Current Affairs 12th Class

  The World Population (Distribution, Density and Growth)   The people of a country are its real wealth. It is they who make use of the country’s resources and decide its policies. Ultimately a country is known by its people.   It is important to know how many women and men a country has, how many children are born each year, how many people die and how? Whether they live in cities or villages, can they read or write and what work do they do? These are what you will study about in this unit.   The world at the beginning of 21st century recorded the presence of over 6 billion population. We shall discuss the patterns of their distribution and density here.   Why do people prefer to live in certain regions and not in others?   The population of the world is unevenly distributed. The remark of George B. Cressey about the population of Asia that “Asia has many places where people are few and few place where people are very many” is true about the pattern of population distribution of the world also.   PATTERNS OF POPULATION DISTRIBUTION IN THE WORLD   Patterns of population distribution and density help us to understand the demographic characteristics of any area. The term population distribution refers to the way people are spaced over the earth’s surface. Broadly, 90 per cent of the world population lives in about 10 per cent of its land area. The 10 most populous countries of the world contribute about 60 per cent of the world’s population. Of these 10 countries, 6 are located in Asia. Identify these six countries of Asia.                         Fig. 2.1: Most Populous Countries     DENSITY OF POPULATION Each unit of land has limited capacity to support people living on it. Hence, it is necessary to understand the ratio between the numbers of people to the size of land. This ratio is the density of population. It is usually measured in persons per sq. km Population \[Density\text{ }of\text{ }Population\text{ }=\frac{Population}{Area}\] For example, area of Region X is 100 sq. km and the population is 1,50,000 persons. The density of population is calculated as: \[Density\,\,=\,\,\frac{1,50,000}{100}\] = 1,500 person/sq. km   What does this tell you about Region X?   Look at the map given below:   Do you observe that some areas are really crowded? These are the densely populated parts of the world with more than 200 persons on every sq. km. These are the North –Eastern part of U.S.A., North-Western part of Europe, South, South-East and East Asia.   Other areas like those near the North and South Poles, the hot and the cold deserts and high rainfall zones near the Equator have very low density of population. These are the sparsely populated regions of the world with less than 01 person per sq. km. more...

  Human Geography Nature and Scope       You have already studied ‘Geography as a Discipline’ in Chapter I of the book, Fundamentals of Physical Geography (NCERT, 2006). Do you recall the contents? This chapter has broadly covered and introduced you to the nature of geography. You are also acquainted with the important branches that sprout from the body of geography. If you re-read the chapter you will be able to recall the link of human geography with the mother discipline i.e. geography. As you know geography as a field of study is integrative, empirical, and practical. Thus, the reach of geography is extensive and each and every event or phenomenon which varies over space and time can be studied geographically. How do you see the earth’s surface? Do you realise that the earth comprises two major components: nature (physical environment) and life forms including human beings? Make a list of physical and human components of your surroundings. Physical geography studies physical environment and human geography studies “the relationship between the physical/natural and the human worlds, the spatial distributions of human phenomena and how they come about, the social and economic differences between different parts of the world”.   You are already aware of the fact that the core concern of geography as a discipline is to understand the earth as home of human beings and to study all those elements which have sustained them. Thus, emphasis is on study of nature and human beings. You will realise that geography got subjected to dualism and the wide-ranging debates started whether geography as a discipline should be a law making/theorising (nomothetic) or descriptive (idiographic). Whether its subject matter should be organised and approach of the study should be regional or systematic? Whether geographical phenomena be interpreted theoretically or through historicinstitutional approach? These have been issues for intellectual exercise but finally you will appreciate that the dichotomy between physical and human is not a very valid one because nature and human are inseparable elements and should be seen holistically. It is interesting to note that both physical and human 1 Agnew J. Livingstone, David N. and Rogers, A.; (1996) Blackwell Publishing Limited, Malden, U.S.A. p. 1 and 2. 2 Fundamentals of Human Geography phenomena are described in metaphors using symbols from the human anatomy.   We often talk of the ‘face’ of the earth, ‘eye’ of the storm, ‘mouth’ of the river, ‘snout’ (nose) of the glacier, ‘neck’ of the isthmus and ‘profile’ of the soil. Similarly regions, villages, towns have been described as ‘organisms’. German geographers describe the ‘state/country’ as a ‘living organism’. Networks of road, railways and water ways have often been described as “arteries of circulation”. Can you collect such terms and expressions from your own language? The basic questions now arises, can we separate nature and human when they are so intricately intertwined?   Human more...

