Parliamentary System

Parliamentary System

This article deals with ‘Parliamentary System– Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.


In India, there is a Parliamentary form of government at the State and Centre levels.

Centre Article 74 and Article 75 speak about it.
State Article 163 and Article 164 speak about it.

Definition of Parliamentary System

Parliamentary System

Government in which the Executive is responsible to the Legislature for its policies is known as Parliamentary System of Government.

It is also known as

  1. Cabinet System
  2. Responsible Government
  3. Westminster Model of Government

Features of the Parliamentary System

  • The President is the nominal (de jure) head, while the Prime Minister is the real (de facto) Executive.
  • The Party, which secures a majority of seats in Lok Sabha, forms the government.
  • Ministers are collectively responsible to Parliament (i.e. they swim and sink together).
  • Usually, members of the Council of Ministers belong to the same Political party and hence share the same ideology.
  • There is a double membership. Ministers are members of the Executive and legislature.
  • The Prime Minister plays a leadership role, and he is the leader of the council.
  • President can dissolve the lower House on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Merits of the Parliamentary System

  • Harmony between the Legislature and Executive as members of Executive are members of the Legislature, too.
  • Government is responsible as it is answerable to Parliament for acts of omission and commission.
  • Prevents despotism as Executive is controlled by various tools like No Confidence Motion, Zero Hour Discussion etc.
  • There is ready alternate government if no-confidence motion is passed against the ruling party.
  • It provides broad representation as the Executive consists of a variety of members

Demerits of the Parliamentary System

  • The government is unstable and stands at the mercy of Legislators.
  • There is no continuity of policies. When government changes, policies also change, which is bad for the economy.
  • The government can become autocratic if the ruling party enjoys an absolute majority.
  • It is against the Principle of Separation of Power.
  • It is not conducive to administrative efficiency as ministers are not experts in their fields.

Why did India Choose the Parliamentary System?

  • Historical Continuity: Familiarity with the system due to its presence in British India.
  • Emphasis on Responsibility: Preference was given to the system that prioritizes responsibility over stability.
  • Recognition of the need to avoid the Legislative-Executive divide, which was necessary for an immature democracy like that of India
  • Fear of an Overly Strong Executive: Constituent Assembly feared too strong Executive
  • Representation in a Diverse Society: In a diverse society like India, this system provides representation to more diverse groups in the Executive
  • Avoidance of Personality Cult: The alternative to the Parliamentary Executive was a Presidential form of government. However, the Presidential Executive puts much emphasis on the President. There is always danger of a personality cult.  

Indian System is different from British System

India Parliamentary SystemBritish Parliamentary System
Republican system Monarchial system
Parliament is not supreme and enjoys limited and  restricted powers due to the written constitution, judicial review and fundamental rights It is based on the Doctrine of Sovereignty of Parliament
PM can be a member of any of the two houses PM should be a member of the Lower house
Non-MP can be appointed as a Minister, but he has to acquire membership within 6 months MP alone can be appointed as Minister
There is no legal responsibility of the Minister The legal responsibility of the Minister is present
There is no Shadow Cabinet Shadow Cabinet is present

Features of the (American) Presidential System 

  • The President in the American Presidential System holds a dual role as both the head of state and head of government. 
  • President is elected by the electoral college for 4 years and can be removed by impeachment.
  • President governs with help of his secretaries who are not elected and are answerable to him only.
  • Advice of secretaries not binding on the President
  • The President and his secretaries are neither answerable to the Congress nor have any membership.
  • The American Presidential System operates on the fundamental principle of the separation of powers in which the executive, legislature & judiciary are independent & separate.

Should India switch over to Presidential System?

Question of changing over to Presidential System has been raised various times

1956 Nehru himself expressed his doubts about whether the Parliamentary System could meet the needs of the times and the complexities of modern administration.
1960s The desirability of a switch-over to the Presidential system was discussed & several eminent men, including a person like JRD Tata, advocated a Presidential system for India.
1967   After Nehru, Congress’s monopoly of power began to be eroded at the level of States. The Presidential model is described as a remedy for all of India’s ills.
Indira’s Reign Demand became the most prominent

Arguments against

  • This issue was sufficiently discussed in the Constituent Assembly, and it made an informed choice after considering both the British and American models.  
  • It would violate the ‘basic structure‘ of the Constitution.
  • Presidential system centralises power in one individual unlike the Parliamentary System, where Prime Minister is first among equals
  • A diverse country like India can only function with consensus-building. But the Presidential System works on a “winner takes it all” approach. 
  • ‘Outside’ talent can be brought into a parliamentary system, too. Examples: C.D. Deshmukh, T.A. Pai, Manmohan Singh etc. 

Arguments in flavor

  • There is no genuine separation of powers as the legislature cannot truly hold the executive accountable since the government wields the majority in the House. 
  • During the time of the coalition government, the government is unstable and stands at the mercy of MPs & MLAs
  • Cabinet posts would not be limited to those who are electable rather than able. Experts can become ministers/secretaries. 
  • Fear that an elected President could become a Caesar/Authoritarian is ill-founded since the President’s power would be balanced by the legislature (including Rajya Sabha) 
  • It is good for diverse country like India because to get Bills passed, President instead of facing a monolithic opposition, would have the opportunity to build issue-based coalitions on different issues.
  • The Parliamentary system was taken from Britain, but conditions similar to Britain do not exist in India. It requires the existence of clearly defined political parties, whereas, in India, a party is all too often a label of convenience. 

The Present Parliamentary System has been tried and tested for nearly 70 years. As a famous saying goes – Why fix a thing which isn’t broken? Rather than changing the system, we should reform thoroughly and cleanse the electoral processes.

Mother & Child Health

Mother & Child Health

Mother & Child Health

This article deals with ‘Mother & Child Health  – for UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

Why government should invest in Mother and Child Health?

Question: Imagine government as an investor. Given fiscal and capacity constraints, where would it invest to reap maximum benefits? 

According to the Economic Survey, low-cost maternal and early-life health and nutrition programs offer very high returns because

  • Spending on a mother is an economical option as a healthy mother is more likely to give birth to a healthy baby who learns better and stays in school longer. Additionally, a newborn’s most rapid physical and cognitive development occurs in the womb. 
  • The success of subsequent interventions—schooling and training—is influenced by early-life development. E.g. Government’s investment in skills training can reap the best results only if Child has developed full Cognitive & Physical Health at an early age.

Important Indicators

Neo-Natal Mortality Rate

  • It is the number of deaths of children below the age of 1 month per 1000 live births. 
  • According to NFHS-5 (2019-2021), India’s Neo Natal Mortality Rate is 24.9
NFHS-5 (2019-2021) 24.9
NFHS-4 (2015-2016) 29.5
  • Neo-Natal Mortality depends upon Mother’s health, as the leading cause of Mortality during the first month differs from the next 11 months. It depends on Utero Nutrition which is determined by the Birth-Weight of Children. 
  • India has high Neo-Natal Mortality because Indian women begin pregnancy at low weight. Along with that, they don’t gain weight during pregnancy, resulting in low birth weight of the child.

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)

  • Number of deaths of children below the age of 1 year per 1000 live births. 
  • According to NFHS-5 (2019-2021), India’s Infant Mortality Rate is 35.2.
NFHS-5 (2019-2021) 35.2
NFHS-4 (2015-2016) 40.7
  • Note: IMR is an important indicator for determining the socio-economic status of any country because, more than any age group, the survival of infants depends upon their socio-economic environment. 

Child Mortality Rate (CMR)

  • CMR is the number of deaths of children in the age group of 0-4 years per 1000 live births. 

Under Five Mortality Rate (U5MR)

  • Number of deaths of children in the age group of 0-5 years per 1000 live births.
  • According to NFHS-5 (2019-2021), India’s U5MR is 41.9.
NFHS-5 (2019-2021) 41.9
NFHS-4 (2015-2016) 49.7
  • U5MR is an internationally accepted standard instead of Child Mortality Rate. Hence, India is moving towards it. 

Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)

  • The Maternal Mortality Rate is the death of mothers during or within 42 days of childbirth per 1 lakh live births.
  • According to NFHS-5 (2019-2021), India’s MMR is 97.
NFHS-5 (2019-2021) 97
NFHS-4 (2015-2016) 130

Schemes of Government to reduce MMR , IMR , CMR

Pradhan Mantri Suraksheet Matritva Yojana (SMY)  

  • Launched by Health Ministry in 2016
  • It provides Ante-Natal (before birth) check-ups for pregnant women on the 9th of every month by specialist doctor 

Janani Suraksha Yojana

  • Launched by Health Ministry in 2005
  • To promote Institutional delivery of pregnant women instead of home births, which can be risky

LaQshya Program

  • LaQshya, or Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative, was launched in 2018 by Health Ministry. 
  • The scheme aims to upgrade the Labour Room infrastructure, ensure essential supplies’ availability, and enhance healthcare providers’ skills.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana  

  • Launched by Health Ministry in 2017
  • Under the scheme, ₹5,000 is given to eligible mothers. The benefits are provided in the following manner:
    1. First instalment: ₹1,000 is given upon early registration of pregnancy, usually within the first trimester (up to 180 days).
    2. Second instalment: ₹2,000 is given upon receiving at least one antenatal check-up after six months of pregnancy.
    3. Third instalment: ₹2,000 is given upon the birth of the child and registration of the child’s birth, along with the submission of the child’s immunization details.
  • It is applicable for first two children 

Integrated Child Development Program 

  • It is a flagship scheme which aims to improve the nutrition, health status & school dropout ratio of children in the age group 0-6 years
  • In 2016-17, other schemes like Anganwadi Services and National Crèche Scheme were brought under this scheme.

To Combat Diseases among Pregnant Women & Infants 

  • Anaemia: Major problem in Pregnant women. Iron Folic Acid Supplements are given by the government
  • Diarrhoea: A large number of infants die because of this. The government gives ORS and Zinc Tablets.

The Northern Mountains

The Northern Mountains

This article deals with ‘The Northern Mountains (Geomorphology of India).’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

6 physiographic divisions of India

India can be divided into 6 Physiographic features. 

  1. The Northern Mountains
  2. The Great Northern Plains 
  3. The Peninsular plateau
  4. The Indian Desert
  5. The Coastal Plains
  6. The Islands

The Northern Mountains

  • Himalayas extend ~2500 km in lengthpassing through 12 Indian states covering 17% of the Indian geographical area  & consist of many valleys between them.
  • These mountains consist of the youngest and the loftiest mountain chains in the world because they were formed only a few million years ago due to the collision of the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates.
  • The region is vast, rugged & versatile, supporting remarkable cultural, ethnic & biological diversity.

