Economic Geography of India



Economic Geography may be defined as the study of physical and non-physical environment of man and its influence on his economic life.

Economic geography deals mainly with the spatial distribution of various types of economic activities of mankind. It has been defined in different ways by the different scholars.


According to Huntington, economic geography combines three main phases – agriculture, industrial and commercial but mining, lumbering, fishing must be considered. Economic geography, like every other branch of Geography, cannot be separated from physical geography.

Economic Geography of India

The Economic Geography of India is given below:

Land Resource:

India is the seventh largest country (area wise) of the world. India’s total area is 32,87,263 sq. km. India accounts for about 24% of the total surface area of the world and about 0.57% area of the earth. As per rough estimate of Census Commission, out of total land area-10.7% is Mountainous. 18.6% is Hilly area, 27.7% is Plateau and 43.0% is Plain area.

Water Resource:

Major Rivers: Indian rivers are of three types according to size of their catchment areas:

Major River basins: Its catchment area is about 20,000 sq. km. There are 14 rivers in this category.
Medium river basins: Its catchment area is 2000-20,000 sq. km. There are 44 rivers in this category.
Minor river basins: Its catchment area is less than 2000 sq. km. There are a large number of rivers in this category.
Main Lakes: Important lakes of India are:

Ashtamudi Lake (Kerala)
Chilka Lake (Orissa)
Vembanad Lake is the largest lake of Kerala.
Kolleru Lake (Andhra Pradesh) is the largest freshwater lake of India.
Loktak Lake (Manipur) is the largest freshwater lake in North-east India.
Dal Lake: It is the famous lake of Srinagar.
Wular Lake (Kashmir)
Largest brackish watercoastal Lake of India.
Pulicat Lake lies between the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Forest Resource:

At present the total forest area in India is 6,78,333 sq. km. which is 20.64% of its geographically area [INDIA, 2008]. India should have minimum forest coverage of 33.33%. The forest resources are important part of Indian Economy.


Agricultural Resources:

Agriculture is the backbone of Indian Economy. The classification of Indian Agriculture is given below:

Classification on the basis of time of sowing:

Rabi crops – Wheat, Potato, Gram, Mustard
Kharif Crops—Paddy, Jute, Sugarcane, corn, Jowar, Bazra, Maize.
Classification on the basis of nature of usage.
Food Crops – Paddy, Wheat, Jowar, Bazra, Ragi, Maize.
Plantation Crops – Tea & Coffee.
Fibre Crops – Jute, Cotton
Cash Crops – Jute, Rubber, Tea.
Important crops of India:

1. Paddy: Paddy or rice is the most important food crop of India. India is the second largest producer of rice in the world after China and contributes nearly one-third of the world’s production of rice. About 29% of the total rice area of the world is India and rice occupies about 23% of the cropped area of India.

2. Wheat: India is the 4th largest producer of wheat in the world and contributes about 8% of the world’s wheat.

3. Cotton: India is the 3rd largest producer of cotton in the world and produces about 8% of the world’s cotton.

4. Jute: India is the largest producer of Jute in the world.

5. Sugarcane: India is the second largest producer of sugarcane in the world after Brazil.

6. Tea: India ranks first in worlds total Tea production and contributing about 35% of total world’s tea production.

Mineral Resource:

India is a mineral rich country. There are large deposits of coal, iron, bauxite, mica, manganese, thorium limestone etc.

Human Resource:

India is the second largest populated country of the world.


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