  Land Resources and Agriculture   You must have observed that the land around you is put to different uses. Some land is occupied by rivers, some may have trees and on some parts roads and buildings have been built. Different types of lands are suited to different uses. Human beings thus, use land as a resource for production as well as residence and recreation. Thus, the building of your school, roads on which you travel, parks in which you play, fields in which crops are grown and the pastures where animals graze represent different uses to which land is put.   Land Use Categories Land-use records are maintained by land revenue department. The land use categories add up to reporting area, which is somewhat different from the geographical area. The Survey of India is responsible for measuring geographical area of administrative units in India. Have you ever used a map prepared by Survey of India? The difference between the two concepts are that while the former changes somewhat depending on the estimates of the land revenue records, the latter does not change and stays fixed as per Survey of India measurements. You may be familiar with land use categories as they are also included in your Social Science textbook of Class X.   The land-use categories as maintained in the Land Revenue Records are as follows:   (i) Forests: It is important to note that area under actual forest cover is different from area classified as forest. The latter is the area which the Government has identified and demarcated for forest growth. The land revenue records are consistent with the latter definition. Thus, there may be an increase in this category without any increase in the actual forest cover. (ii) Land put to Non-agricultural Uses: Land under settlements (rural and urban), infrastructure (roads, canals, etc.), industries, shops, etc. are included in this category. An expansion in the secondary and tertiary activities would lead to an increase in this category of land-use. (iii) Barren and Wastelands: The land which may be classified as a wasteland such as barren hilly terrains, desert lands, ravines, etc. normally cannot be brought under cultivation with the available technology. (iv) Area under Permanent Pastures and Grazing Lands: Most of this type land is owned by the village ‘Panchayat’ or the Government. Only a small proportion of this land is privately owned. The land owned by the village panchayat comes under ‘Common Property Resources’. (v) Area under Miscellaneous Tree Crops and Groves (Not included is Net sown Area): The land under orchards and fruit trees are included in this category. Much of this land is privately owned. (vi) Culturable Waste-Land: Any land which is left fallow (uncultivated) for more than five years is included in this category. It can be brought under cultivation after improving it through reclamation practices. (vii) Current Fallow: This is the land which is left without cultivation for one or less than one agricultural year. Fallowing more...

  Human Development   Sixty years ago, Rekha was born in a family of small farmer in Uttaranchal. She helped her mother in household chores. While her brothers went to school, she did not receive any education. She was dependent on her in laws after she was widowed immediately after marriage. She could not be economically independent and faced neglect. Her brother helped her to migrate to Delhi.   For the first time, she travelled by bus and train and was exposed to a large city like Delhi. After a while, the same city which attracted her with its buildings, roads, avenues and facilities and amenities disillusioned her.   With greater familiarity of the city, she could comprehend the paradoxes. The jhuggi and slum clusters, traffic jams, congestion, crimes, poverty, small children begging on traffic lights, people sleeping on footpaths, polluted water and air revealed another face of development. She used to think whether development and under-development coexist? Whether development help some segments of population more than the other? Does development create haves and have nots? Let us examine these paradoxes and try to understand the phenomena.   Of all the paradoxes of our times mentioned in the story, development is the most significant one. Development of a few regions, individuals brought about in a short span of time leads to poverty and malnutrition for many along with large scale ecological degradation. Is development class biased?   Apparently, it is believed that “Development is freedom” which is often associated with modernisation, leisure, comfort and affluence. In the present context, computerisation, industrialisation, efficient transport and communication network, large education system, advanced and modern medical facilities, safety and security of individuals, etc. are considered as the symbols of development. Every individual, community and government measures its performance or levels of development in relation to the availability and access to some of these things. But, this may be partial and one-sided view of development. It is often called the western or euro-centric view of development. For a development, make amendments and changes its indicators but also ranks all the countries postcolonial country like India, colonisation, marginalisation, social discrimination and regional disparity, etc. show the other face of development.   Thus, for India, development is a mixed bag of opportunities as well as neglect and deprivations. There are a few areas like the metropolitan centres and other developed enclaves that have all the modern facilities available to a small section of its population. At the other extreme of it, there are large rural areas and the slums in the urban areas that do not have basic amenities like potable water, education and health infrastructure available to majority of this population. The situation is more alarming if one looks at the distribution of the development opportunities among different sections of our society. It is a well-established fact that majority of the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, landless agricultural labourers, poor farmers and slums dwellers, etc. are the most marginalised lot. more...

