INDIAN AND WORLD GEOGRAPHY

THE COUNTRY

Official Name : Republic of India i Capital : New Delhi Nationality : Indian Area : 32,87,263 sq km (provisional as on March 31, 1982)

Population 2011 Census (Provisional Data): 1,21,01,93,422

India is the seventh largest and the second most populous nation of the world. It lies entirely in the northern hemisphere as the mainland of India extends between latitudes 8° 4′ N and 37° 6′ N. It is a country of the East with its landmass lying between longitudes 68° 7′ E and 97° 25′ E. On its northern frontiers, India is bounded by the Great Himalayas. It stretches southwards and beyond the Tropic of Cancer, it narrows down to form the Great Indian Peninsula which ends up in the Indian Ocean with Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari) as its southernmost tip. On the east of the Peninsular India is the Bay of Bengal, wherein lie the Indian islands of Andaman and Nicobar; and on the west is the Arabian Sea with another group of Indian islands called the Lakshadweep. India has a land frontier of 15,200 kilometres and a coastline of 7,516.6 kilometres including the mainland’s coastline as well as that of the Indian islands.

Stretching 3,214 kilometres from north to south’between the extreme latitudes and 2,933 kilometres from east to west between the extreme longitudes, India , covers a land area of 32,87,263 square kilometres, constituting 2.42 percent of earth’s surface and only one-third of the United States in area and less than one- fifth of Russia. India has 17.5% population of the world, which lives in a variety of social, economic and geophysical conditions. The country has a long history spanning over five thousand years of human habitation, and a rich cultural heritage handed down by the native pre-Aryan, the Aryan and the invading civilisations. Her civilisation is one of the most ancient with a glorious heritage. Today, she is the largest democracy of the world with a republican constitution. The climatic contrasts, the varied landscapes and the widely divergent environmental
conditions of India account for the magnificence of its flora and fauna. The vast variety of natural resources, rich soils and rare earth deposits, have provided a base for diversified economic activities which include over two thousand years old traditional agriculture and the new saga of modern industrialisation generating numerous social, economic and cultural diversities. Predominantly a rural country, India’s total urban population exceeds the total population of most of the developing nations. Indian people live in a variety of human settlements ranging from the small hamlets to some of the world’s largest and most problematic cities. There are settlements and areas within a settlement, of both affluence as well as poverty and running through all these diversities is the thread of India’s basic unity, which makes it one great nation.

OUR NEIGHBOURS

India is bounded by the Muztagh Ata, Aghil and Kunlun mountains to the north of Kashmir. It has Zaskar mountains on the east side of Himachal Pradesh and northern side of Uttarakhand. For the rest, Himalayas form the country’s boundary in the Nepal region. In the north, India is adjoined by China, Nepal and Bhutan. In the east lies Bangladesh and Myanmar. Afghanistan and Pakistan border on the north-west. The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait separate India from Sri Lanka in the south. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea also constitute parts of the territory of India.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The mainland consists of four well- defined regions: (i) the great mountain zone, (ii) the Indo-Gangetic plain, (iii) the desert region, and (iv) the Southern Peninsula.

The Himalayas comprise three almost parallel ranges interspersed with large plateaus and valleys some of which, like Kashmir and Kullu valleys, are • fertile, extensive and of great- scenic beauty. Some of the highest peaks in the World are to be found in these ranges. The high altitudes limit travel only to a few
passes, notably Jelep La and Nathu La on the main Indo-Tibet trade route through the Chumbi Valley, north-east of Darjeeling and Shipki La in Sudej Valley north-east of Kalpa (Kinnaur). The mountain wall extends over, a distance of about 2,400 km with a varying depth of 240 to 320 km. In the east, between India and Myanmar (formerly Burma) and India and Bangladesh, the hill ranges are much lower. The Garo, Khasi, Jaintia and Naga hills running almost east-west join the chain of the Mizo and Arakan Hills running north-south.

The Indo-Gangetic Plains, about 2,400 km long and 240 to 320 km broad, are formed by the basins of three distinct river systems: the Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. They are one of world’s greatest stretches of flat alluvium and also one of the most densely populated areas on earth. There is hardly any variation in relief. Between the Yamuna river at Delhi and the Bay of Bengal, nearly 1,600 km away, there is a drop of only 200 metres in elevation.

The desert region can be divided in two parts: one, the ‘great desert’ and the other, ‘little desert’. The ‘great desert’ extends from the, edge of Rann of Kutchh, beyond the Luni river northward. The whole of Rajasthan-Sind frontier runs through this. The -little desert’ extends fr^m the Luni river between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur up to the northern waste. Between the great and little deserts lies a zone of more or less absolutely sterile countryside, consisting of rocky land cut up by limestone ridges. Due to absence of surface water and very scanty rainfall, the region is almost absolutely barren.

The Peninsular plateau is marked off from the Indo-Gangetic Plains by a mass of mountain and hill ranges varying from 460 to 1,220 metres in height. Prominent among these are the Aravalli, Vindhya, Satpura, Maikala and Ajanta. The Peninsula is flanked on one side by the Eastern Ghats, where the average elevation is about 610 metres, and on the other by the Western Ghats, where it is generally from 915 to 1,220 metres, rising in places to over2,440 metres. Between the Western

 

Ghats and the Arabian Sea lies a narrow coastal strip, while between the .Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal there is broader coastal area. The southern point of the plateau is formed by the Nilgin Hills where Eastern and Western Ghats meet. The Cardamom Hills lying beyond may be regarded as a continuation of the Western Ghats.

RIVERS OF INDIA

The rivers of India may be classified as follows: (a) the Himalayan rivers, (b) the Deccan rivers, (c) the coastal rivers and (d) the rivers of the inland drainage basin. The Himalayan rivers are generally snow-fed and have, therefore, continuous flow throughout the year. During the monsoon months, the Himalayas receive very heavy precipitation everywhere and the rivers discharge the maximum amount of water, causing frequent floods. The Deccan rivers are generally rain-fed and, therefore, fluctuate very much in volume. A large number of streams are non­perennial. The coastal streams, specially of the west coast, are short in length and have limited catchment areas. Most of them also are non-perennial. The streams in the inland drainage basin of western Rajasthan are few and far between. They drain towards the individual basins or salt lakes like the Sambhar or are lost in the sands, having no outlet to the sea. Only the river Luni drains into the Rann of Kuchch.

The Ganga basin, which receives waters from an area of about one-quarter of the total area of India, is the largest. Its boundaries are defined by the Himalayas in the north and the Vindhya mountains in the south. The Ganga has two main headwaters in the Himalayas— the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda, the former rising from the Gangotri glacier at Gaumukh and the latter from a glacial spout of the Alkapur glacier. A number of Himalayan rivers including the Yamuna, Ghaghra, Gomti, Gandak and Kosi join Ganga. Yamuna, which rises in the Yamunotri glacier and joins the Ganga at Allahabad, is the westernmost river of the Ganga system. Of the rivers flowing north from central India into the Yamuna or the Ganga, mention may be made of the Chambal, the Betwa and the Sone.

The Godavari basin is the second largest in India. It covers an area of about 10 percent of the area of India. The Krishna basin is the second largest in the peninsula. The Mahanadi flows through the third largest basin in the peninsula. The basins of the Narmada in the uplands of the Deccan and of the Kaveri in the far south are of about the
same size though of different character and shape.

The two other river systems, though small but nevertheless agriculturally very important, are those of the Tapti in the north and the Pennar in the south.

CLIMATIC CONDITIONS

Four seasons are recognised by the Indian Meteorological Department. They are: (i) the winter (December-February);

  • the summer (March-May); (iii) the rainy season (June-September); and (iv) the season of the retreating south­west monsoon (October-November).

