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Indian Geography – Important Points  The Indian subcontinent, flanked by the towering mountains in

Indian Geography Important Points

The Indian subcontinent, flanked by the towering mountains in the north and girdled by the seas and the ocean in the south stands distinct from the rest of Asia. This explains why the subcontinent has been able to develop a distinctive culture of its own.

India occupies a dominant position in the subcontinent as it alone claims three fourths of the total population. Also it has

fairly long common frontiers with each member of the


Being located at the head of the Indian Ocean it is in a very

good position to promote trade with the continents of Asia,

Africa and Australia.

The construction of Suez Canal has brought Europe and North

America in its easy reach.

India is only at a relatively short distance from the oil-rich

countries surrounding the Persian Gulf.

The latitudinal extent of the country implies marked variations

in the climate of the northern and southern parts of the

country. The longitudinal extent is responsible for a time lag of

almost two hours between its eastern and western extremities.

This, however, has been minimised by adopting 82 30' E

longitude as the standard meridian of India whose local time is

taken to be the standard time for the entire country.

In terms of area, India stands seventh in the world but in

population it ranks second next only to China. It means there

is tremendous population pressure on our limited land and

water resources.

The physiographic divisions of India are very bold and highly contrasting. In fact, each one of them can be presented as an ideal example of its kind - be it a mountain; a plateau or a plain. Besides adding to the diversity they also stress economic complementarity.

They make all these macro regions entirely interdependent on one another, making the whole country a single economic and political entity benefiting each and every part big or small.

 India is a country of climatic diversities which are expressed in the variations in

India is a country of climatic diversities which are expressed in the variations in the distribution of temperature, pressure, winds and amount of precipitation.

The factors which are responsible for determining the climate of different regions of India include her location and latitudinal extent, physiography, the role of Himalayan ranges as a climatic divide, the monsoon winds, upper air circulation, western disturbances and cyclonic storms.

Derived from Arabic word „mousim‟, monsoon implies the rhythm of season and seasonal reversal of winds.

Meteorologically, the year in India is divided into four seasons

namely the cold weather season, the hot weather season, the

advancing southwest monsoon season and the retreating

southwest monsoon season. These seasons have different

characteristics of weather conditions.

Among the top ten disaster prone countries, India stands

second after China.

More than 6% of the total population bears the brunt of

natural disasters. Natural hazard, which devastates life and

property, are called disasters.

More than 20% of the deaths caused by floods in the world,

occur in India. Floods are caused by heavy rain, deposition of

sediment and tsunami.

65% of cultivated area of India is rain fed. This is the area

where droughts are common. Degradation of environment

caused by human activities is also responsible for drought. By

adopting some measures, the impact of drought could be


191 districts, out of the 593 (2001) districts of India, are

vulnerable to drought.

Landslides cause heavy damage on mountainous slopes in rainy season. Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and all the seven states of North East India are landslide prone.

Landslides are caused by deforestation, earthquakes, construction of roads and buildings, and shifting agriculture. A very severe earthquake occurred on 26 January, 2001 in Gujarat.

 Earthquakes not only destroy life and property, but also change the courses of rivers.

Earthquakes not only destroy life and property, but also change the courses of rivers. Tsunami, mud fountains, cracks and fissures are also caused by severely devastating earthquakes.

The quake prone areas are North East India, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Cyclones originate in the Bay of Bengal and affect the states of eastern coasts. Cyclones that originate in the Arabian Sea have a devastating impact over Maharashtra and Gujarat coast. If some precise precautions are taken, the impact of

cyclones could be mininised.

Land is our basic resource. It has different roles like

productive economic factor, foundation for social prestige and

is the basis of wealth and political power.

India is well endowed with cultivable land. It has favourable

land-man ratio than Japan, and Netherlands, whereas it is not

as favourable as it is in Australia, Canada and the U.S.A.

Land use is a dynamic process. It changes over time due to a

number of factors including increasing population and

changes in cropping pattern and technology. However, bulk of

land continues to be used for raising crops.

India faces a lot of problems related to land. They are land

degradation, tenure or ownership of land and deforestation.

India has adopted two broad measures, land reclamation and

land reforms to solve these problems.