  Population   The people are very important component of a country. India is the second most populous country after China in the world with its total population of 1,028 million (2001). India’s population is larger than the total population of North America, South America and Australia put together. More often, it is argued that such a large population invariably puts pressure on its limited resources and is also responsible for many socio-economic problems in the country.   How do you perceive the idea of India? Is it simply a territory? Does this signify an amalgam of people? Is it a territory inhabited by people living under certain institutions of governance?   In this chapter, we will discuss the patterns of distribution, density, growth and composition of India’s population.   Sources of Population Data Population data are collected through Census operation held every 10 years in our country. The first population Census in India was conducted in 1872 but its first complete Census was conducted only in 1881.   Distribution of Population Examine Fig. 1.1 and try to describe the patterns of spatial distribution of population shown on it. It is clear that India has a highly uneven pattern of population distribution. The percentage shares of population of the states and Union Territories in the country (Appendix–i) show that Uttar Pradesh has the highest population followed by Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.   Activity Looking at the data in Appendix (i) arrange the Indian states and union territories according to their sizes and population and find out:   Fig. 1.1: India - Distribution of Population   States/UTs of large size and large population States/UTs of large size but small population States/UTs of smaller size but larger population   Check from the table (Appendix–i) that U.P., Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh along with Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat, together account for about 76 per cent of the total population of the country. On the other hand, share of population is very small in the states like Jammu & Kashmir (0.98%), Arunachal Pradesh (0.11%) and Uttaranchal (0.83%) in spite of these states having fairly large geographical area.   Such an uneven spatial distribution of population in India suggests a close relationship between population and physical, socioeconomic and historical factors. As far as the physical factors are concerned, it is clear that climate along with terrain and availability of water largely determines the pattern of the population distribution. Consequently, we observe that the North Indian Plains, deltas and Coastal Plains have higher proportion of population than the interior districts of southern and central Indian States, Himalayas, some of the north eastern and the western states. However, development of irrigation (Rajasthan), availability of mineral and energy resources (Jharkhand) and development of transport network (Peninsular States) have resulted in moderate to high proportion of population in areas which were previously very thinly populated (Fig. 1.1).   Among more...

  Migration   Ram Babu, working as an engineer in Bhilai Steel Plant, Chhattisgarh, was born in a small village of district Bhojpur, Bihar. At an early age of twelve he moved to a nearby town Ara to complete his intermediate level studies. He went to Sindri, Jharkhand for his engineering degree and he got a job at Bhilai, where he is living for the last 31 years. His parents were illiterate and the only source of their livelihood was meagre income from agriculture. They spent their whole life in that village.   Ram Babu has three children who got their education up to the intermediate level at Bhilai and then moved to different places for higher education. First one studied at Allahabad and Mumbai and is presently working in Delhi as a scientist. The second child got her higher education from different universities in India and is now working in USA. The third one after finishing her education settled at Surat after marriage.   This is not a story of only Ram Babu and his children but such movements are increasingly becoming universal trend. People have been moving from one village to another, from villages to towns, from smaller towns to bigger towns and from one country to another.   In your Book Fundamentals of Human Geography you have already learnt about the concept and definition of migration. Migration has been an integral part and a very important factor in redistributing population over time and space. India has witnessed the waves of migrants coming to the country from Central and West Asia and also from Southeast Asia. In fact, the history of India is a history of waves of migrants coming and settling one after another in different parts of the country. In the words of a renowned poet Firaque Gorakhpuri;   SAR ZAMIN-E-HIND PAR AQWAM-E-ALAM KE FIRAQUE CARVAN BASTE GAYE, HINDOSTAN BANTA GAYA   (The carvans of people from all parts of the world kept on coming and settling in India and led to the formation of India.)   Similarly, large numbers of people from India too have been migrating to places in search of better opportunities specially to the countries of the Middle-East, Western Europe, America, Australia and East and South East Asia.   Indian Diaspora During colonial period (British period) millions of the indentured labourers were sent to Mauritius, Caribbean islands (Trinidad, Tobago and Guyana), Fiji and South Africa by British from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar; to Reunion Island, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Surinam by French and Dutch and by Portuguese from Goa, Daman and Diu to Angola, Mozambique to work as plantation workers. All such migrations were covered under the time-bound contract known as Girmit Act (Indian Emigration Act). However, the living conditions of these indentured labourers were not better than the slaves.   The second wave of migrants ventured out into the neighbouring countries in recent times as professionals, artisans, traders and factory workers, in search of economic opportunities more...