There are four broad climatic regions based on rainfall. Practically the whole of Assam and west coast of India lying at the foot of the Western Ghats and extending from the north of Mumbai to Thiruvananthapuram are areas of very heavy rainfall. In contrast to these, .the Rajasthan desert extending to Kuchch, the high Ladakh plateau of Kashmir extending westward to Gilgit and Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh are regions of low rainfall. In between these areas at the extreme ends of the rainfall range are two areas of moderately high and low rainfall, respectively. The former consists of a broad belt in the eastern part of the peninsula merging northward with the Indian plains and southwards with coastal plains. The latter comprises a belt extending from the Punjab plains across the Vindhya mountains into western part of the Deccan widening considerably in the Mysore plateau.

LOCATION

The Indian subcontinent occupies a strategic position in Southern Asia. It is favourably situated on the world’s highways of trade and commerce both to the east and the west. The Arabian peninsula and African continent lie in its west and Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia in the east. Its distance from Europe is only 7,000 km through the Suez Canal. It also has links with North America and South America both through the Suez Canal and the Cape of Good Hope. The third biggest ocean in the world known as Indian Ocean is named after it. It is a distinct geographic entity, separated from the rest of Asia by the lofty mountain barriers of the Himalayas, the Kirthar, the Sulaiman, the Hindukush and the Poorvanchal mountain ranges. The countries that the Indian subcontinent comprises are India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, India being the largest among them. In fact, it is the second largest country in the world in terms of population and seventh largest in the world in terms of area.

Seventh largest country
(areawise)

Area                     : 32,87,263 sq. km*

North to’ South : 3,214 km West to East : 2,933 km Latitudinal extent : 8°4′ N to 37°6′ N Longitudinal extent 68°7′ E to 97°25′ E (For mainland)

Southernmost point—Indira Point or Pygmalion Point (Andaman and Nicobar Islands) 64°5′ N

Coastline is 6,100 km (along main landmass) and 7,516 km (if Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep are considered)

Total land frontier is 15,200 km.

* Provisional as on March 31, 1982.

India is situated in the Northern Hemisphere. The southern tip of India lies at 8°4′ N. The Tropic of Cancer (23°30′ N) almost divides India into two halves. The line passes through eight States, vi%, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tripura and Mizoram. The latitudinal and longitudinal extent of India are 3,214 km and 2,933 km, respectively.

PHYSICAL FEATURES

India has three distinct physical divisions. The northern boundaries of India are provided by the lofty ranges of the Himhayas, which run almost in a wall-like shape from north-west to north­east. Then we have the Great Plains of northern India formed by the basins of three mighty river systems, vi%, the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. Down below, we have the Deccan Plateau of the Peninsular India, which is geologically the oldest structure of the Indian subcontinent. It consists of huge rock blocks of very ancient times.

The, Great Mountain Wall of the North : India’s northern frontiers are distinctly marked out by an arc-shaped huge mountain wall stretching for about 3;600 km comprising the snow-capped mountain ranges of the Karakoram and the Himalayas. The width of this mountain belt varies between 150 km and 400 km. The Karakoram mountain ranges rise from the Pamir Knot in the north-west and stretch towards south­east up to the Indus Gorge in Jammu and Kashmir. The world’s second highest mountain peak K2 (Godwin Austen), which has a height of 8,611 metres, belongs to this chain of mountains. Famous Baltoro and Siachen Glacier also lie in the high valleys of Karakoram ranges. To the south of the Karakoram mountains is the Ladakh range and further below southwards is the Zaskar range of mountains, both of which lie in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Himalayas (meaning the abode of snow), which form almost a 2,500-krr. long continuous mountain wall on India’s

north, extending from Indus in the west to Brahmaputra in the east, can be divided into Western, Central and Eastern Himalayas. The Western Himalayas encompass Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The Central Himalayas are spread over Uttarakhand and Nepal. The Eastern Himalayas cover northern parts of the West Bengal and extend into Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Himalayas broadly consist of three parallel ranges of mountains, vi%, the Himadri, the Himachal and the Shiwaliks. The Himadri range, also known as the Greater Himalayas, comprises the northernmost range and lies on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. It is the highest mountain range with an average height of about 6,000 metres above the sea level. The world’s highest mountain peak, Mount Everest (8,848 metres) in Nepal, belongs to the Greater Himalayas. Kanchenjunga (8,598 metres), Nanga Parbat (8,126 metres) and Nanda Devi (7,817 metres) are the highest peaks of the Greater Himalayas in India.

South of the Himadri lies the Himachal range, which is also known as the Middle or the Lesser Himalayas, which has a height varying between 3,700 and 4,500 metres above sea level. This range of alternating ridges and valleys and highly dissected uplands contains many of India’s important hill stations. The beautiful Kashmir, Kulu and Kangra valleys of India and Kathmandu valley in Nepal, lie in this mountain range. The popular hill stations of Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Mussoorie, Nainital (both in Uttarakhand) and Darjeeling (West Bengal) are also located on the Himachal ranges of the Himalayas.

The Shiwalik range is the southernmost range of Himalayas which is the lowest among the Himalayan ranges with a height of between 900 metres to 1,200 metres above the sea level. Made up of mud and soft rocks, it is a discontinuous range which lies on the northern border of the Ganga plain and extends towards east to merge with the main mountains.

Though the Himalayas, with their * loftiest mountain ranges, form the impeccable barrier on India’s northern frontiers, they do contain some gaps in their ranges which provide natural routes across these high mountains. These gaps, called ‘passes’, have not only been traditional trade routes over the past many centuries, but have also provided easy access to the foreign invaders and greatly influenced the course of India’s history. The important passes in the Himalayas are the Jelep La, Shipki La, . Nathu La, Bomdi La, etc.

On India’s north-eastern side are located the Poorvanchal mountains,

which consist of the Patkai Bum and the Naga Hills in the north; Mizo and Lushai Hills in the south; and the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia Hills in the centre. These mountain ranges are neither as tall nor as spectacular as the mighty Himalayas.

The Great Plains of Northern India : India, which has the world’s highest and the most spectacular mountains, is also fortunate in possessing one of the world’s most extensive and fertile plains, approximately 2,500 km from the Sutlej in the west to the Brahmaputra in the east made up of alluvial soil brought down in the form of fine silt by the mighty rivers. These Great Northern Plains consist of the Indus basin, the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin and the tributaries of these mighty river systems. The bulk of the Indus basin falls within Pakistan but a part of it is shared by Punjab and Haryana. The Ganga-Brahmaputra basin is larger of the two and covers a large number of States in northern India.

The most salient characteristic feature of the Great Plains of northern India is the extreme horizontality or levelness. There is practically no difference in geomorphological features of the two parts, vi%., the Indus basin and the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin—except the water divide which separates these two basins. This divide is made by a low narrow ridge of Aravalli range passing through Delhi and Ambala. The average height of the water divide is not more than 300 metres above the sea level, and this gives the plain a touch of continuity between these two drainage basins of the Indus and Ganga. However, according to the terrain characteristics, this plain can be divided into two parts:

  • the upland plain which lies above the flood level and is made up of old alluvium. This plain is called the Bangar Land; and (ii) the lowland plain, which is liable to inundation during floods and thus acquires fresh doses of new alluvium. This is called the Khadar Land.

The Drainage of the Great Plains : The Indus and the Ganga-Brahmaputra river systems together form the Great Plains of northern India. River Indus is a trans-Himalayan river. It originates beyond Himalayas in Tibet and flows throughout in Pakistan. Among its
tributaries, Jhelum and Chenab, which originate in India, also flow through Pakistan, while Ravi makes a small run through India before entering Pakistan. Only Sutlej, another trans-Himalayan river and a tributary of Indus, flows for its major course through India, while Beas, a tributary of Sutlej, remains in India throughoutits journey in the plains. Thus, only a small portion of the Indus river basin, comprising Punjab and Haryana, lies in the northern plains of India.

