UPSC Syllabus for Geography

Salient features of world’s physical geography
Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent)
Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.,
Geographical features and their location

Changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.


1) Discuss the meaning of colour-coded weather warnings for cyclone prone areas given by India Meteorological Department. (150 words)
IMD issues colour-coded weather warnings for cyclone-prone areas to inform people of the potential impact of a cyclone and to help them prepare for it. The colour-coded warnings are based on the intensity of the cyclone and the expected wind speeds.
Meaning of colour-coded weather warnings for cyclone prone areas given by IMD
  • Green code: there is no likelihood of adverse weather conditions – no advisories are released
  • Yellow alert: cyclone is likely to form or move towards a region - intensity of the storm is not severe - cautionary warning to stay prepared.
  • Orange alert: cyclone is expected to make landfall in a region with wind speeds of 60-100 km/hour - likely to cause moderate damage and could disrupt normal life.
  • Red alert: Issued when a cyclone is expected to make landfall with wind speeds of over 100 km/hour - likely to cause severe damage to infrastructure, cause flooding, and disrupt normal life.
Overall, the colour codes are intended to inform the public of an impending cyclone and provide guidance on how to protect them.
2) Describe the characteristics and types of primary rocks. (150 words)  
Primary rocks are the oldest and most basic type of rocks on Earth, formed from the cooling and solidification of molten magma or lava. They are also known as igneous rocks.
Characteristics of primary rocks
  • They are crystalline and without any organic remains on them.
  • The characteristics of primary rocks depend on the composition of the magma or lava from which they form, as well as the conditions under which they solidify.
Types of primary rocks
Intrusive Igneous Rocks
  • Formed from magma that cools and solidifies beneath the Earth's surface
  • Usually coarse-grained and have a crystalline texture
  • Darker and denser
    E.g.: granite, diorite, and gabbro.
Extrusive Igneous Rocks
  • Formed from lava that cools and solidifies on the Earth's surface
  • Usually fine-grained and have a glassy or vesicular texture
  • Lighter and less dense
    E.g.:  basalt, andesite, and rhyolite.
Primary rocks are an important source of information about the geology of an area. They are also an important resource for various industries, including construction and manufacturing. 
3) What are the forces that influence ocean currents? Describe their role in the fishing industry of the world. (250 words)
Ocean currents are large-scale movements of water within the ocean that play a crucial role in regulating the Earth's climate and weather patterns.
Forces that influence ocean currents
  • Wind: trade winds, westerly, and polar easterlies creates surface currents that are driven by the frictional drag of the wind on the water's surface
  • Temperature and Salinity: they determine the density of seawater, which affects the vertical movement of ocean currents. When water is cold and/or salty, it becomes denser and sinks, while warmer and/or less salty water rises.
  • Coriolis Effect: The rotation of the Earth causes the Coriolis effect, which deflect water, to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. This effect plays a significant role in the direction of ocean currents.
Role of ocean currents in fishing industry of the world
  • Shallow sea zones where cold and warm water currents mix well making them great breeding grounds for fishes. E.g. Grand Bank (Atlantic) where Gulf stream (warm) and Labrador (cold) Currents meet.
  • Warm ocean currents can support fish species that thrive in warmer waters, while cold ocean currents can support fish species that require colder waters.
  • Fishermen also use ocean currents to their advantage by following them to locate schools of fish. This practice, known as drift fishing or drift netting.
Thus, understanding the forces that influence ocean currents is crucial for managing and conserving fish stocks and maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem.
4) Describing the distribution of rubber producing countries, indicate the major environmental issues faced by them. (250 words)
Rubber is a critical global commodity used in a wide range of industrial and consumer products, from tires and automobile parts to footwear and medical equipment. Tropical climates with high temperature (25- 35°C) and high rainfall (< 200cm) support rubber trees.
The distribution of rubber producing countries
  • Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam followed by China and India, are the largest producers of natural rubber,
  • African countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Nigeria.
  • Latin America - Brazil and Mexico are the leading rubber producing countries.
The major environmental issues faced by rubber producing countries
  • Deforestation: Rubber trees are typically grown in monoculture plantations, leading to deforestation and habitat destruction. This can have significant impacts on biodiversity and carbon storage in the affected areas.
  • Soil Degradation: Intensive cultivation of rubber can lead to soil degradation and erosion, reducing soil fertility and agricultural productivity.
  • Water Pollution: Rubber plantations can lead to increased water pollution due to the use of pesticides and fertilizers, as well as runoff from the plantations. This can have negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems and public health.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The production of rubber is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly due to deforestation and land use change.
  • Labour Issues: Rubber plantations often rely on low-paid and poorly treated workers, leading to issues such as child labour, low wages, and poor working conditions.
Addressing these issues will require a combination of sustainable land use practices, improved environmental regulations, and greater accountability in the supply chain.
5) Mention the significance of straits and isthmus in international trade. (250 words)
Straits are narrow waterways that connect two larger bodies of water and are critical points for maritime trade. E.g. Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, the Strait of Malacca, and the Bosporus Strait. Isthmuses are narrow strips of land that connect two larger landmasses and offer important overland transportation routes for trade. E.g. Panama, the Isthmus of Suez, and the Kra Isthmus in Thailand.  
Significance of straits and isthmuses in international trade
  • Reduced transportation costs: By offering the shortest and most efficient transportation routes, straits and isthmuses can significantly reduce transportation costs and enable the movement of goods and people across regions.
    E.g.: Panama Canal connecting Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through Panama Isthmus
  • Increased trade: The presence of strategic transportation routes can increase the volume and diversity of trade between different regions of the world, promoting economic growth and development.
    E.g.: Suez Canal has 30% global container traffic.
  • Geopolitical significance: Control over straits and isthmuses can provide strategic advantages in global politics and trade, and have historically been sites of conflict and competition between different nations.
    E.g.: Strait of Malacca connecting Pacific and Indian Ocean
  • Energy security: Strait of Hormuz connects Oil rich middle east with rest of the world. Important for India’s energy security.
Control over these key locations can provide strategic advantages in trade and politics, and the development of efficient and sustainable transportation networks is critical to the continued growth and success of the global economy.
6) Troposphere is a very significant atmospheric layer that determines weather processes. How? (250 words)
The troposphere is the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere, extending from the surface up to an altitude of around 10-15 kilometres. Significance of troposphere in determining weather processes
  • Role in hydrological cycle:
    • Troposphere has the most atmospheric water vapour, and where most of the Earth's precipitation originates.
    • As warm, moist air rises from the surface, it cools and condenses, forming clouds and precipitation. These processes are critical for the development of storms, hurricanes, and other weather systems that can have significant impacts on human societies.
  • Role in atmospheric circulation:
    • Troposphere is where most the Earth's weather occurs, and it is characterized by complex patterns of air movement and pressure systems.
    • These patterns can drive the movement of air masses across large distances, leading to the development of weather systems such as fronts, cyclones, and anticyclones.
  • Role in determining the Earth's climate:
    • As greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane accumulate in the atmosphere, they trap heat from the Sun and warm the planet's surface.
    • This warming effect is most pronounced in the troposphere, where temperatures increase with altitude due to the absorption of solar radiation.
By understanding the complex interactions and processes that take place within this layer, scientists can gain important insights into the functioning of our planet's climate system, and develop strategies for mitigating the impacts of climate change on human societies.  
7) Discuss the natural resource potentials of ‘Deccan Trap’. (150 words)
The Deccan Traps is a vast igneous province located in west-central India that covers an area of approximately 500,000 square kilometres. It is one of the largest volcanic provinces in the world and is a major source of natural resources in India.
Natural resource potentials of ‘Deccan Trap’
  • Minerals: Minerals such as iron ore, manganese, copper, and precious metals such as gold and silver. The region is also home to large deposits of bauxite, chromite, and nickel.
  • Water resources: Several major rivers such as the Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery, which are fed by the Deccan Traps' extensive network of groundwater aquifers.
  • Agricultural potential: The Deccan Traps have rich soil (e.g. Black soil) and a favourable climate for agriculture crops such as cotton, sugarcane, groundnuts, and pulses.
  • Geothermal energy: The Deccan Traps' extensive network of fissures and cracks has the potential to harness geothermal energy through geothermal hotspots.
Thus, the Deccan Traps offer a diverse range of natural resources having significant economic potential and are vital to India's development.
8) Examine the potential of wind energy in India and explain the reasons for their limited spatial spread. (150 words)
According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), India's estimated potential for wind power is around 302 GW, which is significantly higher than the current installed capacity of around 39 GW.
Potential for Wind energy in India
  • Long coastline and warm tropical climate – suitable for wind farms
  • Large Hilly regions – India’s estimated wind potential at 120m height is 695 GW
  • Government push for renewable energy – India targets 50% renewable energy mix – wind plays an important role.
Reasons for limited spatial spread of wind energy
  • Limited availability of suitable land: mainly due to competition with other land uses such as agriculture and urbanization.
  • Inadequate transmission infrastructure: potential areas are remote - challenge connecting them to the grid
  • Regulatory issues: such as delays in land acquisition, and clearances
  • Competition from solar energy: declining cost of solar energy has made it a more attractive option for developers.
Thus, steps to harness off-shore winds, increase hub height, streamline transmission systems must be taken up to tap the full potential of wind power in India.
9) Elucidate the relationship between globalization and new technology in a world of scarce resources, with special reference to India. (250 words)

Globalization is the process of increased interconnection. It seeks to integrate the world in political, economic, social, religious, cultural and technological aspects.

Relationship between globalization and new technology in a world of scarce resources
Positive consequences
  • Globalization has led to increased trade and investment, which has facilitated the transfer of technology and know-how to developing countries like India. Increased global interdependency – reduced conflict.
  • This has created new opportunities for economic growth and innovation,
  • New technologies, such as renewable energy and digital communication, have also played a key role in shaping India's development trajectory.
Negative consequences
  • The unequal distribution of resources and power has created winners and losers.
  • In India, this has led to growing disparities between urban and rural areas, as well as between different socio-economic groups.
    Eg.: exploitation of cheap labour from India
  • Additionally, the exploitation of natural resources and the environmental impact of industrialization have raised concerns about sustainability.
In response to these challenges, India has taken steps to promote sustainable development and address inequality. For example, India has invested in renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and has implemented policies to encourage greater resource efficiency. India has also promoted inclusive growth through social welfare programs and affirmative action policies.
The challenge for India and other countries is to find a balance between economic growth and social and environmental sustainability, while also addressing the inequalities that can arise from globalization and new technology.


10) Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats. (150 words)

A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope. Various reasons can cause landslide.

Causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats
Himalayan region
  • Landslides occur primarily due to geological instability caused by tectonic activity of the plate moving up.
  • The Himalayas are young mountains with active tectonic activity, and the rocks are relatively unstable and loose.
  • The steep and sharp slope in the Himalayas accelerate landslides
  • Large fast-moving rivers like Ganga and Brahmaputra erode mountainous regions accelerating landslides
  • Heavy rainfall during the monsoon season destabilises the slopes
    E.g.: Almora, Pithoragarh, Rudraprayagetc.
Western Ghats
  • Primarily caused by human activity and deforestation.
  • Have a relatively stable geology, but the indiscriminate felling of trees and the construction of roads and buildings on the slopes has weakened the soil structure
  • Receive heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, which can further exacerbate the landslides.
    E.g.: Ratnagiri, Satara, Idukki etc
Both natural and anthropogenic causes are behind landslides in both Himalaya and western ghat. Sustainable development along with proper disaster management is necessary to mitigate landslides.
11) Mention the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021 and their impact on regional environment. (150 words)

A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.

