(Sample Materials) Gist of India Year Book 2013 – “Land and the People”
Contents of the Chapter:
- Physical Features
- Demographic Background
- River System
- Quick Facts
- Floristic Regions 8 MCQs for Final Practice
- MCQs for Final Practice
India has a unique culture and is one of the oldest and
greatest civilizations of the world. It covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km.
India has become self-sufficient in agricultural production and is now the
tenth industrialised country in the world and the sixth nation to have gone
into outer space to conquer nature for the benefit of the people.
As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands
apart from the rest of Asia. Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the
mainland extends between latitudes 8°4′ and 37°6′ north, longitudes 68°7′
and 97°25′ east and measures about 3,214 km from north to south between the
extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme
- It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of the
coastline of the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman & Nicobar Islands
is 7,516.6 km.
The mainland comprises four regions, namely, the great
mountain zone, plains of the Ganga and the Indus, the desert region and the
southern peninsula. The high altitudes admit travel only to a few passes,
notably the Jelep La and Nathu La on the main Indo-Tibet trade route through
the Chumbi Valley, north-east of Darjeeling and Shipki La in the Satluj
valley, north-east of Kalpa(Kinnaur).
The mountain wall extends over a distance of about 2,400
km with a varying depth of 240 to 320 km. In the east, between India and
Myanmar and India and Bangladesh, hill ranges are much lower. Garo, Khasi,
Jaintia and Naga Hills, running almost east-west, join the chain to Mizo and
Rkhine Hills running northsouth.
- The plains of the Ganga and the Indus, about 2,400 km long and 240 to
320 km broad, are formed by basins of three distinct river systems – the
Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.
The desert region can be divided into two parts – the great
desert and the little desert. The great desert extends from the edge of the Rann
ko Kuchch beyond the Luni river northwawrd. The whole of the Rajasthan-Sind
frontier runs thrugh this. The little desert extends from the Luni between
Jaisalmer and Jodhpur up to the northern wastes. Between the great and the
little deserts lies a zon of absolutely sterile country, consisting of rocky
land, cut up by limestone ridges.
The Peninsular Plateau is marked off from the plains of the
Ganga and the Indus by a mass of mountain and hill ranges varying from 460 to
1,220 metres in height. Prominent among these are the Aravalli, Vindhya,
Satpura, Maikala and Ajanta.
The Peninsula is flanked on the one side by the Eastern
Ghats where average elevation is about 610 metres and on the other by the
Western Ghats where it is generally from 915 to 1,220 metres, rising in
places to over 2,440 metres. The Cardamom Hills lying beyond may be regarded
as a continuation of the Western Ghats.
Candidate, This Material is from Gist of India Year Book 2013. For
The river systems of India can be classified into four
groups viz., (i) Himalayan rivers, (ii) Deccan rivers, (iii) Coastal rivers,
and (iv) Rivers of the inland drainage basin. The main Himalayan river
systems are those of the Indus and the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna system.
The Indus, which is one of the great rivers of the world,
rises near Mansarovar in Tibet and flows through India and thereafter
through Pakistan and finally falls in the Arabian sea near Karachi. Its
important tributaries flowing in Indian territory are the Sutlej
(originating in Tibet), the Beas, the Ravi, the Chenab and the Jhelum.
The Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna is another important system
of which the principal sub-basins are those of Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda,
which join at Dev Prayag to form the Ganga. It traverses through
Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal states. Below Rajmahal
hills, the Bhagirathi, which used to be the main course in the past, takes
off, while the Padma continues eastward and enters Bangladesh.
The Yamuna, the Ramganga, the Ghaghra, the Gandak, the
Kosi, the Mahananda and the Sone are the important tributaries of the Ganga.
The Padma and the Brahmaputra join at Bangladesh and continue to flow as the
Padma or Ganga. The Brahmaputra rises in Tibet, where it is known as Tsangpo
and runs a long distance till it crosses over into India in Arunachal
Pradesh under the name of Dihang.