The Ganga-Brahmaputra river system forms the largest part of the Great Plains of north India. It covers almost one- fourth of the total land area of the country. The Ganga rises from the Gangotri glacier in the Himalayas and is joined by the Yamuna and Sone rivers on its right bank. Rivers joining the Ganga on its left side are the Gomti, the Ghaghra, the Gandak and the Kosi. The Yamuna rises from the Yamunotri glacier in the Himalayas, but its important tributaries, vi%., the Chambal, the Betwa and the Ken rise from the Malwa Plateau.

IMPORTANT INDIAN PEAKS
Peak Height (in metres above
  Mean Sea Level)
1. K2 (Godwin 8,611 In Pak
Austen) occupied
2. Kanchenjunga 8,598 territory
3. Nanga Parbat 8,126  
4. Gasher Brum 8,068 in Pak-
  •* • occupied
5. Broad Peak 8,047 territory

-do-

6. Disteghil Sar 7,885 -do-
7. Masher Brum E 7,821  
8. Nanda Devi 7,817  
9. Masher Brum W 7,806 In Pak-
10. Rakaposhi 7,788 occupied

territory

-do-

11. Kamet 7,756  
12. Saser Kangri 7,672  
13. Skyang Kangri 7,544 In Pak-
14. Sia Kangri 7,422 occupied

territory

-do-

15. Chaukhamba

(Badrinath Peak) 7,138

 
16. Trisul West 7,138  
17. Nunkun 7,135  
18. Pauhunri 7,128  
19. Kangto 7,090  
20. Dunagiri 7,066  
 

 

 

CLIMATIC features

India, with its vast size and marked variations in terrain, is a land of climatic contrasts. On an extremely hot summer afternoon, the temperature may occasionally shoot up to 55°C in certain parts of Rajasthan and south-west Punjab. And on a severe winter night, the mercury may dip to as low as minus 45°C in a cold arid region such as Kargil. Similarly, Cherapunji, with its- annual rainfall of 1,080 cm and Mawsynram (both in Meghalaya) are known to be the wettest places in the world while the dry regions of western Rajasthan receive no more than 13 cm of annual rainfall. In between these two extremes, there are regions of equable, moderate and uniform climate. These variations in temperature and rainfall make India a land of diverse climate and weather conditions.

The Tropic of Cancer divides India into two halves—Southern India lies in the tropical zone and Northern India in the sub-tropical zone, keeping the temperature high all over the country, except in the areas of high altitudes. Besides, some of the phenomena influencing India’s weather and climatic conditions lie much beyond its geographical limits. The western disturbances affecting winter weather in northern India originate from the low pressure systems developing in the eastern Mediterranean region. Temperature and pressure conditions in East Africa, Iran, Central Asia and Tibet affect the behaviour of monsoons. The weather conditions in the rest of the Indian subcontinent, the Indian Ocean and the China Sea also affect the weather conditions in various parts of India. The upper air currents or jet streams too, have their influence on the country’s climatic and weather conditions.

The most important factor in shaping India’s climatic conditions is monsoons that affect almost all parts of the country with varying intensity and duration and account for seasonal rhythm. An important characteristic feature of the monsoons is the complete reversal of winds which leads to the alternation of season. On the basis of monsoon variations, the year is divided into four seasons. These are :

  • The cold weather — December to

season              February

  • The hot weather — March to

season             May

  • The south-west —June to

monsoon season September

or the rainy season

  • The season of — October to

retreating       November

south-west monsoon

The Winter Season: Starting in December, the cold weather season becomes fully established in January and the temperature distribution over India shows a marked decline as one moves from south to north. Generally, the days are bright and sunny but the nights are cold. The generally fine weather of this period, is, however, occasionally disturbed by the western disturbances, which bring light rainfall and severe cold waves.

The Summer .Season: The period between March and May is that of rising temperatures and decreasing air pressures as the belt of intense heat shifts from south to north. In March, the day’s temperature reaches 35°C in the regions south of the Vindhayas. In April, the heat belt moves further north to Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and the temperature exceeds 37°C in the northern India. In May, it goes up to 41 °C or above and dry hot winds blow over most of the northern region and dust storms of great velocity strike Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh which are afterwards followed by light showers and cool breeze.

By the end of May, low pressure trough is developed which occasionally attracts the moisture-laden winds. After coming into contact with the hot dryland winds, it causes pre-monsoon rains. Kerala and coastal plains of the west receive a fair share of pre-monsoon showers, commonly known as ‘mango showers’. Assam and West Bengal also receive rain during this season, but north-west India remains comparatively dry.

The South-West Monsoon Season : By early June, the low pressure area over north-western plains becomes highly intense to attract the south-west rain­bearing winds, which approach suddenly with thunder and lightning. Within almost one month’s time, these winds overrun almost the entire country.

The south-west monsoons originate from the Indian Ocean and blow over the land mass of India from June to September. Due to the intense summer heat, a low pressure area is formed over the northern plains of India. But the oceanic region has a low temperature and high pressure centre. Consequently,
air starts moving from the high pressure area of the Indian Ocean towards the low pressure area over the land mass of India in the’ form of rain bearing monsoon winds. The south-east trade winds, which originate south of Equator, are also sucked into the wind system of the northern Indian Ocean and are deflected towards India. The landmass of peninsular India divides these south­west monsoons into two branches, vi%, the Arabian Sea branch and the Bay of Bengal branch.

The monsoon winds arising from the Arabian Sea, strike the Western Ghats and cause heavy rains. Having crossed the Ghats, they advance over the Deccan Plateau and Madhya Pradesh and are joined by a current of winds arising from the Bay of Bengal. Another part of the Arabian Sea monsoon winds cross the coast of Saurashtra and Kutch and passing over Aravalli hills, reach Punjab and Haryana. These winds also join the winds from the Bay of Bengal and cause widespread heavy rains in western Himalayas. The monsoon winds from the southern Bay of Bengal mainly move towards Burma, but a part of these winds is deflected by the Arakan Hills and moves westward, over the Ganga- Brahmaputra valley. It strikes the north­eastern hills and causes heavy rainfall in West Bengal, its adjoining States, sub- Himalayan region and the northern plains.

In all parts of the country, with the exception of the east coast of Tamil Nadu, bulk of annual rainfall is received during the monsoon season. But the distribution of rainfall is highly unequal as the monsoon winds become weaker as they traverse over longer distances. Thus, Kolkata receives 120 cm rainfall, Patna 102 cm, Allahabad 91 cm and New Delhi 56 cm. The windward side of the Western Chits receives heavy rainfall while the leeward side gets much smaller amount. The intensity and frequency of the cyclonic depressions originating in the Bay of Bengal and their crossing over to the mainland as well as the passage followed by them account for the variations in geographical distribution of rainfall.

The Retreating South-West Monsoon Season: The monsoon winds start retreating from Punjab and Haryana by mid-September, reach Ganga delta by late October and the Peninsular India by early November, leaving the land moist and the atmosphere, humid. However, from the middle of October, temperature begins to decline in northern parts of India. The weather during this season is characterised by high day temperature, clear sky and pleasant nights. The fall in temperature continues and the winter season becomes firmly established by December.

During this transition period of October-November, the low pressure conditions disappear from the north­western India and are transferred to the centre of the Bay of Bengal. These cyclonic depressions in the Bay of Bengal often cross the Southern Peninsula and cause widespread heavy rains along the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu, making October-November as the rainiest months in this part of the country.

North-East Monsoons: The north­east monsoons are the winds blowing out from the landmass of north-western India toward the Indian Ocean during the period of December and February. The low pressure area formed in the Ocean region attracts these winds from the high pressure areas formed during chilly winters over the north-western parts of India. These cold and dry winds move down the Ganga valley towards the Indian Ocean. The winds that move through the Bay of Bengal become moisture laden and strike the Tamil Nadu coast to bring winter rains in that region.