Global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021
  • La Soufriere eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines - in April 2021, this volcano erupted for the first time in over 40 years, forcing thousands of people to evacuate.
  • Mount Nyiragongo eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo - in May 2021
  • Fagradalsfjall eruption in Iceland - March 2021
  • Taal volcano: Manila, experienced eruptions in 2021.
Impacts of these eruptions on regional environment
  • Plumes of volcanic ash can spread over the large areas of the sky, reducing visibility.
    E.g.: Raung eruption in Indonesia, causing disruptions to air travel
  • Often accompanied with events ofvolcanic lightning.
  • Volcanic ash reflects incoming solar radiation leading to a localised cooling effect in the temperature.
    E.g.: Mt. Krakatau brought mini-ice-age.
  • The volcanic ashes are known to increase the soil productivityof the region.
  • Carbon di-oxide and fluorine gas can get collected in volcanic ash, and can pollute the regional environment
  • Stimulate earthquakesin the region.
Volcanoes are  natural phenomenon. While, volcanoes cannot be avoided, steps can be taken to mitigate their effects
12) Briefly mention the alignment of major mountain ranges of the world and explain their impact on local weather conditions, with examples. (250 words)
A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarities in form, structure and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, orogeny.
Alignment of major mountain ranges has a significant impact on local weather conditions.  
  • Located in South Asia, act as a barrier to cold winds from Central Asia, resulting in a relatively warm and humid climate in the region.
  • Cause the Indian Monsoon, which brings heavy rainfall to the Indian subcontinent,
  • Role in the hydrology of the region, as several major rivers like the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus originate from these mountains.
  • Located in South America, run parallel to the west coast of the continent, creating a rain shadow effect on the eastern side.
  • As moist air from the Pacific Ocean rises and cools while crossing the mountains, it releases precipitation on the western side, leaving the eastern side dry.
  • located in North America, cause a rain shadow effect on the Great Plains to the east.
  • Moist air from the Pacific Ocean rises as it crosses the Rockies, releasing precipitation on the western side and leaving the eastern side dry.
  • Affect local weather patterns, as their elevation results in temperature variations, especially in winter.
  • located in Europe, they create a barrier to cold winds from the north, resulting in a relatively warm and humid climate in southern Europe.
  • In contrast, northern Europe experiences colder temperatures and higher precipitation due to the barrier effect of the Alps.
  • located in Russia, create a similar barrier effect, preventing cold winds from Siberia from reaching Europe.
  • As a result, Europe experiences relatively mild weather compared to other regions at similar latitudes.
The alignment of major mountain ranges has a significant impact on local weather conditions, and hydrology of the regions so protection of these would have multi-dimensional impacts
13) How does the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain. (250 words)
Arctic ice is frozen part of the Arctic Ocean in Northern Hemisphere, while Antarctic glaciers are formed on the Antarctic continent in the Southern Hemisphere. Global warming causing melting of these ice.
Impact of melting Arctic ice
  • Affects the path of jet streams – makes them slower and weaker – colder vortexes in USA.
  • Reduced rainfall during Monsoons in India.
Human activities
  • Opening of North Sea route for global trade, saving both time and cost.
  • Reduced opportunities for the native population for subsistence hunting, fishing and herding Melting of glaciers in Antarctica
Impact of melting Antarctic glaciers
  • Lead to slowdown of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation – this will disrupt the Gulf Stream which causes colder winters and warmer summers in North America. This will also cause extreme weather phenomenon in Europe.
  • The warming ofAntarctica Circumpolar Current can aggravate the effects of global warming.
  • As a result of sea-level rise, storm surges become more prevalent
Human activities
  • Increased coastal erosion due to sea level rise – disrupt coastal economy, especially tourism
  • Strengthening of El-Niño: Antarctic ice melting could cause strengthening El Nino event which may bring large scale drought in Indian peninsula putting large population into stress.
Arctic ice will have more impact on weather patterns in Northern Hemisphere while Antarctic glacial melt will impact Southern Hemisphere more. The melting of Arctic ice impacts human activities more, while the melting of Antarctic glaciers will affect global climate more.
14) Discuss the multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world. (250 words)
The mineral oil distribution is uneven over the world with a concentration of resources in the strategic ellipse area. This has 71% of global reserves which includes the Middle East. The remaining reserves are scattered at a few places in North America, South America and the region once occupied USSR.
Multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world
  • Political instability and conflicts: Countries that are rich in oil reserves are often targeted by foreign countries for their resources.
    E.g.: the conflicts in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, are partly due to its vast oil reserves, leading to intervention by foreign powers.
  • Economic implications: Countries that are dependent on oil exports for their economy are vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices, leading to economic instability. Conversely, countries that are net importers of oil face increased costs and economic burden, leading to inflation and slower economic growth.
  • Balance of Trade: The un-even distribution of the mineral oil resources affects the balance of trade This in turn affects the Foreign-exchange reserves of the country.
    E.g.: India having trade deficit with UAE, Saudi Arabia etc
  • Social implications: Countries with abundant oil resources often suffer from resource curse, where the economy becomes too reliant on oil exports, leading to neglect of other sectors of the economy and widening income inequality.
  • Environmental implications: The extraction process often results in the destruction of natural habitats and pollution of the environment, leading to the degradation of ecosystems and harm to human health.
  • Energy Security:  The un-even distribution of the mineral energy resource has led to high degree of energy insecurity in the oil deficient countries. It also, directly affects their strategic autonomy
In summary, the uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world has significant implications on various dimensions, including political, economic, social, and environmental factors. This highlights the need for India to diversify its energy basket both in terms of content and geography.
15) Despite India being one of the countries of the Gondwanaland, its mining industry contributes much less to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in percentage. Discuss.   (150 words)
India is part of Gondwanaland, an ancient supercontinent that split up nearly 180 million years ago. This geological history has resulted in a rich diversity of minerals and natural resources in India, including coal, iron ore, and bauxite. However, the mining industry in India contributes only 2.2% to 2.5% to the GDP of the country.
Reasons for low contribution mining industry  to  Gross Domestic Product
  • Minerals are in forested tribal areas. Democratic polity with a mandate for welfare creates conflicting priority of mineral exploitation and tribal development
  • Many mines in India are still operated manually, which results in lower productivity and higher costs.
  • The lack of proper infrastructure, such as roads, railways, and ports, makes it difficult to transport minerals to the markets.
  • Strict environmental regulations (Red tapism) and community resistance to mining projects. Many mining projects face accusations of such as land degradation, air and water pollution, and displacement of local communities.
  • Monopoly of PSUs: results in unproductive usage of assets. For example, coal India’s monopoly in coal sector.
There is a need for an expedition of the clearance process for the judicious utilisation of mineral resources. Focussing on high-end technology for mining, attracting private investment is the solution.
16) What are the environmental implications of the reclamation of water bodies into urban land use? Explain with examples. (150 words) 
The reclamation of water bodies is one of the most consequential fields of human induced environmental transformation.
Environmental implications of reclamation of water bodies into urban land use
  • Reduction in the availability of water for irrigation, drinking, and other essential purposes. E.g. For example, encroachment of water bodies in West Bengal have led to high level of arsenic pollution.
  • Loss of biodiversity and ecological services that these water bodies provide. E.g. loss of fish and water birds - reclamation of Hussain Sagar Lake in Telangana, have increased the BOD to 116 mg/l. It is detrimental for not only aquatic species but also for aerial fauna
  • Result in soil erosion, flooding, and groundwater depletion. g. recurrent Mumbai floods, which lost 71% of its wetlands between 1970 to 2014.
  • Environmental hazards: Water reclamation for urban land use in the coastal areas may aggravate the incidents of earthquakes , due to soil liquefaction and land subsidence
It is essential to adopt sustainable and eco-friendly methods of urban development to protect the environment and the resources that it provides.
17) Why is India considered as a sub-continent? Elaborate your answer. (150 words)
A subcontinent is a part of a continent that is politically and geographically separate from the rest of the continent. Indian subcontinent, is a southern region and peninsula of Asia mostly situated on the Indian plate and projecting southwards into the Indian ocean from the Himalayas.
India is considered as a sub-continent
  • Distinct geographic features: It is a large landmass separated from the rest of Asia by the Himalayan Mountain range in the north, the Hindu Kush Mountains in the northwest, and the Arakan Yoma hills in the east.
  • Cultural diversity: These natural barriers have resulted in India's isolation and distinct cultural and linguistic diversity.
  • Due to its large size
  • India has a wide range of climate zones, from the tropical rainforest in the south to the arid desert in the northwest, which further contributes to its sub continental status.
  • The Indian subcontinent also has a unique geological history, with the collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates resulting in the formation of the Himalayas and the Deccan Plateau.
  • India's history and culture have also contributed to its sub continental identity. India has a rich history of diverse kingdoms and empires, and its religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, have shaped its cultural heritage.
India is considered a subcontinent due to its large size, distinct geographic features, diverse climate zones, unique geological history, and rich cultural heritage.
18) What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India? (250 words)

India remained the world’s top source destination with a share of 55% in the global IT and ITeS market. The IT industry accounts for 8% of Indian GDP which had an exponential growth after the economic reforms in 1991-92.

Major IT industrial locations are Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai etc

Main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India
  • Employment generation: creation of new job opportunities, particularly for young professionals. IT firms employ many people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, thereby contributing to the growth of the middle class.
  • Increase in income levels: The salaries offered by IT firms have helped to increase the income levels of employees and have contributed to the overall growth of the economy.
  • Emergence of new urban spaces: particularly in cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, and Chennai. These cities have become major hubs of technology and innovation, attracting people from across the country and the world.
  • Impact on real estate: This has led to a rise in property prices, making housing unaffordable for many people.
  • Technological advancement: helped development of new technologies, which have had a positive impact on various sectors, including healthcare, finance, and education.
  • Impact on the environment: The IT industry is a major consumer of energy, which has contributed to environmental degradation - increase in traffic congestion and pollution in major cities.
Overall, while the development of IT industries has had several positive socio-economic implications, it has also contributed to various challenges, including environmental degradation and inequality. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that the growth of the IT sector is balanced and sustainable, considering the broader socio-economic implications.


19) How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far- reaching impact on the water resources of India? (150 words)
The Himalayan glaciers are a major source of freshwater for India, as they feed several important rivers such as the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus.
Far-reaching impacts of Melting of glaciers on India's water resources
  • Reduced water availability: there will be a temporary increase in the flow of water in the rivers. However, in the long term, the reduced volume of glacial ice will result in reduced water availability in the dry season, when water demand is highest.
  • Increased risk of flooding and sea level rise: as there will be a higher volume of water in the rivers during the monsoon season.
  • Increased water insecurity: reduced availability of water due to melting glaciers could exacerbate water insecurity in India.
  • Impact on agriculture: reduced availability of water due to melting glaciers could have a significant impact on crop yields and food security – increased groundwater extraction.
Overall, the melting of Himalayan glaciers is likely to have significant and wide-ranging impacts on India's water resources, and could have major implications for the country's economy, environment, and society.
20) Discuss the geophysical characteristics of Circum- Pacific Zone. (Answer in 150 words) 
The Circum-Pacific Zone, also known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, is a region surrounding the Pacific Ocean that is characterized by a high level of geophysical activity.  

Geophysical characteristics of Circum- Pacific Zone
  • Plate boundaries: located at the intersection of several tectonic plates, including the Pacific Plate, the North American Plate, and the Eurasian Plate - highly susceptible to earthquakes and volcanic activity.
  • Volcanoes and hot spots: home to hot spots, areas deep within mantle from where heat rises to form some of the world's most active volcanoes, including Mount Fuji in Japan, Mount St. Helens in the United States, and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.
  • Earthquakes: The region is also known for its frequent and powerful earthquakes, which are caused by the movement of tectonic plates. E.g. 2011 Fukushima earthquake in Japan,
  • Tsunamis: The high level of seismic activity can also lead to the formation of tsunamis, which can cause widespread damage and loss of life.
The geophysical characteristics of Circum-Pacific Zone makes the region both geologically fascinating and potentially hazardous for those living in or visiting the area.
21) The process of desertification does not have climate boundaries. Justify with examples(150 words) 
Desertification, which refers to the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas, is not limited to specific climate boundaries.
Process of desertification does not have climate boundaries
  • Sahel region: which lies between the Sahara Desert and the savannah, has experienced significant desertification due to a combination of droughts, overgrazing, and unsustainable farming practices.
  • Mediterranean region: Parts of the Mediterranean region, such as southern Spain and Italy, have also experienced desertification due to a combination of overexploitation of natural resources, climate change, and unsustainable land use practices.
  • Australia: due to its arid climate and susceptibility to droughts, as well as the impact of introduced species and land use changes.
  • Central Asia: The Aral Sea region in Central Asia has experienced significant desertification due to the diversion of rivers for irrigation, leading to the drying up of the sea and the loss of vegetation
Overall, the process of desertification can occur in any region where there is a combination of natural and human factors that lead to land degradation.
22) Account for the present location of iron and steel industries away from the source of raw material, by giving examples.(150 words) 
The location of iron and steel industries has shifted over time. Today, many iron and steel industries are located away from the source of raw materials, such as iron ore and coal.
Factors responsible for present location of iron and steel industries away from the source of raw material
  • Technological Advancements: Technological advancements in iron and steel production have reduced the reliance on proximity to raw material sources. Modern techniques such as pelletization, sintering, and improved blast furnace operations allow for the efficient utilization of raw materials, reducing the need to be located near the source.
    Eg.: Japan
  • Access to Energy Resources: Iron and steel production requires significant energy inputs. Industries may choose to locate near energy sources, such as coal fields or power plants, to ensure a reliable and cost-effective energy supply.
  • Transportation Infrastructure: The development of transportation infrastructure, including railways, roads, and ports, enables the movement of raw materials over long distances. Improved logistics and transportation networks make it feasible to transport raw materials from distant sources to manufacturing centres.
    E.g.: United States
  • Market Accessibility: Industries often locate near consumer markets to reduce transportation costs and gain a competitive advantage. By situating steel plants closer to demand centres, companies can streamline their supply chains and respond more efficiently to market demands.
    E.g.: Tata steels
  • Environmental Regulations: Environmental concerns and regulations play a role in the location of iron and steel industries.
Overall, the location of iron and steel industries is determined by a complex set of factors, including access to raw materials, transportation infrastructure, market demand, and technological innovation.
23) The interlinking of rivers can provide viable solutions to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods and interrupted navigation. Critically examine(250 words)
The interlinking of rivers (ILR) is a proposed mega-project in India aimed at linking the country's rivers to facilitate the transfer of water from water-surplus regions to water-deficit regions. E.g. Ken-Betwa project in Madhya Pradesh
ILR as viable solution to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods and interrupted navigation
  • Drought – moving water from water surplus regions seasonally to water deficit regions
  • Floods – move excess flood waters to another area
  • Navigation – help maintain sufficient water flow in rivers – allow movement of river vessels, reduces stress on road and rail medium.
Negative environmental, social, and economic consequences of river linking
  • Critics argue that the project may lead to over-extraction of water from the rivers, which could worsen the water scarcity problem in the long run.
  • May lead to the destruction of natural habitats, loss of biodiversity, and displacement of local communities.
  • Possible negative impacts on the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on the rivers for their survival. The project may disrupt traditional fishing and farming practices and displace indigenous communities who have lived along the riverbanks for generations.
  • High cost and potential economic inefficiency. The project is expected to cost billions of dollars and may require extensive infrastructure, including dams, canals, and tunnels - cost of transporting water from one region to another may be higher than the cost of conservation and management of local water resources.
A more sustainable and inclusive solution to water management that considers rights of local communities and ecosystems as well as adopting innovative technologies that can improve water-use efficiency and reduce wastage is necessary.
24) Account for the huge flooding of million cities in India including the smart ones like Hyderabad and Pune. Suggest lasting remedial measures(250 words) 
India has over fifty cities with million-plus population. Many are facing threat of flooding including smart cities like Hyderabad and Pune.
Causes of urban flooding in India
  • The unregulated growth of cities has led to the destruction of natural water bodies like lakes, wetlands, and rivers - reduced the capacity of the cities to absorb rainwater.
  • Increase in impervious surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and buildings - increase in surface runoff, further exacerbating the problem of flooding.
  • Climate change causes extreme weather events like heavy rainfall, cyclones, and storm surges to become more frequent and intense, leading to more severe flooding.
  • Poor urban planning and infrastructure - inadequate drainage system, lack of proper solid waste management, and encroachment of natural water bodies have made the cities more vulnerable to flooding.
Lasting remedial measures against urban flooding
  • Need for integrated water management strategies - conservation and restoration of natural water bodies, implementation of green infrastructure, and the promotion of sustainable urban planning.
  • Need to invest in better urban infrastructure, including the development of a comprehensive drainage system, improving solid waste management, and upgrading the urban water supply system.
  • Need for more effective disaster management systems - early warning systems, emergency response plans, and evacuation plans.
  • Need for greater public awareness and community involvement in flood risk reduction and preparedness.
In conclusion, the problem of flooding in Indian cities is complex and multifaceted. Addressing the problem will require a combination of integrated water management strategies, urban infrastructure development, effective disaster management systems, and greater public awareness and community involvement.
25) India has immense potential of solar energy though there are regional variations in its developments. Elaborate.(250 words)
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has estimated that the total solar potential in India is around 750 GW. This is mainly due to its location in the tropical region, which receives a high amount of solar radiation throughout the year and availability of land.
Regional variation in development of solar energy
  • The states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra, for example, have made significant progress in the development of solar energy. Gujarat has the highest installed solar power capacity in the country, with around 5.5 GW of installed capacity.
  • Other states, however, have been slower to adopt solar energy. The north-eastern states, for example, have a low potential for solar energy due to their geographical location and frequent cloud cover - with only around 250 MW of installed capacity as of 2021.
Reasons for regional variations
  • Difference in policy frameworks and incentives across state Some states offering incentives such as tax exemptions and subsidies for solar power projects. In contrast, other states have been slow to adopt such policies.
  • Difference in the availability of land and infrastructure for solar power projects. States with a larger availability of suitable land and infrastructure have been able to develop solar power projects more easily.
  • Environmental challenges: conflict with local communities

