Mains Q & A 23 January 2023
Q1. Discuss about the Indian Ocean region’s economic significance to India. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I Indian Geography
Today, the Indian Ocean may be more important than ever. It serves as a vital route for global trade, particularly in the energy sector. The large, densely inhabited, and some of the fastest-growing regions on the planet make up its littoral. Additionally, fishing and mineral resources can be found in abundance in the ocean. For India, the most populous nation in the area and a prominent player in global politics, the Indian Ocean basin is of great significance.
IOR’s economic significance to India includes:
Trade and commerce: It is in a privileged position in the hub of world trade, linking the great economic engines of the Northern Atlantic and the Asia-Pacific regions. This is especially significant now that international shipping has become so popular.
Today’s commercial fleet of around 90,000 ships moves 9.84 billion tonnes annually. The volume of commercial shipping has increased by roughly four times since 1970.
The largest economies in Asia are nourished by the Indian Ocean, which is crisscrossed by important marine lanes of communication. It physically connects east and west as around 80% of the world’s seaborne oil commerce flows through these choke points, with 40% travelling through the Strait of Hormuz, 35% passing through the Strait of Malacca, and 8% passing via the Bab El-Mandab Strait.
The large drainage basin of the ocean, which is home to almost two billion people, is significant in and of itself. This opens up prospects, particularly considering the rapid economic expansion experienced in countries bordering the Indian Ocean, such as India, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, and Eastern and Southern Africa.
68% of India’s total trade value and 95% of its total trade volume pass through the Indian Ocean.
Indian goods can be exported to other countries thanks to the presence of 13 main ports and more than 200 minor ports.
The Indian Ocean is a natural resource-rich region.
Oil and Natural Gas: The Indian Ocean basin is home to 40% of the world’s offshore oil output.
Resources and energy security are of the utmost importance. That is extremely abundant in the Indian Ocean region.
Nearly 80% of India’s daily crude oil needs, or 28 million barrels, are imported by sea via the Indian Ocean. According to the Indian Navy, India is 93% dependent on oil from the sea after accounting for its offshore oil production and petroleum exports.
The fourth-largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), India receives roughly 45% of its LNG by ship.
In the Indian Ocean, India has its own oil rigs. Example: Minerals from Bombay:
On the sea floor are significant sulphide concentrations of manganese, copper, iron, zinc, silver, and gold as well as nodules containing nickel, cobalt, and iron.
Coastal sediments from the Indian Ocean are also significant sources of copper, tin, zinc, titanium, and zirconium.
Additionally, even though their extraction is not always economically feasible, a number of rare earth elements are present.
Deep seabed mining has now become more feasible thanks to licences the International Seabed Authority obtained for the Indian Ocean ridge in 2014. Massive manganese reserves are thought to exist here, along with cobalt, nickel, copper, and other metals that are hard to find in India.
Placer Deposits: The thorium resources in the placer sands along the Malabar coast are crucial to the security of nuclear energy. Similar to Thailand, Indo-China, and Australia, placers are key sources of precious heavy metals for the semiconductor and electronic industries.
Fishing and aquaculture: Nearly 15% of the world’s fishing takes place in the Indian Ocean nowadays.
Since 1980, the region’s aquaculture industry has increased twelve-fold. The Indian Ocean might be able to support increases in productivity even while world fishing is reaching its natural limits.
The overfishing of its fishery resources, which is mostly unregulated. Littoral states that heavily rely on ocean resources to feed their populations and generate vital export profits could eventually suffer serious consequences as a result of overfishing, which is actually mostly the product of activities by countries outside the region.
With 4.1 million tonnes of fish caught in 2008, India ranked sixth in the world; 14 million people are employed by the fishing and aquaculture sectors.
Another significant export source is the fishing and aquaculture industry. Between 1962 and 2012, India’s maritime exports increased 55 times in volume, and today, fisheries exports total Rs. 16,600 crore, or almost $2.5 billion.
Travel: Coral atolls in Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands draw a lot of visitors from both inside and outside of India. Many islanders’ livelihoods are aided by this.
