• Planning involves the process of thinking, formulation of a scheme or programme and implementation of a set of actions to achieve some goal.
  • 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.
  • sometimes resource-rich region also remain backward. The economic development also requires technology as well as investment besides the resource. 
  • In order to arrest the accentuation of regional and social disparties, the Planning Commission introduced the target area’ and target group approaches to planning.
  • Some of the examples of programmes directed towards the development of target areas are Command Area Development Programme, Drought Prone Area Development Programme, Desert Development Programme, Hill Area Development Programme.
  • The Small FarmersDevelopment Agency (SFDA) and Marginal Farmers Development Agency (MFDA) which are the examples of target group programme.
  • In the 8th Five year Plan special area programmes were designed to develop infrastructure in hill areas, north-eastern states, tribal areas and backward areas.

Hill Area Development Programme

  • initiated during Fifth Five Year Plan covering 15 districts comprising all the hilly districts of Uttar Pradesh (present Uttarakhand), Mikir Hill and North Cachar hills of Assam, Darjiling district of West Bengal and Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu.
  • The National Committee on the Development of Backward Area in 1981 recommended that all the hill areas in the country having height above 600 m and not covered under tribal sub-plan be treated as backward hill areas. 
  • Plan is based on topographical, ecological, social and economic conditions.
  • These programmes aimed at harnessing the indigenous resources of the hill areas through development of horticulture, plantation agriculture, animal husbandry, poultry, forestry and small-scale and village industry.

Drought Prone Area Programme

  • initiated during the Fourth Five Year Plan with the objectives of providing employment to the people in drought-prone areas and creating productive assets. 
  • Initially this programme laid emphasis on the construction of labour-intensive civil works. But later on, it emphasised on irrigation projects, land development programmes, afforestation, grassland development and creation of basic rural infrastructure such as electricity, roads, market, credit and services. 
  • The other strategies of development of these areas include adoption of integrated watershed development approach at the micro-level.
  • The restoration of ecological balance between water, soil, plants, and human and animal population should be a basic consideration in the strategy of development of drought-prone areas.
  • Planning Commission of India (1967) identified 67 districts (entire or partly) of the country prone to drought. Irrigation Commission (1972) introduced the criterion of 30 per cent irrigated area and demarcated the drought prone areas.

Sustainable Development

  • The notion of sustainable development emerged in the wake of general rise in the awareness of environmental issues in the late 1960s in Western World.
  • United Nations established a World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) headed by the Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The Commission gave its report (also known as Brundtland Report) entitled „Our Common Future‟ in 1987.
  • The report defines sustainable development as a “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 
  • Sustainable development takes care of ecological, social and economic aspects of development during the present times and pleads for conservation of resources to enable the future generations to use these resources. It takes into account the development of whole human kind which have common future.

Case Study( Optional to read )

1. Indira Gandhi Canal (Nahar) Command Area

  • Indira Gandhi Canal, previously known as the Rajasthan Canal, is one of the largest canal systems in India.
  • Conceived by Kanwar Sain in 1948, the canal project was launched on 31 March, 1958.
  • The canal originates at Harike barrage in Punjab and runs parallel to Pakistan border at an average distance of 40 km in Thar Desert (Marusthali) of Rajasthan.
  • The total planned length of the system is 9,060 km catering to the irrigation needs of a total culturable command area of 19.63 lakh hectares.
  • Out of the total command area, about 70 per cent was envisaged to be irrigated by flow system and the rest by lift system. The construction work of the canal system has been carried out through two stages. 
  • The command area of Stage-I lies in Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and northern part of Bikaner districts. It has a gently undulating topography and its culturable command area is 5.53 lakh hectares.
  • The command area of Stage-II is spread over Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur and Churu districts covering culturable command area of 14.10 lakh ha.
  • It comprises desert land dotted with shifting sand dunes and temperature soaring to 50ºC in summers.
  • In the lift canal, the water is lifted up to make it to flow against the slope of the land. All the lift canals of Indira Gandhi Canal system originate at the left bank of main canal while all the canals on the right bank of main canal are flow channels.
  • The introduction of canal irrigation in this dry land has transformed its ecology, economy and society.
  • It has influenced the environmental conditions of the region both positively as well as negatively. The availability of soil moisture for a longer period of time and various afforestation and pastured development programmes under CAD have resulted in greening the land. This has also helped in reducing wind erosion and siltation of canal systems.
  • But the intensive irrigation and excessive use of water has led to the emergence of twin environmental problems of water logging and soil salinity. Introduction of canal irrigation has brought about a perceptible transformation in the agricultural economy of the region.
  • Soil moisture has been a limiting factor in successful growing of crops in this area. Spread of canal irrigation has led to increase in cultivated area and intensity of cropping.
  • The traditional crops sown in the area, gram, bajra and jowar have been replaced by wheat, cotton, groundnut and rice. This is the result of intensive irrigation. This intensive irrigation, no doubt, initially has led to tremendous increase in agricultural and livestock productivity. This has also caused water logging and soil salinity, and thus, in the long run, it hampers the sustainability of agriculture.

