2023 GS1 Answer

Q. Comment on the resource potentials of the long coastline of India and highlight the status of natural hazard preparedness in these areas.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS1 Paper

Model Answer: 

India’s Long Coastline and its Resource Potentials

India, with a coastline stretching over 7,500 kilometers, is endowed with a plethora of natural resources and diverse ecosystems. The coastline extends from Gujarat in the west to West Bengal in the east, encompassing nine states and four union territories. These coastal areas are rich in resources such as fisheries, minerals, and renewable energy sources, which contribute significantly to the nation’s economy. However, these areas are also highly vulnerable to natural hazards such as cyclones, tsunamis, and sea-level rise. Therefore, it is crucial to have adequate preparedness to mitigate the impacts of these hazards.

Resource Potentials of India’s Long Coastline

1. Fisheries: The long coastline of India provides ample opportunities for marine fishing. The coastal waters are rich in a variety of fish species, contributing significantly to the country’s fish production. India is the second-largest fish producer globally, with the coastal states contributing about 40% of the total fish production.

2. Minerals: The coastal areas of India are rich in mineral resources such as thorium, ilmenite, rutile, garnet, and zircon. These minerals are used in various industries, including nuclear energy, electronics, and construction.

3. Ports and Shipping: The long coastline provides numerous natural harbors and ports, vital for trade and commerce. Major ports like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Visakhapatnam handle a significant volume of the country’s import and export trade.

4. Tourism: The beautiful beaches, diverse marine life, and cultural heritage of coastal regions attract millions of tourists every year, boosting the local economy and creating employment opportunities.

5. Renewable Energy: The coastline has immense potential for generating renewable energy, especially wind and tidal energy. The coastal states of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Maharashtra have already established wind farms.

6. Mangroves and Wetlands: These coastal ecosystems act as carbon sinks, helping in climate regulation. They also support a variety of flora and fauna, contributing to the country’s biodiversity.

Status of Natural Hazard Preparedness

1. Early Warning Systems: India has developed early warning systems for cyclones and tsunamis. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) provide timely warnings to the coastal communities.

2. Disaster Management Plans: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has formulated guidelines for managing coastal hazards. State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) have also developed state-specific disaster management plans.

3. Infrastructure Development: Cyclone shelters, sea walls, and embankments have been constructed in vulnerable areas to protect lives and properties.

4. Community Preparedness: Efforts are being made to enhance the resilience of coastal communities through capacity building and awareness programs.

5. Coastal Zone Management: The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 2011 regulates activities in the coastal areas to minimize the impacts of natural hazards.


The long coastline of India offers immense resource potential, contributing significantly to the country’s economy. However, these areas are also prone to various natural hazards. While considerable progress has been made in hazard preparedness, there is a need for continuous monitoring, research, and community involvement to enhance resilience and ensure sustainable utilization of coastal resources.

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