For India, the Indian Ocean provides a “ocean of economic opportunities.” The advancement is being hampered by the security risks posed by State and non-State actors. Government programmes like SAGAR, IORA, and Sagarmala, among others, should make sure that the benefits of the blue economy are fully realised.
Q2. Mangrove swamps protect coastal areas from erosion, storm surge, and tsunamis. Mangroves in India are growing more climatically and ecologically vulnerable. Comment. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I Geography
Mangroves are the recognisable type of littoral vegetation found near safe beaches in tropical and subtropical areas. Amazingly, they can tolerate high temperatures, ferocious gusts, shifting tides, and salt water (FAO-1952). Bruguiera, Avicenia, and Rhizopora are a few examples. Mangroves cover over 4,975 square kilometres in India, according to the most recent State of Forest Report 2019, which was published.
Ecological Services of Mangroves:
Mangrove plants have (additional) special roots like prop roots and pneumatophores that help strengthen the shorelines along the coast, act as a habitat for fish to nest, and help block water flow and so enhance the deposition of sediment in places (where it is already occurring).
In times of monsoonal tidal flooding, mangroves save coastal lowlands from flooding.
They prevent coastal soil erosion.
They protect the coastline from hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis.
Natural nutrient recycling is enhanced by mangroves.
Mangroves are home to a wide variety of plants, birds, and other animals.
Give different fishes a safe and beneficial environment so they can breed, mate, and flourish.
They supply the local inhabitants with firewood, medicinal herbs, and tasty plants.
By providing a range of employment opportunities, they assist local communities in raising their level of living.
Mangroves are at danger from:
A scientific study found that all mangrove species, 92 percent of the species that live beside them, 60.8% of the algae, 23.8% of the crustaceans, and 21.1% of the fish are all in jeopardy.
A result of the processes of natural climate change:
Sea level rise causes mangrove systems to lag behind shifting water levels, which can have an impact on a person’s location and health, for example by altering the height of the silt and sulphide soil toxicity.
Storms: destroy more of the mangroves’ trees, defoliate them, and even trigger their collapse.
Precipitation: Less precipitation and higher evaporation will raise the salinity, which will hinder growth.
Temperature: Adaptive phenology and species diversity (e.g., timing of flowering and fruiting)
Ocean circulation patterns have an impact on the community structure of mangroves as well as the genetic make-up of mangrove populations and the dispersal of mangrove propagules.
Actions caused by people:
Mangroves are being destroyed and are in great danger as a result of urbanisation, industrialization, and the release of domestic sewage, industrial effluents, and pesticides.
Aquaculture and saltpans pose a severe threat to mangroves as well.
40% of the mangrove forests along India’s west coast have been converted into crops and communities over the previous three decades.
Some mangrove species, such as Bruguiera cylindrica and Sonneratia acida, are on the verge of extinction.
Shrimp farming has destroyed almost 35,000 acres of mangroves in India.
Mangrove scientific management:
Remote sensing techniques, land surveys, and time series will be used to map mangrove locations across the nation in order to gauge how quickly the ecosystems are deteriorating.
Environmental factors such as area, climate, forest tree growth rate, and seasonal changes are all quantified.
IUCN Red List species of endangered mangroves are being added (International Union for Conservation of Nature). As in the evaluation of prospective locations for reserve forests in India’s Sonneratia griffithii. g.: Aerial seeding and mangrove nurseries are two artificial regeneration techniques.
Mangroves are managed in collaboration with the neighbourhood.
Disease and pest control : To avoid crab bites, hypocotyls are coloured yellow. Plants are put inside bamboo containers.
putting in trees where mangroves have been destroyed, investigating management strategies, studying the ecology, flora, and fauna of mangroves, as well as their microbiology and the biochemistry of organic components and sediments.
Mangroves for Future is an innovative partner-led initiative that focuses on protecting coastal ecosystems. This project, which will initially protect the mangroves in eight nations in South Asia, South East Asia, and the Western Indian Ocean, including India, is being organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Mangroves are protected under Category I (ecologically sensitive) of the CRZ.
Mangrove cover has grown by 54 sq. km, according to SFR 2019. To stabilise low-lying coastal zones, it is vital to build on this progress. Protecting mangroves is crucial because they serve as natural water filters that filter out contaminants.
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