Near Passighat, the Debang and Lohit join the river
Brahmaputra and the combined river runs all along the Assam in a narrow
valley. It crosses into Bangladesh downstream of Dhubri. The principal
tributaries of Brahmaputra in India are the Subansiri, Jia Bhareli,
Dhansiri, Puthimari, Pagladiya and the Manas.
The Brahmaputra in Bangladesh fed by Tista etc., finally
falls into Ganga. The Barak river, the Head stream of Meghna, rises in the
hills in Manipur. The important tributaries of the river are Makku, Trang,
Tuivai, Jiri, Sonai, Rukni, Katakhal, Dhaleswari, Langachini, Maduva and
Jatinga. Barak continues in Bangladesh till the combined Ganga—Brahmaputra
join it near Bhairab Bazar.
In the Deccan region, most of the major river systems
flowing generally in east direction fall into Bay of Bengal. The major east
flowing rivers are Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery, Mahanadi, etc. Narmada and
Tapti are major West flowing rivers. The Godavari in the southern Peninsula
has the second largest river basin covering 10 per cent of the area of
A few rivers in Rajasthan do not drain into the sea. They
drain into salt lakes and get lost in sand with no outlet to sea. Besides
these, there are the desert rivers which flow for some distance and are lost
in the desert. These are Luni, Machhu, Rupen, Saraswati, Banas, Ghaggar and
The entire country has been divided into twenty river
basins/group of river basins comprising twelve major basins and eight composite
river basins. The twelve major river basins are : (1) Indus, (2)
Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna, (3) Godavari, (4) Krishna, (5) Cauvry, (6) Mahanadi,
(7) Pennar, (8) Brahmani-Baitarani, (9) Sabarmati, (10), Mahi, (11) Narmada dn
(12) Topi. Each of these basins has a drainage area exceeding 20,000 sq. km.
India is rich in flora. Available data place India in the
tenth position in the world and fourth in Asia in plant diversity. From about 70
per cent geographical area surveyed so far, over 46,000 species of plants have
been described by the Botanical Survey of India (BS1), Kolkata. The vascular
flora, which forms the conspicuous vegetation cover, comprises 15,000 species.).
With a wide range of climatic conditions from the torrid
to the arctic, India has a rich and varied vegetation, which only a few
countries of comparable size possess. India can be divided into eight
distinct-floristic-regions, namely, the western Himalayas, the eastern
Himalayas, Assam, the Indus plain, the Ganga plain, the Deccan, Malabar and
The Western Himalayan region extends from Kashmir to Kumaon.
Its temperate zone is rich in forests of chir, pine, other conifers and
broad-leaved temperate trees. Higher tip, forests of deodar, blue pine, spruce
and silver fir occur. The alpine zone extends from the upper limit of the
temperate zone of about 4,750 metres or even higher. The characteristic trees of
this zone are high-level silver fir, silver birch and junipers.
The eastern Himalayan region extends from Sikkim eastwards
and embraces Darjeeling, Kursenng and the adjacent tract. The temperate zone has
forests of oaks, laurels, maples, rhododendrons, alder and birch. Many conifers,
junipers and dwarf willows also grow here.
The Assam region comprises the Brahamaputra and the Surma valleys with
evergreen forests, occasional thick clumps of bamboos and tall grasses.
The Indus plain region comprises the plains of Punjab, western Rajasthan and
northern Gujarat. It is dry, hot and supports natural vegetation.
The Ganga plain region covers the area which is alluvial plain and is under
cultivation for wheat, sugarcane and rice. Only small areas support forests of
widely differing types.
The Deccan region comprises the entire table land of the Indian Peninsula and
supports vegetation of various kinds from scrub jungles to mixed deciduous
The Malabar region covers the excessively humid belt of
mountain country parallel to the west coast of the Peninsula. Besides being rich
in forest vegetation, this region produces important commercial crops, such as
coconut, betel nut, pepper, coffee, tea, rubber and cashewnut.