VEGETATION AND FORESTS

Forests are a renewable source and contribute substantially to economic development. They play a major role in enhancing the quality of environment. The forest cover in the country is 69.09 mha and constitutes 21.02 percent of its geographical area. Of this, very dense forest constitutes 8.35 mha (1.56 percent), moderately dense forest constitutes 31.90 mha (10.32 percent) and open forest 2,87,669 sq. km (8.76 per cent). A comparison of forest cover assessment of 2007 with that of 2005 reveals that there is an overall increase of 728 sq. km.

According to State of Forest Report 2003, the mangrove cover in the country occupies an area of 4,639 sq. km (0.14 percent) of geographic area of which the very dense mangrove comprises 1,162 sq. km (26.05 percent..of mangrove cover), moderately dense mangrove is 1,657 sq. km (37.14 percent) while open mangrove covers an area of 1,642 sq. km (36.81 percent). The total tree cover for the country (national area with 70 percent canopy density) has been estimated as 92,769 sq. km or about 2.82 percent.

Types of Forests

India possesses a variety of forests and natural vegetation which varies from region to region due to variations in climatic conditions, soil types and relief features. The country can be divided into five major vegetation regions which are:

  • the tropical evergreen and semi­evergreen forests, (ii) the tropical deciduous forests, (iii) the dry thorn forests, (iv) the tidal forests and (v) the hill forests of the Himalayan region.

Tropical Evergreen Forests: These forests thrive in regions of very high rainfall, usually over 200 centimetres per year, in a climate of high humidity and even temperatures. The vegetation is very thick and the trees are lofty, reaching a height of 60 metres or even more. Most of such forests are found on the windward side of the Western Ghats on altitudes ranging from 500 to 1,500 metres, and in the hill regions of the north-eastern part of India.

Semi-evergreen Forests : These lie on the relatively dry sides of the evergreen forests in Western Ghats, West Bengal, Odisha and other north-eastern region of India. These forests are generally confined to areas receiving about 200 centimetres of rainfall per year. The trees in these forests are lofty and hard-wooded, vegetation is dense and undergrowth is very thick. Bamboo, ebony and rubber trees are the economically important vegetations of this region, but difficulties of exploitation make them of little commercial use.

Tropical Deciduous Forests: These forests, also known as monsoon forests, are found in the regions that get about 100 to 200 centimetres of rainfall per annum. They extend from the Shiwalik ranges in the north to the eastern flanks of the Western Ghats in the peninsular India. The trees in these forests shed leaves for about 6 to 8 weeks in summer, but since each specie has its own shedding time, the forests, on the whole, never look absolutely bare of greenery in any part of the year. Teak, sal, sandalwood, shisham and mahua trees that grow in abundance in these forests are economically very valuable.

Thom Forests: The thorn forests are the vegetation of the comparatively dry and arid regions which have annual rainfall of less than 80 centimetres. This type of vegetation is common in western Punjab, south-west Haryana, Rajasthan, parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh

Monsoon is a seasonal wind that blows over the northern part of the Indian Ocean, especially the Arabian Sea, and over most of the surrounding land areas. The monsoon blows continually from the southwest from April to October. It blows from the northeast from November to March.

Monsoons are generated by the difference in the heating and cooling of air 6ver land and sea. During the summer, radiant energy from the sun heats land surfaces far more than it does sea surfaces. The strongly heated air over the land rises and is replaced by a southwesterly wind carrying warm, moist air from the Indian Ocean. Water vapour in the rising air condenses and forms clouds and rain. This process releases large amounts of heat, which helps drive monsoons.

In winter, the land is cooled much more than the sea. The cool air over the land sinks and spreads out to the sea as a dry northeasterly wind.

The southwesterly monsoon brings heavy rains to southern and south­eastern Asia, including Bangladesh, Burma, India and Thailand. The strength of the southwesterly monsoon—and the time in April that it begins—affects agriculture in southern Asia. Abnormal monsoons can destroy a region’s crops and livestock and disrupt its economy. Monsoons also blow over the coast of northern Australia, eastern Asia, parts of Africa and the southwestern United States.

and the drier parts of the Deccan. The relatively wet areas of these forests have widely scattered growth of wild dates and kikar and babul trees which have long roots and^sharp thorns. Bushes, scrubs and cacti grow in the very dry areas and the desert regions.

Tidal Forests: These forests have grpwn along the deltas of rivers which are subjected to tides, important among them being the forests of the Mahanadi and Ganga deltas. The mangrove forests of Sundarbans in the Ganga delta are the haunts of the famous Bengal Tiger and the forest region itself has been named after the Sundari trees that grow there. These forests yield firewood and tanning material.

Forests of the Himalayan Region:

In the Himalayan region, the forests and the type of vegetation differ with the difference in altitude. The outermost Himalayas or the Shiwaliks are covered with the tropical moist deciduous forests vegetation of teak, sal and rose wood trees. At the higher elevations are found the evergreen forests of oak, chestnut, beech, ash and elm. At still higher altitudes ranging from 1,600 to 3,300 metres, are found the coniferous forests of pine, cedar, silver fir and spruce. And at altitudes beyond 3,500 metres are found grasses and shrubs called the Alpine vegetation, which, farther onward give place to the naked snowcapped mountain ranges.

SOCIAL FORESTRY

The concept of social forestry, which has now been recognised and accepted by the Government and is being implemented on a massive scale, aims at not only providing adequate quantities ,of fuelwood, fodder and other forest produce, but also meeting the requirements of ecologidal balance through large-scale afforestation on community lands and waste lands in the .country. The farm forestry, which has been largely practised in the country so •far, aims at growing of trees on private lands, on the farm boundaries and private plantations. The social forestry programme, on the other hand, mainly comprises three schemes, vi%., (i) mixed plantation on waste lands, (ii) re- ‘afforestation of degraded forests, and ,(iii) raising of shelter belts. Thus, social forestry involves creating potentials of •forest raw material resources on degraded forest areas, waste lands, panchayat lands and on the sides of roads, canals and railway lines. Under the social forestry schemes, fuel wood plantations are grown for quickly raising the supply of fuel wood and fodder.

LAND RESOURCES

India has a geographical area of about 329 million hectares but statistical information is available only for about 93 percent of the area (vi%, for 305 million hectares). More than half of the area (51 percent) is under cultivation compared to 11 percent of world’s average. Our farmer is very hard-working and raises two crops in a year instead of one being the normal practice in the other countries.

According to 2013 Forest Survey of India, forests cover about 23 percent of land area for which data is available. Another 30.3 percent of area is not available for cultivation because it either comprises fallow lands, residential or commercial areas or is otherwise not fit for cultivation. Consequently, cultivation is done only on about 50 percent of the total reporting area in the country.

Soil Types: Soil quality is an important factor in crop-yield. The soil provides nourishment and water to the plant life. It consists of minerals, organic matter, water, air, etc., all of which determine its characteristics, fertility, depth, texture and structure and, thus, govern the type and quality of plants and crops that can be grown in any region of the country. India, with its vast land surface and diverse relief features, possesses a large variety of soils, which, according to the National Council of Agricultural Research, are classified into the following eight categories.

