Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Brainstorming for Mains 2012: Geography and Environment

Heylo All,

Following Anil's excellent suggestion, am inviting inputs on relevant topics that we should prepare for the Mains in GS specifically.

Please find below the 'Areas' and relevant topics I could identify. [Not all of them may be important, I just noted whatever came to mind]. This is a collaborative effort and I invite all of you to please pitch in with your suggestions. Specifically I would like to highlight any test-series question papers that you may have- so topics mentioned therein should definitely be added to our list. Please give your suggestions in the comments section- i will keep updating the main post to include them.

So here goes...

In this post I will be mentioning topics relevant to Geography and Environment. The sub-topic headings have been taken from NCERT Geography books and ICSE Environment books. They have been highlighted in red- just so that we have a reference along which we can think questions and issues. As you read the list you will find overlap of many topics with economy.

- Spurthi

  • Water Resources (Drainage System & River Basins; demand and utilisation; water problems; watershed mgmt; rainwater harvesting)
    • - impact of drought on agriculture
    • - drought response measures
    • - inadequate monsoon and its impact
    • - monsoon- what is it?
    • - monsoon forecast systems
    • - Metrological Department- functions
    • - imp of rainwater harvesting
    • - new irrigation techniques
    • - Interlinking of rivers-pros and cons
    • - Cauvery Water Tribunal: problems of river water tribunals in general; Cauvery tribunal chief was not appointed leading to delays in directions
    • - Disputes over sharing river-waters: concerns of flooding due to increasing dam height (eg: Polavaram-dispute between AP and Orissa), 
  • Climate
  • Natural Vegetation
    • desertification of India?
  • Soils
    • - salinization of soil due to overuse of fertilizers
  • Hazards Disasters (natural, man-made- management and mitigation)
    • - Cloudbursts and their management (Ladakh, Himachal)
  • Population and Census (Distribution, Density, Growth and Composition, Migration)
    • - population- problem or asset
    • - migrants and problems to local population (Assam riots; exodus of North-East Indians from several southern states)
  • Solar Radiation, Heat Balance and Temperature
  • Atmospheric Circulation and Weather Systems
    • - Cyclonic storms and warning systems
  • Movements of Ocean Water
    • - El Nino and La Nina: impact on Indian monsoon.
  • Transport and Communication
    • - Golden Quadrilateral, North-South Corridor and East-West Corridor: will it lead to balanced development
    • - Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor 
    • - Benefits of internal waterways- the numbers of designated national waterways has also increased)
  • Land Resources (Change in land use; Common Property Resources)
    • - change in land use as a step towards acquiring land for industrial, residential purpose (return of land by NOIDA authority)
    • - Forest Rights Act and common property resources
    • - Shrinking common property resources
  • Agriculture (types of farming; Agricultural development in India)
    • - controversy over GM and BT crops (pest attacks; inadequate seed availability)
    • - problems of certain crops [tea- competition from CHina and SL, attractive prices not forthcoming; Coffee; Cotton (exports stopped, suicides); Cashew- apparently has some harmful chemical in it leading to some countries banning it-dont know exactly what the issue is but something along these lines; etc]
  • Minerals and Energy Resources (Distribution; Conservation; Problems in exploitation)
    • - agitations by forest peoples over mineral exploitation and industrial activities in their areas
  • Features and problems of Industries (manufacturing, knowledge, service sector; LPG and industrial development in India)
    • - uneven industrialisation and imbalanced regional development
  • International Trade (history of IT; Basis of IT; Aspects of IT; Case for Free Trade;WTO; Regional Trading blocs; Ports as gateways of IT)
    • Development or Ports
    • IOR (indian ocean region)
    • SAARC
    • ASEAN
  • Human Development ( Diff b/w growth and development; 4 pillars of HD-equity, sustainability, productivity, empowerment; Measuring HD; population, environment and development)
  • Human Settlements (Rural-Urban dichotomy; Problems of rural and urban settlements with specific reference to India;  Resettlement and Rehabilitation of people)
    • Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill
  • Planning and Sustainable Development

  • National Parks of India
    • - spotting a tiger cub in Ranthambore, 5 years after tiger numbers became zero there. Success of reintroduction of tigers- process and reasons
  • Biodiversity and Conservation
    • - SC directions on banning human habitations in tiger reserves: analyse
    • - Western Ghats Ecology Panel Report: reccos and and its criticism by some states. Opposition to teh Western Ghats being nominated for UNESCO Natural Heritage award.
    • - State of Forests Report 2011: decline in forest area, changes in different states
    • - problems of tiger-centric conservation policy- led to neglect of other animals, wholesome development of habitat and its constituent animals neglected.
    • - patenting of Indian ecological products: Nagoya protocol, GI status
    • - Floods and protection of animals (many animals died in Kaziranga this monsoon)
    • - Protection of natural heritage sites. List of biodiversity hotspots and Ramsar wetlands; list of world natural heritage sites)
    • - Mangroves: their benefits and protection.
    • - 12th COP in Hyderabad. Main theme "conserving coastal and marine biodiversity for sustaining life and livilihoods) 
  • Understanding Ecosystem (types; impact of destruction; conservation; Role of Environment Impact Assesment)
    • - problem with present process of EIA: not reliable, does not inspire public confidence- leads to protest - delays in projects etc.
    • - Institutions: National Green Tribunal
  • Energy Crisis (renewable, non-renewable, urban-rural use patterns)
    • - Grid collapse; 
    • - problems of renewable energy: non-integration into grid; pricing 
    • - Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vudyutikaran Yojana
    • - Solar Mission
    • - POwer generation debates: thermal (based on expensive coal imports) vs. hydroelectric (needs big dams and associated problems) vs. Nuclear (safety concerns)
  • Depletion of Natural Resources (causes, impact, conservation)
  • Waste Generation and Management (sources of waste, impact of accumulation; management; legal provisions)
  • Pollution (types, sources, effects, abatement)
  • Decline in forest, agricultural and marine productivity and its effects on economy
  • Climatic changes Global Warming
  • Ozone layer depletion
    • mechanism of Polar ozone depletion


  1. one suggestion from me
    rio+20 and India's Stand and role in declaration (Especially the concept of CBDR)

  2. EIA= environment impact assessment.

  3. important bilateral relations
    Hi,I have made list of important countries wrt bilateral ties
    Sri lanka*
    Highlighted are the most important ones(according to me)