Measures for Promotion of Sustainable Development

  •  The ecological sustainability of Indira Gandhi Canal Project has been questioned by various scholars. Their point of view has also largely been validated by the course of development this region has taken during the last four decades, which has resulted in degradation of physical environment. 
  • It is a hard fact that attaining sustainable development in the command area requires major thrust upon the measures to achieve ecological sustainability.
  • Hence, five of the seven measures proposed to promote sustainable development in the command area are meant to restore ecological balance.
  1. The first requirement is strict implementation of water management policy. The canal project envisages k8protective irrigation in Stage-I and extensive irrigation of crops and pasture development in Stage-II.
  2. In general, the cropping pattern shall not include water intensive crops. It shall be adhered to and people shall be encouraged to grow plantation crops such as citrus fruits.
  3. The CAD programmes such as lining of water courses, land development and levelling and warabandi system (equal distribution of canal water in the command area of outlet) shall be effectively implemented to reduce the conveyance loss of water.
  4. The areas affected by water logging and soil salinity shall be reclaimed.
  5. The eco-development through afforestation, shelterbelt plantation and pasture development is necessary particularly in the fragile environment of Stage-II.
  6. The social sustainability in the region can be achieved only if the land allottees having poor economic background are provided adequate financial and institutional support for cultivation of land.
  7. The economic sustainability in the region cannot be attained only through development of agriculture and animal husbandry. The agricultural and allied activities have to develop alongwith other sectors of economy. This shall lead to diversification of economic base and establishment of functional linkages between basic villages, agro-service centres and market centres. 

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.

1. 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. 
  • 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 : 
  • National Highway(NH)-1 from Delhi to Amritsar, and (b) NH- 2 from Delhi to Kolkata
  • 20 year road plan (1961) was introduced to improve the conditions of roads in India.
  • For the purpose of construction and maintenance, roads are classified as National Highways (NH), State Highways(SH), Major District Roads and Rural Roads

National Highways

  • The main roads which are constructed and maintained by the Central Government are known as the National Highways.
  • These roads are meant for inter-state transport and movement of defence men and material in strategic areas.
  • These also connect the state capitals, major cities, important ports, railway junctions, etc. 
  • The length of the National Highways has increased from 19,700 km in 1951 to 65,769 km in 2005. The National Highways constitute only two per cent of the total road length but carry 40 per cent of the road traffic.
  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was operationalised in 1995.
  • It is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Surface Transport.
  • It is entrusted with the responsibility of development, maintenance and operation of National Highways. This is also the apex body to improve the quality of the roads designated as National Highways.

Golden Quadrilateral: 

  • It comprises construction of 5,846 km long 4/6 lane, high density traffic corridor, to connectI ndia‟s four big metro cities of Delhi-Mumbai-Chennai- Kolkata. North-South and East-West Corridors:
  • North-South corridor aims at connecting Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir with Kaniyakumari in Tamil Nadu (including Kochchi-Salem Spur) with 4,076 km long road.
  • The East-West Corridor has been planned to connect Silchar in Assam with the port town of Porbandar in Gujarat with 3 ,640 km of road length.

State Highways 

  • constructed and maintained by state governments.
  • join the state capitals with district headquarters and other important towns. 
  • connected to the National Highways. These constitute 4 per cent of total road length in the country.

District Roads

  • connecting link between District Headquarters and the other important nodes in the district. 
  • account for 14 per cent of the total road length of the country

Rural Roads

  • These roads are vital for providing links in the rural areas.
  • About 80 per cent of the total road length in India are categorised as rural roads.
  • There is regional variation in the density of rural road because these are influenced by the nature of the terrain

Other Roads

Border Roads and International Highways.