Soil is defined as upper layer of the earth composed of loose

surface material.

The soils of India are broadly divided into six groups. They are

alluvial, regur or black, red, laterite, desert and mountain

soils. Like land, soil also has problems such as soil erosion

and soil exhaustion.

Various soil conservation methods like contour ploughing terracing, shelter belt formation and afforestation are adopted in India.

Natural vegetation implies the assemblage of plant species living in association with one another in a given environment.

Diversity in climatic conditions has resulted into a marked diversity in natural vegetation.

 The important vegetation types in India include the moist tropical evergreen, the moist tropical

The important vegetation types in India include the moist tropical evergreen, the moist tropical deciduous, the dry deciduous, the tidal forests and the mountain vegetation.

Water in the most important and precious resources of nature. This is the basis of life. There are various uses of water. It is used for drinking, domestic work, irrigation, industries and energy sectors.

India is an agricultural country. It has a long growing season. Hence there is maximum use of water in irrigation, wells, tube wells, canals, and tanks are the important sources of

irrigation. There is maximum use of wells and tube wells in


The distribution of water in India is very uneven. Duration of

rainfall, nature of rainfall nature of level and slope of land are

responsible factors for uneven distribution of water.

River valley projects have played an important role in the

development of water resourced, flood control and appropriate

use of water. These have contributed greatly in the economic

development of the country and in the conservation of


The conservation of water resources has become necessary

due to scarcity of water, diversity in temporal and terrestrial

distribution of water, increasing demand for water by a large

growing population and changing atmospheric conditions.

Special emphasis has been given on rain water harvesting and

water-shed development programmes for this. If these

programmes are carried out honestly. Then water crisis can

never arise in India. Among there rain water harvesting

programmes can be completed in low budget with the active

cooperation of the people. There is a great need to change out

thinking about water resources.

Many social organization, councils and individuals have done commendable work in this field. Barren and backward areas have adopted on the path of development with their cooperation.

Water-shed development and linking rivers together is very expensive time consuming and complex. But this work can be

completed by cooperation among different state govts, strong will power of the centre and cooperation

completed by cooperation among different state govts, strong will power of the centre and cooperation of the people.

India has different types of land uses. About 47 per cent of its total area is under cultivation leaving very little scope for brining further land under cultivation.

The food for rapidly growing population can be provided only by improving productivity per hectare of land as cultivable land in India is only 13 per cent. There is need of increasing forest land for ecological balance.

Animal rearing is important economic activity in India. It

accounts for a quarter of the total agricultural output. India

has the highest number of livestock but the quality of livestock

is very poor.

Efforts are being made to improve the quality of animals

through operation flood. As a result, India is now leading in

milk production in the world.

Fisheries are also an important occupation in India.

Rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton and tea are important crops

grown in India. Efforts are being made to increase production

of fruits, vegetables, spices and flowers.

The importance of these crops has increased due to global

opportunities in export of agricultural commodities. India can

earn a sizable amount of foreign exchanges with export of

these items.

The government of India has formulated a new agricultural

policy in 2000 in the light of economic liberalization.

In the new agricultural policy emphasis have been placed on

privatization of agriculture, increasing animal products,

aquaculture, floriculture, improving domestic and

international market systems and facilitating credit flow to the


Mineral and power resources play an important role in the industrial development of a nation. They provide the industrial raw materials and fuel.

Minerals are classified into metallic and non-metallic minerals. Metallic minerals can be further grouped into ferrous and non- ferrous.

 Mineral fuels are coal, petroleum, and natural gas. India‟s position is particularly good in

Mineral fuels are coal, petroleum, and natural gas. India‟s position is particularly good in the metallic minerals of ferrous group. It is well endowed with iron ore of high quality.

India has rich deposits of mica and bauxite. It is also one of the leading producers of mica in the world.

Coal is the primary source of power in India. It occurs in the rock formations of Gondwana and Tertiary age.

Gondwana coal fields account for 96% of the total reserves and production in India.

India‟s position is not satisfactory in the reserves as well as

production of petroleum. Assam belt and Gujarat-Cambay and

Bombay High belt are the two important petroleum producing

regions in India.