Formation of Himalayas

  • The Himalayas were formed due to the convergence of tectonic plates, i.e. Indo-Australian plate in the south and the Eurasian plate in the north. 
  • The place where the Himalayas are situated today was occupied by the Tethys Sea. On its sea bed, sediments were deposited, brought by the then rivers from the Tibetan plateau in the north and Gondwana land (Deccan Plateau) in the south.
  • About 70 million years ago, the Indo-Australian plate separated from Gondwanaland and started to move towards the Eurasian plate at a speed of 12cm/year. As a result, Tethys Sea began to contract. 
Formation of Himalayas
  • Since the Indian plate was made up of denser material than the Eurasian plate, the Indian plate started to subduct under the Eurasian plate causing the lateral compression and folding of sediments accumulated in the Tethys Sea. The Himalayas are thought to have formed as a result of the compression of sediments from the Tethys Sea over three distinct stages.
    1. First Phase: Started about 50 million years ago and completed 30 million years ago with the formation of the Great Himalayas.
    2. Second Phase: Took place between 30 to 25 million years ago, resulting in the formation of the Middle Himalayas.
    3. Third Phase: Took place between 20 to 2 million years ago, resulting in the formation of Shivaliks.
  • The Indo-Australian plate is still moving northwards at 5 cm/year, and the Himalayas are still rising. 

Divisions of Northern Mountains

  • The collision of the Indo-Australian plate with the Eurasian plate was not smooth. This collision led to the formation of a number of ranges. These ranges include Trans-Himalayas, Himalayas and Purvanchal. The Himalayas and other high peaks are joined by the Pamir Knot, also referred to as the “Roof of the Earth.”
  • In India, the Northern Mountains are grouped into three divisions. 1) The Trans-Himalayas, 2) the Himalayas, 3) the Eastern or Purvanchal Hills.
The Northern Mountains

1.1 Trans Himalayas

Trans Himalayas
  • It lies north of the great Himalayan range in Kashmir, Ladakh, and the Tibetan plateau.
  • They are of volcanic origin as they were formed by the volcanic eruption due to the initial interactions between the oceanic part of the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates. 
  • They also contain the Tethys sediments.  
  • The prominent ranges of the Trans Himalayas are Karakoram, Ladakh, Zaskar and Kailash.
  • It has some of the highest peaks in the world, like K2 (the highest mountain peak in India and the second-highest peak in the world).  
  • To the north of trans-Himalayas lies the heavily dissected, eroded, flat region known as the Tibet plateau. This region has numerous saline lakes like Salt Lake, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri etc.
  • Karakoram-Ladakh region has India’s largest notified protected area (i.e. national park) known as Hemis National Park. It has the highest density of Snow Leopards in the world.

1.2 The Himalayas

  • The Himalayas are the core part of the northern mountains.
  • The Himalayas extend from the Indus Gorge in the west to Namcha Barwa (or Dihang Valley or Brahmaputra Gorge) in the east (~2500 km). 
  • These are young fold mountains formed very recently in Earth’s geological history. 
  • The shape of the Himalayas is like a convex curve towards our country, whose middle portion is sagged inwards India. Its reason lies in the process of its formation. When Indo-Australian Plate collided with Eurasian Plate, Aravalli and Shillong Plateaus were situated at the western and eastern edge of the colliding region where the Himalayas were formed. Hence, the western and eastern edge was strong, but the middle part was plain & therefore weak, which got sagged, resulting in the convex shape of the Himalayas.  
  • The slope of these mountain ranges in the south towards India is very steep, whereas it has a gentle slope towards China in the north (due to the presence of the high Tibetan Plateau). That is why it is difficult to cross the Himalayas from the south. 
  • Many Antecedent rivers reach plains after passing through the Himalayan mountains. Antecedent rivers are those that were present before the formation of the Himalayas, and their water source is beyond the Himalayas. Although their path was blocked due to the formation of the Himalayas, they gradually made their way after eroding the Himalayas. These include Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra etc. 
  • The main divisions of the Himalayas are
    1. Greater Himalayas
    2. Lesser Himalayas
    3. Shivaliks

1.2.1 The Greater Himalayas

The Greater Himalayas
  • These are also known as Internal Himalaya or Himadri
  • They are about 25 km wide. 
  • The average height in this range is 6100 meters. Mount Everest (8,848 m), the highest peak in the world, is also situated in this range along with other high peaks like Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Dhaulagiri etc. 
  • Due to their great heights, the peaks of almost all mountains remain snow-covered throughout the year. Since it is a region with permanent snow cover, it has many glaciers like Gangotri, Yamnotri, and Siachin. 
  • It is the longest and most continuous sub-division of the Himalayas. Its length is 2400 km and extends from Nanga Parbat (or Indus Gorge) in north–west to Namcha Barwa (or Dihang Valley or Brahmaputra Gorge) in the east.
  • It contains sedimentary rocks (due to the folding of sediments of the Tethys Sea) as well as Metamorphic rocks (due to pressure created by the collision of two plates). 
  • It contains many passes. Although, it is very difficult and dangerous to cross this mountainous subdivision. But still, many passes are found to cross this, like Burzil and Zojila in Kashmir, Chang La in Ladakh, Shipki La in Himachal Pradesh, Lipulekh in Uttarakhand, Nathula and Jelep La in Sikkim and Diphu pass in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Greater Himalayas receive less rainfall than the Lesser Himalayas and the Shivaliks.

1.2.2 The Lesser Himalayas

The Lesser Himalayas
  • They are also known as Himachal or Middle Himalayas.
  • The height of this range varies from 3,700 to 4,500 m. 
  • Its width varies up to 80 km. (hence, it is lower in height but wider than Greater Himalayas)
  • Slate, limestone & quartzite are the major rocks found in this range.
  • This region is subjected to extensive erosion due to heavy rainfall, deforestation and urbanization.
  • It also contains famous hill stations of the Himalayas like Shimla, Mussourie, Nainital, Almora, Ranikhet and Darjeeling.  
  • Lesser Himalayas are not a continuous range (unlike Greater Himalayas) and is divided into
    • Pirpanjal (J&K) 
    • Dhauladhar (Himachal Pradesh)  
    • Nag Tibba (Uttarakhand)- Mussourie & Kumaon ranges are part of Nag Tibba
    • Mahabharata Range (Nepal)
  • The region between Greater Himalayas and Lesser Himalayas contains many valleys like Kashmir Valley, Kangra Valley, Kullu Valley, Bhagirathi Valley and Mandakini Valley.
  • Many passes are also present, which provide passage through Lesser Himalayas to reach these valleys like Banihal and Qazigund, connecting Jammu with Kashmir. 

1.2.3 The Shivaliks

The Shivaliks
  • Also known as Outer Himalayas and Southern Himalayas 
  • Siwaliks extend from Jammu and Kashmir to Assam. 
  • Their average height varies between 900 to 1200 metres. Hence, they are the lowest among all Himalayas. 
  • It is mainly made by the debris brought by the Himalayan rivers as they were geologically formed during the Tertiary period by the upliftment of the foothills of the Himalayas, where rivers have settled their sediments.
  • It is the most discontinuous range.
  • Longitudinal valleys are found between the Shivaliks and the Lesser Himalayas, which are called Duns. The most famous among these are Dehradun, Patlidun, Udhampur etc. 
  • They are known by various names like 
    1. Jammu Hills (in J&K)
    2. Dhang and Dundwa (in Uttaranchal)
    3. Churia Ghat Hills (in Nepal)
    4. Dafla, Miri, Abhor and Mishmi (in Arunachal)

1.3 Purvanchal


After crossing Dihang Gorge, the Himalayas bends southward (syntaxial bend), forming a series of hills. They have the same progeny as that of the Himalayas & are part of the Northern mountain system. They are aligned north to south and are known by different local names. 

Patkai Bum Forms border between India and Myanmar
Naga Hills Situated in Nagaland and forms the border between India and Myanmar
Manipur Hills The physiography of Manipur is unique, represented by the presence of ‘Loktak’ lake in the centre and surrounded by mountains called Manipur Hills from all sides.  
Mizo Hills They are also known as the Lusai Hills. 
Mizoram is also known as the ‘Molasses Basin’ as it is made up of soft unconsolidated deposits brought by small rivers originating in these hills.
Arakan Yoma Purvanchal extends in Myanmar as Arakan Yoma, which further continues southwards as Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Above ranges in the Purvanchal are separated from each other by numerous small rivers.

Note: Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia hills of the Meghalaya plateau are not a part of Purvanchal or the Himalayas in general. They are an extension of the Peninsular Plateau.

2. Longitudinal Divisions of Himalayas

Longitudinal Divisions of Himalayas

There is another way to divide the Himalayas longitudinally into Kashmir-Punjab Himalayas, Kumaon Himalayas, Nepal Himalayas, Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalayas and Assam Himalayas.

2.1 Kashmir-Punjab Himalayas

Kashmir-Punjab Himalayas
  • Major Characteristic of the Kashmir Himalayas is deep valleys, and high mountain passes like Zoji la, Bara Lacha La, Banihal and Qazigund. 
  • Between Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal range lies the world-famous valley of Kashmir  
  • The Baltoro and Siachen glaciers, two significant glaciers in South Asia, can also be found here.
  • Kashmir Himalayas are famous for its Karewa formations, known for cultivating Zafran, a local variety of saffron.
  • Some of the important freshwater lakes like Dal & Wular and saltwater lakes like Pangong Tso & Tso Moriri are also in this region. ( Note: Dal Lake is Oxbow Lake).
  • Srinagar is located on the banks of the Jhelum River, and Dal Lake, situated in Srinagar, presents an interesting geographical feature. Jhelum River in Kashmir valley is still in its youth stage but forms a meander – a feature associated with the mature stage of rivers.

Side Topic: Karewas Formation

  • During the Quaternary period, when Pir Panjal Mountains were formed, the Kashmir valley, surrounded by Great Himalayan Range in the north & Pir Panjal Range in the south, was submerged under water, and a big lake of about 5000 sq km area was formed. All the sediments that rivers brought to this giant lake kept settling downwards.  
  • Later, because of endogenic forces, Baramullah Gorge was created, and this vast lake was drained through the gorge leaving behind sediments. These deposits are called Karewas. Hence, Karewas are fluvio-lacustrine Plains
  • Examples of lacustrine plains include.
    1. The Kashmir Valley of India.
    2. The Imphal Basin in the Manipur hills  
    3. The watershed of the Red River in the USA and Canada
  • The Karewas are well suited for the cultivation of saffron, walnut, almond, and orchards.  

Jhelum is still in its Youthful stage in Kashmir, but it forms Meanders, characteristic of the Mature Stage. Why? 