  • The Border Road Organisation (BRO) was established in May 1960 for accelerating economic development and strengthening defence preparedness through rapid and coordinated improvement of strategically important roads along the northern and north-eastern boundary of the country.
  • It is a premier multifaceted construction agency. It has constructed roads in high altitude mountainous terrain joining Chandigarh with Manali (Himachal Pradesh) and Leh (Ladakh). This road runs at an average altitude of 4,270 metres above the mean sea level.
  • This organisation has completed over 40,450 km of roads by March 2005. 
  • the BRO also undertakes snow clearance in high altitude areas.
  • The international highways are meant to promote the harmonious relationship with the neighbouring countries by providing effective links with India.

Rail Transport

  • one of the longest in the world.
  • facilitates the movement of both freight and passengers and contributes to the growth of economy.
  • Mahatma Gandhi said, the Indian railways “brought people of diverse cultures together to contribute to India’s freedom struggle.” 
  • Indian Railway was introduced in 1853, when a line was constructed from Bombay to Thane covering a distance of 34 km.
  • length of Indian Railways network is 63,221 km. Its very large size puts lots of pressure on a centralized railway management system.
  • Thus, in India, the railway system has been divided into sixteen zone.

On the basis of width of the track of Indian Railways, three categories have been made:

  1. Broad gauge: The distance between rails in broad gauge is 1.676 metre. The total length of broad gauge lines is 46,807 km which accounts for 74.14 per cent of the total length of rail routes in the country.
  2. Metre gauge: The distance between rails is one metre. It runs over 13,290 km covering 21.02 per cent of the total route length.
  3. Narrow gauge: The distance between the rails in this case is 0.762 metre or 0.610 metre. Nearly 4.94 per cent of the total length of the Indian Railways is narrow gauge, which accounts for 3,124 km of route length. It is generally confined to hilly areas

Water Transport

  • an important mode of transport for both passenger and cargo traffic in India. 
  • cheapest means of transport and is most suitable for carrying heavy and bulky material. It is a fuel-efficient and eco-friendly mode of transport.
  • The water transport is of two types–

(a) inland waterways, and

(b) oceanic waterways.

Inland Waterways

  • chief mode of transport before the advent of railways.
  • faced tough competition from road and railway transport. Moreover, diversion of river water for irrigation purposes made them non navigable in large parts of their courses.
  • India has 14,500 km of navigable waterways, contributing about 1% to the country‟s transportation.
  • It comprises rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.
  • For the development, maintenance and regulation of national waterways in the country, the Inland Waterways Authority was set up in 1986.
  • The authority has declared three inland waterways as National Waterways
  • The backwaters (Kadal) of Kerala has special significance in Inland Waterway. Apart from providing cheap means of transport, they are also attracting large number of tourists in Kerala. The famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race (VALLAMKALI) is also held in the backwaters.

Oceanic Routes

  • India has a vast coastline of approximate 7,517 km, including islands. 
  • Twelve major and 185 minor ports provide infrastructural support to these routes.
  • Oceanic routes play an important role in the transport sector of India‟s economy. 
  • Approximately 95 per cent of India‟s foreign trade by volume and 70 per cent by value moves through ocean routes. 
  • Apart from international trade, these are also used for the purpose of transportation between the islands and the rest of the country.

Air Transportation

  • Air transport is the fastest means of movement from one place to the other. 
  • It has reduced distances by minimising the travel time. It is very essential for a vast country like India, where distances are large and the terrain and climatic conditions are diverse.
  • Air transport in India made a beginning in 1911 when airmail operation commenced over a little distance of 10 km between Allahabad and Naini.
  • The Airport Authority of India is responsible for providing safe, efficient air traffic and aeronautical communication services in the Indian Air Space.
  • The authority manages 126 airports including 11 international, 86 domestic and 29 civil enclaves at defence air fields.
  • The air transport in India is managed by two corporations, Air India and Indian Airlines after nationalisation.

Air India

  • Air India provides International Air Services for both passengers and cargo traffic.
  • It connects all the continents of the world through its services. 
  • About 52 per cent of the total air traffic was handled only at Mumbai and Delhi airports.
  • Pawan Hans is the helicopter service operating in hilly areas and is widely used by tourists in north-easter n sector.
  • Pawan Hans Limited mainly provides helicopter services to petroleum sector and for tourism.