  Geographical Perspective on Selected Issues and Problems   Environmental Pollution Environmental pollution results from ‘the release of substances and energy from waste products of human activities. There are many types of pollution. They are classified on the basis of medium through which pollutants are transported and diffused. Pollution can be classified into (i) air pollution, (ii) water pollution, (iii) land pollution and (iv) noise pollution.   Water Pollution Indiscriminate use of water by increasing population and industrial expansion has led degradation of the quality of water considerably. Surface water available from rivers, canals, lakes, etc. is never pure. It contains small quantities of suspended particles, organic and inorganic substances. When concentration of these substances increases, the water becomes polluted, and hence becomes unfit for use. In such a situation, the self-purifying capacity of water is unable to purify the water.   Fig.12.1: Cutting Through Effluent: Rowing through a pervasive layer of foam on the heavily polluted Yamuna on the outskirts of New Delhi   Though water pollutants are also created from natural sources (erosion, landslides, decay and decomposition of plants and animals, etc.) pollutants from human sources are the real causes of concern. Human beings pollute the water through industrial, agricultural and cultural activities. Among these activities, industry is the most significant contributor.   Table 12.1: Types and Sources of Pollution  
Pollution Types Pollution Involved Sources of Pollution
Air Pollution Oxides of sulphur \[\left( S{{O}_{2}}, S{{O}_{3}} \right)\] Oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, hydro-carbon, ammonia, lead, aldehydes asbestos and beryllium Combustion of coal, petrol and diesel, industrial processes, solid waste disposal, sewage disposal, etc.
Water Pollution Odour, dissolved and suspended solids, ammonia and urea, nitrate and nitrites, chloride, fluoride, carbonates, oil and grease, insecticide and pesticide residue, tannin, coliform MPM (bacterial count) sulphates and sulphides, heavy metals e.g. lead, aresenic, mercury, manganese, etc., radioactive substances. more...
  International Trade   You have already studied about the various aspects of International trade in the book Fundamentals of Human Geography. International Trade is mutually beneficial as no country is self-sufficient. India’s International trade has undergone a sea change in recent years in terms of volume, composition as well as direction. Although India’s contribution in the world trade is as low as one per cent of the total volume, yet it plays a significant role in the world economy.   Let us examine the changing pattern of India’s International trade. In 1950-51, India’s external trade was worth Rs. 1,2140 million, which rose to Rs. 8,37, 1330 million in 2004 - 05. Can you calculate the percentage growth in 2004-2005 over 1950-51? There are numerous reasons for this sharp rise in overseas trade, such as, the momentum picked up by the manufacturing sectors, the liberal policies of the government and the diversification of markets.   The nature of India’s foreign trade has changed over the years (Table 11.1). Though there has been an increase in the total volume of import and export, the value of import continued to be higher than that of exports. There has also been an increase in trade deficit over the last couple of years. This increase in deficit is attributed to the price rise of crude petroleum which forms a major component of India’s import list.   Changing Pattern of the Composition of India’s Exports     Table 11.1 India’s Foreign Trade (in Million Rs.)
Year Exports Imports Total Trade Total Deficit
1994-95 826,740 899,710 1,72,6450 -72,970
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  Planning and Sustainable Development in Indian Context   The word ‘planning’ is not new to you as it is a part of everyday usage. You must have used it with reference to preparation for your examination or visit to a hill station. It involves the process of thinking, formulation of a scheme or programme and implementation of a set of actions to achieve some goal. Though it is a very broad term, in this chapter, it has been used with reference to the process of economic development. It is, thus different from the traditional hit-and-miss methods by which   Overview of Planning Perspective in India India has centralised planning and the task of planning in India has been entrusted to the Planning Commission. It is a statutory body headed by the Prime Minister and has a Deputy Chairman and members. The planning in the country is largely carried out through Five Year Plans.   The First Five Year Plan was launched in 1951 and covered the period, 1951-52 to 1955-56. Second and Third Five Year Plans covered the period from 1956-57 to 1960-61 and 1961-62 to 1965-66 respectively. Two successive droughts during mid-sixties (1965-66 and 1966-67) and war with Pakistan in 1965 forced plan holiday in 1966-67 and 1968-69. This period was covered by annual plans, which are also termed as rolling plans. The Fourth Five Year Plan began in 1969-70 and ended in 1973-74. Following this the Fifth Five Year Plan began in 1974-75 but it was terminated by the then government one year earlier i.e. in 1977-78. The Sixth Five Year Plan took off in 1980. The Seventh Five Year Plan covered the period between 1985 and 1990. Once again due to the political instability and initiation of liberalisation policy, the Eighth Five Year Plan got delayed. It covered the period, 1992 to 1997. The Ninth Five Year Plan covered the period from 1997 to 2002. The Tenth Plan began in 2002 and it is still in progress. It will come to an end on 31.3.2007. The approach paper of the Eleventh Plan entitled. “Towards Faster and More Inclusive Growth” has already been approved.   reforms and reconstruction are often undertaken. Generally, there are two approaches to planning, i.e. sectoral planning and regional planning. The sectoral planning means formulation and implementation of the sets of schemes or programmes aimed at development of various sectors of the economy such as agriculture, irrigation, manufacturing, power, construction, transport, communication, social infrastructure and services.   There is no uniform economic development over space in any country. Some areas are more developed and some lag behind. This uneven pattern of development over space necessitates that the planners have a spatial perspective and draw the plans to reduce regional imbalance in development. This type of planning is termed as regional planning.   Target Area Planning The planning process has to take special care of those areas which have remained economically backward. As you know, the economic development more...