  • Meanders are formed when moving water erodes the outer banks, whereas the inner part of the river, having less intensity, deposits silt and sediments, which results in a snake-like pattern of the water stream.
  • The main requirement for the Meander formation is the need for silt and sediments and the slow speed of river waters. 
  • In Kashmir valley, these sediments are provided by local base levels of formerly existing Karewas.
  • It is the reason Jhelum meanders. Along with that, the formation of Wular Lake, which is an Oxbow lake, is also explained by this phenomenon.    

2.2 Kumaon-Himachal Himalayas

Kumaon-Himachal Himalayas
  • Mountains in Kumaun Himalayas are 
    • Great Himalayas  
    • Middle Himalayas – Dhauladhar & Nag Tibha (Garhwal & Kumaon Ranges ).
    • Shivalik (locally called Dhang and Dundwa Range in Uttaranchal) 
  • In Lesser/Middle Himalayas section of the Kumaon-Himachal Himalayas, the altitude between 1,000-2,000 m attracted the British colonial administration due to its moderate climate (resembling the British weather). Subsequently, important hill stations such as Dharamshala, Mussorie, Shimla, Kaosani etc., were developed in this region.
  • Dun formation is an important feature of this part. The largest of all the duns, Dehra Dun measures roughly 35–45 km in length and 22–25 km in width.
  • This section, too, has passes like Shipki La and Lipulekh pass. Lipulekh is used as a pathway to reach Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet.
  • In the Great Himalayan section of the Kumaon-Himachal Himalayas, the valleys are inhabited mainly by the Bhotias. The Bhotias is a nomadic tribe that moves to the higher ranges’ called “Bugyals” (summer grasslands) in the summer and return to the valleys in the winter.
  • Kumaon-Himachal Himalayas has many glaciers like Nandadevi, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri, a source of rivers like Yamuna and Ganga. Many pilgrimages, such as the Gangotri, Yamnotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Hemkund Sahib, are also situated here.  

Side Topic: Duns formation

  • Duns are the same as Karewas, i.e. they too are fluvio-lacustrine plains formed with sediments left behind by a former lake, with the only difference being that they are formed between Middle Himalayas and Siwaliks.
  • When Shivalik was formed, drainage of the region was impounded & the whole area was submerged in water between Shivalik & Middle Himalayas, creating a huge lake. The river gradually finds weak rocks to cut across mountains & flows through it. Lake dries up & duns are formed by the sediments left by the former lake. 
  • E.g. Dehradun between Siwaliks and Mussoorie range, Jammu Dun between Pir Panjal and Shivaliks, Pathankot Dun between Siwaliks and Dhauladhar, Chandigarh-Kalka dun etc.
  • Some of the water remained in the depressions forming lakes known as Taals. Examples include Nainital, Bhimtal etc.

2.3 Nepal Himalayas

Nepal Himalayas
  • It is the tallest section of the Himalayas. 
  • Mountain sections in it include
    • Great Himalayas containing peaks like Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Mansalu, Everest, Makalu etc
    • Middle Himalayas:  Mahabharata range
    • Shivaliks (locally called Churia Ghat Hills)
  • The famous and densely populated Kathmandu Valley is situated between Great Himalayas and Middle Himalayas. 
  • Passes like Kora La connects Kathmandu valley with Tibet (will be used by China to build railways and roads and was in the news).

2.4 Sikkim/Darjeeling Himalayas

Sikkim/Darjeeling Himalayas
  • Sikkim Himalayas lies between Kosi & Teesta Rivers. 
  • It is an area with deep valleys and lofty mountain peaks like Kanchenjunga (Kanchengiri).
  • Lepcha tribes inhabit the higher reaches of this region, while the southern part (Darjeeling) has a mixed population consisting of Bengalis, Nepalis and tribals from Central India. 
  • The British established tea plantations in this area by taking advantage of the favourable physical circumstances, which included a moderate slope, thick soil cover with high organic content, evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year, and mild winters. They, together with the Arunachal Himalayas, stand out from the other Himalayan ranges due to the absence of the Shivalik formations. Here, the “duar formations” are significant—which have also been exploited to create tea gardens.  
  • Sikkim & Darjeeling Himalayas are known for their scenic beauty & rich flora & fauna, particularly various orchids.
  • Sikkim Himalayas has passes like Jelep la ( forming a tri-junction of India-China-Bhutan) and Nathula. 

Side Topic: Duars

  • Duars are floodplains on the foothills of the Himalayas in Assam and the northern part of West Bengal (Darjeeling).
  • They are made up of loose sediments brought down by Himalayan rivers and deposited each season. The streams often than not shift course and spread the load over broad tracts. Some streams disappear underground and re-emerge only later. It makes duars very damp regions. 
  • Duars are not the peneplains (uniform and almost levelled plain). They may have considerable height. The altitude of this region varies widely, with as low as 90 m and as high as 1,750 m. 
  • The British introduced tea plantations in this region due to the following physical conditions. 
    • Moderate slope.
    • well-distributed rainfall throughout the year 
    • Thick soil with high organic content
    • Mild winters (tea can’t withstand frost & snow) 

2.5 Arunachal Himalayas

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  • Arunachal Himalayas spans between Bhutan Himalayas (in the east) to the Namcha Barwa (in the west). 
  • They have the following sections
    1. Greater Himalayas 
    2. Middle Himalayas are absent
    3. Shivaliks are known by the names Dafla, Miri, Abor and Mishmi.
  • Important mountain peaks of the Arunachal Himalayas include Kangtu & Namcha Barwa. 
  • Rapidly moving rivers cut deep gorges in these mountain ranges. The Brahmaputra cuts a deep gorge after crossing Namcha Barwa called Dihang or Brahmaputra gorge. The Kameng, Subansiri, Dihang, Dibang, and Lohit are the other significant rivers of this region. They have huge hydroelectric power potential since they are perennial and have a high rate of fall.
  • Arunachal Himalayas are inhabited by numerous ethnic tribal communities. Some of the prominent ones are the Abor, Mishmi, Nyishi and Nagas. Primarily, they practise Jhumming agriculture. 

Side Note: Important Passes in the Himalayas

Zoji La 
Lacha La Shipki La 
Kora La 
Bomdi L 
Nathu La Jelep La 

As previously discussed, the Himalayas and associated mountains have many passes. These types of questions can be asked in the exam. Hence we are going to provide a list in concentrated form

Aghill pass Ladakh Connects Ladakh with Xinjiang province.
Burzil Pas Ladakh Connecting link between India and Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries.
Zoji La J&K and Ladakh Connects Kashmir valley with Ladakh.
Bara Lacha La Himachal Connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh.
Shipki La Himachal River Satluj enters India through it and it is the sole trade route between India and Tibet
Lipulekh Uttarakhand It is at the trijunction of India (Uttaranchal), Nepal and China
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra use this pass 
It was in the news due to the Kalapani dispute with Nepal because Lipulekh sits at the top of Kalapani. 
Jelep La Sikkim Tri Junction of India, Bhutan and China
Nathu La Sikkim Important trade route between India and China
Bomdi La Arunachal Connects Arunachal with Lhasa.
Diphu Pass Arunachal Tri Junction of India, Myanmar and China
Khyber Pass Pakistan Connects Pakistan and Afghanistan  (but important because in history, invaders  used this to invade India, and traders used this for trade with Central Asia)
Bolan Pass Pakistan In Pakistan (has the same history as that of Khyber Pass)
Kora La Nepal Connects Nepal and Tibet
Banihal & Qazigund J&K Connects Jammu to Kashmir & contains Jawahar Tunnel
Rohtang Pass Himachal  

Side Topic: Important Glaciers

Siachin Glacier UT of Ladakh In the Karakoram Ranges. It is the longest glacier outside the polar regions.
Baltoro UT of Ladakh Situated in the Ladakh ranges
Gangotri Glacier Uttarakhand Source of Ganga river
Yamnotri Glacier Uttarakhand Source of Yamuna river
Pindar Glacier Uttarakhand Source of Pindar river
Zemu Glacier Sikkim Source of Teesta river

Importance of Himalayas

Climatic Importance

  • The Himalayas protect us from the extremely cold winds coming from the north.
  • The Himalayas also forces southwest monsoon winds to shed whole moisture in India.
  • Due to the obstruction of the Himalayas, the Westerly Jetstream shed rainfall and snowfall in winters, known as Western Disturbances. 


  • The Himalayas are the source of perennial rivers which has deposited large amount of alluvium, forming the Great Plains of India.
  • Various major rivers of India originate from the Himalayas. These rivers are a source of irrigation for a significant portion of agriculture in India.
  • They are the source of Hydroelectric power.


  • Himalayas go through different bio-geographic and climatic zones. There is a succession of vegetation from topical to tundra. Hence, biodiversity is very high in the Himalayas with large endemism.
  • Many animals, including tigers, snow leopards, elephants, rhinoceros, etc., are found in the Himalayas.
  • A large number of herbs of medicinal value are also found in the Himalayas. 

Tourism and Religious Importance

  • Tourists from all over the world visit the hill stations situated in the Himalayas. E.g. McLeod Ganj, Shimla, Nainital Mandi, Mussoorie, Darjeeling etc.
  • Various religious places are also part of the Himalayas, e.g. Kailash, Amarnath, Kedarnath, Vaishno Devi, Jawala Ji, Chintpurni, Gangotri, Yamnotri, Hemkund Sahib etc.

Mineral Resources

  • The Himalayas are rich in metallic minerals such as copper, lead, zinc and gold. 
  • The Himalayan rock salt is used in traditional medicines and aromatherapy.
  • The Siwaliks are a very good source of limestone.
  • Coal is found in Jammu & Kashmir (Kalakot) and Arunachal Pradesh (Namchik-Namphuk)
  • Petroleum in India was first discovered in the Himalayas in the upper Assam region. 

Defence against Hostile Powers

  • The Himalayas act as a natural border with China. 

The Cycle of Seasons in India

The Cycle of Seasons in India

This article deals with ‘The Cycle of Seasons in India.’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here


India has four seasons as mentioned below.

The Cycle of Seasons in India

Winter Season

  • Winter season commences in January and remains till the end of February.
  • During this period, due to the sun’s apparent movement towards the south, vertical rays of the sun fall over the Southern Hemisphere. That is why the temperature starts to decrease in the Northern Hemisphere, and pressure belts along with Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) start to move southwards.  
  • As the temperature over Indian Subcontinent starts to decrease in winter, the pressure starts to increase. The high pressure replaces the low pressure over Northern India.
  • The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) starts to move southwards and gradually moves out of India. As a result, monsoon winds also start to retreat, moving towards ITCZ, i.e. from North-West to South-East. These winds are dry as they move from land towards the sea and have already shed moisture. These are known as retreating monsoon or North East Monsoon.