To address the regional variations, government has launched several initiatives, such as the National Solar Mission and the Solar Park Scheme - by offering incentives, simplifying regulatory processes, and providing support for the development of solar power projects.

Thus, to fully realize the potential of solar energy in India, there is a need for consistent policy frameworks and incentives across states, as well as the availability of suitable land and infrastructure for solar power projects.
26) Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change.( 250 words)
The forest resources of India are an essential component of the country's natural wealth. However, the status of forest resources in India has been a cause for concern in recent years.
Status of forest resources
  • According to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019, the total forest and tree cover in India has increased to 56% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • But is still lower than the National Forest Policy's target of achieving 33% forest cover in the country.
Forest resources of India's resultant impact on climate change
  • Forests act as a natural stabilizing agent for the climate as they regulate the carbon cycle significantly.
  • Forests are the only unique, safe and inexpensive carbon capture and storage technology that is naturally available at scale with the potential to neutralize global CO, concentrations.
  • Carbon sequestration through photosynthesis
Threats to forests
  • Deforestation, and unsustainable forest management practices
  • Human activities such as agriculture, mining, and infrastructure development.
  • Climate change - rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events leading to forest fires, pests, and diseases.
Loss of forest cover and impact on climate change
  • Forests act as carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and thereby helping to mitigate climate change.
  • Deforestation and forest degradation contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change.
  • Perform crucial role in regulating the water cycle, influencing rainfall patterns, and maintaining water availability. Degradation of forest ecosystems can lead to reduced water availability, increased soil erosion, and land degradation, affecting agriculture and food security.
  • Global warming has increased calamities like soil erosion and tidal floodsloss of mangrove forests, which acted as natural barriers, increases the destruction potential of such events.
To address these challenges there is a need for a comprehensive approach - strengthening forest governance, promoting sustainable land-use practices, and investing in forest restoration and reforestation initiatives. It also calls for increased public awareness and engagement, enhanced capacity building, and effective partnerships among different stakeholders.


27) Assess the impact of global warming on the coral life system with examples. (150 words)
A recent study by University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) have estimated that 76.8 per cent of corals across the world would catch disease by 2100 amid global warming.
Impacts of global warming on coral reefs
  • Warm ocean leads to coral bleaching, where the corals lose their symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae algae - leads to the death of corals.
    E.g.: Bleaching observed in the Great barrier reef of Australia.
  • The temperature of oceans regulates mineral contents such as magnesium and calcium – mineral imbalance causes the corals are unable to utilise them and survive.
  • Ocean acidification - when carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves in seawater making water acidic - difficult for corals to build their skeletons, which are made of calcium Corals of Maldives
    E.g. Collapse of coral colonies in Caribbean islands due to ocean acidification.
  • Thermal stress reduces the immunity of corals causes infections.
    E.g. Yellow band disease in corals of Thailand
Overall, global warming is having a devastating impact on coral reef ecosystems worldwide, with potentially irreversible consequences for the many species that depend on them.
28) Discuss the causes of depletion of mangroves and explain their importance in maintaining coastal ecology. (150 words)
Mangroves are trees and shrubs that grow in tropical and subtropical coastal areas.
Causes for mangrove depletion
  • Deforestation: Mangrove wood is highly valued for its strength and durability, and is used in construction and boat building. Mangrove forests are also being cleared for shrimp and fish farming
  • Pollution: affect the growth and health of mangrove forests
  • Coastal development - lead to the destruction of mangrove habitats
  • Climate change, including sea level rise and changes in temperature and precipitation patterns
The importance of mangroves in maintaining coastal ecology
  • Provide important nursery habitats for many species of fish and invertebrates
  • provide critical protection against storms and coastal erosion.
  • Role in carbon sequestration and the regulation of climate
  • Ecotone and area of so many edge species
Depletion of mangroves is a major environmental concern. Conservation efforts like Sustainable Coastal Zone Regulations, proper implementation of recently announced Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) will help in this regard.
29) Can the strategy of regional resource-based manufacturing help in promoting employment in India? (150 words)
India has a diverse resource base, and different regions of the country have different types of natural resources. If these resources are utilized properly, it can lead to the growth of manufacturing industries, which in turn can generate employment opportunities.
Strategy of regional resource-based manufacturing help in promoting employment in India
  • For example, the development of the textile industry in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu has led to the creation of many jobs in these regions.
  • Similarly, the availability of iron ore in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh has led to the growth of the steel industry in these regions, generating employment opportunities.
However, the success of this strategy depends on several factors, such as the availability of infrastructure, access to credit, availability of skilled manpower, and the ease of doing business. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the development of industries does not lead to environmental degradation.

Therefore, the strategy of regional resource-based manufacturing can be an effective means of promoting employment in India, provided it is implemented with care and consideration for the environment and local communities.

30) How can the mountain ecosystem be restored from the negative impact of development initiatives and tourism? (250 words)
Mountain ecosystems are highly sensitive to changes and are often prone to negative impacts from development initiatives and tourism.
Major threats to mountain ecosystem:
  • Plastic and other wastes due high tourist footfalls
  • Land use changes – conversion to shifting, plantation agriculture
  • Unsustainable development activities – buildings, roads, mines
Ways to restore mountain ecosystems and mitigate the negative impacts caused by development initiatives and tourism
  • Sustainable tourism practices: responsible waste management, promoting eco-tourism, and responsible trekking
  • Afforestation: Planting trees and shrubs in degraded areas can help in stabilizing soil, preventing erosion and landslides, and improving the soil's ability to hold water. It can also help in restoring the biodiversity of the mountain ecosystem.
  • Promoting traditional farming practices: terrace farming, crop rotation, and agro forestry can help in restoring the ecological balance
  • Reducing human interference: Limiting human interference in fragile mountain ecosystems by creating buffer zones around protected areas and regulating the entry of tourists.
  • Use of renewable energy: solar and wind power in mountain regions can reduce the pressure on natural resources and help in mitigating the negative impact of development initiatives.
  • Citizen participation and awareness campaigns: In order to make a rapid reversal of exploitation of the ecosystem, there is a need for the citizens to come together. By educating the locals about the impact of damage caused by activities such as rampant tourism, irresponsible constructions, and pollution, locals can be actively involved in conservation activities.
The restoration of mountain ecosystems is crucial to maintain the ecological balance and prevent further damage to the environment. It requires a multi-pronged approach that involves sustainable tourism practices, promoting traditional farming practices, and reducing human interference, among others.
31) How do ocean currents and water masses differ in their impacts on marine life and coastal environment? Give suitable example. (250 words)

Ocean currents: They are the continuous, predictable, directional movement of seawater driven by gravity, wind (Coriolis Effect), and water density. Ocean water moves in two directions: horizontally and vertically.

Water mass: It is the body of ocean water with a distinctive narrow range of temperature and salinity and a particular density resulting from these two parameters. Water masses are formed as the result of climatic effects in specific regions.

Impact of ocean currents and water masses on Marine life and Coastal Environment
Ocean currents
  • Ocean currents have a significant impact on marine life as they influence the distribution of nutrients, plankton, and fish populations. For example, the North Atlantic Drift, a warm ocean current that flows from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic, the warm water provides a suitable habitat the distribution of fish species such as cod and haddock.
  • Ocean currents also play a crucial role in the migration patterns of marine animals such as sea turtles, whales, and seals.
  • Affect coastal temperatures: The warm current increases the temperature of the air around the area resulting in higher temperature over land whereas cold current result in lowering the temperature of the vicinity area. For example: Southern California and Arizona are located on same latitude, still Arizona experiences extremely hot summer compared to Southern California.
  • Changing landscape: The movement of cold currents can severely reduce the water carrying capacity of wind or air, which can result in creation of desert landscape. E.g.: Canary current and Peru current
Water masses
  • Water masses influence the physical and chemical characteristics of the water column. For example, the Gulf Stream, a warm water mass that flows from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic, influences the air temperature, humidity, and precipitation along the eastern coast of the United States, resulting in a different climate compared to the western coast.
  • Water masses influences the upwelling and down welling processes affecting coastal environment.
  • Upwelling - when cold water from deep oceanic layers rises to the surface, bringing nutrients - support the growth of phytoplankton and the food chain.
  • Down welling - when surface water sinks to the deep ocean, carrying dissolved oxygen that supports deep-sea ecosystems.
In conclusion, ocean currents influence marine life, while water masses impact the coastal environment. It is important to study and understand these oceanographic processes to protect and sustain marine life and coastal environments.
32) Discuss the factors for localisation of agro-based food processing industries of North-West India. (150 words)
The agro-processing industry or food processing business in India is one of the world's largest, making it the country's fifth-largest industry and the most important agro-based industry. Dairy, sugar, vegetable oil, and tea/coffee processing industries are among India's most important food processing sectors
Factors for localisation of agro-based food processing industries of North-West India
  • Availability of raw materials: North-West India is a major agricultural region and is known for the cultivation of wheat, rice, maize, and other crops. E.g. Punjab accounts for 17% of rice and 11% of wheat production of India
  • Access to markets: large consumer market due to its high population density and urbanization. E.g. organised APMCs and mandis
  • Socio-economic status: The population of the region has good literacy rate, including financial literacy easy availability of credit and capital investment
  • Government policies: such as providing financial incentives and tax breaks. 100% FDI through the automatic route in food processing sector and Scheme for Mega Food Parks
  • Skilled workforce: The region has a large pool of skilled workers. E.g. National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (Haryana)
  • Infrastructure: North-West India has well-developed infrastructure, including roads, railways, and airports, which facilitate the transportation.
A strong crop value chain with adequate funding and technology applications will boost the food processing sector to reap the demographic dividend and create employment and growth.
33) What is water stress? How and why does it differ regionally in India? (250 words)
Water stress refers to a condition where the demand for freshwater exceeds the available amount of water in a region. It is usually calculated as the ratio of water use to renewable water resources. Water stress can have serious consequences for both human and ecological systems, including water shortages, reduced agricultural productivity, and the loss of aquatic habitats.
Regional variation in water stress
  • States most affected by water stress are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. They are predominantly arid and semi-arid, with low rainfall and high evapo-transpiration. They are affected by over-extraction of groundwater for agriculture and industrial purposes.
  • On the other hand, the north-eastern states of India, such as Assam, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh, receive abundant rainfall and have high water availability. However, due to poor infrastructure and inadequate management practices, these regions also face water stress issues, particularly during the dry season.
  • In South India, erratic rainfall, pollution of rivers due to heavy development activities, over dependence on ground water, and lack of conservation efforts are resulting in acute shortage of drinking water in many regions.
  • In the Himalayas, the main sources of water are the fresh water springs fed by numerous rivers originating in the mountains. Urbanization and the resultant pollution, lack of traditional water harvesting methods in these once upon a time water-ample region are adding to the worries.
Causes for regional Water stress in India
  • Rainfall Patterns: India's rainfall distribution is highly variable, with some regions receiving heavy rainfall and others experiencing dry spells. E.g.: Dry regions of Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat
  • Geography and Hydrology: Areas with abundant rivers and lakes, such as the Gangetic plains and parts of the Northeast, generally have better water availability compared to water-scarce regions like the Thar Desert or the Deccan Plateau.
  • Groundwater Depletion: Overexploitation of groundwater resources is a significant issue in many parts of India.
  • Population Density: Higher population density increases water demand, putting additional pressure on water resources
  • Industrial and Agricultural Activities: The intensity of industrial and agricultural activities influences water stress
Water stress in India is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive approach, including the implementation of efficient water management strategies, conservation measures, and the promotion of sustainable practices.
34) How is efficient and affordable urban mass transport key to the rapid economic development of India? ( 250 words)
Rapid pace of urbanization taking place is leading to Increased traffic congestion, slow urban mobility which can have a huge impact on the economy and quality of life of citizens.
Economic importance of efficient and affordable urban mass transport
  • Reduce traffic congestion in cities, which results in increased commuting times, higher fuel consumption, and increased air pollution - reduces productivity and increases transportation costs for businesses, making them less competitive in the global market.
  • Affordable urban mass transport can increase access to employment opportunities, education, and healthcare. Improved accessibility can increase the labour force participation rate and reduce the skills gap by allowing people to access training and education. This can ultimately increase productivity and contribute to economic growth.
  • Attract investment to cities. Investors are more likely to invest in cities that have reliable transportation systems as it improves connectivity, reduces logistics costs, and encourages the mobility of people and goods, ultimately leading to economic growth.
  • Provide sustainable mobility solutions, reduce dependence on personal vehicles, and reduce carbon emissions, which is essential to address the growing concern of climate change.
Government can push for Transit oriented National Transit Oriented Development Policy, 2017, the Green Urban Transport Scheme, 2016 and Smart Cities Mission to increase efficiency and affordability of urban mass transport. Upcoming projects like Hyper loop or Metro and Suburban railway may prove to be a better option. There is a need to make public transport convenient and integrated for increasing patronage.
To realize the objective of the rapid economic development of India, we must focus on increasing efficiency as well as the affordability of urban transportation.