  • Alluvial Soil: Alluvial soil covers almost a quarter of India’s land surface and provides the base for the largest share of country’s agricultural production. This type of soil is composed of sediments deposited by the mighty rivers in the interior parts of India and by the sea wave in the coastal areas of the country. The Great Plains of India running from Punjab to Assam possess rich alluvial soil which is also found in Narmada and Taptd valleys in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, Mahanadi Valley in Chhattisgarh and Odisha, Godavari Valley in Andhra Pradesh and Cauvery Valley in Tamil Nadu. It also occurs in the deltas of Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery rivers. Alluvial soils are generally deficient in nitrogen and humus and thus necessitate repeated fertilisation. Such soils are suitable for growing all types of cereals, pulses, sugarcane, vegetables, oilseeds, etc.
  • Black Soil; Black soil is found largely in the Deccan Plateau. It is eminently suitable for cotton cultivation and is, therefore, also called black cotton soil. In some areas, it is known as ‘regur’. The black colour af the soil is attributed to the presence of compound of iron and aluminium. This soil is generally deficient in nitrogen, phosphates, and organic matter, but is quite rich in potash, lime, aluminium, calcium and magnesium. The black soil exists in many areas of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Cotton, cereals, some oilseeds and a variety of vegetables are grown in areas of black soil.
  • Red Soil: The red soil occurs mostly in the southern peninsula and extends up to Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh) in the north, Kutch (Gujarat) in the west and Rajmahal Hills in the east. This soil is made up of crystalline and metamorphic rocks and is rich in ferro­manganese minerals and soluble salts but is deficient in nitrogen and humus and thus needs fertilisation. It has a light texture and a porous structure. Red soil is most suited to the growth of rice, ragi, tobacco and vegetables.
  • Laterite Soil: This type of soil is found in areas of high rainfall and temperature with alternate dry and wet periods. The soil contains high content of iron oxides. It is deficient in nitrogen, phosphorus, potash and magnesium. Such soil is found in the high reaches of Sahyadris, Western Ghats, Rajmahal Hills and the hilly tracts of the eastern region. It is also found in parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal. This type of soil is suitable for rice, ragi and sugarcane’ cultivation.
  • Forest Soils: Forest soil is rich in organic matter and humus. It is found in the Himalayas and other mountain regions of the north, higher summits of the Sahyadris, Eastern Ghats, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Crops like tea, coffee, spices and tropical fruits are grown on this type of soil.
  • Arid and Desert Soils: The arid and semi-arid regions of north-west India have this type of soil which is generally deficient in nitrogen and humus. It is largely found in the areas west of Aravalli Ranges and covers Rajasthan, parts of Haryana and Punjab and extends up to the Rann of Kutch, Generally desert soil is infertile but its fertility improves with proper irrigation and fertilisation.
  • Saline and Alkaline Soils: Saline and alkaline soils are found in the arid and semi-arid parts of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. These soils, variously called ‘reh’, ‘usar’ or ‘kallar’ are largely infertile. However, they can be improved through proper treatment and reclamation measures.

(via) Peaty and other Organic Soils: Peaty soils contain large accumulations of humus, organic matter and soluble salts. These soils are highly saline and are deficient in phosphorus and potash. Marshy soils occur in regions of Odisha, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. They are also found in central and north Bihar and in Almora district of Uttarakhand.

CROP PATTERN

Crop Seasons: There are three major crop seasons in India,      Kharif, Rabiand

Zaid. The Kharif crops are associated with the monsoons. They are sown in the months of June and July and are harvested in autumn months, in September and October. Important among the Kharif crops are rice, jowar, bajra, ragi, maize, sugarcane, cotton and jute.

The Rabi crops are sown in the period between October and December and harvested in April and May. Important among the Rabi crops are wheat, barley, peas, rabi pulses, linseed, rapeseed and mustard.

The Zaid is the summer season crop. Rice, maize, vegetables, sunflower and groundnut are grown during this season.

Again, areas, which are extensively irrigated, grow three to four crops per year and, thus, fall out of the purview of the distinction between the Kharif and Rabi crops. Similarly, in southern half of the Peninsular India where temperatures are sufficiently high and rainfall is extensive in winter months, rice, jowar, coffee, etc., are sown, thus again blurring this categorisation under Kharif and Rabi crops. However, for most of India, Kharif and Rabi remain the distinct crop seasons with the specific variety of crops grown therein.

 

CROPS AND LEADING PRODUCER STATES Bajra : (1) Gujarat; (2) Rajasthan Barley: (1) Uttar Pradesh; (2) Rajasthan Cardamom : (1) Karnataka; (2) Kerala Castor seed : (1) Gujarat; (2) Andhra Pradesh

Chillies (dry) : (1) Tamil Nadu;

  • Andhra Pradesh

Coffee : (1) Karnataka; (2) Kerala Coriander : (1) Rajasthan; (2) Andhra Pradesh

Cotton : (1) Gujarat; (2) Maharashtra;

  • Andhra Pradesh

Ginger (dry) : (1) Kerala; (2) Himachal Pradesh

Gram: (1) Rajasthan; (2) Uttar Pradesh Groundnut : (1) Gujarat; (2) Andhra Pradesh; (3) Tamil Nadu Jowar : (1) Maharashtra; (2) Karnataka Jute : (1) West Bengal; (2) Bihar; (3) Assam

Linseed: (1) Madhya Pradesh; (2) Uttar Pradesh

Maize : (1) Karnataka; (2) Andhra Pradesh; (3) Uttar Pradesh Mesta: (1) Andhra Pradesh; (2) Odisha Millets (small) : (1) Madhya Pradesh;

  • Andhra Pradesh

Niger seed : (1) Odisha; (2) Uttar Pradesh

Paddy: (1) WestBengal; (2) TamilNadu Potato : (1) Uttar Pradesh; (2) West Bengal; (3) Bihar

Onion : (1) Gujarat; (2) Maharashtra;

  • Karnataka

Pulses : (1) Madhya Pradesh; (2) UP; (3) Maharashtra

Ragi : (1) Karnataka; (2) Tamil Nadu Rape-seed & Mustard : (1) Rajasthan;

  • UP; (3) Haryana Rice: (1) WestBengal; (2) UP; (3) Punjab Safflower : (1) Maharashtra;

(2) Karnataka

Sannhemp: (1) UP; (2) Madhya Pradesh Soyabean : (1) Madhya Pradesh; (2) Maharashtra; (3) Rajasthan Sesamum : (1) Uttar Pradesh;

  • Rajasthan

Sugarcane : (1) UP; (2) Tamil Nadu;

  • Maharashtra

Sunflower : (1) Karnataka; (2) Andhra Pradesh; (3) Maharashtra Tapioca : (1) Kerala; (2) Tamil Nadu Tea : (1) Assam; (2) West Bengal Tobacco : (1) Maharashtra; (2) Tamil Nadu

Tur : (1) Uttar Pradesh; (2) Madhya Pradesh

Wheat: (1) Uttar Pradesh; (2) Punjab; (3) Haryana

Major Crops: Agricultural crops can be broadly divided into two categories, vi%., food crops and non-food crops. Foodgrains consist of cereals and pulses. Among the cereals are intluded rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize, etc. Pulses include gram, mQong, masur, arhar, etc. The non-food crops comprise a number of cash crops such as sugarcane, cotton, jute, tobacco, etc. Tea, coffee, rubber are included among the plantation crops. Besides these, we have the horticulture crops like fruit, vegetables, coconut, cashew, etc.

India is the largest producer and consumer of^ tea in the world and accounts for around 27 percent of world production and 13 percent of world trade in tea.

In coffee, India contributes 4 percent of the global production.

Rubber is primarily produced in the State of Kerala and adjoining Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.

India is the third largest producer of fish and second largest producer of inland fish in the world. As per Economic Survey 2011-2012, fish production from marine and inland sources has been at 3.2 million tonnes and 4.8 million tonnes, respectively and marine products worth Rs. 12,901 crore were exported in 2010-2011.

IRRIGATION

Water is very important for the survival of all forms of life—plant as well as animal. India, by virtue of its peculiar placement in the foothills of the Himalayas and having the ranges of the Satpura, Aravalli and the Deccan Plateau running through it, has vast water resources which have been very meagrely tapped. Conventional and recognised means of irrigation are tanks, wells and canals.

Wells: Well irrigation is an important type of irrigation in India. Wells are particularly suitable for small farms. The important well-irrigated States are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. In these States water-table is high, soil is soft and, therefore, wells are easily sunk.

Tubewells are an important development in India. They are worked by electricity or diesel oil and thus, they relieve our cattle of much of the strain. They are being quickly developed in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab. This is because these have ample sub-soil water.

Wells and tubewells account for about 48 percent of the total irrigation in India.

Tanks: Tanks are also an important and ancient source of irrigation. They are of considerable importance in central and southern India, specially in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. About 8 percent of the total irrigated area is irrigated by tanks.