Cold Waves

  • During this period, high-pressure areas develop over central and western Asia. Dry and cold continental winds from the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan enter the Northern Plains, which cause a fall of many degrees in the temperature of the great plains. These north-western cold winds, moving at a speed of 3 to 5 km per hour, are termed as the Cold Waves.
Cold Waves in India

Jet Stream and Upper Air Circulation

  • Along with that, Sub-Tropical Westerly Jet (STWJ), flowing over Tibet Plateau in the summers, shifts southwards and creates high pressure over North India. STWJ extends from the Mediterranean sea to Western Asia, the Persian Gulf, Iran and Pakistan, crosses the great plains of India and reaches the China sea. 
Sub-Tropical Westerly Jet (STWJ) and rains in India

Rainfall due to North East Monsoon over Coromandal Coast in Winter

  • Rain occurs in winter due to the North-East monsoon as well. 
  • When Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) moves out of India, dry continental winds start to blow from North East to South-West.  
  • But a part of North-East winds pass over the Bay of Bengal & cause rainfall on the Coromandal Coast. It is known as North-East Monsoon and precipitates over Coromandal Coast only.
North East Monsoon over Coromandal Coast in Winter

Western Disturbances

  • Sub-Tropical Westerly Jet reaches Northern India after passing over the Mediterranean Sea, where it rains during winter. These winds bring cyclonic disturbances formed over the Mediterranean Sea to north India. 
  • Due to Sub-Tropical Westerly Jet,  
    1. Punjab, Haryana, northern Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Western Uttar Pradesh receive an average of 20 to 50 cm of cyclonic rainfall, which is very useful for the Rabi crops. 
    2. Neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir and Kumaon Hills experience snowfall.
  • Precipitation during the winter season is good for Rabi crops, especially wheat. 
  • But excessive rainfall can also cause crop damage, landslides and avalanches. 
Western Disturbances

Weather in Cold Season

  • The weather is pleasant in winter. 
    1. Days are pleasantly warm (moderate)
    2. Nights are cold. 
    3. Skies are clear with dry weather.
  • Temperature decreases from south to north. It falls from 31° C in Trivandrum, 26° C in Calicut, 24° C in Chennai, 16° C in Varanasi, and Drass Valley has a temperature of -45° C
  • Due to the sharp fall in night temperature, sometimes dense or heavy fog appears.
  • Due to the cold waves in the plains, a severe frost occurs.

Summer Season

  • At the end of February, the temperature rises as sun-rays fall vertically over areas north of the equator. Hence, the summer season remains from March till the end of May, and it is the longest season in India.
  • Interior areas record the maximum daily temperatures. E.g., The maximum daily temperature recorded is 
    1. 38° C in Nagpur  
    2. 40° C in Madhya Pradesh  
    3. 45° C in the North-Western parts
    4. 48° C in the Barmer (Rajasthan)
  • But coastal lands have moderate climates due to moderating effect of ocean and sea breeze. The temperature remains between 30 to 32° C in South India.

Pressure Systems 

  • With an increase in temperature, Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) starts shifting towards the north.
  • In May and June, due to high temperatures, a low-pressure Thermal Depression develops in the north–western parts of the country. Additionally, the Sub-Tropical ‘Jet’ stream shifts towards the north of the Himalayas. In this way, a special situation develops in the north–west, in which till the height of 6–7 Km from the surface of the land, the low-pressure cycles join each other and attract the monsoon winds fastly towards themselves.


In summer, North India comes under the influence of Loo. Loo is a strong, dusty, hot, and dry summer wind blowing from the west over the western Indo-Gangetic plains region of Northern India. It is especially strong in May and June. Due to its very high temperatures, exposure to it leads to fatal heat strokes. Due to its high temperature and dryness, it has severe drying effects on vegetation leading to browning in the areas it affects.

Loo in India

Norwesters or Kalbaisakhi

  • The Loo ends in late summer due to the arrival of the monsoon. Loo (dry winds at high temperature) from the North-West and warm & moist winds from the Bay of Bengal converge around the Chotanagpur plateau. It causes thunderstorms and lightning accompanied by strong winds and heavy rainfall, mainly in the states of Assam and West Bengal. 
  • These local winds are known as ‘Norwesters’ or ‘Kalbaisakhi,’ i.e. calamity of the month of Baisakh. They bring rainfall in Assam, West Bengal and Odisha. This rainfall is quite beneficial for the cultivation of Jute and Rice in West Bengal and Tea in Assam.  

Blossom and Mango Showers

  • The coastal areas of Kerala and Karnataka receive rainfall close to the end of summer. These showers are extremely useful in the cultivation of tea, coffee and mango. They are also known as Mango Showers in Kerala (as they help in the early ripening of mangoes) and ‘Blossom Showers‘ in Karnataka, as with these showers, coffee flowers blossom in these areas.  

Monsoon Season

Due to the rapid temperature increase in May over the north-western plains, the low-pressure conditions further are intensified. By early June, low pressure is powerful enough to attract the monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean. (we have discussed this already in the previous article)

The rain in this season begins abruptly. This sudden onset of monsoon with violent thunder and lightning is called the “burst” or “break” of the monsoons. The monsoon burst can happen in the first week of June in coastal Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, while it may be delayed to the first week of July in interior parts. 

With the onset of monsoon winds, the weather conditions change in the whole country. Its chief characteristics are

  1. High heat
  2. High humidity
  3. Extensive clouding
  4. Several spells of heavy to moderate rain with strong surface winds

Side Topic: Long Period Average (LPA)

  • LPA is the average annual rain received by the country during the South-West monsoon (June to September) for 50 years.
  • For 50 years ranging from 1960 to 2010 (used by IMA presently), India’s LPA is 88 cm (approx.)
Deficient If rainfall is less than 90% of LPA.
Below Normal If rainfall is between 90-96% of LPA
Near Normal If rainfall is between 96 to 104% of LPA
Above Normal If rainfall is between 104% to 110% of LPA
Excess If rainfall is above 110% of LPA

March of Monsoon Winds in India

When moisture-laden winds reach the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, it divides into two parts due to its topography. These branches are the Arabian Sea Branch and the Bay of Bengal Branch.

1. Arabian Sea Branch

  • First of all, it encounters the Western Ghats. Full of moisture, when this branch tries to cross the 2000 metres-high Western Ghats, it gets cooled at the ‘lapse rate’ and starts raining. But it rains only on the windward side, i.e. western slopes of Western Ghats, while the leeward side, i.e. South Karnataka Plateau, Rayalaseema, Vidarbha etc., receives very scanty rainfall. Also, the amount of rainfall decreases as the moisture decreases while moving north of the Arabian Sea. For example, Mangalore receives 330 cm. of rainfall, and Mumbai receives 100 cm.
Arabian Sea Branch of Monsoon and Western Ghats
  • The second sub-branch of the Arabian Sea moves through the valleys of Narmada and Tapi and reaches the Chota-Nagpur Plateau, where it joins the Monsoon winds coming from the Bay of Bengal and causes more than 150 cm of rainfall. 
Arabian Sea Branch of Monsoon- valleys of Narmada and Tapi and reaches the Chota-Nagpur Plateau
  • Third sub-branch of the monsoon winds of the Arabian sea moves towards the north, through Gujarat and Sind delta. It causes very less rainfall over Kutch, Saurashtra and Thar Desert due to the following reasons.
    1. By this time, the moisture content is largely decreased
    2. Aravalli range is parallel to these winds, and these just move straight, without rising high, along these mountains.
Monsoon and Aravallis
  • On reaching Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, these monsoon winds join the Bay of Bengal monsoon branch and bring rainfall to these regions. 

2. Bay of Bengal Branch

  • First of all, Monsoon winds hit Andaman and Nicobar Island on 20 May (MCQ = first of all, it hit A&N . Hit Western Ghats and North East on 1 June)
Bay of Bengal Branch - Andaman and Nicobar Island
  • Bay of Bengal Branch is then directed towards Myanmar and South-East Bangladesh. However, owing to the presence of Arakan Yoma hills along the coast of Myanmar, a large part of the Bay of Bengal Branch is deflected towards the Indian subcontinent. The monsoons, therefore, enter West Bengal and Bangladesh from the South and South-East. 
  • The Bay of Bengal branch then bifurcates into two branches. One branch moves along the Ganga Plain, pouring rain on the Northern plains. It rains very heavily in West Bengal. But by the time monsoon winds reach Punjab and Haryana, they become dry resulting in lesser rainfall over these regions. The rainfall decreases from East to West, i.e. Kolkata receives 120 cm, Patna receives 102 cm, Allahabad receives 91 cm, Delhi receives 56 cm, Ludhiana receives 40 cm, and Amritsar receives 25 cm from the Bay of Bengal branch.
The Cycle of Seasons in India

  • The second sub-branch of the Bay of Bengal Branch moves towards the Brahmaputra valley. First, it strikes the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. While crossing the 1500 m high hills, these saturated winds bring heavy rainfall. Chirapunji and Mawsynram, which are situated in the southern part of Khasi hills, receive the highest average rainfall in the world. Then these winds move towards Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and cause rainfall in Guwahati, Darjeeling etc.  
Monsoon Mechanism in North East India

Note: Tamil Nadu Coast doesn’t receive any rainfall from the Bay of Bengal branch because the Tamil Nadu Coast is situated parallel to the direction of the Bay of Bengal Branch and in the rain-shadow area of the Arabian Sea branch.

Depressions in the South West Monsoon

An Easterly Jet Stream flows in the Upper Troposphere of the southern part of Peninsular India in June. It is confined to 15 N in August and 22 N in September. This Easterly Jet Stream usually does not extend north of 30 N.

ITCZ while passing over the Bay of Bengal, cause the formation of Tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal.  These Tropical cyclones are then steered inwards through the gaps in the Eastern Ghats (made by the eastern flowing rivers) by the Tropical Easterly Jet Streams and cause cyclonic rainfall.

Tropical Easterly Jet and Indian Monsoon

Dates when South West Monsoon hits various regions

Dates when South West Monsoon hits various regions

Characteristics of the Indian Monsoon

Some of the unique features of the Indian monsoon are

  1. Sudden onset: start of the monsoon is very abrupt. 
  2. Gradual advance: once started, it advances very slowly & gradually
  3. Gradual retreat: monsoon winds go back slowly
  4. Seasonal in Character: Rainfall received from the southwest monsoon is seasonal in character and occurs only between June & September.
  5. Largely governed by topography: Monsoon rains are governed by the region’s topography. E.g., Western ghats receive massive rainfall, and Aravallis receive almost none (explained above). 
  6. Monsoon has ‘breaks,’ i.e., wet spells of few days interspersed by rainless days. 
  7. Monsoon has Variations: These variations are both regional & temporal.