35) Why is Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) needed? How does it help in navigation? (150 words)
The Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS), also known as NavIC, is a 7-satellite constellation for regional navigation developed by India. It covers all over India and its boundaries areas up to 1500km beyond.
Need for IRNSS
  • Provides India with its own independent navigation system, reducing external reliance - enhances India's strategic autonomy. e.g. India was dependent on American GPS during Kargil conflict
  • Demonstration of India’s space capabilities – boost domestic industry and scientific research
  • Mapping and geodetic surveys
Role of IRNSS in navigation
  • Provide accurate location, velocity, and timing information to users in India and the surrounding regions
  • Benefits for transportation, disaster management, agriculture, and other sectors that rely on accurate location and timing information.
  • Provides a secure and reliable means of navigation for civilian (standard positioning service of 20m accuracy) and military purposes (restricted positioning service of 5m accuracy)
  • Air traffic controls - pilots to fly and land aircraft in bad weather conditions.
IRNSS provides India with an independent and reliable navigation system that has significant benefits for a range of civilian and military applications which help in achieving strategic autonomy.
36) Why is India taking keen interest in the Arctic region? (150 words)
The Arctic region is not a global common like Antarctica. Globally there is competition in establishing hold in Arctic. India’s keen interest on the Arctic region can be understood by India's draft Arctic policy
India’s interest in the Arctic region
  • Melting of Arctic ice due to climate change has opened new shipping routes and access to natural resources such as oil, gas, and minerals. India, as an energy-importing country, sees Arctic as alternative source.
  • Scientific research opportunities - particularly in the areas of climate change and its impacts on the environment. India has also expressed interest in collaborating with other Arctic states.
    E.g. Himadri Research Station with support from Norway.
  • As a member of the Arctic Council, India is keen to assert itself as a global player and establish itself as a stakeholder in Arctic affairs.
  • Study impact of Arctic climate on Indian Monsoon. India’s first underwater research station called IndARC at Svalbard, Norway.
  • Competition from China – bringing in huge investments in the Arctic
India's interest in the Arctic region reflects its strategic, economic, and scientific objectives, as well as its desire to play a greater role in global affairs.
37) Define mantle plume and explain its role in plate tectonics. (150 words)
Mantle plume is a narrow column of hot and buoyant material that rises from the Earth's core-mantle boundary to the surface, where it can form a volcano. These plumes are thought to be caused by upwelling of material from the boundary between the Earth's core and mantle. It is a secondary way through which earth loses heat.
Role of mantle plume in Plate Tectonics
  • Volcanic activity at the Earth's surface - As the plume rises through the mantle, it creates a hotspot, which can melt the overlying crust and form a volcanic eruption.
  • Gradually, the movement of tectonic plates can cause the location of the plume to change, leading to the formation of a chain of volcanoes.
    E.g. Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
  • Role in the breakup of supercontinents - rising plume can weaken the lithosphere and make it easier for tectonic plates to move apart - formation of new ocean basin and separation of continents.
Thus, the relationship between plate- and plume-tectonics is considered in view of the growth and breakdown of supercontinents and the formation of passive volcanic-type continental margins.
38) What are the consequences of spreading of ‘Dead Zones’ on marine ecosystem? (150 words)
Dead zones are areas in the ocean and lakes that have low oxygen levels. Over 400 dead zones have been identified.
Causes of Dead zones
  • Excess of nutrients from agricultural runoff causes algal blooms – blocks sunlight, decomposes and uses up dissolved oxygen
  • Non-mixing of fresh water and salt ocean water – prevent passing of oxygen from fresh water to lower levels of salty water.
  • Rising temperatures due to climate change– warmer water holds less oxygen
Consequences of spreading dead zones on the marine ecosystem
  • Impact on marine life: Fish and other marine animals may suffocate or be forced to migrate to other areas.
  • Loss of biodiversity, as some species are better adapted to survive in low-oxygen environments than others. And disrupt their reproductive capacity
  • Harmful algal blooms release toxins into the water and harm human health.
  • Release of greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide, which contribute to climate change.
Overall, the spreading of dead zones in the ocean can have far-reaching consequences for the marine ecosystem, with implications for human health, food security, and the global climate.
39) “The ideal solution of depleting ground water resources in India is water harvesting system.” How can it be made effective in urban areas? (250 words)
India is the largest user of groundwater globally, extracting more than the United States and China put together. Already, 63 percent of India’s districts are threatened by falling groundwater levels and water contamination.
Water harvesting involves collecting and storing rainwater during the monsoon season and using it during the dry season for various purposes.
Water harvesting system: ideal solution of depleting ground water resources in India
  • Replenishing Groundwater: Water harvesting systems, such as rooftop rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge structures, help replenish groundwater by directing rainwater into the ground
  • Sustainable Water Management: Water harvesting promotes sustainable water management practices
  • Cost-Effective Solution: Water harvesting systems are generally cost-effective compared to alternative water supply infrastructure projects.
Steps to make water harvesting system effective in urban areas
  • Mandate it as a requirement for all new construction projects - incorporating it into building codes and regulations - existing buildings can also be retrofitted with water harvesting systems e.g. Tamil Nadu in 2003
  • Incentives provided for those who do so voluntarily - e.g. building tax exemptions
  • Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) system: which ensures water supply, used water management, sanitation, and storm water management, planned in line with economic development and land use.
  • Public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the benefits and encourage them to adopt.
  • Involve community groups, NGOs, and local governments - they can work together to identify suitable locations for water harvesting, such as parks, schools, and community centers, and implement the systems in a coordinated manner.
  • Ensure proper harvesting system design and maintenance - training and capacity building for engineers, architects, and other professionals involved.
Overall, making water harvesting systems effective in urban areas requires a multi-pronged approach that involves regulatory frameworks, public awareness campaigns, community involvement, and technical expertise. By implementing these measures, India can make significant progress in conserving its groundwater resources and ensuring water security for its citizens.

40) Defining blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India. (250 words)

Blue revolution refers to the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture, with the aim of increasing fish production and improving the socio-economic status of fishers and fish farmers.
Challenges for Pisciculture or fish farming development in India
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure and support services, such as hatcheries and feed mills - limits the availability of quality fish seed and feed
  • Environmental challenges such as water pollution and floods, which can impact fish health and productivity.
  • Lack of finance – poverty restricts investments in farming
  • High post-harvest losses – lack of cold storages, poor transport connectivity, low farm-market linkages - affects the post-harvest handling and processing of fish
  • Lack of training – needs special skills
Measures to address the problems
  • Government measures - promotion of scientific fish farming practices, the development of fish hatcheries and feed mills, and the establishment of fish processing and marketing facilities. E.g. Umbrella scheme Mastya Sampada Yojana
  • Financial incentives and subsidies to encourage fish farmers to adopt modern practices. E.g. Technology Upgradation Fund
  • Schemes such as the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and the Blue Revolution Integrated Development Program (IDP) to provide technical and financial assistance to fish farmers.
  • Need for greater collaboration between government agencies, fish farmers, and other stakeholders to ensure the sustainable development of the fisheries sector. This includes the development of partnerships with private sector companies and non-governmental organizations to promote technology transfer and knowledge exchange.
Eco-friendly aquaculture in harmony with environmental and socioeconomic needs of the society has to be evolved for effective achievement of SDG-14.

41) What is the significance of Industrial Corridors in India? Identifying industrial corridors, explain their main characteristics. (250 words)

Industrial corridors are a key component of India's economic development strategy. They are designated stretches of land, typically along major transport routes, that are intended to attract investment and promote industrial development.
Significance of industrial corridors in India
  • Potential to drive economic growth and create employment
  • They attract both domestic and foreign investment - stimulate growth and development in the surrounding regions.
  • Improve connectivity and reduce regional imbalances by providing better access to markets, raw materials, and skilled labour.
Some of the key industrial corridors in India
The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC), the Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC), and the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC).  
Main characteristics of industrial corridors
  • Connectivity: typically located along major transport routes, such as highways, railways, and ports, to ensure easy access to markets and raw materials.
  • Industrial clusters: promote the development of industrial clusters, with companies from related industries located in close proximity to each other.
  • Infrastructure: They require the provision of basic infrastructure such as power, water, and telecommunications, as well as specialized infrastructure such as industrial parks and logistics hubs.
  • Investment promotion: They offer various incentives to attract investment, such as tax breaks, subsidies, and streamlined regulatory procedures.
  • Skill development: Industrial corridors may also include provisions for skill development and vocational training.
Industrial corridors play an important role in promoting economic growth and development in India. They have the potential to create employment opportunities, attract investment, and reduce regional imbalances, and are a key component of the government's efforts to promote industrialization and manufacturing in the country.