Canals: Canals are the most important means of irrigation in the country. Some canals were constructed by the early Hindu and Mohammedan kings. Most of the canals, however, are the product of the British rule. At present, canals irrigate about 39 percent of total irrigated area of India. Most of the canals of the country are found in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Storage canals have been constructed in Deccan and Madhya Pradesh.

Major, Medium and Minor Irrigation Projects: The methods of irrigation used in India can be broadly classified into major, medium and minor irrigation schemes. Irrigation projects having Culturable Command Area (CCA) of more than 10,000 hectares each are classified as major projects. Those having a CCA between 2,000 hectares and

  • hectares fall under the category of medium irrigation projects. And the projects which have a CCA of less than
  • hectares are classified as minor irrigation schemes. For the purpose of analysis the major and the medium irrigation projects are generally grouped together. These projects comprise a network of dams, bunds, canals and other such schemes. Such projects require substantial financial outlay and are, therefore, constructed by the government or any other agency which may draw financial assistance from the government and financial institutions.

The minor irrigation projects, on the other hand, comprise all groundwater development schemes such as dug wells, private shallow tubewells, deep public tubewells, boring and deepening of dug wells, and small surface water development works such as storage tanks, lift irrigation projects, etc. Minor irrigation projects or the groundwater development schemes are essentially people’s programmes implemented primarily through individual and cooperative efforts with finances obtained mainly through institutional sources.

IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT

Creation of irrigation potential of 10 million hectares was targeted under Bharat Nirman during 2005-06 to 2008- 09. The target was proposed to be met through completion of on-going maj or and medium irrigation projects, and extension, renovation and modernisation of existing projects. As per information provided by State Governments, the total irrigation potential created during the period is 7.31 million hectares against the target of 10 million hectares. Creation of 3.5 million hectare of irrigation potential had been targeted in two years, i.e. 1.75 million hectares each during 2009-10 and

  • 11.

SOME IRRIGATION AND

MULTIPURPOSE PROJECTS

Bargi Project (Madhya Pradesh): It is a multipurpose project consisting of a masonry dam across Bargi river in the Jabalpur district and a left bank canal.

Be as Project (Joint venture of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan): It consists of Beas-Sutlej Link and Beas Dam at Pong.

 

Bhadra Project (Karnataka): A multi­purpose project across the river Bhadra.

Bhakra Nangal Project (Joint project of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan): India’s biggest, multipurpose river valley project comprises ,a straight gravity dam across the Sutlej river at Bhakra, the Nangal dam, the Nangal hydel channel, two power houses at Bhakra dam and two power stations at Ganguwal and Kotla.

Bhima Project (Maharashtra): Comprises two dams, one on the Pawana river near Phagne in Pune district and the other across the Krishna river near Ujjaini in Sholapur district.

Chambal Project (Joint project of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan): The project comprises Gandhi Sagar dam, Rana Pratap Sagar dam and Jawahar Sagar dam.

Damodar Valley Project (West Bengal and Bihar): A multipurpose project for the unified development of irrigation, flood control and power generation in West Bengal and Bihar. It comprises multipurpose dams at Konar, Tilaiya, Maithon and Panchet; hydel power stations at Tilaiya, Konar, Maithon and Panchet; barrage at Durgapur; and thermal power houses at Bokaro, Chandrapura and Durgapur. The project is administrated by the Damodar Valley Corporation.

Dulhasti Power Project (Jammu & Kashmir) : It is a 390 MW power project in Kishtwar region of Jammu & Kashmir on Chenab river. Work for this project started in 1981. The foundation stone was laid on April 15, 1983 by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Work on this project was suspended due to threats of kidnapping and killings by Kashmiri militants resulting in long delay in completion of project.

Farakka Project (West Bengal): The project was taken up for the preservation and maintenance of Calcutta port and for improving the navigability of the Hooghly. It comprises a barrage across the Ganga at Farakka, a barrage at Jangipur across the Bhagirathi and a feeder channel taking off from the Ganga at Farakka and tailing into the Bhagirathi below the Jangipur barrage.

Gandak Project (Joint project of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh): Nepal also derives irrigation and power benefits from this project.

Ghataprabha Project (Karnataka): A project across Ghataprabha in Belgaum and Bijapur districts.

Hirakud (Odisha): World’s longest dam, is located on the Mahanadi river.

Jayakwadi Project (Maharashtra): A masonry spillway across the river Godavari.

Kahalgaon Project (Bihar): The 840- MW Kahalgaon Super Thermal Power Project, a joint venture between National Thermal Power Corporation and the Russian State Enterprise Foreign

Economic Association, was on August 12, 1996 commissioned and put into commercial operation.

Kakrapara Project (Gujarat) : On the Tapti river near Kakrapara, in Surat district.

Kangsabati Project (West Bengal): The project, put in operation in 1965, is located on the Kangsabati and Kumari rivers.

Karjan Project (Gujarat): A masonry dam across Karjan fiver near Jitgarh village in Nandoo Taluka of Bharuch district.

Kosi Project (Bihar): A multipurpose project, which serves Bihar and Nepal.

Koyna Project (Maharashtra): It is built on a tributary of river Krishna with a capacity of 880 MW. It feeds power to Mumbai-Pune industrial belt.

Krishna Project (Maharashtra): Dhom dam near Dhom village on Krishna and Kanhar dam near Kanhar village on Varna river in Satna district.

Kukadi Project (Maharashtra): Five independent storage dams, i.e., Yodgaon, Manikdohi, Dimbha, Wadaj and Pimpalgaon Jog. The canal system comprises (i) Kukadi left bank canal, (it) Dimbha left bank canal, (iii) Dimbha right bank canal, (iv) Meena feeder and

  • Meena branch.

Kundoh Project (Tamil Nadu) : It is in Tamil Nadu whose initial capacity of 425 MW has since been expanded to 535 MW.

Left Bank Ghaghra Canal (Uttar Pradesh): A link channel taking off from the left bank of Ghaghra river of Girja barrage and joining with Sarju river. Also a barrage across Sarju.

Madhya Ganga Canal (Uttar Pradesh): A barrage across Ganga in Bijnore, district.

Mahanadi Delta Scheme (Odisha): The irrigation scheme will utilise releases from the Hirakud reservoir.

Mahanadi Reservoir Project

(Madhya Pradesh): It has three phases: (1) Ravishankar Sagar Project and feeder canal system for supply of water to Bhilai Steel Plant and Sandur dam across Sandur village. (2) Extension of Mahanadi feeder canal. (3) Pairi dam.

Mahi Project (Gujarat): A two-phase project, one across the Mahi river near Wanakbori village and the other across Mahi river near Kadana.

Malaprabha Project (Karnataka): A dam across the Malaprabha in Belgaum district.

Mayurakshi Project (West Bengal): An irrigation and hydro-electric project comprises the Canada dam.

Minimato Bango Hasdeo Project

(Madhya Pradesh): This project is located at Hasdeo Bango river in Korba district and envisages construction of a masonry dam. A hydel power plant of 120 MW capacity has been commissioned on the Bango dam.

Nagarjunasagar (Andhra Pradesh/ Telangana): On the Krishna river near Nandikona village (about 44 km from Hyderabad).

Panam Project (Gujarat): A gravity masonry dam across Panam river near Keldezar village ill Panchmahal district.

Parambikulam Aliyar (Joint venture of Tamil Nadu and Kerala): The integrated harnessing of eight rivers, six in the Annamalai Hills and two in the plains.

Pochampadu (Telangana): Across Godavari river.

Pong Dam (Punjab): It is an important hydro-electric project located on Beas river.

Rajasthan Canal (Indira Gandhi Canal—Rajasthan): The project uses water released from Pong dam and provides irrigation facilities to the north­western region of Rajasthan, i.e., a part of the Thar desert. It consists of Rajasthan feeder canal (with the first 167 km in Punjab and Haryana and the remaining 37 km in Rajasthan) and 445 km Rajasthan main canal entirely in Rajasthan.