Variation in Monsoon

We will cover both Temporal and Spatial Variation when asked about variations.

1. Temporal Variations

The distribution of rainfall varies temporally during the four seasons.

  • Winter Season
    • In winter, there is little rainfall in regions of India.
    • The reason for the winter rainfall in North-West India is Western Disturbances. 
  • Summer Season 
    • In Summer, torrential local rains happen when there is a sudden contact between dry and moist air masses.  
  • South-West Monsoon season
    • The four wet months of June through September account for more than 80% of the annual precipitation.
    • In the coastal regions, the monsoon begins in the first week of June; however, it may not begin until the first week of July in the nation’s interior parts.
    • Rainfall from monsoons is mostly influenced by relief or topography, and it tends to decrease as one gets farther from the sea. 
  • Retreating Monsoon
    • In response to the sun’s southward march, the monsoon begins to weaken around the end of September.
    • India’s north experiences dry weather, whereas the Coromandal Coast experiences rain.

2. Spatial Variations

  • Areas of High Rainfall (Over 200cm): Maximum rainfall occurs along mountain ranges that block moist winds, such as the west coast, as well as in sub-Himalayan regions in the northeast, such as the Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia hills.
  • Areas of medium Rainfall (100-200 cm): Medium rainfall happens in the north-eastern Peninsula covering Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and eastern Madhya Pradesh, east Tamil Nadu, southern parts of Gujarat, and northern Ganga plain.  
  • Areas of low Rainfall (50-100 cm): Most regions showing continentality, like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, eastern Rajasthan, Western Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Deccan Plateau and Gujarat. 
  • Areas of inadequate Rainfall (Less than 50 cm): In Ladakh, western Rajasthan and the Interior Peninsula (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra)

4. North East Monsoon /Retreating Monsoon

  • Rain happening in October and November is known as Retreating Monsoons. 
  • The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone begins moving southward in response to the sun’s southward movement towards the end of September, which weakens the southwest monsoon. Hence, the temperature in the Northern Plains starts decreasing, and consequently, pressure starts increasing. In response to this, Monsoon winds start to retreat from northern India, and this is also known as North-East monsoon as the winds blow from North-East to South-West.
Retreating Monsoon
  • These monsoon winds retreat in almost the same sequence as they arrive in the country. 
    • They first leave Punjab till 15 September, 
    • Uttar Pradesh till 1 October, 
    • Ganges Delta till 15 October 
    • Till 15 November, these leave southern parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
North East Monsoon

  • The retreat of the monsoon is marked by clear skies and a drop in the night temperature. But the land still remains moist. The combination of high temperature and humidity gives rise to oppressive weather and is known as ‘October Heat.’
  • The North-East monsoons are generally dry as they originate on land except on the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, i.e. Coromandal coast because when they pass over the Bay of Bengal, they collect moisture and shed that moisture on the Tamil Nadu coast.
Rain over Coromandal Coast

Cyclones on the Eastern Coast during retreating monsoon

  • Due to the shifting of ITCZ over the Bay of Bengal and the convergence of winds on both sides of ITCZ, cyclonic depressions are created in the Bay of Bengal, whose water is already at high temperature due to continuous heating throughout the summers. These cyclones move towards the west or north-west. 
  • These cyclones frequently hit the eastern coastal region and cause significant damage to life and property. The areas most vulnerable to these storms include the coastal belt of Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Odisha and West Bengal. 
  • The number of devastating severe Cyclones hitting the Indian coasts has been increasing owing to the increase in sea surface temperature in the northern Indian Ocean.

Knowledge-Based Industry in India

Knowledge-Based Industry in India

This article deals with the ‘Knowledge-Based Industry in India.’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


  • The advancement in information technology has profoundly influenced the country’s economy. The Information Technology (IT) revolution opened up new economic and social transformation possibilities.
  • The Indian software industry has emerged as one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy.  
  • A majority of the multinational companies operating in the area of information technology have either software development centres or research development centres in India.  
Knowledge-Based Industry in India


Knowledge-Economy is primarily based on intangible assets such as the value of its workers and IPR. These sectors include Space, Pharma, IT, e-learning etc. 

India’s competitors in Knowledge-Economy

China China is the most formidable competitor to Indian companies in the knowledge economy.
ASEAN Nations ASEAN countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia etc., have graduated with command over the English language, thus encroaching upon the Indian market.

Indian Knowledge-Based Economy

1. Space

  • India has been able to develop Space Sector due to the support given by the Indian government. But, apart from ISRO, India has not been able to produce a world-class space company (such as SpaceX of the USA)

2. BPO

  • Indian BPO sector is well developed and is a major contributor to Forex earnings of India.

3. Electronics

  • The Indian government has not supported developing the electronics sector in the past. Hence, India’s electronics sector was not able to develop. 
  • The present government wants to develop the Electronics sector in India and has started schemes like Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme. Companies such as Samsung and Apple have started manufacturing their products in India. 

4. Pharma

  • India is known as the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’ and the 11th largest drug producer globally. But private companies are not spending on R&D and hence not able to produce novel and revolutionary drugs, for which Indians are dependent on foreign companies such as Pfizer, Novartis etc. 

IT Industry in Bangalore. Why? 

Bangalore is known as the silicon valley of India.  

1. Historical perspective

  • In the 1950-70s, Bharat Electronics Limited, IISC, National Defence lab, HAL, and ISRO were set up here. It created backward & forward linkages in the field of electronics.  

2. Well Connected

  • The city is well connected by road, railways & air.

3. Skilled Labour

  • IISC & a large number of institutions around Bangalore provide a large number of professionals to work in the software industry.

4. Progressive Government

  • The government’s policies helped, like providing land at reasonable rates, tax concessions etc. 

5. Pleasant climate

  • A pleasant climate is a perk for professionals, especially in Tropical countries like India. It is an ideal place to living   

But Bangalore has not been able to cope with the rapid increase in population. Due to jammed roads & increased pollution, other cities came up to compete like Pune, Gurgaon, Noida etc.

Challenges faced by India’s IT Sector

1. Loss of Market  Access

Indian IT Industry is losing market access 

  • USA: Due to the “Buy American, Hire American” Policy & H1B Visa restrictions 
  • EU  has also introduced Data Protection and Privacy Rules (DPPR) that effectively prevent Indian companies from providing services from India, while the US has been given safe harbour status.  

2. Competition from new entrants

  • Indian service companies are now challenged by startups like Luxoft, which are using cloud-based technology, and new digital entrants from Eastern Europe and Latin American countries. 

3. Domestic challenges

There are also some domestic challenges like 

  • shortage of skilled talent
  • underdeveloped infrastructure in Tier 2 & 3 cities
  • Some restrictive regulations for product startups. 

Meanwhile, the  Government of India’s rapid adoption of technologies as a platform for delivering government-to-government and government-to-citizen services is a tremendous push factor for the domestic ITBPM market.

Climate Funding

Climate Funding

This article deals with ‘Climate Funding – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Environment’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles on Science and technology, you can click here.


As per the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, released during COP27, an annual investment of $4 trillion must be invested in renewable energy until 2030 to reach net zero emissions by 2050. No single source will be sufficient for this amount.

Classification of Finance Sources

We can classify the cash streams based on who is the prominent player

Climate Funding

1. Government Funding

1.1  Environment Tax

Environment Tax
  • An ‘‘environment” or ”green” tax is imposed on a product that damages the environment to reduce its production or consumption. 
  • It is in line with the ”polluter pays principle”. 

Benefits of Environment taxes

  • They internalize environmental costs into prices.
  • Deter actions that lead to environmental damage 
  • Encourages innovation and development of new technology
  • Government can use the revenue raised by environmental taxes for development activities and thus reduce the level of other taxes (e.g. income tax or excise duty on medicines) 

Government’s initiatives in this regard

1. Clean Environment Cess

  • The government introduced Clean Energy Cess on coal at Rs.50 per ton in 2010.
  • The rate is subsequently increased to Rs. 400 per ton presently.
  • The money thus collected is transferred to the National Clean Energy and Environment Fund.

2. Higher Excise Duties on SUV

  • Government charges higher excise duty on fuel-guzzling SUVs.

2. Market-based Mechanisms

2.1 Carbon Trading or Cap and Trade

Carbon Trading, also called carbon emissions trading, is a market-based system of buying and selling permits and credits that allow the permit holder to emit carbon dioxide. The model used in most carbon trading schemes is called ”cap and trade”.

How does ‘cap and trade’ work?

  1. Setting a cap: An overall limit or cap is set on the amount of emissions allowed from significant carbon sources, including the power industry, automotive and air travel.
  2. Issuance of permits: Governments issue permits up to the agreed limit. Each permit is usually measured in terms of one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
  3. Selling and buying of permits: If a company curbs its own carbon significantly below the cap, it can trade the excess permits on the carbon market for cash. If it’s not able to limit its emissions, it may have to buy extra permits.
 Carbon Trading

2.2 PAT (Perform Achieve and Trade) & ESCerts

  • It was launched by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (Ministry of Power) under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE).
  • It is a market-based mechanism in which sectors are assigned efficiency targets. Industries that over-achieve targets get incentives through Energy-Saving Certificates (ESCert). Other companies can buy those ESCerts to meet their targets

2.3 Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) &  Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

  • Under the Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) mechanism, DISCOMs must purchase certain percentage of their total energy in the form of renewable energy.
  • Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are provided under the RPO mechanism if DISCOM is using more than the required Renewable Energy. DISCOM is entitled to RECs equivalent to the surplus
  • Those Discoms, which are not able to use the required Renewable Energy can buy these RECs and claim that they have purchased renewable energy.

2.4 Green Bonds

What are green bonds?

  • The Green Bond is a type of bond (debt instrument). But the issuer of a green bond publicly states that capital is being raised to fund ”green” (environment-friendly) projects, like renewable energy, clean transportation etc. 
  • It can be issued by Banks as well as Companies. 


2007 In 2007, green bonds were first launched by European Investment Bank & the World Bank
2015 Yes Bank  & later EXIM bank launched India’s first dollar-denominated green bond.
2016 SEBI issued Green Bond guidelines.
2017 L&T issued the first SEBI-approved Green Bonds. 
2022 Budget 2022 announced that the Government of India would issue Sovereign Green Bonds (SGB) for projects leading to a less carbon economy. 


  • India has set an ambitious target of generating 40% of its energy through Renewable sources by 2030 as part of its Paris Climate Deal obligations (INDC). It requires massive funding, and Green Bonds can help in raising that.
  • Higher interest rates in India raise renewable energy costs by about 25%. Green bonds carry a lower interest rate  
  • Green bonds enhance an issuer’s reputation by showcasing its commitment towards sustainable development. 
  • It allows issuers to tap into pools of global investors & capital funds dedicated to ethical climate change and green investing. 