42) How does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth? (150 words)
The Juno Mission is a NASA spacecraft that was launched in August 2011 and reached Jupiter in July 2016. The mission is designed to study Jupiter's structure, atmosphere, magnetic field, and other properties
Juno Mission of NASA help to better understand the origin and evolution of the Earth
  • The mission is particularly interested in Jupiter's core, which is believed to be like the rocky cores of the inner planets, including Earth.
  • By studying Jupiter's gravity and magnetic field, Juno can help scientists understand how planets form and how they evolve over time.
  • It could help scientists understand how Earth's magnetic field is generated and how it protects us from harmful solar radiation
  • The mission is also looking for evidence of water and organic molecules in Jupiter's atmosphere, which could provide clues about the conditions that led to the formation of Earth.
Overall, the Juno Mission is an important tool for understanding the origins and evolution of the Earth and the solar system as a whole.
43) “In spite of adverse environmental impact, coal mining is still inevitable for development.” Discuss. (150 words)
Despite environmental concerns over coal mining, coal remains a major source of energy for many countries. It accounts for 55% of the India’s energy need.
Adverse environmental impacts of coal mining
  • Significant contributor to environmental degradation - including air and water pollution, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Land degradation – coal mines
  • Coal as a fuel causing global warming
Reasons for coal dependence
  • Coal with high carbon content is abundantly availablecoal mining and thermal plants are well developed.
  • Affordable energy to support economic growth– particularly for India with high poverty and developmental priority
  • Demand for coal in Iron and steel industry
  • Belief that improvements in technology and regulation can help mitigate the environmental impact of mining – e.g. coal-gasification, imposing carbon tax in India
Opponents of coal argue that negative impacts on the environment and public health outweigh any potential benefits - investment in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power is cleaner and sustainable. Thus, while it may be challenging to balance economic development with environmental sustainability, it is important to prioritize the long-term health and well-being of the planet and its inhabitants.
44) Mention the advantages of the cultivation of pulses because of which the year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations. (150 words)
Pulses are a type of leguminous crop that includes lentils, beans, chickpeas, and peas. The year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations to raise awareness about the nutritional and environmental benefits of pulses.
Advantages of cultivating pulses
  • Nutritional Benefits: excellent source of protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals - low in fat and cholesterol
  • Environmental Benefits: fix atmospheric nitrogen, which makes them a natural fertilizer - reduces need for chemical fertilizers
  • Economic Benefits: Pulses are an important crop for many small farmers around the world. They provide a source of income and food security, especially in developing countries.
  • Food Security: Pulses are a key part of a healthy diet and can help to reduce malnutrition and hunger.
  • Climate Change Mitigation: Pulses have a low carbon footprint and require less water.
  • Agricultural Productivity: Pulses are important plant in crop rotation and inter-cropping – increase productivity of the other crop.
By harnessing these advantages, the cultivation of pulses can contribute to global food security, environmental sustainability, and public health.
45) How does the cryosphere affect global climate? (150 words)
Cryosphere refers to the frozen parts of the Earth's surface, such as glaciers, snow cover, sea ice, and permafrost.
Effects of cryosphere on global climate
  • Snow and ice act as important reflector of sunlight (albedo) – essential for regulating earth’s temperature and energy balance. As snow melt, earth becomes darker causing global warming.
  • When ice melts in the Arctic, it releases freshwater into the ocean, which can affect the ocean's salinity and temperature, potentially changing the direction and strength of ocean currents.
  • The melting of the cryosphere also contributes to sea-level rise, which has the potential to affect coastal areas and human settlements.
  • Thawing permafrost can release large amounts of greenhouse gases, further exacerbating global warming.
  • Helps cooling the air. Eg.: the cold Labrador current originate from cryosphere and influence climate of eastern coast of North America.
Overall, the cryosphere plays a crucial role in regulating the Earth's climate, and changes to the cryosphere can have significant impacts on global climate patterns.
46) Account for variations in oceanic salinity and discuss its multi-dimensional effects. (250 W) 15M
Oceanic salinity refers to the concentration of salt and other dissolved minerals in seawater. The salinity of the oceans varies from place to place due to several factors, including evaporation, precipitation, and river runoff.
Variations in oceanic salinity
  • In areas where there is high evaporation and low rainfall, such as in the tropics and subtropics, oceanic salinity tends to be highest.
  • Salinity also varies with increasing depth
  • Conversely, in areas where there is high rainfall and low evaporation, such as in the equatorial regions, salinity tends to be low.
  • In coastal regions, flow of river water into ocean reduces salinity.
  • Polar and sub polar zones have minimum salinity due to low evaporation and fresh water supply from melting ice.
  • Winds are responsible for movement of ocean water as currents that cause change in salinity.
Multi-dimensional effects of variation in oceanic salinity
  • Distribution of ocean currents is largely determined by variations in oceanic salinity.
  • The salty water in the subtropics is denser than the less salty water in the equatorial regions. This density difference drives the global thermohaline circulation, which plays a crucial role in transporting heat around the planet.
  • Variations in salinity can alter the solubility of certain minerals and nutrients, which can impact the growth of phytoplankton and other primary producers.
  • Changes in oceanic salinity can affect the distribution and abundance of fish species, which can have economic and ecological implications.
In summary, the variation in oceanic salinity is a complex and dynamic phenomenon. Understanding the drivers and effects of salinity variations is critical for predicting and mitigating the impacts of climate change on the ocean.
47) Petroleum refineries are not necessarily located nearer to crude oil producing areas, particularly in many of the developing countries. Explain its implications. (250 words)
The location of petroleum refineries is influenced by several factors, including access to transportation infrastructure, market demand, and government policies. In many cases, petroleum refineries are not necessarily located near crude oil producing areas, especially in developing countries.
Positive Implications of Refineries away from oil-wells
  • Refineries tend to be situated closer to markets - helps in saving transport costs as transport costs of refined products tends to be higher than transporting crude oil as they lose weight through evaporation during transporting.
  • By-products generated during the refining process are very useful in industries like chemical, pharmaceutical, fertilizer, etc.
  • It helps in additional employment generation and economic development in a particular region.
  • Refineries near the ports enable a country to export the oil to other nations- help in foreign exchange earnings
  • Oil field can be exhaust in future, but market can last for a longer period. Thus, establishing refinery near to consuming market helps in optimal utilization of capital-intensive infrastructure.
  • The transportation of crude oil to large distances will increase environmental pollution and costs.
  • If the refineries and the crude oil-producing areas are in different states it may create conflict.
  • An abandoned oil-producing area doesn’t attract other industrial investments.
Thus, the location of the refinery located near the market has both pros and cons. It helps in employment generation, economic development, and foreign exchange earnings. At the same time, it also creates challenges that need to be addressed carefully.
48) What characteristics can be assigned to the monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia? (250 words)
Monsoon climate is characterized by a distinct seasonal pattern of rainfall, with wet summers and dry winters. This type of climate is prevalent in Monsoon Asia, which includes countries such as India, Bangladesh, China, and Indonesia.
The unique characteristics of the monsoon climate
  • Seasonality: During the summer months, warm and moist air from the ocean is drawn inland, leading to heavy rainfall that is critical for agricultural production. This allows farmers to cultivate crops such as rice, wheat, and corn, which are major sources of food for the population. The monsoon rains also replenish water resources, which are essential for drinking, irrigation, and hydroelectric power generation.
  • Variability: The timing, intensity, and duration of the monsoon rains can vary significantly from year to year, which can pose challenges for agricultural production and food security. However, the monsoon climate has also fostered a unique agricultural system that is adapted to its variability. Example, farmers in India and other monsoon regions practice multiple cropping, which involves planting several crops in the same field to take advantage of different monsoon patterns.
  • Influence on cultural and social traditions: Festivals and rituals are often tied to the monsoon season, celebrating its arrival and its role in sustaining life. The monsoon climate has also shaped the architecture, with features such as sloping roofs and courtyards designed to manage monsoon rainfall.
In conclusion, the monsoon climate's unique characteristics, including its seasonality, variability, and influence on culture and agriculture, have enabled it to feed more than 50 percent of the world's population residing in Monsoon Asia. Despite its challenges, the monsoon climate continues to play a critical role in sustaining life and shaping the societies of the region.
49) In what way can floods be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation in India? (250 words)
12% of land in India is assessed to be prone to floods, especially during monsoons causing widespread damages.
Methods to convert floods into sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation
Sustainable source of Irrigation:
  • Construction of small-scale storage and diversion structures - capture excess water during floods and store it for use during the dry season.
  • Promotion of water-efficient farming practices from these flood storage structures, such as drip irrigation and mulching.
  • Interlinking of riversg. Kosi, Gandak and Son, to divert flood water from one river to next – thereby regulating floods as well as provide water for agriculture.
  • Traditional water diversion methods: g. Ahar or Pyne in Bihar, Khuls in Himachal Pradesh - rejuvenated to divert flood water.
All-weather inland navigation:  
  • Developing waterways and river transport systems - facilitate the movement of goods and people. E.g. National Waterway-1 project on the Ganges River.
  • Dam Management: release of flood water in a phased manner for regular supply of water to rivers. E.g. Narmada river using Sardar Sarvovar Dam
  • International experiences: Tennessee Valley Project - A system dams and locks aids in maintaining adequate water level.
  • Flood mapping: study to chart navigation routes
It requires proper planning, and coordination between different stakeholders. This includes the development of flood forecasting and warning systems, the identification of suitable areas for water storage and diversion structures, and the involvement of local communities.
By the above methods, floods can be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation and help improve agricultural productivity, reduce transportation costs, and enhance the resilience of communities to floods and other climate-related hazards.
50) “The growth of cities as I.T hubs has opened up new avenues of employment but has also created new problems.” Substantiate this statement with examples. (250 words)
The information technology sector has become one of the most employment generating sector in India, with the establishment of I.T. hubs in different parts of the country.  E.g.: Noida, Gurugram, Hyderabad etc
Positive effects of growth of cities as I.T hubs
  • IT hubs created skilled jobs. E.g. Data analytics, BPO, electronics hardware etc.
  • Brought in investments (FDI) and indirect jobs in IT hubs with better pay.
  • Engineering colleges sprouted to meet the labour demands of IT industry.
Problems created by growth of cities as I.T hubs
  • Urban sprawl - Many IT companies are in suburban or semi-urban areas, which has led to the expansion of cities and the creation of sprawling suburbs - resulted in overcrowding, loss of agricultural land etc.
  • Traffic congestion lack of adequate public transportation infrastructure - negative impact on air quality, as well as people's quality of life. E.g. Bangalore traffic problems
  • Environmental degradation – concrete structures destroy ecosystems – cause water pollution, urban heat-islands, e-wastes. E.g. water quality issues in Noida.
  • Social inequality - The high salaries offered by IT companies can lead to rising housing prices and rents, which can make it difficult for low-income families to afford housing – leads to displacement and social fragmentation.
  • Increasing crime rates - Shortage of resources like water, overcrowding, higher poverty rates, unemployment, and a loss of social services and education causes violence, drug misuse etc.
Addressing these challenges will require a coordinated effort from government, industry, and civil society. Government schemes like Smart cities mission, AMRUT mission, Swachh Bharat (Urban) needs to focus on making cities sustainable. All these will enable achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities)


51) Discuss the concept of air mass and explain its role in macro-climatic changes. (200 words)
An air mass is a large body of air with uniform temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. Air masses are typically formed over vast areas of land or water with similar temperature and moisture conditions.
They are classified based on their temperature and moisture content, into 5 types - continental Arctic (cA), continental Polar (cP), continental Tropical (cT), maritime Polar (mP) maritime Tropical (mT)
Role of air masses in macro-climatic changes over a large area.
  • When air masses with different characteristics (e.g., temperature and moisture) meet, they can create weather fronts, which are boundaries between different air masses.
  • This can result in a range of weather conditions, including extra-tropical cyclones, thunderstorms, rainfall, and changes in temperature and humidity.
  • Cold air masses create high pressure and stability conditions in temperate and sub-tropical regions
  • Air masses are moved by prevailing winds, such as the trade winds, westerly, and polar easterlies - transport air masses across large distances, influencing weather patterns and climate over vast regions.
    E.g.: The movement of warm, moist air masses from the equatorial regions towards the poles is responsible for the development of the tropical rainforests and temperate regions.
In conclusion, air masses are a critical component of the earth's climate system and play a significant role in macro-climatic changes. Understanding the characteristics and movements of air masses is essential for predicting weather patterns and understanding long-term climate trends.
52) “The Himalayas are highly prone to landslides.” Discuss the causes and suggest suitable measures of mitigation. (200 words)
The Himalayas are highly prone to landslides due to their complex geological structure, steep slopes, high precipitation, seismic activity, and human activities.
Causes of landslides in the Himalayas
  • Geological factors - unstable nature of the mountains, tectonic activities, and the presence of weak geological formations.
  • Climatic factors - heavy rainfall, snowmelt, and earthquakes can also trigger landslides.
  • Human activities - deforestation, mining, road construction, and unregulated urbanization can exacerbate landslides by destabilizing slopes and altering the natural drainage patterns.
Measures to mitigate landslides
  • Early warning systems: use of modern technology such as satellite imagery, remote sensing, and ground-based sensors.
  • Slope stabilization measures: retaining walls, gabion walls, and soil nailing can help to reduce the risk of landslides.
  • Reforestation: Planting trees and restoring natural vegetation to stabilize slopes
  • Land use planning: preventing construction in areas prone to landslides and regulating mining and road construction - prevent overgrazing, practice contour farming.
  • Education and awareness: Educating communities about the risks of landslides and how to prepare for and respond to them.
landslides are a significant hazard in the Himalayas, and mitigating the risk requires a multi-pronged approach involving a combination of natural and human-induced factors.
53) The effective management of land and water resources will drastically reduce the human miseries. Explain (200 words)
Land and water resources are fundamental to human well-being and are critical components of sustainable development.
Proper management of land resources drastically reduce the human miseries
  • Sustainable land-use practices such as conservation agriculture, agro forestry, and sustainable grazing systems.
  • Efficient crop planning and crop rotation can lead to improved fertility of the soil
  • Cooperative farming can lead to better productivity from the same land, increase rural incomes, and alleviate the miseries of small and marginal farmers
  • By adopting such practices, it is possible to increase crop yields, improve soil fertility, and protect the environment from degradation.
Effective water management drastically reduce the human miseries
  • Water conservation, recycling, and reuse, and the promotion of sustainable water use practices such as drip and sprinkler irrigation increase water use efficiency.
  • Instead of big hydro-projects, small check-dams, and measures such as rainwater harvesting and storm water management can lead to greater availability of water, alleviating water woes.
  • Proper water management can help to ensure that water resources are available for drinking, irrigation, and industrial use, reducing the incidence of water scarcity and improving human well-being.
Proper management of land and water resources can also help to mitigate the impacts of climate change, reducing the incidence of natural disasters such as floods and droughts that cause human deaths. Also, the management is crucial to reducing human miseries such as poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation.
54) South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment. (200 words)

The South China Sea (SCS) is a critical waterway that links the Pacific and Indian Oceans and is of great geopolitical significance.

