Course Start :
How to write answer for Geography optional?
Answers should be concise and to the point. Follow researched answer writing order “Introduction, Main Body & Conclusion”. Draw diagrams with pencil and label in black pen (you must write number and name of the diagram with black pen). Underline the important phrase, and make a thumb rule that one diagram for every 10 marks or with 3-4 paragraph questions answers.
Don’t have second thought, keep your sources limited and keep on revising them. It is required that you maintain balance, don’t study 14 hours or 16 hours a day. Read less and revise more . Keep the reference books and study material limited and revise them again and again. You can take help of internet to follow the current events especially Geography related or any other particular topic. Make sure that you have your own notes for each and every topic and for the Map based section regular practice is required.
How to read current affairs with geo perspective ?
For instance a topic like food security. Apart from issues of lack of access to food and water , how climate change is affecting productivity of crops , how shift of cropping patterns away from pulses is affecting nutrition security , how poor and tribal’s are disproportionately affected in various parts of our country (draw a map) and solutions like biofortication, social forestry etc can be looked into .In case of falling Child Sex Ratio apart from numbers and maps it may be linked to how regional development has led to falling numbers in Maharashtra ,, even Kerala whereas tribal regions show an uptick. Newspapers are a rich source of maps and data as well . ‘I remember an article in Indian Express on Migration where they had given the source and destination of major migrations in the form of a map. Just cut and paste them in the notes and supplement them with any other information.’ For instance the civil wars in Africa and Middle east and ensuing crisis can be added as illegal migration, refugees and shown with a map in case a question on migration is asked.
These information will not be usually given in one article at one place. Hence the need to maintain topic wise notes and continuously add points to it . For instance after the Uttarakhand and Kashmir floods , I got to know about a new concept of critical power for floods mentioned in one of the magazines . It also mentioned about Ravi Chopra Committee whose recommendation I read and used in Himalayan Ecosystem fragility answer this year in Mains.
The topics :
Geomorphology, Climatology, Oceanography, Biogeography and Environment Geography are the true scientific headings. They also form the most fundamental avenue of the study.
Section – A: Physical Geography
- Environmental Geography
Section – B: Human Geography
- Perspective in Human Geography
- Economic Geography
- Population & Settlement Geography
- Regional Geography
- Model, Theories & Laws In Human Geography
This is the application paper or regional approach paper with two sections though the division is different from Paper I. Physical Geography is the only physical topic, the others are application or regional approach subjects.
Section – A
- Physical Geography
- Transport, Communication & Trade
Section – B
- Cultural Setting
- Regional Development & Planning
- Political Aspects
- Contemporary Issues
UPSC Comprehensive (2017-18)
Optional Geography Mains Syllabus
1. Geomorphology: Factors controlling landform development; endogenetic and exogenetic forces;
Origin and evolution of the earth’s crust; Fundamentals of geomagnetism; Physical conditions of
the earth’s interior; Geosynclines; Continental drift; Isostasy; Plate tectonics; Recent views on
mountain building; Vulcanicity; Earthquakes and Tsunamis; Concepts of geomorphic cycles and
Landscape development ; Denudation chronology; Channel morphology; Erosion surfaces; Slope
development; Applied Geomorphology : Geohydrology, economic geology and environment.
2. Climatology: Temperature and pressure belts of the world; Heat budget of the earth; Atmospheric
circulation; atmospheric stability and instability. Planetary and local winds; Monsoons and jet
streams; Air masses and fronto genesis, Temperate and tropical cyclones; Types and distribution
of precipitation; Weather and Climate; Koppen’s, Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s classification
of world climates; Hydrological cycle; Global climatic change and role and response of man in
climatic changes, Applied climatology and Urban climate.
3. Oceanography: Bottom topography of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; Temperature and
salinity of the oceans; Heat and salt budgets, Ocean deposits; Waves, currents and tides; Marine
resources: biotic, mineral and energy resources; Coral reefs, coral bleaching; sea-level changes;
law of the sea and marine pollution.
4. Biogeography: Genesis of soils; Classification and distribution of soils; Soil profile; Soil erosion,
Degradation and conservation; Factors influencing world distribution of plants and animals;
Problems of deforestation and conservation measures; Social forestry; agro-forestry; Wild life;
Major gene pool centres.
5. Environmental Geography: Principle of ecology; Human ecological adaptations; Influence
of man on ecology and environment; Global and regional ecological changes and imbalances;
Ecosystem their management and conservation; Environmental degradation, management and
conservation; Biodiversity and sustainable development; Environmental policy; Environmental
hazards and remedial measures; Environmental education and legislation.