Risks & challenges

  • Greenwashing: There have been heated discussions regarding whether the projects that green bond issuers fund are environmentally friendly. E.g., Reuters reported how activists were claiming that the proceeds of the French utility GDF Suez’s $3.4 billion green bond issue were used to fund a dam project that hurts the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.
  • Most green bonds in India have a shorter tenure of about 10 years (compared to international issuances). A typical loan is for minimum 13 years. 
  • Most Indian Green Projects are small and unattractive to investors due to their small scale.
  • Borrowing costs and information asymmetry: In India, the cost of green bond issuance has consistently remained higher than that of other bonds.

Further steps required

  • Standardizing the definition of green 
  • Going towards securitization & aggregation: Many standalone green projects such as rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and rural water supply remain unattractive to institutional investors owing to the smaller scale and vast geographical spread. Aggregation and securitization of such projects could be a welcome move in providing mainstream debt to small-scale green projects.

Side Topic: Blue Bonds

  • It is a sub-type of green bond.
  • Blue bonds are sustainability bonds used to fund initiatives to preserve and protect the ocean and its surrounding ecosystems. E.g.,
    • Sustainable fisheries
    • protection of fragile ecosystems
    • reducing pollution and acidification
  • E.g. 2018- Seychelles issued the world’s first ”Blue Bond” to expand its marine protected areas and fisheries sector. 

3. International Funds

3.1 Adaptation Fund

  • Adaptation Fund was established under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 2% of the trade of Carbon Credits goes to Adaptation Fund. 
  • From the Adaptation Fund, the funds are sent to the National Implementation Entity (NIE) of countries. 
  • For India, this Agency is NABARD (it is the only NIE in the Asia Pacific) 

3.2 Global Environment Facility (GEF)

  • Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established during the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues.
  • GEF provides funding for 5 things 
    1. UNFCCC
    2. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
    3. Stockholm Convention on POPs
    4. Minamata Convention on Mercury 
    5. UN Convention to Combat Desertification  
  • World Bank serve as the Trustee of the GEF 

3.3 Green Climate Fund (GCF)

  • It was established in 2010 at COP 16 held in Cancun. 
  • GCF raise money from rich countries to fight climate change. Projects will be carried out in developing countries to fight climate change using this fund.
  • The aim is to spend $100 Billion per year from 2020.
  • Countries have to appoint a National Designated Authority (NDA) that acts as the interface between their government and GCF. India’s NDA is NABARD.

Issues with GCF

  1. How to define Green Climate Finance. E.g : 
    • Will US NGOs (e.g. Ford Foundation or Melinda Gates Foundation) working on providing clean water in Africa be considered within US Green Climate Obligations in Account books? Developed countries are re-categorising all these funds under GCF Obligations. 
    • Is Technology Transfer part of Green Climate Finance? Suppose Patents are transferred like the US transferred patents to produce Solar Cells in India. Will the cost of the patent be counted under GCF obligations? Developed countries are in favour while Developing countries are opposed to this. 
  2. Which Countries have the first claim over GCF Corpus? Should AOSIS Nations, which are most affected by Climate Change, get these funds or African Nations or Other developing countries? 
  3. Whether to spend it on Mitigation or Adaptation projects

Introduction to Mineral Resources of India

Introduction to Mineral Resources of India

This article deals with ‘Introduction to Mineral Resources of India.’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

Mineral Resources

  • Minerals are aggregates of two or more than two elements having a definite chemical composition and atomic structure & formed by the inorganic process.
  • The development of the entire secondary sector is based on minerals. India has vast deposits of minerals. 
  • In the earth’s crust, they are in the form of ore. They are extracted, processed & then utilised for the economic benefit of society.

Minerals have certain characteristics

  • These are unevenly distributed over space. 
  • There is an inverse relationship between the quality and quantity of minerals, i.e., high-quality minerals are less in quantity than low-quality minerals. 
  • All minerals are exhaustible over time. These take a long to develop geologically, and they cannot be replenished immediately at the time of need. Thus, they have to be conserved & not misused as they do not have a second crop.

Classifications of Mineral Resources

Classification into Metallic and Non-Metallic Minerals

Introduction to Mineral Resources of India

Classification into Renewable and Non-Renewable Minerals

1. Renewable Resources

  • Resources which can be renewed or replenished fast
  • They are always available & not affected by human activities.
  • E.g., Solar Energy, Wind Energy etc.

2. Non-Renewable Resources

  • These have been built over a large geological time.
  • They need to be used judicially & in a planned way.
  • Fossil fuels, iron, gold etc.

Distribution of Minerals in India

  • Minerals are mainly associated with metamorphic & igneous rocks of Peninsular India. The vast alluvial plain tract of north India is devoid of minerals of economic use. 
  • Mineral resources provide the country with the necessary base for industrial development.
  • Each mineral region is associated with a prior geological activity.

Geological Events which led to the formation of Minerals

3 Geological events happened in India due to which minerals are found in those areas.

1. Shield Regions

  • These were mountains millions of years ago but have now eroded to plateaus.
  • Metallic Minerals are found in large quantities, particularly in Chotanagpur Plateau & Dharwad Plateau.  
  • Reason for minerals: Volcanic Activity when it passed over Reunion Island.
Shield Regions and Minerals in India

2. Rift Valley during Gondwana Time

  • During Gondwana times, the rifting along Damodar & Mahanadi led to large-scale forest submergence. Over the years, this has resulted in the formation of Coal deposits.
  • The main regions where these are found are  
    • Damodar Valley
    • Mahanadi Valley
    • Godavari and Wardha Valley
Rift Valley during Gondwana Time

3. Marine transgression during Tertiary time

  • Petroleum reserves are found at sites of marine transgression.
  • These regions Include
    1. Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutch. 
    2. Brahmaputra-Shillong Shelf
    3. Bengal-Bangladesh Shelf
    4. KG Basin 
Marine transgression during Tertiary time

5 Mineral rich Regions of India

There are 5 mineral-rich regions in India where most minerals are concentrated.

1. Northern-Eastern Belt

  • It is the richest mineral region of India.
  • It consists of following 
    1. Chotanagpur Plateau
      • Kyanite (100% of India’s reserves)
      • Iron (90% of India’s reserves)
      • Chromium (90% of India’s reserves)
      • Mica (75% of India’s reserves)
      • Coal (70% of India’s reserves)
      • Others: Manganese, Copper and Limestone 
    2. Assam 
      1. Petroleum Reserve
      2. Lignite Coal
Northern-Eastern Belt

2. Central Belt

It is found in the Chhattisgarh region

  • It is an extension of the Chotanagpur Plateau.
  • Iron and limestone are found here.
  • Coal is found here due to the Godavari-Wardha valley rifting.
Central Belt

3. South-East Region

In this region, the following minerals are found

  • East Karnataka (Hospet Bellary Region): Iron
  • Andhra (Cuddapah & Kurnool): Iron
  • Andhra (Nellore): Mica, Manganese and Coal
  • Telangana: Bauxite
  • Tamil Nadu (Neyveli): Lignite coal
South-East Region

4. South-West Region

In this region, the following minerals are found

  • Karnataka Dharwar: Iron, manganese, and limestone are found here 
  • Goa: Iron is found here 
  • Maharashtra (Ratnagiri): Iron is found here.   
  • Kerala has deposits of Monazite and Thorium and Bauxite clay.
South-West Region

5. North-West region

In this region, the following minerals are found

  • Petroleum 
    • Rajasthan: Barmer 
    • Gujarat: Gulf of Kutch 
  • Building material 
    • Rajasthan is rich in building stones, i.e. sandstone, granite, and marble. Gypsum and Fuller’s earth deposits are also extensive. Dolomite and limestone provide raw materials for the cement industry.
  • From Lakes
    • Salt from Playa lakes of Rajasthan. 
    • Lake Sambhar and Lake Didwana of Rajasthan – contain gypsum & borax deposits.

India State of Forests Report

India State of Forests Report

This article deals with the ‘India State of Forests Report.’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

India State of Forests Report, 2021

  • The Forest Survey of India (FSI) released the India State of Forest Report for 2021.
  • FSI undertakes a biennial assessment of the country’s forest resources.

Definition of Forest

  • According to FSI, all lands more than 1 hectare with a tree canopy of more than 10%, irrespective of the land usage, ownership or legal status of the land. 
  • The assessment is done using satellite data. The efficiency of this system is around 95%. 

Types of Forest Cover

There are three types of Forest cover.

  1. Very Dense Forest: Tree canopy density of more than 70%
  2. Moderately Dense: Tree canopy density between 40% and 70%
  3. Open Forest: Tree canopy density of more than 10%

Issues with the System

  • Plantations are also included in forest area, although they don’t provide the full benefits of forests and lacks biodiversity. 
  • Satellite data is not foolproof. 

Key Highlights of the report

India State of Forests Report

1. Forest and Tree Cover at the National level

  • India’s total Forest and Tree Cover is 80.9 million hectares, i.e. 24.62% of the Indian geographical area. 
  • It is an increase of 2,261 compared to the State of Forest Report of 2019.

2. Forest Cover in States

  • The states with the largest forest cover are Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.   
  • In terms of forest cover as a percentage, the top three States are Mizoram (85.41%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%), Meghalaya (76.33%) 
  • Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha witnessed the highest increase in forest cover. 
  • Arunachal, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Sikkim are the states showing the maximum loss in forest cover.

3. Mangroves

  • The total mangrove cover in India is 4,992 sq. km. 
  • It has observed a net increase of 17 sq. km in the mangrove cover as compared to the 2019 assessment. 
  • The mangrove cover in the country is  0.15% of the country’s total geographical area
  • West Bengal has 42.45% of India’s mangrove cover, followed by Gujarat and the A&N Islands.  

From 2017 Report

4. Forest Fires

  • 21.40% of the country’s forest cover is high to extremely fire-prone. 
  • Most fire-prone forest areas are found in the north-eastern region and the central part of the country. 

5. Biodiversity

  • Maximum tree diversity is found in tropical evergreen forests of Western Ghats (Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka) followed by north-eastern states. 

Central Armed Police Forces

Central Armed Police Forces

This article deals with the ‘Central Armed Police Forces .’ This is part of our series on ‘Internal Security’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Central Armed Police Force is a set of police forces which includes the Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force,  Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, National  Security Guard, Railway Protection  Force (RPF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Sashastra  Seema  Bal. The  CAPF works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Indian Government.