Geopolitical Significance of South China Sea  
  • One of the busiest shipping lanes - one-third of global trade, including oil and gas shipments.
  • Rich in fishery resources and potentially significant oil and gas reserves.
  • Overlapping territorial claims by China and several Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
  • China claims almost the entire SCS, including areas that are recognized as belonging to other countries under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • China has been building and militarizing artificial islands in the SCS, raising concerns. E.g. Mischief Reef, Subi Reef.
  • US has been conducting freedom of navigation operations to challenge China
  • The region is home to several disputed island chains, such as the Paracels and the Spratlys, which are also claimed by other countries in the region.
South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance and the tensions in the region have the potential to escalate into a major conflict. The resolution of territorial disputes in the South China Sea is crucial to ensuring peace and stability in the region.
55) Major cities of India are becoming more vulnerable to flood conditions. Discuss. (200 words)
Urban flooding is the inundation of land or property in a built environment, particularly in more densely populated areas (like cities), caused by rainfall overwhelming the capacity of drainage systems. E.g.: Chennai flood
Factors contributing to urban floods
  • Urbanization: proliferation of concrete structures, which are unable to absorb rainwater - causes water logging and flooding.
  • Encroachment of natural water bodies: Reducing ability of lakes, ponds, and wetlands to absorb excess water. E.g. encroachment of Lake Adyar Chennai caused floods
  • Poor drainage infrastructure: Unable to handle the volume of water generated during heavy rainfall. E.g. Mumbai floods due to lack of separate storm drain.
  • Climate change: Increased precipitation and more extreme weather events, making cities even more vulnerable to flooding. E.g. higher sea levels caused larger tides in Mumbai – sea-water returned to the city.
  • Inadequate disaster preparedness: Difficult to respond effectively in the event of a flood.
Measures to mitigate flooding
  • Developing green infrastructure: such as parks and green roofs, to absorb excess rainwater.
  • Restoring natural water bodies: increase their capacity to absorb excess water during the monsoon season.
  • Upgrading drainage infrastructure: separate storm and sewage drains – regular de-silting.
  • Building flood resilience: Disaster preparedness plans and community’s community awareness.
Vulnerability of major cities in India to flood conditions is a significant concern. It is necessary to adopt a holistic approach to flood management to mitigate urban floods.
56) Present an account of the Indus Water Treaty and examine its ecological, economic and political implications in the context of changing bilateral relations. (200 words)
The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing agreement between India and Pakistan, signed in 1960 with the help of the World Bank.
Treaty divides the Indus River system into two parts, with India receiving control over the eastern rivers (Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi), while Pakistan receives control over the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab).
Implications of Indus Water Treaty in the context of changing bilateral relations
Ecological perspective
  • Cooperation in Tran boundary Water Management: Changing bilateral relations could affect the level of cooperation, potentially impacting joint efforts in transboundary water management, including data sharing, flood management, and environmental protection.
  • Climate Change and Water Availability: changes could affect in addressing the challenges posed by climate change on water resources
Economic perspective
  • Irrigation and Agriculture: The availability of water for irrigation directly impacts agricultural productivity, food security, and the rural economy in both countries
  • Hydropower Generation: The allocation of water for hydropower generation has economic implications in terms of energy security, electricity production, and revenue generation through the sale of surplus power.
Political perspective
  • Confidence-Building Measure: The treaty has served as a confidence-building measure between India and Pakistan.
  • Diplomatic Tool: It provides a platform for dialogue and negotiations on water-related issues and allows for the resolution of disputes through bilateral mechanisms, such as the Permanent Indus Commission.
  • Scope for Cooperation: The treaty provides an opportunity for India and Pakistan to engage in cooperative efforts for the sustainable management of water resources.
The Indus Waters Treaty has both positive and negative implications in terms of its ecological, economic, and political impact. It is important for both countries to continue to work together to manage their shared water resources effectively and prevent any potential conflicts.
57) Enumerate the problems and prospects of inland water transport in India. (200 words)
Inland water transport (IWT) refers to the transportation of people, goods, and materials via waterways such as rivers, canals, lakes, and other navigable bodies of water that are located within a country's boundaries.
Problems of inland water transport in India
  • Insufficient infrastructure: such as ports, terminals, and navigational aids are inadequate.
  • Limited navigability: Many of the rivers in India are not navigable throughout the year due to low water levels, sandbars, and seasonality.
  • High operational costs and limited availability of vessels: Leading to higher freight rates compared to other modes of transport.
  • Limited availability of vessels: Leading to a lack of competition and inadequate capacity to meet demand.
Prospects of inland water transport in India
  • Cost-effective: for bulk cargo movement, particularly for heavy goods such as coal, iron ore, and cement.
  • Environmentally friendly: compared to road and rail as it emits lower carbon emissions and has a lower carbon footprint.
  • Reducing road congestion: IWT can help reduce road congestion and save on transport costs, especially in urban areas where traffic congestion is a major problem.
  • Potential for tourism: India's vast network of rivers provides ample opportunities for the development of river tourism and recreational activities.
  • Government interventions: Declaration of National Waterways, “Sagarmala Project”, Multi-modal ports
Thus, with proper investment in infrastructure, vessel availability, and regulatory reforms, IWT has the potential to provide a better mode of transportation for bulk cargo movement, as well as a source of tourism and recreation.
58) In what way micro-watershed Development projects help in water conservation in drought prone and semi-arid regions of India? (200 words)
Micro-watershed development  projects involve the development and conservation of small-scale watersheds, typically covering an area of a few hectares to a few square kilometres. These projects are aimed at improving water conservation and management in drought-prone and semi-arid regions of India.  
Micro-watershed Development projects help in water conservation in drought prone and semi-arid regions of India
  • Soil and water conservation: through measures such as contour bunding, check dams, and trenches that help in conserving soil and water, preventing soil erosion and enhancing the groundwater recharge.
  • Agro forestry: These projects promote the planting of trees and shrubs, which helps in soil conservation, improves soil moisture, and creates a conducive environment for the growth of crops.
  • Efficient water use: projects such as drip irrigation, water harvesting, and the use of water-efficient crops helps in maximizing the use of available water resources and minimizing wastage.
  • Rejuvenation: of natural reservoirs, wells and tanks – helps raise groundwater level.
  • Community participation: who are trained in water conservation techniques and are involved in the planning and implementation of the project - creates awareness and sense of ownership.
Success of micro-watershed development projects in Ralega Siddhi (Maharashtra) under Anna Hazare, in Rajasthan under Rajendra Singhis successful model.  micro-watershed development can be a sustainable development initiative to face the challenges of climate change and poverty in rural areas.


59) Explain the factors responsible for the origin of ocean currents. How do they influence regional climates, fishing, and navigation? (200 words)
Ocean currents are the massive, continuous, predictable, directional movement of seawater.
Factors for origin of ocean current
  • Insolation - causes the water to expand -This causes a very slight gradient and water tends to flow down the slope.
  • Wind: creates friction that drags the seawater and generates currents - cause the ocean to move in a circular pattern, creating gyres.
  • Temperature: influence density of the water, causing it to sink or rise.
  • Earth's rotation: causes Coriolis effect - currents in the Northern Hemisphere to move in a clockwise direction.
Influence on regional climates
  • Help to distribute heat around the world's oceans.
  • Cold ocean currents cause formation of desert type climate in western regions of tropical continents.
    E.g.: Canaries Current cause Sahara Desert.
  • Warm Ocean currents causes rainfall and moderating effect
    E. g.: North Atlantic drift moderating effect in Britain.
Influence on fishing
  • Ocean currents help distribute nutrients. E.g. Upwelling of Peru current.
  • Major fishing zones are located at the meeting point of warm and cold currents.
    E.g.: Grand Bank at the meeting of Gulf Stream and Labrador Current.
Influence on navigation
  • Ocean currents can either assist or hinder ships, depending on the direction and strength of the current.
  • Ships can use ocean currents to save time and fuel by travelling in the same direction as the current.
Origin of ocean currents and their influence on regional climates, fishing, and navigation highlights their importance to both the natural world and human society.
60) What are the economic significances of discovery of oil in Arctic Sea and its possible environmental consequences? (200 words)
According to the USGS (United States Geological Survey), the Arctic may hold 30% of the world's undiscovered natural gas reserves and 12% of the world's undiscovered oil reserves.
Significances of discovery of oil in Arctic Sea
  • Oil and natural gas could be exploited to provide a new source of energy for the world.
  • Bring significant economic benefits to the countries including Russia, Norway, Canada, and the United States.
  • This could include job creation, increased investment, and greater revenues from the sale of oil and gas.
  • Affect global oil and gas prices - reduce reliance on middle East
  • New shipping routes through Arctic – reduce travel time and costs
Environmental consequences of discovery of oil in Arctic Sea
  • The region is home to a fragile and unique ecosystem, Arctic permafrost, and oil spills or other accidents could have catastrophic effects on the environment and the wildlife that live in the area.
  • Extraction of fossil fuels could exacerbate the impacts of climate change like sea level rise, carbon release.
  • Geopolitical consequences, as countries compete for control of the region's resources
Overall, the discovery of oil in the Arctic Sea has both economic and environmental consequences, highlighting the need for careful consideration and management of the region's resources to balance the potential benefits with the risks and impacts.
61) Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three Mega cities of the country, but the air pollution is much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so? (200 words)
According to the World Air Quality Report prepared by IQAir, Delhi ranked 4th out of 50 of the world’s most polluted cities in terms of PM2.5 levels in 2022.
Reason for more air pollution in Delhi in comparison with other megacities
  • Geography: Delhi is situated in a landlocked region, and it is surrounded by agricultural fields and industrial areas that contribute significantly to air pollution. E.g. Stubble burning in nearby states.
  • Climate: Delhi also experiences temperature inversions during the winter season, which can trap pollutants close to the surface, leading to high levels of air pollution. Delhi experiences frequent dust storms contributing to particulate matter in the air.
  • Particulate emissions: Delhi has a high density of vehicles on its roads, higher use of fossil fuels and high construction activities, and burning of bio-mass - contribute to higher particulate emissions.
  • Poor pollution control measures in Delhi. E.g.: the odd-even rule and the ban on the use of firecrackers during Diwali has not been effective.
In contrast, Mumbai and Kolkata are situated on the coast, where the sea breezes moderate pollution. Both cities also have more efficient public transportation systems and stricter regulations on vehicular emissions and industrial pollution. The geography, climate, vehicular emissions, construction activities, and lack of effective measures to control air pollution have contributed to the problem of air pollution being more severe in Delhi as compared to Mumbai and Kolkata.
62) India is well endowed with freshwater resources. Critically examine why it still suffers from water scarcity. (200 words)
India is a country with vast water resources, including rivers, lakes, and groundwater. But according to a report by the World Resources Institute, approximately 54% of people living in India are already experiencing water scarcity.
India is well endowed with freshwater resources
  • Rivers: India has several major rivers, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Narmada, among others
  • Lakes and Wetlands: India has numerous lakes and wetlands, both natural and man-made. E.g.: Dal Lake in Kashmir, Chilika Lake in Odisha
  • Monsoon Rainfall: India's freshwater resources are largely dependent on the monsoon rainfall.
Reasons for water scarcity
  • Surface run-off: India receives majority rainfall in 3-4 months of Monsoon. Considerable portion is lost as water vapour and surface run-off.
  • Unequal distribution of water resources: Some regions having an abundance of water (E.g. North and east India) while others (West and south) suffer from acute water scarcity due to less rainfall and have limited water resources.
  • Population growth: Puts pressure on the available water resources, leading to overuse and depletion.
  • Inefficient use of water: Irrigation systems (e.g. flood irrigation for paddy, tube wells) are often outdated and inefficient, resulting in the wastage of water. Poor conservation and recycling of water Industries and households.
  • Climate change: Leads to more frequent droughts and floods - exacerbates water scarcity
  • Pollution: Many rivers and lakes contaminated with industrial waste and sewage – makes water unsuitable.
Addressing these issues will require a combination of policies and actions, including better management of water resources, more efficient use of water, and measures to address pollution and climate change.
63) The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are reaching the limits of ecological carrying capacity due to tourism. Critically evaluate. (200 words)
Carrying capacity is the ability of the environment to take pollution and replenish the environment. However, industry like tourism sector reaching limits above carrying capacity causing irreparable damage. Tourism is an important sector in India, contributing significantly to the economy and providing employment opportunities.
Tourism and how it impacts carrying capacity
  • Activities such as trekking, camping, and adventure sports in these states has led to soil erosion, deforestation, and habitat destruction.
  • Unplanned construction, heavy traffic, poor waste disposal, overcrowding has affected the ecological resilience of the region.
  • Tourism can lead to the displacement of local communities and the loss of traditional livelihoods. Loss of cultural heritage due to the commercialization of cultural practices.
  • Floods in Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir has pointed fingers at unsustainable tourism practices.
Overall, it is important to strike a balance between tourism development and ecological conservation in these states.
Way forward
  • It is crucial to involve local communities in the decision-making process, and to ensure that the benefits of tourism are shared equitably.
  • Sustainable tourism practices, including responsible tourism, ecotourism, and community-based tourism, can help to mitigate the negative impacts of tourism and promote sustainable development.
  • Measures such as carrying capacity assessments, environmental impact assessments, and regulatory frameworks can help to manage tourism development and ensure that it is sustainable and socially responsible.
Eco friendly tourism which would positively contribute to sustainable development and inclusive development is the need of the hour
64) How far do you agree that the behaviour of the Indian monsoon has been changing due to humanizing landscape? Discuss. (200 words)
The “monsoon” climate is related to the seasonal reversal of wind direction.
Changing monsoon patterns
  • Surplus precipitation: Central and southern India saw a sharp surge in rainfall.
  • Deficit: On the other hand, large parts of U. P., Bihar, Odisha have seen large deficits.
  • Incessant rain over Delhi and several other parts of North and Northwest India
  • Fewer rainy days but more intense rain
Changing monsoon due to humanizing landscape
  • Deforestation: reduces the ability of the land to absorb and retain water, leading to increased runoff and soil erosion - can alter the timing and intensity of rainfall.
  • Urbanization: other land-use changes can also affect the microclimate of the region, which can impact the monsoon.
    E.g. encroachment of water-bodies.
  • Agricultural practices: Excessive irrigation makes land surface wet before monsoon – weakens the low pressure necessary for monsoon to progress.
  • Global warming: Human induced global warming accelerates snow melting in the Himalayan glaciers. This disrupts the intensity of Tibetan low-pressure that attracts the monsoon to Indian subcontinent.
  • Calamities: Construction of mega dams in fragile mountainous areas invites flash flooding during monsoons. E.g. Uttarakhand flash-floods (2013)
  • Emissions: particulate matter and aerosols disrupt the cloud formation during and before monsoons.
Thus, important to take measures like promoting sustainable land-use and water-use practices, restoring degraded ecosystems, and reduce carbon footprint. By doing so, it may be possible to mitigate the impacts of human-induced landscape changes on the monsoon and ensure its long-term sustainability.
65)Smart cities in India cannot sustain without smart villages. Discuss this statement in the backdrop of rural urban integration. (200 words)
The concept of smart cities has the focus on making urban areas more efficient, sustainable, and technologically advanced. Smart Village is an initiative focused on holistic rural development, derived from Mahatma Gandhi's vision of Adarsh Gram and Swaraj.
Smart cities in India cannot sustain without smart villages
  • Resource: One of the major reasons for this is that rural areas in India are the primary source of food and other resources that urban areas require.
  • Infrastructure deficit: The lack of development in rural areas leads to a significant urban-rural divide, resulting in disparities in the standard of living and a burden on urban infrastructure.
  • Healthcare: Poorly developed health care in villages resulting in burden on urban hospitals as villages doesn’t have secondary and tertiary health care.
  • Unorganised sector: Most of the migrant workers with low or semi-skills end up in unorganised sector jobs like construction works resulting in poor wages and growth.
Therefore, it is essential to develop smart villages that are equipped with modern technology, infrastructure, and amenities to support the growing needs of urban areas.
Integration of Rural-Urban Areas
  • Moreover, rural-urban integration can create a balance between the two areas, reducing the stress on urban infrastructure and easing the pressure on resources.
  • With the development of smart villages, the migration of people from rural to urban areas can be controlled - provide opportunities for people to stay in their own villages and work.
Government interventions like Rurban Mission, PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Area) are in the direction, Development of smart villages is crucial for the sustainability of smart cities in India. Rural-urban integration will ensure Gandhian idea of gram swaraj enshrined in Art 40, DPSP of Indian constitution.