1. Perspectives in Human Geography: Areal differentiation; regional synthesis; Dichotomy and
dualism; Environmentalism; Quantitative revolution and locational analysis; radical, behavioural,
human and welfare approaches; Languages, religions and secularisation; Cultural regions of the
world; Human development index.
2. Economic Geography: World economic development: measurement and problems; World
resources and their distribution; Energy crisis; the limits to growth; World agriculture: typology
of agricultural regions; agricultural inputs and productivity; Food and nutrition problems; Food
security; famine: causes, effects and remedies; World industries: locational patterns and problems;
patterns of world trade.
3. Population and Settlement Geography: Growth and distribution of world population;
demographic attributes; Causes and consequences of migration; concepts of over-under-and
optimum population; Population theories, world population problems and policies, Social wellbeing
and quality of life; Population as social capital.
Types and patterns of rural settlements; Environmental issues in rural settlements; Hierarchy of
urban settlements; Urban morphology: Concepts of primate city and rank-size rule; Functional
classification of towns; Sphere of urban influence; Rural – urban fringe; Satellite towns; Problems and remedies of urbanization; Sustainable development of cities.
4. Regional Planning: Concept of a region; Types of regions and methods of regionalisation; Growth centres and
growth poles; Regional imbalances; regional development strategies; environmental issues in regional planning;
Planning for sustainable development.
5. Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography: Systems analysis in Human geography; Malthusian, Marxian and demographic transition models; Central Place theories of Christaller and Losch;Perroux and Boudeville; Von Thunen’s model of agricultural location; Weber’s model of industrial location; Ostov’s model of stages of growth. Heartland and Rimland theories; Laws of international boundaries and frontiers.
1. Physical Setting: Space relationship of India with neighboring countries; Structure and relief; Drainage system and watersheds; Physiographic regions; Mechanism of Indian monsoons and rainfall patterns, Tropical cyclones and western disturbances; Floods and droughts; Climatic regions; Natural vegetation; Soil types and their distributions.
2. Resources: Land, surface and ground water, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources; Forest and wild life resources and their conservation; Energy crisis.
3. Agriculture: Infrastructure: irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, power; Institutional factors: land holdings, land tenure and land reforms; Cropping pattern, agricultural productivity, agricultural intensity, crop combination, land capability; Agro and social-forestry; Green revolution and its socio- economic and ecological implications; Significance of dry farming; Livestock resources and white revolution; aqua – culture; sericulture, apiculture and poultry; agricultural regionalisation; agro-climatic zones; agro- ecological regions.
4. Industry: Evolution of industries; Locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilizer, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage and agro – based industries; Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings; Industrial regionalisation; New industrial policies; Multinationals and liberalization; Special Economic Zones; Tourism including eco -tourism.
5. Transport, Communication and Trade: Road, railway, waterway, airway and pipeline networks and their complementary roles in regional development; Growing importance of ports on national and foreign trade; Trade balance; Trade Policy; Export processing zones; Developments in communication and information technology and their impacts on economy and society; Indian space programme.
6. Cultural Setting: Historical Perspective of Indian Society; Racial, linguistic and ethnic diversities; religious minorities; major tribes, tribal areas and their problems; cultural regions; Growth, distribution and density of population; Demographic attributes: sex-ratio, age structure, literacy rate, work-force, dependency ratio, longevity; migration (inter-regional, intra- regional and international) and associated problems; Population problems and policies; Health indicators.
7. Settlements: Types, patterns and morphology of rural settlements; Urban developments; Morphology of Indian cities; Functional classification of Indian cities; Conurbations and metropolitan regions; urban sprawl; Slums and associated problems; town planning; Problems of urbanization and remedies.
8. Regional Development and Planning: Experience of regional planning in India; Five Year Plans; Integrated rural development programmes; Panchayati Raj and decentralised planning; Command area development; Watershed management; Planning for backward area, desert, drought prone, hill, tribal area development; multilevel planning; Regional planning and development of island territories.
9. Political Aspects: Geographical basis of Indian federalism; State reorganisation; Emergence of new states; Regional consciousness and inter state issues; international boundary of India and related issues; Cross border terrorism; India’s role in world affairs; Geopolitics of South Asia and Indian Ocean realm.
10. Contemporary Issues: Ecological issues: Environmental hazards: landslides, earthquakes, Tsunamis, floods and droughts, epidemics; Issues relating to environmental pollution; Changes in patterns of land use; Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management; Population explosion and food security; Environmental degradation; Deforestation, desertification and soil erosion; Problems of agrarian and industrial unrest; Regional disparities in economic evelopment; Concept of sustainable growth and development; Environmental awareness; Linkage of rivers; Globalisation and Indian economy.