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Which one of the following criteria was used to demarcate 15 agro-climatic regions, which were accepted by the Planning Commission of India (now NITI Aayog) to initiate regional approach to agricultural planning during the Eighth Five-Year Plan ?
1. Climate, soil characteristics, and rainfall
2. Climate, soil characteristics, and water availability
3. Climate, soil characteristics, rainfall and water availability
4. Climate, cropping pattern, rainfall and water availability

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Correct Answer - Option 3 : Climate, soil characteristics, rainfall and water availability

Demarcation of agro-climatic regions in India:

  • In 1988 the Planning Commission came up with a growth strategy based on a holistic approach of area planning for long-term resource efficiency and sustainability.
  • The motivation behind this was that resource-based planning became feasible once homogeneous regions with respect to natural resource endowments (agro-climatic factors) were delineated and their utilization of available natural resource endowments was related to requirements of output and employment.
  • During the late nineteen eighties, a consensus seemed to have been achieved on the primacy of topography for a regional division of India.
  • Based on this notion the Planning Commission delineated 15 agro-climatic zones; there still existed wide variation in a geographical area, population density, soil types, and crops grown.
  • To increase the degree of homogeneity in agro-climatic factors, these 15 zones were further sub-divided into 73 subzones based on more specific soil types, topography, climate, and cropping pattern characteristics. 
  • In order to plan agricultural activities more accurately each region into sub-regions based on soil, climate (temperature), rainfall, and other agrometeorological characteristics.
  • Planning Commission has demarcated the geographical area of India into 15 agro-climatic regions.
  • These are further divided into more homogeneous 72 sub-zones.

Hence, Climate, soil characteristics, rainfall, and water availability were the criteria of demarcation of Agro-climatic regions.

The 15 agro-climatic zones are:-

  1. Zone 1- Western Himalayan Region: Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh
  2. Zone 2 - Eastern Himalayan Region: Assam, Sikkim, West Bengal, and all North-Eastern states
  3. Zone 3 - Lower Gangetic Plains Region: West Bengal
  4. Zone 4 - Middle Gangetic Plains Region: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar
  5. Zone 5 - Upper Gangetic Plains Region: Uttar Pradesh
  6. Zone 6 - Trans-Gangetic Plains Region: Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Rajasthan
  7. Zone 7 - Eastern Plateau and Hills Region: Maharastra, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, and West Bengal
  8. Zone 8 - Central Plateau and Hills Region: MP, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
  9. Zone 9 - Western Plateau and Hills Region: Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan
  10. Zone 10 - Southern Plateau and Hills Region: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
  11. Zone 11 - East Coast Plains and Hills Region: Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Pondicherry
  12. Zone 12 - West Coast Plains and Ghat Region: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra
  13. Zone 13 - Gujarat Plains and Hills Region: Gujarat
  14. Zone 14 - Western Dry Region: Rajasthan
  15. Zone 15 - The Islands Region: Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep. 

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