Q. Recent studies have found the average rainfall was more over Karnataka than Maharashtra and Kerala. What are the reasons behind this variation in rainfall across the western ghats?

In a recent study of rainfall trends using remotely sensed satellite data and actual field data from the Indian Meteorological Department of the Western Ghats region over the past 14 years, it was found that during the monsoon months of June, July, August, September, the average rainfall was more over Karnataka than Maharashtra and Kerala.

There are several reasons for this.

  1. The mountain topography in Karnataka is broader than the narrow topography of the Ghats in Maharashtra. Due to the greater width of the mountains, the rain bearing winds have to necessarily travel a longer distance and have more time for the drops to coalesce and precipitate as rainfall, resulting in higher rainfall. In contrast, the narrow width of the Ghats in Maharashtra allows the rain-bearing wind to cross over to the leeward side rapidly before precipitation can occur. As for Kerala, the Ghats there are in the form of isolated mountains, where the rain-bearing winds can easily cross over to the leeward side through the gaps in between without precipitation occurring.
  2. The slope of the mountain has a direct bearing on the possibility of precipitation. This is borne out by the Ghats of Karnataka where the mountains are gently sloping, compared to the steep slopes of the Ghats in Maharashtra and Kerala. The air parcel will retain its energy and speed for a longer time when the slope is gradual. This will provide sufficient vertical motion to cloud droplets to grow by collision–coalescence process and hence form precipitation.
  3. The gentle slope provides a greater area for sunlight absorption and heating leading to greater convection when compared with an abrupt slope i.e. less Ghat area such as that of the Maharashtra and Kerala Ghats.
  4. The continuous mountain range presents a greater barrier to rain-bearing winds than a range comprising isolated mountains with gaps in between where the winds can easily pass to the leeward side. Unlike in the case of Kerala, the Ghats in Maharashtra and Karnataka are continuous.

The study found that often areas of heavy rainfall were far away from the summits of the mountains, as much as 50 km away. The reason for this is that there is more chance of rainfall occurring at the foot of the mountain as there is greater depth for the moisture in the clouds to coalesce into big drops which finally reach the ground.

The Andes mountains of Chile run parallel to Chile’s Pacific coast and boast of some of the highest peaks in the world. Lying in the rain shadow of the mountains is the Atacama desert — one of the most desolate, barren and hostile deserts in the world. Most of the precipitation from rain bearing winds falls on the windward side or on the mountains themselves and hence the barrenness of the Atacama desrert. Had the western ghats been as lofty as the Andes or the Himalayas, the mountains and the rain shadow region would not boast of the dense vegetation and rich biodiversity of flora and fauna as they do now.

The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP)

The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), also known as the Gadgil Commission after its chairman Madhav Gadgil, was an environmental research commission appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests of India. The commission submitted the report to the Government of India on 31 August 2011. The Expert Panel approached the project through a set of tasks such as:

  1. Compilation of readily available information about Western Ghats
  2. Development of Geo-spatial database based on environmental sensitivity, and
  3. Consultation with Government bodies and Civil society groups.

Q. What are the recommendations of Gadgil commission of Western Ghat?

Some additional points on WGEEP:

The government assigned seven responsibilities to the WGEEP in its terms of reference.

These included —

  1. To assess the current status of ecology of the Western Ghats region
  2. Demarcate the areas within the region which need to be notified as ecologically sensitive
  3. Make recommendations for the conservation, protection and rejuvenation of the region
  4. Suggest measures for effective implementation of the notification declaring specific areas in the region as eco-sensitive
  5. To recommend the modalities for establishment of Western Ghats Ecology Authority
  6. To deal with any other relevant issues.

The ministry has subsequently asked the panel to include in its mandate an examination of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, Gundia and Athirappilly hydroelectric projects, and a moratorium on new mining licenses in Goa.