Uranium and thorium are the two important atomic minerals

in India. The major problems faced by mineral resources are

depletion of mineral resources, ecological problems, pollution

and social problems.

Various methods are adopted for conservation of mineral

resources. The measures are reclamation, recycling,

substitution and more efficient uses.

Recently some on-shore as well as off-shore oil fields has been


On-shore oil fields are discovered in the state of Rajasthan

whereas offshore oil fields are discovered along the coast of

Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Natural gas is emerging as an important source of commercial

energy because in recent years more and more reserves are

discovered at eastern coast namely Krishna, Godavari and

Mahanadi basins.

Energy is a highly important infrastructural resource for the economic development of a country. Main sources of power are coal, petroleum, natural gas, nuclear power and water power. All these sources are known as the conventional sources of energy.

Power generated by the use of coal petroleum and natural gas is called thermal energy. These sources of energy are exhaustible and non-renewable. They cause pollution.

 Hydel power is a renewable and pollution free source of energy. Its maintenance costs

Hydel power is a renewable and pollution free source of energy. Its maintenance costs are very low. Nuclear power is source of power. It requires huge capital and sophisticated technology. Careful handling and security measures are necessary for the protection of life all around their sites.

The share of thermal power is more than 70 percent out of the total energy produced in India.

Next comes is the hydel power whose share is about 26 percent. The share of nuclear power is only less than 2.5 percent.

Coal based thermal power plants are located either near the

coal fields or near the consumption centres. These plants are

largely located in Madhya Pradesh, Chhatishgarh, Jharkhand

and Orissa. However, thermal plants on the borders of Uttar

Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are also very

important as they serve far off regions in these three states.

There has been sufficient development of hydel power in the

southern states. India has developed about 50 percent of its

total water power potential.

Sun, winds, tides, hot springs, biogas etc. are the alternative

sources of power. They are known as non-conventional

sources of energy. They are renewable, pollution free and

inexpensive. There is a slow progress in the utilisation of these

sources for want of suitable and economically viable


The processing of natural resources into more useful items is

called manufacturing.

Economic development of a country is directly linked with the

level of industrial development. In India the share of

manufacturing industries in GDP has been increasing, over

the period, especially in post-economic reforms period.

Before independence, India was industrially less developed. But after independence India initiated industrial development in a planned manner during its Five Year Plans.

Today, India exports a large number of industrial goods to different countries of the world.

Industries can be classified into different categories on the basis, such as of sources of raw material, ownership,

functions, size of industry and weight of raw material and finished products.  Since India

functions, size of industry and weight of raw material and finished products.

Since India is still an agricultural country, it has developed various agro-based industries such as cotton textile, woolen textile, jute textile and sugar industry.

Cotton textile industry is the largest organised sector industry in India.

India is also endowed with various minerals, enabling the country to establish various mineral based industries such as iron and steel, heavy engineering, automobiles, chemicals and

petro chemical industry.

The Government of India framed policies which have made

India self-reliant in various sectors of industries.

Liberalization, globalization and privatization have helped in

bringing foreign capital and modern technology into the

country. Private enterprise is being allowed to enter into

various core sectors. This, has resulted into the faster growth

of industrial sector.

The term infrastructure denotes the essential elements

forming the bases of a system or structure. Transport,

communication and trade are important infrastructural

resources of economy. These services provide support for the

development of entire economy, particularly agriculture and


Railways, roads and pipe lines are the means of land

transport. They play an important role in strengthening the

national unity. They also promote social and economic

prosperity in the country.

Water transport is an inexpensive but slow means of

transport. The development of inland water transport is

limited only to the eastern part and eastern coastal plains. India is ideally situated on the busy Suez route joining Australia and south-east Asia and Europe.

The air transport is the fastest through costliest means of transport. It is also suitable in the areas where construction and maintenance of surface transport is difficult, such as Northeastern region. All these means of transport have brought the world closer.

 Rail transport provides services particularly for long distance and carries bulk of traffic at

Rail transport provides services particularly for long distance and carries bulk of traffic at one time. Northern plains, eastern coastal plains, and Gujarat plains have dense network of railways; while the Northeastern region, Western Rajasthan and the Himalayan region have sparse railway network.

