- Identify and discuss the factors responsible for diversity of natural vegetation in India. Assess the significance of wildlife sanctuaries in rainforest regions of India. (15)
- Why did human development fail to keep pace with economic development in India? (15)
1. Identify and discuss the factors responsible for diversity of natural vegetation in India. Assess the significance of wildlife sanctuaries in rainforest regions of India. 15
- India boasts an array of flora, from lush tropical rainforests and dense mangrove swamps to arid deserts and alpine meadows. This rich mosaic of plant life plays a crucial role in the country's ecological balance, climate regulation, and cultural heritage. OR
- India's varied landscapes, from dense forests and arid deserts to lush wetlands and towering mountains, provide a rich tapestry of habitats that support an astounding array of wildlife.
(Image Source: 11th NCERT, India:Physical Environment)
The diversity of natural vegetation in India can be attributed to several key factors like-
- India's size and diverse topography creates a wide range of microclimates for different types of vegetation.
- India experiences a variety of climatic conditions, from arid deserts in the northwest to tropical rainforests in the northeast.
- Monsoon Winds.
- Altitude plays a significant role in the distribution of vegetation.
- 6 major soil types.
- India is home to four biodiversity hotspots.
- Human activities like farming, deforestation etc.
- Conservation efforts.
- Cultural practices like sacred groves and organic farming.
Wildlife sanctuaries in India's rainforest regions hold immense significance for several reasons-
- Biodiversity conservation as wildlife sanctuaries are protected areas.
- Ecosystem services by regulating climate, storing carbon, and influencing rainfall.
- Research and education esp traditional knowledge.
- Sustainable tourism and local economy.
- Cultural and spiritual value.
- Medicinal resources.
- Climate resilience.
- Gene Pool
- India's rich tapestry of wildlife and natural vegetation is a testament to their profound interdependence. The preservation of one hinges upon the conservation of the other, highlighting the urgency of holistic biodiversity protection.
2. Why did human development fail to keep pace with economic development in India? (15)
- India has witnessed impressive economic growth, especially in the post-liberalization era (post-1991). The average growth rate is around 6-7%. However, human development indicators have not shown commensurate improvement. The HDI score is 0.633 in 2021 (India’s expected years of schooling stand at 11.9 years. The female life expectancy is 68.8 years in the 2021 report. The mean years of schooling for females was 11.9 years in the corresponding period.) Any data can be used.
- India is among the top 5 largest economies of the world, but in terms of Human development, it stands at 132/191 in the HDI report 2021.
- Reasons for Disparity between Economic and Human Development in India:
- Skewed Economic Growth:
- Much of India's economic growth has been driven by the service sector, especially IT and finance, which do not employ the vast majority of the population. (Jobless Growth)
- Data: The service sector contributes over 60% to India's GDP but employs less than 30% of its workforce. In contrast, agriculture employs around 45% but contributes around 15% to GDP.
- Also, the high unemployment rate in India- CMEI estimates India's unemployment rate is around 7.95% in 2023.
- Healthcare Spending:
- India's public health expenditure has traditionally been low, leading to inadequate healthcare infrastructure and accessibility.
- Data: India’s health expenditure is around 2.1% of its GDP (as of 2023), lower than the global average of around 10%.
- Education System and Quality:
- Despite achieving significant strides in literacy rates, the quality of education, especially in rural areas, remains a concern.
- Data: According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022, over 50% of Class V students in rural India couldn't read a Class II text.
- Regional Disparities:
- Economic growth hasn't been uniform across the country, with certain states and regions surging ahead while others lag.
- Data: States like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have GDP per capita significantly higher than the national average, while states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh lag.
- Population Growth:
- Rapid population growth has put pressure on resources, diluting the impact of economic growth on individual well-being.
- Data: India has become the most populous country in the world in 2023.
- The benefits of economic growth have not been equitably distributed, leading to growing economic disparities.
- Data: According to the Oxfam report in 2020, the richest 10% of Indians hold 74.3% of the total national wealth, while the bottom 50% hold only 2.5%.
- Infrastructure and Sanitation:
- Despite economic growth, issues like sanitation and access to clean drinking water remained challenges for a significant part of the population.
- Data: While the Swachh Bharat Mission made strides with over 90% toilet coverage, the report(2022) reveals that 17% of the rural population in India still practices open defecation.
- Skewed Economic Growth:
A multifaceted approach is essential to bridge the gap between India's economic development and human development. Here are some steps that can be taken to ensure that human development keeps pace with economic growth:
- Steps needed:
- Increase Public Spending on Health and Education:
- Health: Increase the public health expenditure to at least 2.5% of GDP, as recommended by the National Health Policy 2017, to improve healthcare infrastructure and accessibility.
- Education: Allocate more funds to modernise educational infrastructure, especially in rural and backward regions, and invest in training programs for teachers to enhance the quality of education.
- Focus on Inclusive Growth:
- Implement policies that promote equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, ensuring that marginalised sections of society benefit from economic growth.
- Also developing labour-intensive sectors like textiles.
- Strengthen Social Safety Nets:
- Expand and improve the efficiency of social welfare schemes such as the Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-Day Meal Scheme, and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to ensure food security, nutrition, and employment opportunities.
- Address Regional Disparities:
- Develop a targeted policy framework for the socio-economically lagging states and regions, focusing on infrastructure development, skill training, and job creation.
- Enhance Skill Development and Vocational Training:
- With the changing economic landscape, the workforce needs to be equipped with relevant skills. Initiatives like the Skill India campaign should be expanded and made more effective.
- Improve Agricultural Productivity and Infrastructure:
- Given that a significant portion of the population depends on agriculture, there's a need to modernise the sector with technological interventions, better irrigation systems, and post-harvest management.
- Promote Sustainable Development
- Strengthen Local Governance
- Promote Gender Equality
- Enhance Urban Planning
- Feedback Mechanisms and Data-Driven Governance
- Increase Public Spending on Health and Education:
- While India's economic development post-liberalization has been commendable, human development has not kept pace due to many systemic and structural challenges. A more inclusive and holistic approach, focusing on equitable distribution and prioritising health, education, and infrastructure, is crucial to bridge this disparity. This capability approach of Amartya Sen and Justice ideas of Rauls can be undertaken.