Different soil types in India: Understand the differences using an Easy-to-Learn Table

This post is a continuation of our previous article on Soils of India: Classification and Characteristics. The Indian council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) set up an All India Soil Survey Committee in 1953 which divided the Indian soils into eight major groups. For ease of understanding and comparative study, this post about the 8 soil types is prepared in tabular form, highlighting the key differences.

Different soil types in India: Understand the differences

Soils of India

  1. Alluvial soils
  2. Black (or Regur soil)
  3. Red and Yellow soils
  4. Laterite soils
  5. Arid and desert soils
  6. Saline and alkaline soils
  7. Peaty and marshy soils
  8. Forest and mountain soils

Types of Soils

States where found

Rich in:

Lacks in:

Crops grown

Alluvial Mainly found in the plains of Gujarat,  Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand etc. Potash and Lime Nitrogen and Phosphorous Large variety of rabi and kharif crops such as wheat, rice, sugarcane, cotton, jute etc.
Black (Regur soil) Deccan plateau- Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh,Tamil Nadu, Valleys of Krishna and Godavari. Lime, Iron, Magnesia and Alumina, Potash Phosphorous, Nitrogen and organic matter Cotton, sugarcane, jowar, tobacco, wheat, rice etc.
Red Eastern and southern part of the deccan plateau, Orissa, Chattisgarh and southern parts of the middle Ganga plain. Iron and Potash Nitrogen, Phosphorous and humus. Wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane and pulses
Laterite Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Orissa hills. Iron oxide and potash Organic matter, Nitrogen, Phosphate and Calcium Cashewnuts, tea, coffee, rubber
Arid and Desert Western Rajastan, north Gujarat and southern Punjab Soluble salts, phosphate Humus, Nitrogen Only drought resistant and salt tolerant crops such as barley, rape, cotton, millets maize and pulses
Saline and Alkaline Western Gujarat, deltas of eastern coast, Sunderban areas of West Bengal, Punjab and Haryana Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium Nitrogen and Calcium

Unfit for agriculture

Model questions based on soil types for UPSC Prelims

Soil types Qn 1: Among the statements given below, identify the correct statement(s):

ClearIAS Prelims Online Test Series
  1. Laterite soil is also known as ‘self-ploughing’ soil.
  2. Alluvial soils are rich in humus and nitrogen.
  3. Forest soils are deficient in potash and lime.


  • a) 1 only
  • b) 1 and 2 only
  • c) 3 only
  • d) 1, 2 and 3

Right Answer c) 3 only

Explanation: The Black soil is known as self-ploughing soil. Alluvial soil lacks nitrogen.

Article Contributed by: Anushka H

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