  Transport and Communication   We use many items in our daily life. From tooth paste to our bed tea, milk, clothes, soaps, food items, etc. are required every day. All these can be purchased from the market. Have you ever thought as to how these items are brought from the site of production? All the production is meant for consumption. From the fields and factory, the produce is brought to the place from where consumers purchase it. It is the transportation of these items from the site of their production to the market which make them available to the consumer.   We not only use material things like fruits, vegetables, books, clothes, etc. but also use ideas, views and messages in our daily life. Do you know we exchange our views, ideas and messages from one place to another or one individual to another while communicating with the help of various means?   The use of transport and communication depends upon our need to move things from place of their availability to the place of their use. Human-beings use various methods to move goods, commodities, ideas from one place to another.   The following diagram shows the major means of transportation.                Land Transport The pathways and unmetalled roads have been used for transportation in India since ancient times. With the economic and technological development, metalled roads and railways were developed to move large volume of goods and people from one place to another. Ropeways, cableways and pipelines were devised to cater to the demands of transporting specific goods under special circumstances.   Road Transport India has one of the largest road networks in the world with a total length of 33.1 lakh km (2005). About 85 per cent of passenger and 70 per cent of freight traffic are carried by roads every year. Road transport is relatively suitable for shorter distance travel.   Do You Know? Sher Shah Suri built the Shahi (Royal) road to strengthen and consolidate his empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed the Grand Trunk (GT) road during the British period, connecting Calcutta and Peshawar. At present, it extends from Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into 2 segments: (a) National Highway (NH)-1 from Delhi to Amritsar, and (b) NH- 2 from Delhi to Kolkata.   Road transport in modern sense was very limited in India before World War-II. The first serious attempt was made in 1943 when ‘Nagpur Plan’ was drawn. This plan could not be implemented due to lack of coordination among the princely states and British India. After Independence, twenty-year road plan (1961) was introduced to improve the conditions of roads in India. However, roads continue to concentrate in and around urban centres. Rural and remote areas had the least connectivity by road.   For the purpose of construction and maintenance, roads are classified as National Highways (NH), more...


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