# 35 Geography Optional :Syllabus ,Booklist and Importance

What is geography?

Geography is a field of science which deals with  the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. 

What is the Syllabus?What does geography optional cover?

Part I 

Principles of Geography

Physical Geography

  1. i) 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. ii) 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 frontogenesis; 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.

iii) 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.

  1. iv) 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; agroforestry; Wild life; Major gene pool centres.
  2. v) 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.

Human Geography

  1. i) 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. ii) 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.

iii) 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 well-being 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.

  1. iv) Regional Planning : Concept of a region; types of regions and methods of regionalisation; growth centres and growth poles; regional imbalances; environmental issues in regional planning; planning for sustainable development.
  2. v) Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography : System analysis in Human Geography; Malthusian, Marxian and Demographic Transition models; Central Place theories of Christaller and Losch; Von Thunen’s model of agricultural location; Weber’s model of industrial location; Rostov’s model of stages of growth. Heart-land and Rimland theories; laws of international boundaries and frontiers.

Part II

Geography Of India

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 groundwater, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources; Forest and wildlife 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 socioeconomic 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; multi-level 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 interstate 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 development ; Concept of sustainable growth and development; Environmental awareness; Linkage of rivers; Globalisation and Indian economy.

Importance of geography  in different stages of exam

Prelims: The topics that can be covered from the Geography optional include  Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.

 Overlapping with the GS paper I.: The topics that can be covered from the Geography optional include Salient features of the world’s physical geography, factors responsible for the location of industries in various parts of the world, important geographical phenomena etc.

Overlap with the GS paper III: The topics that can be covered from the Geography optional include agriculture, cross-border crimes, planning, development, infrastructure, industries and resources, transportation, demographic dividend, etc.

Personality test: The studies of geography optional can help you answer questions on the regional geography of your place(Which can include climate, topography, vegetation factors, agricultural parameters such as soil) in a better manner.

Beneficial for the  role of a civil servant

  • While dealing with the problems in the region in fields such as industries, agriculture, disaster management, environment, regional planning, etc, the knowledge of geography will always help you tackle the problem in an efficient manner.
  • By studying the geography optional multidimensional understanding of the globe through various parameters becomes possible.
  • Considering good weightage of marks for geography in the various stages of exam it helps prepare for mains and prelims simultaneously.
  • The availability of multiple references and books is considered good in geography optional. A student may never face a shortage of study material in this subject.
  • The command over the drawing of diagrams and maps will be beneficial for scoring high in other topics of GS such as agriculture, international relations, economics, etc
  • Geography is a very interesting subject which tests your capability of integrating static knowledge with contemporary one.

Booklist to refer:

Paper 1

  • Physical Geography by Savinder Singh
  • Geomorphology by Savinder Singh
  • Climatology by D S Lal
  • Environmental Geography by Savinder Singh
  • Evolution of Geographical Thought by Majid Husain
  • Models in Geography by Majid Husain
  • Human Geography by Majid Hussain
  • GC Leong

Paper-II

  • India: A Comprehensive Geography by D R Khullar
  • NCERTs 
  • Orient Black swan/Oxford Atlas
  • Map Entries in Geography – K Siddhartha

However ,you are advised to do very selective study for this optional and not hoard the books .

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