Rajghat Dam Project (Madhya Pradesh) : The Rajghat Dam and Rajghat Hydro Electric Projects are Inter-State projects of MP and UP. The Rajghat Dam is almost complete. All the three units of Rajghat Hydro-Electric Project had been synchronised during 1999 and power generation has been continuing ever since.

Ramganga (Uttarakhand): A dam across Ramganga, a tributary of the Ganga river located in Garhwal district. The project has, besides 1 reducing the intensity of floods in central and western Uttar Pradesh, provided water for the Delhi water supply” scheme.

Ran jit Sagar Dam (Thein Dam) (Punjab): A multi-purpose highest dam in the country, built on the Ravi river for the benefit of Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir.

Rihand Project (Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh): It is the largest man­made lake in India on the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh with a capacity of 300 MW annually.

Sabarmati (Gujarat): A storage dam across Sabarmati river near Dhari village in Mehsana district and Wasna barrage near. Ahmedabad.

Salal Project (Jammu & Kashmir): With the successful completion of the 2.5-km long tailrace tunnel, the 690-MW Salal (Stage I and II) project in Jammu and Kashmir became frilly operational on August 6, 1996.

Sarda Sahayak (Uttar Pradesh): A barrage across the River Ghaghra, a link channel, a barrage across River Sarda and a feeder channel of two major aqueducts over rivers Gomti and Sai.

Sharavathi Project (Karnataka): It is located at the Jog Falls with a capacity of 891 MW. It primarily feeds Bengaluru industrial region and also Goa and Tamil Nadu.

Sone High Level Canal (Bihar) : An extension on Sone barrage project.

Tawa Project (Madhya Pradesh): A project across the Tawa river, a tributary of the Narmada in Hoshangabad district.

Tehri Dam Project (Uttarakhand): Earth and rock-fill dam on Bhagirathi river in Tehri district.

Tungabhadra Project (Joint Project of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka): On the Tungabhadra river.

Ukai Project (Gujarat):                      A

multipurpose project across Tapti river near Ukai village.

Upper Krishna Project (Karnataka): A project consisting of Narayanpur dam across the Krishna river and a dam at Almatti.

Upper Penganga Project

(Maharashtra): Two reservoirs on Penganga river at Isapur in Yavatmal district and the other on Rayadhu river at Sapli in Parbhani district.

Uri Power Project (Jammu & Kashmir) : It is located on the river Jhelum in the Uri Tehsil of Baramulla district in Jammu & Kashmir. It is a 480-MW hydroelectric proj ect which was dedicated to the nation on February 13, 1997.

WILDLIFE

In spite of the high density of population and the consequent onslaughts of human habitation to the remotest corners of India, the country can still boast of a large variety of wildlife comprising over 350 species of animals,

  • – species of birds and 30,000 species of insects, fishes and reptiles. Much of the wildlife in India is peculiar to this sub-continent and not found anywhere else in the world. The swamp deer is only found in India. The four­horned antelope (chausingha), the Kashmir stag and the nilgai exist only in India and Pakistan. The spotted chital, perhaps the most beautiful of all deer, has also its home only in India. The black buck is found nowhere else except in India and Pakistan. The great Indian one­horned rhinoceros is unique to India and ! The Indian lion, which is the only lion to be found outside Africa, is a native of India and not imported from Africa. The Indian bison is not a bison at all; it is gaur which is a species of wild ox peculiar to India.

National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries: The concept of wildlife as a ‘thing of beauty’ and a ‘gift of nature’ which need to be preserved, rather than a ‘game’ to be hunted, grew largely with the birth of independent India in 1947, when many of the former game reserves were redesignated as ‘Wildlife

Sanctuaries’, where all the wild animals and birds were sought to be fully protected so that they will not become extinct. Project Tiger was also launched with the object of preserving and increasing tiger population by safeguarding the tiger, animals of its prey and its habitat in selected areas of the country. .The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 governs the conservation and protection of endangered species both inside and outside the forest areas. Under this Act, trade in rare and endangered species has been banned.

Endangered species of animals are those whose numbers are at a critically low level and whose habitats so drastically reduced or damaged that they are in an imminent danger of extinction. Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 lists the rare and endangered species.

Biosphere Reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystem which are internationally recognised within the framework of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme.

So far, 17 Biosphere Reserves have been set up.

Ramsar Convention (held in 1971 in Iran) defines wetlands as areas of marsh or fen, peat-land or water, whether artificial or natural, permanent or temporary, with the water that is static or flowing, a fresh brackish or salt including areas of marine water, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres. Mangroves, corals, estuaries, bays, creeks, flood plains, sea grasses, lakes, etc. are covered under this definition. At present, there are 27 identified wetlands covering 15 States.

Mangrove plants are those that survive high salinity, tidal extremes, strong wind velocity, high temperature and muddy anaerobic soil—a combination of conditions hostile for other plants.

The Mangroves in India comprise 69 species under 42 genera and 28 families. Two species are endemic to India— Rhi^ophora annamalayana (found in Pichavaram, Tamil Nadu) and Heritiera kanikensis (found in Bhitarkanika, Odisha).

Coral reefs are shallow-water tropical marine ecosystems. Characterised by high biomass production and rich floral and faunal diversity. Four coral reefs have been identified for conservation and management. These are:

  1. Gulf of Mannar (fringing reef)
  2. Andaman and Nicobar Islands (fringing reef)
  3. Lakshadweep Islands (atoll reef)
  4. Gulf of Kachchh (platform reef)

Currently,- protected areas cover

4.5 percent of the total geographical area of the country, where through the efforts of the Central and the State Governments and with the cooperation of the voluntary agencies, wildlife is sought to be carefully protected and preserved. A Wild Life Week is also observed in the first week of October every year. The Indian Board of Wild Life which is responsible for conservation of wild life of the country is headed by the Prime Minister.

Government of India provides technical and financial support to the State/UT governments for wildlife conservation under the various Centrally Sponsored   Schemes—Integrated

Development of Wildlife Habitats, Project Tiger, and Project Elephant, and also through Central Sector Scheme— Strengthening of Wildlife Division and Consultencies for Special Tasks, and through Grants in Aid to the Central Zoo Authority and Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. The Protected Area network in India includes 100 National Parks and 515 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 43 Conservation Reserves and four Community Reserves. The objective of the Scheme is to provide financial and technical assistance to the States/UTs to conserve wildlife resources. The Scheme supports various activities aimed at the conservation of wildlife that inter-alia includes habitat improvement practices, infrastructure development, eco-development activities, anti poaching activities, research, training, capacity building, census of wildlife, etc.

MINERAL WEALTH OF LNDIA

India is endowed with significant mineral resources. It produces 86 minerals out of which 4 are fuel minerals, 10 metallic., 46 non-metallic, 3 atomic and 23 minor minerals.

The total value of mineral production during 2011-12 was Rs. 2,10,334.55 crore, of which tl^e value of fuel minerals constituted Rs. 1,43,498.21 crore, of metallic minerals for Rs. 41,954.50 crore and of non-metallic minerals including minor-minerals for about Rs. 24,881.84 crore.

India is rich in mineral resources and has the potential to become an industrial power. It possesses large reserves of iron ore, extensive deposits of coal, sizeable quantity of mineral oil reserves, rich deposits of bauxite and has a virtual monopoly of mica, all of which hold the potentials of making India economically self-reliant modern industrial nation. No doubt, the country is still deficient in some minerals like petroleum, tin, lead, zinc, nickel, etc., but the continued exploration of India’s underground mineral wealth is yielding promising results, thus adding to the known and potential deposits of various minerals.