The Andaman region abounds in evergreen, mangrove, beach and diluvial
The Himalayan region extending from Kashmir to Arunachal
Pradesh through Sikkim, Meghalaya and Nagaland and the Deccan Peninsula is rich
in endemic flora, with a large number of plants which are not found elsewhere.
The flora of the country is being studied by BSI and its
nine circle/field offices located throughout the country along with certain
universities and research institutions. Ethno-botanical study deals with the
utilisation of plants and plant products by ethnic races.
About 1,336 plant species are considered vulnerable and
endangered. About 20 species of higher plants are categorised as possibly
extinct as these have not been sighted during the last 6-10 decades. BSI
brings out an inventory of endangered plants in the form of a publication
titled Red Data Book.
The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), with its
headquarters in Kolkata and 16 regional stations is responsible for
surveying the faunal resources of India. Possessing a tremendous diversity
of climate and physical conditions, India has great variety of fauna
numbering over 89,000 species. Of these, protista number 2,577, mollusca
5,070, anthropoda 68,389, amphibia 209, mammalia 390, reptilia 456, members
of protochordata 119, pisces 2,546, aves 1,232 and other invertebrates
The great Himalayan range has a very interesting variety of fauna that
includes the wild sheep and goats, markhor, ibex, shrew and tapir.
- The mammals include the majestic elephant, the gaur or Indian bison–the
largest of existing bovines, the Indian antelope or black-buck – the only
representatives of these genera. Rivers and lakes harbour crocodiles and
gharials, the latter being the only representative of crocodilian order in
- The salt water crocodile is found along the eastern coast and in the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Census of India 2001, is historic and epoch making,
being the first census of the twenty-first century and the third millennium.
It reveals benchmark data on the state of abundant human resources available
in the country, their demography, culture and economic structure at a
juncture, which marks a centennial and millennial transition.
- Census 2011 is the 15th Census of India since 1872. It was held in two
- Housing listing and Housing Census (April to Sept. 2010) and
Population Enumeration (9th to 28th February 2011).
Reference Date was 0.00 house of 1st March 2011. In snow bound areas the
Population Enumeration was conducted from 11th to 30th September 2010.
However, the general trends of census (provisional) 2011 are being mentioned
- Population: Persons – 1210.2 million; Males – 623.7 million; and Females
– 586.5 million.
- Density of Population 2001-2011: Density in 2001:325 and density in
2011: 382, difference being 17.5% (density is defined as the number of
persons per sq km.)
Gender composition of Population 2011: Overall sex ratio
of the National level has increased by 7 points since census 2001 to reach
940 at census 2011. This is the highest sex ratio recorded since census 1971
and a shade lower than 1961.
As per provisional population totals of census 2011,
literates constituted 74 per cent of thei total population aged seven and
above and illiterates form 26 per cent. Literacy rate has gone up from 64.83
per cent in 2001 to 74.04 per cent showing an increase of 9.21 percentage
prints. It is encouraging to note that out of total of 217,700,941 literates
added during the decade, females, 110,069,001 outnumber male 107,631,940
1. Consider the following statements:
- India is the 6th largest country in the world.
- It lies entirely in the northern hemisphere.
- The total length of the coastline of the country is 7,516.6 km.
Which of the above statements is / are correct?
- 1 & 2 only
- 1 & 3 only
- 2 & 3 only
- All of the above.
2. Consider the following statements:
- The Yamuna, Ramganga, Ghaghra and Mahananda rivers are the important
tributaries of the Ganga.
- Subansiri, Jia Bhareli, Dhansiri and Manas are the important tributaries
- Makku, Trang, Tuivai and Pagaldiya are the important tributaries of
Which of the above statements is / are correct?
- 1 & 2 only
- 1 & 3 only
- 2 & 3 only
- All of the above