About Madhya Pradesh


Located in central India, Madhya Pradesh is India’s second largest state with an area of 308,252 sq km. Called the ‘heart of India’ because of its geographic location, MP borders Uttar Pradesh in the north-east, Chhattisgarh in the south-east, Maharashtra in the south, Gujarat in the west and Rajasthan in the north-west.

The state of Madhya Pradesh with its exquisite culture, scenic beauty, elegant monuments and diverse wildlife is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. While the northern part of the state is famous for its Khajuraho temples and the intricately carved mausoleums of the former feudal lords of the princely state of Gwalior, the eastern region is home to two of India’s finest wildlife sanctuaries– Bandavgarh and Kanha. In addition, the south-western part of Madhya Pradesh offers several historically significant monuments like the Buddhist Stupa of Sanchi and the 15th–16th century citadels of Mandav. The state has also been home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely carved temples, stupas, forts and palaces are dotted all over the state.

The natural beauty of Madhya Pradesh is equally varied. Spectacular mountain ranges are accompanied by meandering rivers and miles of dense forests, offering a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife. The state is straddled by the Narmada, the longest river in Madhya Pradesh, Tapti, Betwa, Chambal, Sone, Mahanadi and Shipra rivers, and surrounded by the mighty Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges. It is no surprise that the state’s tourism industry has also flourished, with the state receiving several awards at the National Tourism Awards in 2010-11.

The state has four agro-climatic zones, and thus, has the most interesting mix of ethnic groups and tribes, castes and communities, including the indigenous tribals and relatively more recent migrants from other states. It has a significant tribal population, which constitutes more than one-fifth of its total population and 40 percent of India’s total tribal population1. In absolute numbers, Madhya Pradesh is home to the largest number of Scheduled Tribes (STs) in India and is often called the tribal state of India. There are 46 recognized STs, three of which are identified as Special Primitive Tribal Groups. The tribal population is largely concentrated in and around the forest area of Madhya Pradesh, and is amongst the most marginalized and vulnerable. The relative isolation of the tribal population and inadequate reach of infrastructure in some districts has made accessing services difficult. This has resulted in limited access to agricultural inputs, extension services, credit and markets. The rural poor in forested areas, particularly tribal populations, are dependent on forest resources for subsistence, income and employment. Districts with considerable tribal and scheduled caste populations typically represent the most deprived areas.

Human Development


With a population of 72.6 million, Madhya Pradesh is the sixth-most populous state in the country, contributing six percent to the total population of India2. Over the last decade, the state has witnessed a 20.3 percent growth in its population. Out of the total population, about 72.4 percent live in rural areas. According to the Tendulkar Committee Report 2009, nearly 48.6 percent of the population is estimated as living Below Poverty Line (BPL) with rural poverty ratio (53.6 percent) exceeding the urban poverty ratio (35.1 percent) significantly. However, if factors beyond income are considered (Multidimensional Poverty Index)3, about 68.1 percent of the state’s population is poor.

The ability of the rural poor to enhance their livelihoods is constrained by a range of inter-related structural, social, economic and institutional barriers. The situation of the poor is characterized by marginal and under-productive landholdings, periodic droughts, insecure land tenure and a reliance on seasonal agricultural and forest labour. Poverty, here, manifests itself in various ways. Madhya Pradesh is among the most food insecure states of the country. According to the India State Hunger Index, Madhya Pradesh falls in the ‘extremely alarming’ category. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) III conducted in 2006 revealed that the state has one of the lowest nutrition and health indicators in the country. For example, the state is among bottom five in terms of women with Body Mass Index<18.5 (41.7 percent). It also has the highest percentage of underweight children under five years of age (60 percent) and Infant Mortality Rate at 62 percent4.

Although the state’s sex ratio has increased by 11 points since census 2001 to reach 930 females per 1,000 males in census 2011, it is still below the national average of 940 females. The child sex ratio has also declined by 20 points during the decade 2001-2011. In terms of literacy rate, the state at 70.63 percent fares below the national literacy rate of 74.04 percent. The female literacy at 60.02 percent is also much lower than the male literacy rate of 80.53 percent. For these reasons, Madhya Pradesh is one of the least developed states in India, with an HDI value of 0.375, which is below the national average of 0.467.



Madhya Pradesh is largely an agrarian economy with nearly 71 percent of the state’s population engaged in the primary sector. Despite this, the share of agriculture in the Gross State Domestic Product has declined from 39.77 percent during 1993-94 to 26.05 percent during 2005-06. Major crops grown in the state are paddy, wheat, maize and jowar among cereals; gram, tur, urad and moong among pulses; and soybean, groundnut and mustard among oilseeds. Commercial crops like cotton and sugarcane are also grown in a considerable area.

Major produce of the state includes potato, onion, garlic, papaya, banana, oranges, mango and grapes. Some area is also under medicinal and narcotic crops.

Cropping Pattern
Madhya Pradesh is predominantly a kharif growing state. Kharif crops occupy about 54.25 percent of the total cropped area, whereas rabi crops occupy about 45.75 percent. Out of the total net cultivable area, about 41 percent is cereals, 21 percent is pulses and 27 percent is oilseeds. The rest of the 11 percent of the area is occupied by vegetables, fruits, fodder and other horticultural crops.

Agriculture Production
The state produces about 16.0 million tons of food grains (12.6 million tons of cereals and 3.4 million tons of pulses) and about 5.7 million tons of oilseeds (soybean production is 4.44 million tons), thus contributing about 7.7 percent food grains (6.5 percent cereals and 24.29 percent pulses) to the national stock and 25.9 percent to the national oilseed production. Thus, the state is the leading producer of oilseed and pulses in the country.



Covering 9.38 percent of the total land area of the country, Madhya Pradesh is endowed with rich and diverse forest resources and is a reservoir of biodiversity. The forest cover in the state, based on interpretation of satellite data of Oct-Dec 2008, is 77,700 sq km, which is 25.21 percent of the state’s geographical area. The state has nine national parks and 25 wildlife sanctuaries covering 3.36 percent of the total geographical area of the state. The five tiger reserves include Kanha, Panna, Bandhavgarh, Pench and Satpura. As per its legal classification, Reserved Forests, Protected Forests and Unclassified Forests constitute about 65.36 percent, 32.84 percent and 1.80 percent of the forest area respectively. Per capita forest area is 0.21 ha. in the state as against the national average of 0.07 ha.

The forest cover is less dense in the northern and western parts of the state, which contain the major urban centers. Variability in climatic conditions bring about significant difference in the forest types of the state, which are classified into the following- Tropical Moist, Tropical Dry, Tropical Thorn, Subtropical broadleaved Hill forests. Based on composition, there are three important forest formations in the state, namely, teak forest, sal forest and miscellaneous forest.

Since nearly one-third of the villages of the state are located in or around the forests, most villagers are dependent on them for their livelihood. In addition, a host of non-wood forest products (NWFP) contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of these communities.

1Source: India Human Development Report 2011- Towards Social Inclusion

2Source: Census of India 2011, Provisional Tables, Registrar General of India

3The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), published for the first time in the 2010 Human Development Report, complements money-based measures by considering multiple deprivations and their overlap. The index identifies deprivations across the same three dimensions as the HDI and shows the number of people who are multidimensionally poor (suffering deprivations in 33% of weighted indicators) and the number of deprivations with which poor households typically contend. It can be deconstructed by region, ethnicity and other groupings as well as by dimension, making it an apt tool for policymakers. Source: Human Development Report 2010- The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development

4Children in India 2012 - A Statistical Appraisal