The mineral resources of India are, however, very unevenly distributed. The Great Plains of Northern India are almost entirely devoid of any known

 

STATE/UNION

TERRITORY

BIO-SPHERE

RESERVES

NATIONAL PARKS WILDLIFE

SANCTUARIES

BIRD

SANCTUARIES

Jammu and Kashmir   Dachigam, Kishtwar, Hemis High Altitude  
Himachal Pradesh   Great Himalayan Renuka  
Haryana       Sultanpur
Uttarakhand Nandadevi Valley of Flowers, Rajaji, Corbett, Nandadevi    
Uttar Pradesh   Dudhwa   Chandraprabha
Madhya Pradesh Panchmarhi, Achanakmar- Amarkantak (Some parts of Chhattisgarh also) Panna, Satpura, Pench, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Fossil    
Chhattisgarh   Sanjay Kangar Valley -•  
Rajasthan   Desert (Thar), Sariska, Nahargarh, Keoladeo, Ghana, Ranthambore Sariska Bharatpur
Gujarat ‘ ■ J Marine, Velvahar, Gir, Vansada   Nal Sarovar, Khijadiya, Ratan Mahal
Maharashtra   Sanjay Gandhi, Nawegaon, Tadoba, Indrawati, Panch Kinwat, Bor,

Nagzira,

Ratnagiri

Karnala,

Greatlndian

Bustard

Goa   Bhagwan Mahavir    
Karnataka Nilgiri Bannerghata, Nagorehole, Bandipur Ranibennur Ghatparbha,

Adichunchagiri,

Ranganthitto

Kerala Agasthyamalai,

Nilgiri

Eravikulam, Periyar, Silent Valley    
Tamil Nadu Gulf of Mannar, Nilgiri, Kalakad Guindy Mudumalai,

Annamalai,

Mandanthruai,

Vettangudi,

-Point

Calimere

Andhra Pradesh     Kanwal, Srisailam, Pocharam, Eturnagaram, Pakhal Pulicat, Kollem, Neelapattu
Jharkhand   Palamu Hazaribagh  
Odisha Similipal Similipal Nandankanan Chilika
West Bengal Sunderbans   Lothian Islands Parmadan,

Saznakhali, Bethuadhari, Jaldapara, Mahananda

Pakhiralaya
Sikkim Kanchenjunga Kanchenjunga,

Neora Valley, Singalila

   
Assam Manas, Dibru Saikhowa Kaziranga, Manas Orang, Sonai- Rupai  
Mizoram     Dampa  
Meghalaya Nokrek Balphakaran, Nokrek  
Manipur   Sirohi, Keibul Lamjao    
Arunachal Pradesh Dehong Debang Namdapha    
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Great Nieobar Saddle Peak, Button, Mt. Harriett   J
 

 

 

deposits of economic minerals. On the other hand, Jharkhand and Odisha areas on the north-eastern parts of peninsular India possess large concentration of mineral deposits, accounting for nearly three-fourths of the country’s coal deposits and containing highly rich deposits of iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite and radioactive materials. Mineral deposits are also scattered over the rest of the peninsular India and in parts of Assam and Rajasthan.

Names of some important minerals and the States where they are largely found are given below:

Metallic Minerals

Antimony : (1) Punjab; (2) Karnataka bauxite : (1) Jharkhand; (2) Odisha Chromite : (1) Odisha; (2) Karnataka Copper : (1) Madhya Pradesh; (2) Rajasthan

Diaspore: (1) Uttar Pradesh; (2) Madhya Pradesh

Gold:{\) Karnataka; (2) Andhra Pradesh Iron ore: (1) Jharkhand; (2) Chhattisgarh Lead: (1) Rajasthan; (2) Andhra Pradesh Manganese ore : (1) Maharashtra;

  • Madhya Pradesh Mica: (1) Jharkhand; (2) Bihar Natural gas : (1) Andhra Pradesh;
  • Maharashtra

Petroleum: (1) Maharashtra; (2) Gujarat Silver: (1) Rajasthan; (2) Bihar Tungsten: (1) Rajasthan; (2) West Bengal Zinc: (1) Rajasthan; (2) West Bengal

Non-Metallic Minerals

Asbestos: (1) Rajasthan; (2) Bihar Ball clay : (1) Andhra Pradesh;

  • Rajasthan

China clay (Kaolin): (1) Rajasthan; (2) West Bengal

Barytes :        (1) Andhra Prdesh;

  • Maharashtra

Calcite : (1) Rajasthan; (2) Gujarat

DEPARTMENT OF MINES

The Department of Mines is responsible for the survey and exploration of all minerals (other than natural gas and petroleum), for mining and metallurgy of non-ferrous metals like aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, gold, nickel, etc., and for the administration of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 in respect of all mines and minerals, other than coal, natural gas and petroleum.

The Department has jurisdiction over Geological Survey of India and Indian Bureau of Mines, both of which are subordinate offices. The Department of Mines has administrative and management control in Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited, National Aluminium Company Limited, Hindustan Copper Limited and Bharat Gold Mines-Limited. Also the Department has equity stakes in Bharat Aluminium Company Limited and Hindustan Zinc Limited, both of which were privatised recently.

Corundum :          (1) Karnataka;

  • Maharashtra

Diamond ,;(1) Madhya Pradesh; (2) Uttar Pradesh

Dolomite : (1) Madhya Pradesh;

  • Odisha

Felspar: (1) Rajasthan; (2) Tamil Nadu Fireclay : (1) Bihar; (2) Gujarat Fluorite: (1) Gujarat; (2) Rajasthan Graphite : (1) Odisha; (2) Rajasthan Gypsum: (1) Rajasthan; (2) Tamil Nadu Kyanite : (1) Bihar; (2) Maharashtra Limestone :{Y) Madhya Pradesh; (2) Tamil Nadu

Magnetite : (1) Tamil Nadu; (2) Uttar Pradesh

Mica: (1) Bihar; (2) Andhra Pradesh Ochre:(1) Rajasthan; (2) Madhya Pradesh Pyrites: (1) Bihar; (2) Karnataka Sulphur: (1) Tamil Nadu Quarts : (1) Andhra Pradesh;

  • Karnataka

Quartzite : (1) Odisha; (2) Bihar SilicaSand :(V) Uttar Pradesh; (2) Gujarat Sillimanite :           (1) Maharashtra;

  • Meghalaya

ENERGY RESOURCES
Lignite

Neyveli Lignite Corporation is an integrated mining-cum-power project with open cast lignite mines linked with Thermal Power Stations. During the period April to December 2009 lignite production and power generation achievements of NLC were 16.30 MT and 13064.17 MV, respectively against the target of 15.17 MT and 11876.00 MV.

Coal

Coal is a non-renewable source of energy. In India 67 percent of commercial needs of energy is met through coal. It amounts to 60 percent of the total electricity generated. Indian coalfields belong to two geological eras— Gondwana and tertiary. Gondwana category accounts for 99.5 percent of the total reserves. Tertiary coalfield is found in the North-east States and Jammu and Kashmir.

Oldest coalfield—[email protected] Largest coalfield—Jharia Per capita production of coal—180 kg Important coalfields :

Jharkhand : Jharia, Bokaro, Giridih, Karanpura, Ramgarh, Auranga, Hutar, Daltonganj, Deogarh and Rajmahal West Bengal: Raniganj, Barjora and Darjeeling

Andhra Pradesh : Godavari valley (Singareni coalfields)

Madhya Pradesh/Chhattisgarh:

Singrauli, Korba, Chirmiri, Pench- Kanhatawa valley, Hasdo-Arand, Mohpani Maharashtra : Chhanda, Kamte, Umrer and Bander Odisha: Talcher

Oil and Natural Gas

Petroleum, also called mineral oil, is an essential, viable but non-renewable source of energy. In 1858, the first oil well was drilled in Cambay, Gujarat. In 1867, first oil field was discovered at Makum in Assam, but production started only in 1882 in Digboi, Assam.

Major oilfields :

Assam: Digboi, Nahorkatiya

Arunachal Pradesh: Manabhum,

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