Open Sky Policy 

  • To help the Indian exporters and make their export more competitive, the government had introduced an Open Sky Policy for cargo in April 1992.
  • Under this policy, foreign airlines or association of exporters can bring any freighters to the country.

Oil and Gas Pipelines

  • Pipelines are the most convenient and efficient mode of transporting liquids and gases over long distances.
  • Even solids can also be transported by pipelines after converting them into slurry.
  • Oil India Limited (OIL) under the administrative set up of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is engaged in the exploration, production and transportation of crude oil and natural gas. It was incorporated in 1959 as a company.
  • Asia‟s first cross country pipeline covering a distance of 1,157 km was constructed by OIL from Naharkatiya oilfield in Assam to Barauni refinery in Bihar. It was further extended up to Kanpur in 1966.
  • Another extensive network of pipelines has been constructed in the western region of India of which Ankleshwar -Koyali, Mumbai High- Koyali and Hazira-VijaipurJagdishpur (HVJ) are most important.
  • Recently, a 1256 km long pipeline connecting Salaya (Gujarat) with Mathura (U.P.) has been constructed. It supplies crude oil from Gujarat to Punjab (Jalandhar) via Mathura. OIL is in the process of constructing of 660 km long pipeline from Numaligarh to Siliguri.

Communication Networks

  • Invention of post- office, telegraph, printing press, telephone, satellite, etc has made the communication much faster and easier. Development in the field of science and technology has significantly contributed in bringing about revolution in the field of communication.

Personal Communication System

  • Among all the personal communication system internet is the most effective and advanced one.
  • It is widely used in urban areas. It enables the user to establish direct contact through e-mail to get access to the world of knowledge and information.
  • It is increasingly used for e-commerce and carrying out money transactions.
  • The internet is like a huge central warehouse of data, with detailed information on various items.
  • The network through internet and e-mail provides an efficient access to information at a comparatively low cost. It enables us with the basic facilities of direct communication. You might have noticed the proliferation of cyber cafes in urban areas.

Mass Communication System

1. Radio

  • Radio broadcasting started in India in 1923 by the Radio Club of Bombay.
  • Since then, it gained immense popularity and changed the socio- cultural life of people. Within no time, it made a place in every household of the country.
  • Government took this opportunity and brought this popular mode of communication under its control in 1930 under the Indian Broadcasting System. It was changed to All India Radio in 1936 and to Akashwani in 1957.
  • All India Radio broadcasts a variety of programmes related to information, education and entertainment. Special news bulletins are also broadcast at specific occasions like session of parliament and state legislatures.

2. Television (T.V.) 

  • Television broadcasting has emerged as the most effective audio-visual medium for disseminating information and educating masses.
  • Initially, the T.V. services were limited only to the National Capital where it began in 1959.
  • After 1972, several other centres became operational.
  • In 1976, TV was delinked from All India Radio (AIR) and got a separate identity as Doordarshan (DD).
  • After INSAT-IA (National Television-DD1) became operational, Common National Programmes (CNP) was started for the entire network and its services were extended to the backward and remote rural areas.

3. Satellite Communication 

  • Satellites are mode of communication in themselves as well as they regulate the use of other means of communication.
  • However, use of satellite in getting a continuous and synoptic view of larger area has made satellite communication very vital for the country due to the economic and strategic reasons. 
  • Satellite images can be used for the weather forecast, monitoring of natural calamities, surveillance of border areas, etc.
  • On the basis of configuration and purposes, satellite system in India can be grouped into two:

1. Indian National Satellite System (INSAT) and

2. Indian Remote Sensing Satellite System (IRS).

  • The INSAT, which was established in 1983,is a multi- purpose satellite system for telecommunication, meteorological observation and for various other data and programmes. 
  • The IRS satellite system became operational with the launching of IRS-IA in March 1988 from Vaikanour in Russia.
  • These satellites collect data in several spectral bands and transmit them to the ground stations for various uses.
  • The National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) at Hyderabad provides facilities for acquisition of data and its processing. These are very useful in the management of natural resources.


  • 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 
  • the value of import continued to be higher than that of exports in india. Changing Patterns of the Composition of India’s Import
  • India faced serious food shortage during 1950s and 1960s. The major item of import at that time was foodgrain, capital goods, machinery and equipments.
  • The U.S.A. is India‟s largest trading partner and the most important destination of India‟s export.
  • Other countries in order of significance include the U.K., Belgium, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Hong Kong, the U.A.E., China, Singapore and Malaysia.

