Betul district, a part of Narmadapuram division is a district of Madhya Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Betul town. The district got its name from its headquarters town i.e. Betul. The Betul town taken its name from the town named Betul Bazar, located 5 km. away on the southern portion of Badanur. The term Betul is a composition of two Hindi words i.e. ‘Be’ meaning without and ‘tul’ meaning cotton. Earlier, it was the border of the cotton-growing area. Legends remain silent about the early history of Betul, but they believe that it must to have been the centre of the first of the four ancient Gond kingdoms of Kherla, Deogarh, Garha-Mandla and Chanda-Sirpur. As per the Persian historian called Ferishta, these kingdoms came into the lime light in the year 1398 since at that time all the hills of Gondwana and its neighbouring countries were flourishing in both, wealth and power. During the rule of Marathas in the year 1818, they ceded this region to the East India Company as the payment for a contingent, then by signing the treaty of 1826 the place was formally went into the hands of the British. In the time of British rule, Betul district was a part of the Nerbudda (Narmada) Division of the Central Provinces and the place of Berar, became the state of Madhya Bharat which changed into Madhya Pradesh after India's independence in 1947.
Geographically, the district lies at 21°90'N latitude, 77°90'E longitude and 658 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 36.47% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 10,043 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 4th in the state and 68th in India. It is bounded by Hoshangabad on the North, Amravati of Maharashtra on the South, Chhindwara district on the East and Hoshangabad district on the West. The climate of the district remains pleasant and fairly healthy throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1200.1 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 8 tehsils namely Amla, Athner, Betul, Bhainsdehi, Chicholi, Ghoda Dongari, Multai and Shahpur. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 8 assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 8 sub-districts, 10 towns and 1,399 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 15,75,362 out of which 7,99,236 are males and 7,76,126 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 971 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 12.92% including 12.58% were males and 13.27% were females. The population density in the district is 157 persons per sq. km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 31,096 out of which 15,862 were males and 15,234 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 12,196 out of which 7,502 were males and 4,694 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 95.58% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi and Gondi with 45.88% and 27.69%.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the Betul district. Most of the time its economy is also based on forestry since it has a heavy forest cover. Some of its principal forest resources are Tendu leaves, Chironji, Harra, Amla, Haldu, Saja, Dhaoda, etc. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are paddy, maize, black gram, green gram, soybean, pigeon pea, cotton, millet, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. The industrial growth in the district is insufficient but it has some prominent industries namely Betul Oils and Flours Ltd, Kosmi Industrial Area, Madhyavarta Ex-oil Ltd, Kosmi Industrial Area, Adhishwar Oil and Fats Ltd, Betul Tyre and Tube Industry, Wearwell Tyre and Tube Industries, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these industries helps in its economy to a great extent. Moreover, the district is well recognised as the Asia’s biggest wood depot. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Betul as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2019-20 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 16,01,873 lakhs at current price and Rs. 9,87,209 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 14,66,663 lakh at current price and Rs. 8,79,882 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 81,565 at current price and Rs. 48,932 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. Some of its prominent government educational institutions are Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Govt Degree College (Amla), J H Govt PG College, Govt College (Bhaisdehi), Govt College (Sarni), Govt College (Athner), Govt Girls College, Govt College (Multai), Govt College (Shahpur) etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 68.9% including 76.65% are males and 60.94% are females.
Vijay Kumar Khandelwal, an eminent Indian politician and a member of the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Lok Sabha from the Betul constituency was born on 22nd April, 1936 at Betul town. He was a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) political party.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures numerous travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Atari, a small village situated near to chicholi in the district has a very old temple named GOV Dev baba temple constructed by "Verma" family of the village. Rondha, another most ancient village located in the Betul district has a massive statue of Lord Shiv Vahan Nandi made up of white stone. Moreover, it has some Champa trees which are more than hundred years old. Balajipuram temple, located at a distance of 8 km. from the Betul town is well known for its marvellous architecture. Shri Rukmani Balaji Temple, in the Betul Bazaar is devoted to Lord Balaji. The main building of the temple is contructed in the south Indian temple’s style. Kukru, a well known village located at Bhainsdehi in the Betul district has the Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation (NHDC), runs into rough weather over a wind power project.