Road transport provides door to door services. It is flexible and is suitable for short distances. Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have the highest density of surfaced roads.

Communication involves sending or receiving messages at individual or mass level.

It includes postal services, telegraph, telephone, teleprinters,

radio, television and print media. Radio and television belong

to electronic telecommunication media.

Transport and communication are interrelated and they

strengthen and supplement each other.

The trade relations of India have grown very rapidly after

Independence. India has bilateral trade with many developed

and developing countries. There has been a significant change

in the commodities of export and import after independence.

India has now adopted the policy of liberalisation of trade

removing restrictions on imports. Despite phenomenal growth

in foreign trade India‟s share in world trade is very low - not

even one per cent.

Human resource is the most important resource in an area. It

is the quality rather than quantity of this resource which is

important for the economic development of a country.

India is the second most populous country of the world after

China. The distribution of population is generally studied in

terms of density. The density of population in India is not

uniform. On the basis of density of population,

India can be divided into three broad regions of high density, the areas of moderate density, and the areas of low density. The factors which affect density and distribution can be grouped into two categories. They are physical factors and socio-economic factors.

The population of India has been increasing very rapidly since 1921 and the rate of growth has been increasing. The growth rate of population is determined by the birth rate, death rate

and migration of an area. Like density and distribution, the growth rate is also not

and migration of an area. Like density and distribution, the growth rate is also not uniform throughout the country.

Migration is an important factor for the growth rate of population. Migration can be divided into various types. It can be divided as permanent and temporary.

On the basis of source of origin and destination of migrant population, it can be divided into rural to rural, rural to urban, urban to urban and urban to rural. These four types can be grouped under two categories i.e. inter-state migration and intrastate migration.

People move from one place to other under the influence of

economic, sociopolitical and demographic factors.

The causes of migration can be studied in terms of push and

pull factors. The consequences of migrations are numerous

and they can be studied in terms of economic, social and

demographic consequences.

The migrants involve themselves in extra marital relation and

drug abuse due to their loneliness since they have left their

family at their source.

The development of a country depends upon both quality and

quantity of the human resources. The quality of human

resource depends upon the population composition. They are

rural - urban, sex - age, linguistic, religious, Scheduled

Castes, Scheduled Tribe, literate-non literate composition.

India is proverbially known as the country of villages.

Till today more than 72 percent of people live in rural areas.

The rate of urbanisation is however increasing. The growth

rate of urban population is higher than the average growth

rate in the country. This is mainly due to migration of people

from rural to urban areas. There are 35 metropolitan cities in

India having population more than 10,00,000.

On the other hand, sex ratio in India is unfavourable. The highest number of females per one thousand males in Kerala (1058) whereas it is lowest in Haryana (861). If we take Union Territory into account then the lowest sex ratio in the country is in Daman and Diu (709). The sex ratio has been gradually decreasing in each successive censuses except some marginal increase in the 1951, 1981 and 2001 census.

 The rate of literacy in India is not very high (65.38%). It is the

The rate of literacy in India is not very high (65.38%). It is the highest in Kerala where the literacy rate is as high as 90.92% and on the other extreme is the state of Bihar where literacy is as low as 47.53% percent.

India is a land of great social diversity. It is the home of people belonging to different racial stocks, languages and religions. The tribal people are the nearest relations of some of the original racial stocks. The Schedule Castes are intermixture of various racial stocks.

The concentration of these population are found in the plain

areas due to their profession. Whereas Scheduled Tribes

generally live in isolated forested and hilly tracts. They are pre-

industrial stage of development and believe in super-natural


India is a unique country in terms of language and religion.

Here all the major religions of the world are found. There are

18 major languages and hundreds of dialects are spoken in

the country.

The concept of Human Development Index (HDI) was

propounded by Prof Mehbub Al Haque and Prof. Amartya Sen

in 1990.

From 1990 onwards Human Development Report is published

by UNDP annually which reflects the status of human

development in almost all the countries across the world.

HDI is a composite index that measures the average

achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of

human development. They are long and healthy life,

knowledge and decent standards of living.