66) Most of the unusual climatic happenings are explained as an outcome of the El-Nino effect. Do you agree? (200 words)
The El Niño effect is a well-known climate phenomenon that occurs when warm water in the Pacific Ocean moves eastward toward the South American coast. This can cause significant changes in weather patterns around the world and has been linked to a range of unusual climatic happenings, such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves.
Unusual climatic happenings: an outcome of the El-Nino effect.
  • The effects of El Nino in South America are direct and stronger. Because of El Niño, increased rainfall occurs across the east-central and eastern Pacific Ocean. Along the coasts of northern Peru and Ecuador, major flooding is caused by El Nino. The local fishing industry can suffer during long-lasting El Nino events.
  • Areas west of Japan and Korea tend to experience much fewer tropical cyclone impacts during El Nino and neutral years.
  • Unusual droughts in Australia have also been associated with the effect of El Nino.
  • El Nino's effects on Europe appear to be strongest in winter and make the region colder.
  • The tropical Atlantic Ocean experiences depressed activity due to increased vertical wind shear across the region during El Nino years.
While the El Niño effect is an important factor in explaining many unusual climatic happenings, it is not the sole cause of all such events. There are many other factors that can contribute to changes in weather patterns, and a holistic approach is needed to understand the complex interactions between these different factors.

67) Why are the world’s fold mountain systems located along the margins of continents? Bring out the association between the global distribution of fold mountains and the earthquakes and volcanoes. (200 words)

Fold Mountains are formed from the convergence of tectonic plates. This causes folding of crust and uprising of the sediments accumulated by rivers along the margins of the continents.
Location of fold mountains  
  • In Continent-Continent (C-C) convergence, oceanic sediments are squeezed and up thrust appear as fold mountains along the plate margins. g. Himalayas (Eurasian plate and Indo-Australian plate), Alps (African and Eurasian Plate).
  • In Continent-Ocean (C-O) convergence, the continental volcanic arc formed along the continental plate margin is compressed and is uplifted by the colliding oceanic plate giving rise to fold mountains along the continental plate margin.
    E.g. the Rockies (North American and Pacific Plate), Andes (South American and Pacific Plate)
Earthquakes and volcanoes
  • When tectonic plates collide, they can create enormous stresses that can lead to earthquakes, because of the sudden release of friction between the subducting plate and up thrust plate.
  • Volcanism is observed only in C-O convergence and is almost absent in C-C convergence. In C-O convergence, metamorphosed sediments and melting of the subducting plate form magma which escapes to the surface through the less thick continental crust
This association is particularly evident in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region that encircles the Pacific Ocean and is known for its frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
68) Explain the formation of thousands of islands in Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos? (200 words)
“Archipelago” is a chain of islands that share a common source. The Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos are in a region known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.  
The formation of the thousands of islands in Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos
They are primarily due to two geological processes: volcanism and plate tectonics.
  • The Pacific Ring of Fire is home to many active volcanoes, and the eruption of lava and other volcanic materials can create new land masses.
  • Over time, repeated volcanic activity can result in the formation of large islands.
Plate tectonics:
  • The region is located at the boundary of several tectonic plates.
  • When two plates collide, one plate is typically forced under the other, creating subduction zones where the plates interact.
  • This can lead to the formation of volcanic arcs, where magma rises to the surface and creates new islands.
  • Indonesian archipelago was formed due to convergence between Sunda oceanic plate (part of the Eurasian plate) and Indo-Australian plate whereas Philippine archipelago was formed due to convergence between Sunda oceanic plate and Philippine Sea plate.
In addition to volcanic activity and plate tectonics, other factors such as sea level changes, erosion, and sedimentation can also contribute to the formation of islands in these archipelagos.
69) Account for the change in the spatial pattern of the Iron and Steel industry in the world. (200 words)
Iron and steel industry is a very basic industry which fulfils the raw material demand of other industries down the supply chain like construction, automobile, infrastructure, oil and gas industries. The spatial pattern of the iron and steel industry has undergone significant changes over the years.
Change in the spatial pattern of the Iron and Steel industry in the world
  • Early 20th century, the industry was concentrated in Western Europe and the United States -driven by the availability of raw materials, such as coal and iron ore, and the development of new technologies.
  • Latter half of the 20th century, the industry shifted to other regions - East Asia and Latin America. Due to globalization, the emergence of new markets, and changes in the cost of labour and transportation.
  • In the 1970s and 1980s, Japan emerged as a major player in the iron and steel industry, driven by its highly skilled workforce, advanced technology, and access to raw materials. Other East Asian countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan, also established strong steel industries during this period.
  • In the 1990s and 2000s, China emerged as the world's largest producer of steel, driven by its massive workforce, low labour costs, and massive investments in infrastructure. Other countries in the region, such as India and Vietnam, also saw significant growth in their steel industries during this time.
Today, the spatial pattern of the iron and steel industry continues to evolve, with new players emerging in regions such as Africa and the Middle East. However, the industry remains heavily concentrated in East Asia, with China accounting for nearly half of the world's steel production
70) Critically evaluate the various resources of the oceans which can be harnessed to meet the resource crisis in the world. (200 words)
The oceans are a vast and largely untapped source of resources that could help to meet the growing resource crisis in the world. However, there are both benefits and drawbacks to their utilization.
Various resources which can be Harnessed
  • Fish and other seafood - valuable source of protein and support a global industry.
    • However, overfishing, and unsustainable practices have led to declines in many fish populations and threatened the health of entire marine ecosystems.
  • Renewable energy, including wave and tidal power - significant amount of power to coastal communities and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
    • However, there are concerns about the impact that these technologies could have on marine ecosystems and local communities.
  • Minerals and other resources - including oil, gas, and rare earth metals – manganese nodules contain iron, cobalt, nickel etc.
    • However, the extraction of these resources can be costly and often has significant environmental impacts, including oil spills and damage to sensitive marine habitats.
It is important to carefully consider the environmental, economic, and social impacts of their utilization. Sustainable and responsible practices are necessary to ensure that the benefits of ocean resources are not outweighed by their costs.
71) Tropical cyclones are largely confined to South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico. Why? (200 words)
Tropical cyclones are intense storms with low-pressure centre, closed low level atmospheric circulation, strong winds that causes heavy rain. Conditions for tropical cyclones
  • Warm sea surface temperatures
  • Coriolis force to sustain a low-pressure centre
  • Unstable atmospheric condition
  • High humidity in low atmosphere
  • Low vertical wind shear, which is the change in wind speed and direction with height.
While tropical cyclones can occur in other parts of the world, such as the Atlantic Ocean and the South Pacific, the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones is generally higher in South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico regions in different names.
Reason for larger confinement of tropical cyclones in South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico
  • Warm ocean waters: The above regions are all located in regions where ocean temperatures are warm enough due to the surrounding land.
  • Low vertical wind shear: The above are regions where wind shear is generally low, which allows storms to form and strengthen.
  • Location closer to Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ): Thus, the north-east and south-east trade winds meet helps push the lower-level winds for rotation.
  • Atmospheric conditions: The above regions are characterized by high humidity and unstable atmospheric conditions.
South China Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Gulf of Mexico are regions that provide favourable conditions for the formation and intensification of tropical cyclones which leads to frequent occurrences of cyclones.
72) Bring out the relationship between the shrinking Himalayan glaciers and the symptoms of climate change in the Indian sub-continent. (200 words)
The Himalayan glaciers, like Gangotri, Yamunotri etc have been shrinking at an alarming rate in recent decades. This trend is strongly linked to the symptoms of climate change that are being observed in the region.
Symptoms of climate change include the rising temperatures, sea levels, occurrence of natural calamities like draught and floods, changing weather patterns like rainfall etc.
Relationship between shrinking Himalayan glaciers and climate change in the Indian sub-continent
  • Rising temperatures causes accelerated melting of glaciers. Vanishing glaciers reduces earth’s heat reflectivity (albedo), causing more heat absorption further increasing melting.
  • As ice-cover reduces more water and land is exposed – this increases evaporation negatively affecting water supply for communities in Indian subcontinent that rely on glacier melt for freshwater needs.
  • Shrinking of glaciers increases the risk of landslides and glacial lake outburst floods and other calamities.
  • Loss of glaciers disrupts monsoon weather and cause water scarcity – symptoms of climate change – impact agriculture and food security in Indian subcontinent.
  • Increased glacial melt can increase sea levels and change hydrology of Himalayan rivers like Ganga, making them seasonal.
Shrinking of the Himalayan glaciers is a critical symptom of climate change in the Indian subcontinent. Panchamrit goals put forward in Glasgow summit and other mitigation measures are need of the time to counter the symptoms of climate change.
73) Whereas the British planters had developed tea gardens all along the Shivaliks and Lesser Himalayas from Assam to Himachal Pradesh, in effect they did not succeed beyond the Darjeeling area. Explain. (200 words)
India is one of the largest tea producers in the world. Britishers introduced Tea in India. They brought it from China and offered perks for developing Tea gardens in India.
Reason for no expansion of  British tea plantation beyond Darjeeling area
  • Altitude and Climate: The tea plant requires a specific set of conditions to grow, including cool temperatures and high humidity. While the foothills of the Himalayas (Assam and Darjeeling) provide these conditions, the higher altitudes beyond Darjeeling (Himachal, Doon valley, Ranchi etc) were not suitable for tea cultivation.
  • Topography and Soil: Tea shrubs needs fertile mountain soil mixed with lime and iron. The rugged terrain and poor soil beyond Darjeeling made it difficult to establish and maintain tea gardens
  • Economic factors: Cheap labour from nearby states of Bihar, Odisha, and Bengal. Easy transportation of tea due to road and river networks and sea-ports in Dhaka and Hooghly.
  • Political Factors: Assam region was not politically charged like the main land so not much opposition to clearing forest lands.
Overall, the success of the tea industry in Assam and Darjeeling was closely linked to a complex set of factors, including altitude, climate, topography, soil, and infrastructure which were not conducive beyond Darjeeling.
74) Why did the Green Revolution in India virtually by-pass the eastern region despite fertile soil and good availability of water? (200 words)
The Green Revolution in India was initiated in the 1960s by introducing high-yielding varieties of rice and wheat to increase food production to alleviate hunger and poverty. It accelerated agricultural growth reducing poverty.
Factors led to by-passing the eastern region of India despite fertile soil and good availability of water in Green revolution
  • Lack of Irrigation Infrastructure in eastern states like West Bengal, Assam - difficult to expand agricultural production and implement the high-yielding crop varieties. Northern states had irrigation projects like Bhakra Nangal.
  • Land Reforms: eastern region of India implemented land redistribution to landless farmers in the 1950s and 1960s - created a more equitable distribution of land, but also made it difficult to implement large-scale commercial agriculture.
  • Recurrent floods in Rivers like Damodar, Mahanadi disrupted agriculture in eastern India.
  • The political leadership in West Bengal at the time was opposed to the Green Revolution to maintain traditional farming practices and farmers welfare.
  • North Indian farmers led by Punjab and Haryana were often exposed to new ideas and were first to adopt high yield variety seeds, fertilisers etc for commercial agriculture.
  • Cooperative societies and peasant groups like Kisan Sabha in UP were missing in eastern India
Same factors are affecting agricultural development in the eastern region even now. Green revolution 3.0 and advanced technologies such as aquaponics, hydroponics, vertical farming could bridge the gap created by the green revolution.
75) How does India see its place in the economic space of rising natural resources rich Africa? (200 words)
India has long seen Africa as an important economic partner and has sought to deepen its economic ties with the continent in recent years, particularly in the context of Africa's abundant natural resources.
India’s place in the economic space of rising natural resources rich Africa
  • Energy: Africa provides opportunity of diversifying our energy sources, e.g.: Oil from Nigeria, given the instability and India’s over dependence on middle-East.
  • Rising Africa offers opportunity for increasing trade and communication. Indian universities can welcome aspirational students from Africa.
  • Investments: India has been increasing its investments in Africa, e.g. oil and gas, minerals, and agriculture, infrastructure development, such as ports and railways, to facilitate trade and commerce between the two regions.
  • Diplomacy: Engaging in regular high-level meetings for cooperation, such as the India-Africa Forum Summit.
  • Support: India has also offered technical and financial assistance to African countries to support their development efforts. E.g.: technology transfer, line of credit
India faces challenges including competition from other global players, such as China, political imbalances and ethnic clashes in African countries etc.
India's long-standing cultural and historical ties with Africa and its commitment to sustainable and inclusive development have helped to differentiate it from other players in the region and India is working to deepen its economic and diplomatic ties with the continent to advance its strategic interests and contribute to Africa's sustainable development.