Sea Ports as Gate ways of International Trade

  • India is surrounded by sea from three sides and is bestowed with a long coastline. Water provides a smooth surface for very cheap transport provided there is no turbulence.
  • India has a long tradition of sea faring and developed many ports with place name suffixed with pattan meaning port.
  • An interesting fact about ports in India is that its west coast has more seaports than its east coast (y?)
  • At present, India has 12 major ports and 185 minor or intermediate ports. In case of the major ports, central government decides the policy and plays regulatory functions. The minor ports are there whose policy and functions are regulated by state governments.

1. Kandla Port

  • situated at the head of Gulf of Kuchchh has been developed as a major port to cater to the needs of western and north western parts of the country and also to reduce the pressure at Mumbai port.
  • The port is specially designed to receive large quantities of petroleum and petroleum products and fertiliser.
  • The offshore terminal at Vadinar has been developed to reduce the pressure at Kandla port.

2. Mumbai

  • is a natural harbour and the biggest port of the country.
  • The port is situated closer to the general routes from the countries of Middle East, Mediterranean countries, North Africa, North America and Europe where the major share of country‟s overseas trade is carried out.
  • The port is 20 km long and 6-10 km wide with 54 berths and has the country‟s largest oil terminal.
  • M.P., Maharashtra, Gujarat, U.P. and parts of Rajasthan constitute the main hinterlands of Mumbai ports.

3. Jawaharlal Nehru Port

  • at Nhava Sheva was developed as a satellite port to relieve the pressure at the Mumbai port.
  • It is the largest container port in India.

4. Marmagao Port, 

  • situated at the entrance of the Zuari estuary, is a natural harbour in Goa.
  • It gained significance after its remodelling in 1961 to handle iron-ore exports to Japan. Construction of Konkan railway has considerably extended the hinterland of this port.
  • Karnataka, Goa, Southern Maharashtra constitute its hinterland.

5. New Mangalore Port 

  • is located in the state of Karnataka and caters to the needs of the export of ironore and iron-concentrates.
  • It also handles fertilisers, petroleum products, edible oils, coffee, tea, wood pulp, yarn, granite stone, molasses, etc. Karnataka is the major hinterland for this port.

6. Kochchi Port 

  • situated at the head of Vembanad Kayal, popularly known as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea,” is also a natural harbour.
  • This port has an advantageous location being close to the Suez-Colombo route. It caters to the needs of Kerala, southern- Karnataka and south western Tamil Nadu.

7. Kolkata Port

  • is located on the Hugli river, 128 km inland from the Bay of Bengal.
  • Like the Mumbai port, this port was also developed by the British. Kolkata had the initial advantage of being the capital of British India.
  • Kolkata port is also confronted with the problem of silt accumulation in the Hugli river which provides a link to the sea.
  • Its hinterland covers U.P., Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim and the north-eastern states. Apart from this, it also extends ports facilities to our neighbouring land-locked countries such as Nepal and Bhutan.

8. Haldia Port

  • is located 105 km downstream from Kolkata.
  • It has been constructed to reduce the congestion at Kolkata port.
  • It handles bulk cargo like iron ore, coal, petroleum, petroleum products and fertilisers, jute, jute products, cotton and cotton yarn, etc.

9. Paradwip Port

  • is situated in the Mahanadi delta, about 100 km from Cuttack. It has the deepest harbour specially suited to handle very large vessels. It has been developed mainly to handle large-scale export of iron-ore.
  • Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are the parts of its hinterland.

10. Visakhapatnam Port

  • in Andhra Pradesh is a land-locked harbour, connected to the sea by a channel cut through solid rock and sand.

11. Chennai Port

  • is one of the oldest ports on the eastern coast.
  • It is an artificial harbour built in 1859. It is not much suitable for large ships because of the shallow waters near the coast.
  • Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry are its hinterland.

12. Ennore Port,

  • a newly developed port in Tamil Nadu, has been constructed 25 km north of Chennai to relieve the pressure at Chennai port.

13. Tuticorin Port

  • was also developed to relieve the pressure of Chennai port. It deals with a variety of cargo including coal, salt, food grains, edible oils, sugar, chemicals and petroleum products.

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