They basic difference between economic development and

human development is that economic development entirely

focuses on the increase of income whereas the human development stresses in expanding and widening of all aspects of human life. In HDI, economic condition is one of the essential elements.

Apart from HDI, various types of indices are constructed and published by UNDP. Some of the important indices are Human Poverty Index, Gender Development Index, Gender Empowered Measurement index, etc.

 If we look at the situation since independence to till date, we find that

If we look at the situation since independence to till date, we find that there has been a significant improvement. However there have been increases in HIV/AIDS patients to check the menace of HIV/AIDS, the youngsters have been suggested to develop certain life skills. But there is a need for further improvement. To improve the situation, the Government of India has implemented many programmes such as massive project like National Rural Health Mission, Sarva Shikhsa Abhiyan, and National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme etc.

In accordance with UNDP Human Development Report,

Planning Commission of India came out with a similar kind of

Report titled “National Human Development Report.”

In this report HDI of fifteen major states were calculated. The

state of Kerala has highest HDI whereas the state of Bihar has

the lowest HDI.

Settlement can be defined as any form of human habitation

which ranges from a single dwelling to a large city.

Settlements can be broadly divided into two types rural and

urban. The basic difference between rural and urban is on the

basis of function.

In India rural settlements are broadly grouped under four

categories. These are compact, semi-compact, hamleted and


Compact settlements have closely built up area and dwellings

are concentrated in one central site. Maximum settlements of

our country come under this category and geographically it

spreads almost every part of the country. There are as much

as eleven patterns are found within the compact settlement.

Semi-compact settlements are characterised by a small but

compact nuclear around which hamlets are dispersed. Some of the important patterns bound in semi-compact settlements are checkerboard, elongated and fan-shaped. Such settlements are found in tribal areas of Chota Nagpur region and Nagaland in north-eastern states of India.

Hamleted settlements are those settlements where central or main settlements is either absent or has less influence on the other units whereas dispersed settlement is a unit of small

size which may consists of a single house to a small group of houses. Physical

size which may consists of a single house to a small group of houses. Physical ethnic or cultural and historical or defence are some of the important factors which influence the type of rural settlements in India.

There are variations in house types also. The variations are determined by topography, climate, availability of building materials, etc.

As far as building materials are concerned, these can be grouped under two categories (i) building material used for walls and (ii) building material used for roofs.

Building materials used for walls are mainly mud, stone,

brick, timber and wattle whereas building materials used for

roofs are thatch, mud, tiles, tine, stone slab, wood, brick, etc.

According to census of India, urban settlements are (a) all

places with municipality, corporation, cantonment board, or

notified town area committee etc. and (b) all other places

which satisfy the following criteria: (i) a minimum population

of 5000; (ii) at least 75% of male working population engaged

in non-agricultural pursuits; and (iii) a density of population of

at least 400 persons per square kilometer.

The places which satisfy the conditions mentioned in category

(a) are known as statutory towns. The towns which satisfy

conditions mentioned in the category (b) are known as census


Like rural settlements, urban settlements are classified on

various bases. However, classification based on size and

functions are most common.

On the basis of population size all urban settlements can be

town, city, metropolitan city and mega city. On the basis of

functions, cities can be grouped as administrative, industrial,

transportation, commercial, mining, cantonment, educational, religious, tourist, etc.

Local area planning is a process of planning that is concerned with resolving local level problems and issues.

Local area is both a physical as well as a cultural attribute like landscape of an area, local products of folk dances, handicrafts etc.

 An effort to devise way and means to solve the problems of places and

An effort to devise way and means to solve the problems of places and people is termed as planning.

Planning is carried out of various levels from small local area to as large area as the world. However, it is the sincere effort of the local people that ensures local area clean, green and prosperous.

For local area planning, formulation of objectives fixing targets and priorities to be achieved, mobilization of local and other resources for the execution of plan, creating social group for the implementation of the plan and monitoring of progress are

the basic requirements.

The success of local area planning largely depends upon the

ecological and socioeconomic base of the locality.

As such local area plans vary significantly from place to place.

