1. Alluvial-traces of bog process on newer alluvium. It is mainly found in the Ganga Khadar and Assam Valley.

2. Meadow type or older alluvium found in western part of West Bengal and Ganga Valley.


3. Prairie type covering parts of northern Bihar and Bundelkhand region.

4. Tropical and sub-tropical dry steppe on older alluvium and hard rock’s (yellow soils) found in Punjab, Haryana, eastern Rajasthan, Ganga-Sarda doab and Chhattisgarh.

5. Serozems, often saline, some loes occupy­ing parts of western Rajasthan.

7. Deep regard stretching over Maharashtra and south-western Madhya Pradesh.


8. Medium light Regur soils (including redeposited Regur in valleys) occupying Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and southern Madhya Pradesh.

9. Laterite (high and low) found along the western coast and the Orissa coast.

10. Laterite (old alluvium) covering parts of Assam and West Bengal.

11. Sub-tropical red less leached in Jharkhand, north Orissa and Chhattisgarh.


12. Tropical red spreading over Kerala, Tamil Nadu and southern Karnataka.

13. Brown under deciduous forest, slightly or not leached in the Narmada-Tapi valley region.

14. Swamp, peat-bog and muck-in Mahanadi and Kaveri delta region.

15. Solonchaks in the delta regions of Ganga, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri.


16. Soionetz.

D.N. Wadia (1953) established close rela­tionship between geological foundation and main soil groups of India. These include: (a) Red soils, (b) Black soils or Regard, (c) Late rite, (d) Alluvial soils, (e) Alkaline soils, and (f) Mountain and forest soils of the Himalayan region.

The All India Soil and Land Use Survey Organisation (1956) has launched country-wide massive drive for soil survey and accordingly soil resource and land-use maps of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana and Pondicherry have been prepared on the scale 1: 250,000.

In 1957 The National Atlas Organisation (Kolkata) published a soil map of India in which Indian soils were classified into 6 major groups and 11 broad types.


More recently the Indian Council of Agricul­tural Research identified 8 main and 27 secondary soil types in the country; the main soil groups include: (1) alluvial soils, (2) red soils, (3) black soils, (4) lateritic soils, (5) desert soils, (6) mountain soils, (7) forest soils, and (8) peat soils. Similarly sub soil groups included : (i) alluvial soils, (ii) deltaic alluvium, occasionally saline, (iii) alluvial soils, highly calcareous, (iv) coastal alluvium, (v) alluvial soils affected by salinity and alkalinity, (vi) red soils, (vii) red gravelly soils, (viii) red and yellow soils, (ix) mixed red and black soils, (x) medium black soils, (xi) deep black soils, (xii) shallow black soils, (xiii) black soils affected by salinity and alka­linity, (xiv) black soils, undifferentiated, (xv) late rites, (xvi) late rites and lateritic soils, (xvii) desert soils, (xviii) mountain meadow soils (xix) mountain soils, undifferentiated, (xx) piedmont and atria soils, (xxi) forest soils, laterised, (xxii) podzolic soils, (xxiii) hill soils (xxiv) grey and brown soils, (xxv) brown soils under deciduous forests, (xxvi) skeletal soils, and (xxvii) peat, moods and humus soils. The area under each soil-type has been given in table 7.II below: