Manufactured Sand (M-Sand) [UPSC Notes]

The Rajasthan government has taken a progressive step towards resolving the issue of river sand shortage by actively promoting the use of manufactured sand (M-Sand). In a state where the demand for river sand reaches a staggering 70 million tonnes annually, this move not only addresses the scarcity of construction materials but also fosters sustainable development. The initiative also presents an alternative approach to balancing economic growth with environmental conservation.

In this context, this article explains what is M-Sand or manufactured sand and how it can help address the increasing scarcity of river sand and also ensure economic growth sustainably. This topic is relevant for the IAS exam environment and ecology segment.

Manufactured Sand (M-Sand)

Manufactured sand is artificial sand obtained from crushing hard stones into small sand-sized angular-shaped particles, washed and finely graded to be used as construction aggregate. It is an alternative to River Sand used for construction purposes.

The M-Sand Policy:

  • The introduction of the M-Sand policy in Rajasthan has further solidified the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by the shortage of river sand. 
  • By studying the M-Sand policies of other states, Rajasthan has incorporated best practices to suit its unique requirements, ensuring a well-rounded approach to sustainable construction practices.

Encouraging M-Sand Production:

  • The Rajasthan government has put forth measures to encourage investors to establish M-Sand units within the state, incentivizing the setting up of these units. The government aims to meet the demand for construction materials while reducing reliance on river sand. 

Compulsory Usage in Government Constructions:

  • Recognizing the benefits of M-Sand, the government has made it mandatory to use at least 25 percent of M-Sand in all government construction projects. 
  • This step ensures a steady demand for M-Sand, thereby providing a stable market for the newly established M-Sand units. 

Benefits of Manufactured Sand

  • Sustainable alternative: Manufactured sand (M-Sand) provides a sustainable solution to the scarcity of river sand, reducing the strain on natural resources and protecting fragile ecosystems.
  • Consistent quality: M-Sand offers consistent and superior quality compared to river sand, as it is produced using advanced technology and precise manufacturing processes.
  • Cost-effective: M-Sand is often more affordable than river sand, making it a cost-effective choice for construction projects.
  • Reduced environmental impact: M-Sand production minimizes the need for riverbed mining, thereby preserving river ecosystems and reducing environmental degradation.
  • Availability and accessibility: With the establishment of M-Sand units, there is increased availability of construction materials, reducing dependence on river sand and ensuring consistent supply for the industry.
  • Promotes employment: This will benefit the construction industry but also stimulate employment opportunities, particularly at the local level.

What is the Difference Between Manufactured Sand and Natural River Sand?

  • Source: Natural sand is sourced from river beds. M-Sand is produced by crushing hard granite stone.
  • Shape and texture: River sand is mostly spherical in shape & smooth in texture. Manufactured sand is mostly in irregular shape and rough in texture. (Workability is better for river sand due to this reason).
  • Size: If properly graded, there will not be a great difference in the sizes of river and manufactured sand.
  • Silt content: Based on the source, river sand can have higher silt content.
  • Storage and handling: There is not much difference in this aspect.

Manufactured Sand (M-Sand):- Download PDF Here

Related Links
Major Minerals in India NCERT Geography Notes For UPSC
UPSC Prelims Previous Year Geography Questions Classification of Soil in India
UPSC Mains Geography Questions Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Amendment Act, 2021


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