(Sample Materials) Gist of India Year Book 2013 – “Land and the People”

(Sample Materials) Gist of India Year Book 2013 – “Land and the People”

Contents of the Chapter:

  • Intoduction
  • Fauna
  • Physical Features
  • Demographic Background
  • River System
  • Census
  • Quick Facts
  • Floristic Regions 8 MCQs for Final Practice
  • Flora
  • 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.

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  • 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 Andamans.

Floristic Regions

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 world.
  • 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
    as follows:

  • 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

Sample MCQ:

1. Consider the following statements:

  1. India is the 6th largest country in the world.
  2. It lies entirely in the northern hemisphere.
  3. The total length of the coastline of the country is 7,516.6 km.

Which of the above statements is / are correct?

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 1 & 3 only
  3. 2 & 3 only
  4. All of the above.

2. Consider the following statements:

  1. The Yamuna, Ramganga, Ghaghra and Mahananda rivers are the important
    tributaries of the Ganga.
  2. Subansiri, Jia Bhareli, Dhansiri and Manas are the important tributaries
    of Brahmaputra.
  3. Makku, Trang, Tuivai and Pagaldiya are the important tributaries of
    river Barak.

Which of the above statements is / are correct?

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 1 & 3 only
  3. 2 & 3 only
  4. All of the above

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