The dimensions of local area planning are essentially to fulfill

the basic and higher needs of the people besides creating

adequate opportunities for employment and income generation

to meet the growing needs of local people.

Hence, need based utilization of local resources is a

precondition for such a planning.

Local resources refer to land resources like rocks and soils,

water resources, plantations and forest resources. Assessment

of local resources helps in data collection and preparation of

plan and its implementation.

Planning is, thus, a continuous process. India is making

planned efforts to develop its economy and areas for the

welfare of people. India has designed 10 Five Year Plans based

on its priorities so far.

Priorities have been changing during different plan periods.

However, all of these plans were aimed at achieving higher

economic growth rates while keeping general welfare of the people as the main goal.

There are distinct problems and potentials of the different regions. Hence, present unique needs for planning.

Water harvesting and management, protection and promotion of forest, tribal welfare and protection of wild life, power to the people for managing local environment are some of the

planning priorities of different regions based on their unique needs.  To improve the quality

planning priorities of different regions based on their unique needs.

To improve the quality of local environment, utilization of local re- sources and initiatives of the local people are important. There is a need for optimal resource utilisation in the light of resource depletion and their renewability.

Maps are the basic tools and designs for the development and planning of a local area. As such use of maps, sketches and photographs helps in the identification of local issues, collection of data/information and for finalizing the blue print

of local area planning.

The case studies need to be conducted to analyse the socio-

economic set up, land use pattern, amenities and social

facilities and common property resources in the area. Based

on the result of the case studies, planning proposals need to

be developed. These proposals must include the issues and

specific schemes for environmental, social and economic

planning of the area.

India‟s share in world‟s tourism is still very low both in the

number of tourist arrivals and in foreign exchange earnings.

Tourism accounts for our third largest export item in the

country‟s foreign trade in terms of earnings.

Tourism industry creates new jobs at a faster pace and with

relatively low investment. It tones up the economy and quality

of life in under developed areas as are the geographically

isolated tracts in the mountains.

International tourism promotes the export of invisible

products without sending them out of India, in the form of

hospitality service rendered to tourists during the stay in our

tourist areas. It is so because we earn foreign exchange out of

what the foreign tourists spend.

Additionally, they also carry many of our fanciful articles like handicrafts, without incurring any cost of their transport or advertisement by us.

Cash earning from the stay of foreign tourists makes up our unfavourable balance of trade. The natural environment and heritage sites remain a source of attraction as long as these are not damaged beyond control from their degradation or pollution.

 Massive tourist traffic, unless regulated creates these mal- effects. Tourist carrying capacity of a

Massive tourist traffic, unless regulated creates these mal- effects. Tourist carrying capacity of a resort needs to be matched to minimize the inconveniences of local people during the period of tourist rush.

Youths of the host area are also to be saved from cultural alienation by blindly initiating the lifestyle of foreigners during days of reckless massive tourism.

A planning for adopting a sequence of steps like a survey of the existing position of services and facilities needed by tourists and measures for development of a healthy and

sustainable tourism has become a dire need.

A national level, an apex body has to take stock of the status

and trends of tourism in comparison with neighbouring

countries. It will help appraise the future needs, the nature of

various incentives for alluring tourists and the gaps to be

removed for better provision as well as management of the


A national policy alone is capable to give a feed for organizing

integrated interstate circuit tours. It helps in reducing the

imbalances in spread of tourism in the country and in

promptly rehabilitating the booming tourist areas extensively

damaged by natural disaster like the recent Tsunami seismic

sea waves.

A regional review is needed to keep up the continued

attraction of sight-seeing spots and improve upon the

connectivity for tourists to reach them in local areas.

A full scale publicity drive is crucial for making tourists aware

of what in worth seeing in the region and the local community

to care for proper marketing of its landscape, heritage and

skills. A continuous supply of professional intermediaries at

all levels within the local tourist areas cannot be neglected in the interest of promotion of tourism.

A regional organization is more capable to develop more sites for tourism and to recommend innovative steps like the induction of new forms of ethnic tourism which is found appealing both for the visitor and the host community.

 Innovations are the need of the present so as to save regional tourism from

Innovations are the need of the present so as to save regional tourism from reaching a saturation point which is its dead end.