76)  a)  Bring out the causes for more frequent occurrence of landslides in the Himalayas than in the Western Ghats. (100 words)

b) There is no formation of deltas by rivers of the Western Ghats. Why? (100 words)

a) A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope.
Causes for more frequent occurrence of landslides in the Himalayas than in the Western Ghats
  • Altitude and slope: The Himalayas are much higher in altitude than the Western Ghats, and the steep slopes make them more prone to landslides.
  • Seismic activity: The Himalayas are young fold mountains and therefore in an earthquake-prone region – triggering soil instability and landslides.
  • Snow: Himalayas are snow covered, which aids landslides
  • Rivers: Himalayan rivers are perennial, carrying greater amount of eroded material than its western counterpart
  • Rock system: Himalayas are made of sedimentary rocks, which are easily erodible than western Ghats.
  • Anthropogenic interventions: Human activities such as deforestation, dam building, road construction, mining, and logging have increased the risk of landslides in the Himalayas.
b) A delta is a tract of alluvium at the mouth of a river where it deposits more material than can be carried away.
Reason for no formation of deltas by rivers of the Western Ghats
  • Hard rock formation: The Western Ghats are primarily made up of hard rock formations, which are not easily eroded - the rivers (E.g. Narmada, Tapti etc) in the region do not have enough sediment to deposit and form deltas.
  • High rainfall: The Western Ghats receive high levels of rainfall, which washes away the sediment before it can be deposited and form deltaic deposits.
  • River flow: The rivers in the Western Ghats have a rapid flow, which makes it difficult for the sediment to be deposited and form deltas.
  • Small streams: West flowing rivers of Western Ghats are generally small streams, flowing from steep slopes covering very short distance. They can form estuaries and not deltas.

77)   a)Do you agree that there is a growing trend of opening new sugar mills in southern States of India? Discuss with justification.

b) Analyze the factors for the highly decentralized cotton textile industry in India.

a) Traditional sugar industries were located in Northern plains. New sugar mills are being opened in southern states particularly Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh due to the various push and pull factors.
Reasons for trend of opening new sugar mills in southern States
  • Abundance of sugarcane: The southern states of India have abundant sugarcane production, making it an attractive location for the establishment of sugar mills.
  • Climate: The tropical climate (higher rainfall and lower temperature) of south India supports the growth of the sugarcane – higher production per unit area.
  • Sucrose content: higher sucrose content and longer crushing compared to north India
  • Formation of cooperative societies favoured growth of sugar mills.
  • Stable political environment and government support
  • Increasing demand for sugar: With the growing population and rising standard of living particularly in the south.
b) India has been a hub of handloom textile since ancient times. The cotton textile industry in India currently is highly decentralized due to several factors
Factors responsible for the highly decentralized cotton textile industry in India
  • Availability of raw materials: Cotton is widely grown in India, making it easy to access raw materials for the cotton textile industry.
  • Labour: India has a large pool of skilled and cheap labour, making it an attractive location for textile production.
  • Lack of government control: The government has not imposed strict regulations on the textile industry, allowing for decentralized growth and development.
  • Widespread market: The demand for cotton textiles has been growing in India and globally, driving the growth of the industry.
  • Finished products: light-weight finished products helps in easier transportation thought India.

78) a)  What do you understand by the theory of ‘continental drift? Discuss the prominent evidences in its support. (100 words)
b) The recent cyclone on east coast of India was called ‘Phailin’. How are the tropical cyclones named across the world? Elaborate. (100 words)

a) Continental Drift Theory (CDT), proposed by German scientist Alfred Wegener, is the idea that the initially there was only one continent Pangea which later drifted horizontally into parts and continue to move over time.
Evidences for Continental Drift Theory
  • Fossils: The same types of fossils have been found on different continents, E.g. remains of extinct Mesosaurus, found solely in Southern Africa and Eastern South America.
  • Jig-Saw-Fit: The shorelines of Africa and South America facing each other match remarkably.
  • Placer Deposits: Source of placer deposits of gold in the Ghana coast found in Brazil plateau
  • Tillite: The glacial tillite found in Gondwana system of sediments has its resemblance to six different landmasses of the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Plate tectonics: helps explain how the continents move and provides a mechanism for the movement of the continents over time.
CDT was one of the instrumental theories in understanding evolution of earth.
b) Cyclones are named by five regional bodies of World meteorological organization (WMO), Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers for their respective regions.
Naming of tropical cyclones
  • Each of them is free to prepare the list of names and rules. Some rotate the list while some alternate names between boy and girl.
  • North Indian Ocean region, the regional body headquartered at Indian Meteorological dept (IMD), New Delhi maintains the list of names suggested by member countries. Final name is assigned in chronological order of the occurrence
    E.g.: Mahasen (Sri Lanka), Phailin (Thailand) and Helen (Bangladesh) in 2013.
  • Locally known short names are preferred for easy communication. Names associated with famous person or religion are avoided.
  • If a Cyclone causes extensive damage, its name is struck off the list so it cannot be used again
    E.g.: Katrina.
Universal names ensure efficient early warning system help in disaster management.

79) a) Bring out the causes for the formation of heat islands in the urban habitat of the world. (100 words)

 b) What do you understand by the phenomenon of ‘temperature inversion’ in meteorology? How does it affect weather and the habitants of the place?(100 words)

a) Urban heat island may be defined as the local and temporary phenomenon in which certain pockets within a city are experiencing higher heat load than its surrounding area.
Causes for the formation of heat islands in urban habitat
  • Land Use Changes: The conversion of natural land to urban areas increases heat-absorbing surfaces, such as buildings, roads, and pavements, which trap heat.
  • Human Activity: such as transportation and industry, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere
  • Lack of Vegetation: which would otherwise provide shade and help cool the environment.
  • Waste Heat: The use of air conditioning and heating systems release waste heat into the atmosphere.
  • Urban Canopy Layer: layer of air close to the ground in an urban area, is often warmer than the air above it due to the trapping of heat by the built environment.
Urban heat island is signal of upcoming issues and reminder for afforestation.
b) Normally temperature decrease with height. But when a layer of cool air is trapped near the ground by a layer of warm air, preventing it from rising and mixing with the surrounding air – it causes temperature inversion.
It commonly occurs in mountain valleys. long nights, open sky and clear air facilitate this phenomenon.
Effects on Weather
  • Fog: When warm air condenses rapidly over underlying cold air.
  • Smog: when fog is mixed with pollutants.
  • Frost: when warm air gets condensed below freezing point.
  • Atmospheric stabilitye., dry condition and no rain.
Effects on Habitat
  • Foggy conditions cause lower visibility, health hazards and crop failures.
  • In Mountain valleys, factories, houses, and farms are located along the upper slopes rather than in lower valley.
Increased pollution and other reason causing increased severity of pollution.
80) Major hot deserts in northern hemisphere are located between 20-30 deg N latitudes and on the western side of the continents. Why? (200 words)
The major hot deserts in the northern hemisphere like Sahara, Thar, Arabian deserts are located between 20-30 degrees North latitude and on the western side of the continents.  
Reasons for Location major Hot Deserts in western side of the continents
  • The subtropical high-pressure zones, also known as the Hadley Cells, are located around 20-30 degrees North and South latitude - characterized by descending air, which leads to high pressure, clear skies, and low humidity, creating the conditions necessary for desert formation.
  • The North East trade winds carry moisture from the warm oceans and cause intense rainfall on the eastern regions of the continents. However, when they reach the western side of the continents, they lose most of their moisture thereby causing arid conditions.
  • Effect of ocean currents – cold ocean currents on the western margin of continents reduce the capacity of wind to hold moisture and reduce moisture availability. E.g. Canary Current on Western Africa
In summary, the location of the hot deserts in the northern hemisphere is a result of the interaction of several climatic factors, including the location of high-pressure zones, ocean currents, and prevailing winds. These factors work together to create the dry, arid conditions that are characteristic of hot deserts.
81) With growing scarcity of fossil fuels, the atomic energy is gaining more and more significance in India. Discuss the availability of raw material required for the generation of atomic energy in India and in the world. (200 words)
Atomic energy is a promising source of energy in India, as the country is facing a growing scarcity of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels add to the climate issues and high import bills. The generation of atomic energy requires specific raw materials, such as uranium and plutonium.
Availability of raw material required for the generation of atomic energy in India
  • In India, there are significant reserves of uranium, which are primarily located Hazaribagh (Jharkhand), Tummalapalle (Andhra Pradesh), Udaipur (Rajasthan) and Mahadek basin (Meghalaya.
  • The Indian government has been actively working to develop the uranium mining industry.
  • India has also developed a program for the reprocessing of spent fuel from its nuclear power plants, which provides a reliable source of plutonium for the generation of atomic energy.
  • large reserves of thorium in India (Malabar Coast)
Availability of raw material required for the generation of atomic energy in World
  • In the world, there are significant reserves of uranium in countries such as Kazakhstan, Canada, and Australia, which are major suppliers of uranium to India and other countries.
  • There are also large reserves of thorium, which is another raw material used in the generation of atomic energy in countries such as Australia and the United States.
With the continued development of the uranium mining industry and the reprocessing of spent fuel, India is well-positioned to increase its use of atomic energy in the future.
82) It is said that India has substantial reserves of shale oil and gas, which can feed the needs of the country for quarter century. However, tapping of the resource does not appear to be high on the agenda. Discuss critically the availability and issues involved. (200 words)
Shale oil and gas is a type of unconventional fuel found in sedimentary shale rock formations. India has substantial reserves of shale oil and gas, estimated to be around 96 trillion cubic feet.
Major available Shale reserves in India
Cambay Basin, Krishna Godavari Basin, Indo-Gangetic Basin, Cauvery Basin, Assam-Arakan Basin and Gondwana regions.
Issues with tapping the resources and availability
  • The high cost of extraction through hydraulic fracturing – low infrastructure and technology.
  • Fracturing requires large amounts of water and chemicals, which can be harmful to the environment
  • Potential for groundwater contamination (methane poisoning) and the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
  • Large water usage can pose challenges to agriculture and drinking water
  • Shale formations are in human settlements posing a major obstacle in extraction - risk of widening economic and social inequalities and land issues.
  • Coal bed methane reserves are estimated to the 5 times the shale led to shift in priority
However, India can overcome these issues by:
  • Government guidelines on maintaining a distance between the aquifers and the shale gas fracture zones to regulate water contamination.
  • Brining in private investments and international collaborations for reducing cost of extraction.
  • Shale gas policy that takes into perspective the land use, water extraction and emissions.
Shale gas as a potential alternative source of energy will depend on the ability in bringing viable solutions to exploration process.