Central Armed Police Forces

1. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)

  • CISF was raised in 1969.
  • Its mandate is to 
    1. Provide security to critical infrastructure installations of the country like the Department of Space, Department of Atomic Energy, Airports, Delhi Metro, ports, historical monuments etc.
    1. Protect some private sector units and important government buildings in Delhi.
    2. Provide security to the protected persons classified as Z Plus, Z, X and Y.
  • CISF is also the country’s largest fire protection service provider, providing fire protection cover to 102 Industrial Undertakings.
  • CISF was assigned the specialized task of airport security in 2000 in the wake of the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814 to Kandahar.
  • CISF Act has been amended to enable it to provide security on a payment basis to private enterprises. Hence, CISF is also providing security to Infosys and Wipro headquarters.

2. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)

  • It was raised as CROWN REPRESENTATIVE POLICE FORCE (CRPF) in 1939 and rechristened as Central Reserve Police Force after independence. 
  • It is headquartered in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Its composition and deployment are all India in character.
  • It helps state police in maintaining law and combat insurgency.
  • It is the largest Central Para Military Force.
  • CRPF is the only Central Armed Police Force with 6 Mahila (Ladies) Battalions.


  • Maintain rule of law and public order.
  • Crowd control & riot control.
  • Countering the militancy.
  • Dealing with Left Wing Extremism.
  • Protection of VIPs and vital installations.
  • Rescuing and relief operations during calamity.
  • Participation in UN Peacekeeping Missions.
  • Ensure peaceful conduct of elections.
  • Fighting the enemy in the event of war.

Rapid Action Force

  • It was raised by converting 10 CRPF battalions in 1992.
  • Its mandate is to rush to the place of incidence of the riot in Zero Response Time and carry out operations there in a non-partisan manner.

CoBRA Battalions

  • CoBRA = Commando Battalions for Resolute Action
  • It was raised from 10 battalions of CRPF in 2008.
  • They are trained to counter left-wing extremism.
  • They specialize in jungle warfare, also known as ‘Jungle Warriors’. A CoBRA School for specialized training in Jungle Warfare & Tactics has also started for their training.
  • They are experts in short & intelligence-based quick operations. 
  • They are stationed in LWE-affected states of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh, as well as Assam & Meghalaya.

3. Border Security Force (BSF)

  • BSF is the world’s largest Border Security Force
  • It was established in 1965 under Home Ministry to do away with the multiplicity of State Forces guarding the Indo-Pak Border. After the formation of Bangladesh, it was also made responsible for guarding the Indo-Bangladesh border.
  • Border Security Force personnel have also been deployed in United Nations Stabilization Missions. The BSF troops are performing their duties exemplary to ensure the UN mandate.
  • Presently, it has 192 battalions. 


Peacetime Mandate

  • Promote a sense of security among people living in border areas.
  • Prevent trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry or exit and smuggling.

Wartime Mandate

  • Holding ground in less threatened areas
  • Protection of vital installations, particularly airfields
  • Strengthening the main defence line at strong points
  • Assistance in control of refugees
  • Guarding Prisoners of War
  • Maintaining law and order in the enemy territory controlled by the Indian Army. 
  • Prevent infiltration in certain areas.

Note: Punjab Government accused some of the BSF officials of facilitating the entry of drugs from Pakistan to Punjab. In West Bengal, BSF officers have been accused of facilitating cow smuggling across the border to Bangladesh.

4. Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) 

  • ITBP was raised in 1962 in the wake of the Indo-China war. It was initially raised under CRPF Act. Later, ITBPF Act was enacted in 1994 and rules were framed. 
  • ITBP was originally conceptualized as an integrated ‘guerrilla-cum-intelligence-cum-fighting Force’, self-contained in supplies, communication and intelligence collection. It has evolved over time into a conventional border-guarding force.
  • ITBP is a multi-dimensional force. It is a mountain-trained force manned by professionally trained mountaineers. 
  • ITBP is deployed from Karakoram Pass to Jechapla Pass in difficult hilly terrain at forward border posts at altitudes ranging from 9000-18000 feet. 
  • They are called “Himveers“.

Mandate and Tasks

  • Keep vigil on the Indo-China border.
  • Detection & prevention of border violations & promotion of a sense of security among the locals on the Indo-China border
  • Check illegal immigration, trans–border smuggling and crimes.
  • Providing security to sensitive installations, banks and protected persons. Presently, it is providing security to Rashtrapati Bhawan, Rumtek Monastery (Sikkim), Tihar Jail (Delhi), LBSNAA and various sensitive installations in Chandigarh & Jammu. 
  • Restore law and order and peace in an area after disturbance. 
  • ITBP is also deployed in Afghanistan to provide security to the Indian Embassy in Kabul.
  • ITBP is also involved in the movement for the preservation of the Himalayan environment & ecology.

5. Assam Rifles

  • Assam Rifles are known as the ‘friends of hill people’ because Assam Rifles have participated in many developmental activities of the northeast.
  • It was raised in 1835 as Cacher Levy and is the oldest Police Force in India. 
  • It is headquartered in Shillong and works under the operational control of the Army.
  • When formed, it had an armed strength of 750 men, which has been increased to 63,000 personnel.
  • Earlier, it was under the control of the Ministry of External Affairs but was later changed to be under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs post-1965. 


When formed under the British Raj, its original mandate was to protect the British Tea Estates, along with settlements, from raids of the NE tribes. With passage of time, its mandate has been changed to

  • Maintaining internal security in North-Eastern States.
  • Guarding Indo-Myanmar Border.


  • Control Structure: Assam Rifles has dual control structure, i.e. it is under the operational control of the Indian Army (i.e. Ministry of Defence) and administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). All the senior officers, including the head of the force, are from Indian Army, while MHA provides the salary and infrastructure.
  • Dual Mandate: Due to the dual mandate of guarding the Indo-Myanmar border and maintaining peace in the North East, Assam Rifle is unable to do both works professionally. Government should first strengthen the security of the border by either giving the Assam Rifles the single mandate of guarding the border or deploying another border guarding force such as the Border Security Force(BSF). In 2017, Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs, in its report, suggested the transfer of Indo-Myanmar Border Management to Border Guard Forces (BGF)

6. National Security Guard (NSG)

  • It was raised in 1984 as Federal Contingency Deployment Force to fight against terrorism and protect the states against internal disturbances.
  • It operates under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • NSG is a unique amalgamation of selected personnel from the Army, the Central Armed Police Forces & State Police Forces.
  • Because of the colour of the uniform that the personnel wear, they are popularly referred to as Black Cats.
  • NSG (Black Cats) are specially trained for room-to-room interventions, whereas Army is specialized in Open Combat. They will be more effective in fighting terrorists. Their weapons are more sophisticated and ideal for such fights.
  • NSG Commandos are usually deployed to deal with high-risk tasks like Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar and Hotel Taj and Oberoi in Mumbai.


  • Neutralise highly specialized terrorist attacks like aeroplane hijacks and hostage rescue operations.
  • Provide training to other forces on bomb disposal technology.  
  • NSG provide ‘close protection’ to the VIPs.
  • In Delhi, they are always kept on alert to meet any emergency.


  • It is criticized for the delayed response to the crisis. For example, NSG took 10 hours to respond to the 26/11 crisis.
  • The NSG Headquarters is manned by a mix of personnel from all the forces with different cultural and professional outlooks leading to coordination challenges.
  • The organization is headed by Director General belonging to the IPS with limited practical experience in counter-terror operations.
  • NSG continues to be marred by a shortage of cutting-edge equipment and training aids.

Special Protection Group (SPG)

  • It is a sub-group of the National Security Guard (NSG). 
  • SPG was raised in 1985 with the goal of giving providing proximate security cover to the PM and his immediate family members. Additionally, it provides security cover to the former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for a period of five years from the day he ceases to hold office. 
  • It was formed on the recommendation of the Birbal Nath Committee. 
  • NSG also provide proximate security to VVIPs and their immediate family.
  • They are drawn from police and NSG commandos.
  • They are trained like US Secret Service.

7. Railway Protection Force (RPF)

  • Railway Protection Force draws power from Railway Protection Force Act and Railways Act.
  • Its mandate is to
    1. Protect railway property, passenger and passenger area.
    2. Remove any obstruction hindering the movement of the railway. 
  • It is different from the Railway Police, a branch of state police & responsible for preventing & investigating crimes on the railway & within railway premises.

8. Sashastra Seema Bal

  • It was formed in 1963 as Special Service Bureau (SSB) to build up the morale & capability of the border population and prevent subversion, infiltration and sabotage across the border.
  • It was renamed from Special Service Bureau to Sashastra Seema Bal (in 2001).
  • Presently, it has the responsibility to guard Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan Border
  • They are also deployed for election duties & internal security duty in Jammu and Kashmir and the naxal-affected areas in Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

9. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)

  • Disaster Management Act was passed in 2005, and NDRF was formed under the provisions of the act in the wake of the Gujarat Earthquake & Odisha Super Cyclone. 
  • It was made from 8 battalions, 2 each drawn from ITBP, CRPF, BSF & CISF. Presently, it has 10 battalions.


  • Provide specialized response during disasters.
  • Conduct rehearsals and mock drills
  • Train State Disaster Response Teams
  • Create awareness among people about different disasters

Topic: NDRF getting discriminatory attitude

  • Sacrifices not recognized & awarded: E.g., in the Uttarakhand disaster of 2013, 14 personnel died in the Mi-17 Helicopter crash. 5 from Airforce got Shaurya & Kirti Chakra, while 9 from NDRF got nothing.
  • Lack of Funds: NDRF is the only specialized force of its kind in the world but is deprived of funds, infra & logistical support. The question arises, what is the use of creating this if no fund is to be given? 
  • Less Remuneration: Their remuneration is less than what their counterparts get in CRPF or BSF. Nothing is given in the name of the hazard fund. As a result, nobody is ready to come to this force from the parent organization.
  • No Disability Pension: NDRF personnel are constantly required to train in simulated conditions of hazards & at the time, they end up losing their life, but there is no disability pension.

Other Problems

  • Ambiguity in control and command: Ministry of Home Affairs controls the funds of NDRF while National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), an autonomous body, has administrative control over it. Hence, it has to deal with two bosses.

Issues with CAPF (in general)

  1. Bureaucratization of Armed Forces: Most of the higher posts of the top hierarchy are filled by IPS officers, who, most of the time, fail to take adequate steps for the welfare of the cadre officers. These organizations have a primarily military character; therefore, a civil service like the IPS has no valuable role to play in them.
  2. Absence of a robust in-house grievance redressal mechanism: This has prompted incidents such as a soldier from BSF in 2017 using Social Media to raise his concerns. 
  3. Stepmotherly Treatment by Government: Paramilitary forces allege stepmotherly treatment done by the government compared to the military. They get
    • Lesser pay than military counterparts
    • No martyr status 
    • No One Rank One Pension.
  4. Sahayak/Buddy system:  Under this system, soldiers are forced to do personal chores for seniors.
  5. There is a lack of effective arms and ammunition such as bullet-proof jackets, modern weapons, surveillance equipment, armoured vehicles etc.
  6. CAPF is overburdened by doing the job of both the army and the police. E.g., CAPF personnel guard the borders and also battle terrorists and insurgents.  
  7. Poor working conditions like no housing facilities, poor food and low allowances add to problems. Due to bad working conditions, the number of personnel opting for voluntary retirement schemes in the CAPF rose by 450% in 2016-17, according to the Home Ministry.
  8. They are devoid of justice as Armed Forces Tribunal does not cover them.   

According to the NCRB data, as many as 2,200 CAPF personnel died in accidents and suicides from 2014-2018. It points towards the fact that something is seriously wrong with CAPF.

Way forward

  • CAPF personnel should get better dispute resolution, communication facilities in field areas, yoga etc.
  • IPS hegemony over the CAPF should be ended. 
  • Some of the demands of the paramilitary forces are legitimate at face value and should be considered e.g. 
    • A Military Service Pay 
    • Timely career promotion
    • Martyr status if they die while fighting.     
  • There is a need for a separate grievance redressal mechanism and a separate tribunal for paramilitary forces on the lines of the Armed Forces Tribunal. 
  • For parity in allowance, “one area, one allowance” should be implemented, i.e., military and CAPF personnel deployed in the same area should get the same allowance. 
  • Government should set up an R&D wing specifically to design weapons and vehicles for CAPF due to the unique challenges faced by them.

Concept of Climate Change

Concept of Climate Change

This article deals with ‘Concept of Climate Change  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Environment’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles on Science and technology, you can click here.

What is Climate?

  • Climate is often described as average weather 
  • The classical period is 30 years. 

What is climate change?

  • Climate change is the periodic modification of the usual weather of the place. This change could be in the form of a change in the average temperature or precipitation pattern.
  • The rate of climate change is dependent on causal factors, which may be gradual or drastic, regional or global.

The causes of Climate change can be broadly divided into natural and anthropogenic causes as follows

Natural Factors 1. Changing physiology of the Earth
2. Volcanism
3. Changing Carbon Sink
Anthropogenic Factors 1. Green House Gas emissions
2. Atmospheric aerosols
3. Changing land-use pattern

What is Global Warming?

  • Global Warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere leading to changes in global climate patterns. 
  • The primary reason behind global Warming is the addition of an excessive amount of Green House Gases by humans since the inception of the Industrial Revolution.

Green House Effect

Earth receives the Sun’s insulation in the form of short waves, and it heats the surface. After being heated, the Earth starts to radiate backwards in the form of long waves. The Earth’s atmospheric gases (particularly Green House Gases) are transparent to shortwave radiation but absorb longwave radiation, thus indirectly heating Earth’s atmosphere.

But the Green House Effect is a natural process that warms the Earth’s surface. It helps maintain the Earth’s temperature around 33 degrees warmer than it would be in its absence and makes life possible on the Earth.

Gases which show the Green House Effect

Concept of Climate Change

1. Water Vapour

  • Water Vapour is the most abundant GHG, but it doesn’t play an essential role in climate change as it spends a very short time in the Earth’s atmosphere. 
  • The water vapour varies rapidly with the season, altitude and region.

2. Carbon Dioxide

  • Carbon Dioxide is the most crucial GHG in climate change as it is produced naturally and through anthropogenic activities. 
  • Natural sources of CO2 include animal respiration and volcanic eruptions. On the other hand, anthropogenic causes include burning fossil fuels and deforestation. 

3. Methane

  • The primary sources of Methane are the decomposition of organic matter and the digestion process of ruminants (like cows, goats etc.). 
  • But Green House potential of Methane is far more than that of Carbon Dioxide. Hence, even a lesser amount of Methane can cause much more damage. 

4. Nitrous Oxide

  • Nitrous oxide is a very powerful Green House Gas that is produced during the manufacturing and use of nitrogenous fertilizers. 

5. Chloro Floro Carbons (CFCs)

  • CFCs are manmade chemicals used in refrigerants and air conditioners, having considerable GHG potential and posing a great danger to Earth’s Ozone Layer.

Factors affecting the Climate Change

Climate change resulting from the change in energy entering and leaving the planet’s system can be caused by natural and anthropogenic factors.

Factors affecting the Climate Change

Natural Causes

Natural causes include continental drift, volcanoes, ocean currents, the Earth’s tilt, and comets and meteorites.

1. Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics

  • Due to plate tectonics, continents keep on changing their position. 
  • This drift impacts the climate because it changes the position and features of landmasses, such as a change in the flow of ocean currents and winds, which affects the climate.

2. Milanković Cycle / Variations in the Earth’s Orbit

The phenomenon was discovered by Serbian scientist Milanković in the 1900s, according to which the motion and tilt of the Earth change due to the gravitational pull between Sun and Moon. This results in what is known as Milanković cycles having a significant impact on climate and causing glacial and interglacial periods.

3. Volcanic Activity

  • Volcanic eruptions result in an outburst of Green House Gases (especially Sulphur dioxide) and ash, impacting climatic patterns. 
  • For example, massive volcanic eruptions 56 million years ago raised the global temperature by 8° C, and it took around 50,000 years to stabilize the climate.

4. Ocean Currents

On longer time scales, thermohaline circulation plays a crucial role in redistributing heat by extremely slow and deep transportation of the ocean water and redistributing the heat globally.

Anthropogenic (Human Caused) Factors

1. Green House Gases

  • Natural Green House Effect helps make Earth a habitable place by maintaining the average temperature on Earth at around 14°C instead of -19°C without the Green House Effect.
  • But human activities can increase the concentration of Green House gases leading to global Warming. 

2. Excessive Deforestation

  • Excessive Deforestation has been carried out worldwide as a source of wood and to convert forest land to agricultural land. Dense forests help absorb carbon dioxide and reduce the Green House Effect.


Forcings mean the initial drivers of climate change, such as insolation, Green House Gases, aerosols, smoke, dust etc.


Feedback Effect

Feedbacks are the processes that can amplify or reduce the effects of forcings.

In other words, due to the warming of the Earth, numerous changes occur in Earth’s atmosphere, which can impact the temperature. These factors are called Feedback impacts. Some of these changes can increase the temperature, while others can cool down the atmospheric temperature.

1. Feedback from Water Vapour

  • Water vapour is one of the most crucial feedback effects. A slight warming of the Earth due to more sunlight or an increased greenhouse effect will increase the quantity of water vapour in the atmosphere. As water vapour is also a greenhouse gas, the extra water vapour will increase the greenhouse effect even more. Thus water vapour has an amplifying effect on global warming. 

2. Feedback from Snow and Ice-Cover

  • The feedback effects from ice and snow-covered surfaces are similar. When the climate is cold, there is a lot of ice and snow on Earth, and the shiny surface reflects back sunlight to make it colder. But warmer climate results in lesser snow which leads to less reflection of solar radiation to outer space and increased warming. 

3. Feedback from Clouds

  • All clouds both cool the Earth by reflecting sunlight into space and warm it up by absorbing heat from the surface.  
  • The feedback effect depends upon the type of cloud.
    • Thin Cirrus Clouds (which appear high up in the atmosphere) generally have a warming effect. 
    • On the other hand, low Cumulus and Stratus clouds have a cooling effect. 
Feedback Effect

Carbon Footprint

  • Carbon footprint measures the total GHG emissions (under Kyoto Protocol) caused directly & indirectly by a person, organization, event or product.
  • GHGs under Kyoto Protocol are 
    1. Carbon Dioxide 
    2. Methane
    3. Nitrous Oxide
    4. Hydro Fluro Carbon
    5. Per Fluro Carbon
    6. Sulphur Hexaoxide 
  • Carbon Footprint is expressed as tons of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e). tCO2e is calculated by multiplying the emissions of each of 6 GHGs by their 100-year Global warming potential.

How can I reduce my carbon footprint?

How can I reduce my carbon footprint?

Global Warming Potential

Global Warming Potential for a gas is the measure of the total energy that a gas absorbs over a particular period, usually 100 years, compared to Carbon Dioxide. 

Gas GWP Lifetime years
CO2 1 50-200
CH4 21 12
Nitrous oxide 310 120
HFCs 140-12000 1-270
PFCs 6500-9200 800-50,000
SF6 23,900 3200

Side Topic: Carbon Bombs

Carbon Bombs
  • It is “an oil or gas project that will result in at least a billion tons of CO2 emissions over its lifetime.”
  • As of the end of 2022, there are 195 carbon bomb projects worldwide. These include projects such as 
    1. Carmichael Coal Project, owned by the Adani Group
    2. Gevra Coal Mines in Chhattisgarh, owned by Coal India
    3. Rajmahal Coal Mines in eastern Jharkhand 

Ecological Footprint & Debt

Ecological Footprint

Ecological Footprint
  • It is the measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystem. The ecological footprint represents the impact that an entity (nation/town/individual) made on Earth that year by consuming Earth’s resources.  
  • Global Hectare is the average productive land and water an individual requires to produce all the resources it consumes. In 2007, it was 2.7 Hectares /Person.

Water Footprint

It is the volume of freshwater used to produce goods and services by an individual or community.

It is of the following types

Blue WFP Blue Water Footprint is the volume of freshwater evaporated from global blue water resources, such as rivers, ponds, lakes, wells, etc.,  for producing goods and services used by an individual or community.
Green WFP Green Water Footprint is the volume of freshwater evaporated from global green water resources such as moist lands, wetlands, farms, soil etc.,  for producing goods and services used by an individual or community.
Grey WFP Grey Water Footprint is the volume of fresh water polluted for producing goods and services used by an individual or community.

Ecological Debt

Ecological Debt can be defined as the amount by which the consumption of resources from within an ecosystem exceeds the ecosystem’s regenerative capacity.

Ecological Debt

Ecological Debt Day/Earth Overshoot Day

  • Ecological Debt Day or Earth Overshoot Day refers to the calendar date when the total resources consumed by humanity will exceed the capacity for Earth to generate those resources that year. 
  • It is not a fixed date but keeps on changing each year. WWF and Global Footprint Network decide it.
28 JULY 
i.e. total resources consumed by 
humanity in 2022 exceeded the 
Earth's capacity to generate 
resources that year. 

Side Topic: Earth Day

  • It is celebrated on 22 April (every year) to increase awareness of environmental safety among ordinary people. 
  • UNESCO organizes it.
  • The theme of 2022: Invest in our Planet