  1. Humans are an integral component of nature and the existence and conservation of environment is intrinsically linked with human life. But a study of environmental degradation and its impact on various social sections or the society as a whole is not included in the above-said assignments for the WGEEP.
  2. Making recommendations for protection of the livelihood and fundamental rights of toiling people, including workers, peasants and tribal people who are dependents upon forest produce, was not included.
  3. Change in land use not permitted from forest to non-forest uses or agricultural to non-agricultural, except agricultural to forest (or tree crops)” except when an extension of existing settlements is needed to accommodate an increase in the local population. This means an absolute ban on developmental and construction activities, except housing, and cannot be accepted. Thus no basic developmental activities including construction of schools, hospitals, government offices, libraries or even cattle sheds would be permitted in the eco-sensitive areas and other areas up to 10 km distance. This means no construction of buildings above 20,000 sq m, no infrastructure development like roads and railways, no non-red category industries.
  4. Ban on converting public land to private land: But there are tens of thousands of peasant families, including tribes, possessing agricultural land for decades in the Western Ghats region but they have been denied land documents.
  5. Ban on using forest land for non-forest purposes: The 2006 act about the rights of tribals and traditional forest dwellers allows them to cultivate the forest land on which they have depended for livelihood for generations. But a clause the WGEEP report says: “forest land should not be used for non-forest purpose.” This contravenes the said rights provided to tribes and traditional forest dwellers.
  6. Phasing out of chemical fertilisers: The HLWG did not amend it. No one can oppose organic cultivation; use of chemical fertilisers needs to be strictly regulated. But regulation and prohibition are different things and a complete ban on minimum necessary use of chemical fertilisers cannot be accepted by peasantry. Prohibition will negatively affect agricultural production and the income of peasant families.
  7. No monoculture plantations: Therefore, even though, there is no detailed description of the ecological problems of coffee, the implication of this recommendation is that all plantations would have to be replaced with natural forests in the foreseeable future.
  8. On identification and demarcation of eco-sensitive areas: The identification and demarcation of ESAs in HLWG report is unscientific, and no survey was conducted to identify such areas. The HLWG adopting borders of the revenue villages to demarcate the ESAs is unscientific. Thus many sensitive areas (e.g. Kuruva islands and Edakal caves in Wayanad) are excluded and many areas where no stipulated criteria were satisfied have been included. Aerial surveys have mistakenly marked plantation areas as forests. HLWG has declared numerous heavily populated habitats as ESAs though the suggested criterion is a population density below 100 persons per sq km. The WGEEP too did not consider the natural boundaries, sensitivity of the landscape and significance of biodiversity while fixing the ESZs. Hence the MoEF must take steps to have a detailed survey with the involvement of the local people to identify and demarcate the ESAs.
  9. As per the HLWG report, no red industry will be allowed in the ESZs. But milk processing, meat processing, extraction of vegetable oil and hospitals also come in this category and the MoEF is unwilling to save them.
  10. According to the WGEEP, the Gram Sabha is supreme in decision making. But in reality the WGEEP has recommended no statutory role for Gram Sabhas to change, amend and delete any clause in the guidelines. Also, Gram Sabhas are not sacrosanct and are prone to be manipulated and hijacked by property owning classes and local kingpins.
  11. The teakwood plantations create hostile environment to both flora and fauna, make forests arid, prevent the undergrowth and lead to desertification; they are thus the major reason thrusting wild animals to human habitats in search of food and drinking water. But the WGEEP report did not discuss these aspects and recommended replacing monoculture plantations with natural forest, though it did recommend replacing monoculture plantations on private lands.


  1. Allocation of a special fund for promoting organic cultivation and for extending subsidy to agriculture, except the fund for forest and environment conservation
  2. The suggestion of WGEEP that the final demarcation of zones by taking the micro watersheds and village boundaries into account, and fine-tuning of the regulatory as well as promotional regimes, must be based on extensive inputs from local communities and local bodies, must be highlighted.
  3. The HLWG should recommend to the 14th Finance Commission a special food security fund to encourage social cooperatives of peasants to modernise and mechanise agriculture and animal husbandry and to establish agro-processing units and marketing networks.
  4. The prime minister must order a scientific assessment of the issues involved by a broadbased committee of scientists, social scientists, environment experts, organisations of the peasantry, with adequate representation to varied political opinions from the affected states.
  5. Public hearings and broadbased consultations with all the stakeholders must be held before arriving at a comprehensive plan for protection of fragile ecosystems and livelihoods.

The Karnataka State government response to kasturirangan panel report

  • The State government has formally told the Centre that the key recommendations of the Kasturirangan committee report on conservation of Western Ghats need to be modified to be accepted by the State.
  • The State government has said that the selection of eco-sensitive area (ESA) according to the Kasturirangan report is “highly subjective and arbitrary”
  • Kasturirangan report – had suggested that any village limit with more than 20 per cent forest or natural landscape should be declared as ESA. It recommended 1,438 villages as ESA for Karnataka

The SLEC (State-Level Expert committee of forest officials) and State government –

  • Has said that not more than 153 villages, which incidentally lie in already protected wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, can be termed as sensitive areas.
  • Any further inclusion of villages can be thought of, after wider awareness creation with special emphasis regarding prohibitions/regulations and benefits that may accrue to the ESA villages has underlined that the very concept of ESA notification is not going (down) well with most people
  • Points out that four State and national forest and environment acts are currently applied in forest areas.
  • The wide-spread resentment, apprehension and strong public opinion against the report, is to be understood in this background. Bringing in further restrictions, in the absence of a larger public appreciation and support, will defeat the very purpose of conserving ecology environment of Western Ghats

PAPER – III General Studies 2

Section I – Physical Features and Natural Resources


  1. Lithosphere-Place of  Earth  in  the  Solar  System,  Rocks,  Earthquakes,  Volcanoes,  Plate  tectonics,  Agents  of Erosion.   Atmosphere –  Structure  and  Composition  –Elements  of  Climate  and  weather  –  Broad  Climatic types. Hydrosphere – World Oceans Salinity – Ocean currents and Tides – Ocean Deposits.
  2. Physiography of  Continents  and  Demographic  distribution   –  Mountains,  Rivers,  Forests,  Grass  lands, Deserts,  Human  Races,  Population  Change,  distribution  and  demographic  transition,  density,  sex  ratio, quality of life, life expectancy, literacy, standard of living and migration.


  1. Physiography of  India –  Climate,  Rivers,  Soil,  Natural  vegetation.  Mineral  Resources:  Iron  ore  and Manganese  –  Copper  and  Bauxite  Coal,  Petroleum  and  Natural  Gas,  Nuclear  Deposits.  Major  crops- Distribution  and  production  of  cereals,  millets,  oilseeds,  plantation  crops,  commercial  crops.   Indian Demography  –  Growth,  Composition,  Distribution,  Density,  Human  Development  Index.  Demographic Database.
  2. Industrial Planning  and   Development  :  Growth  and  Distribution  of  Major,  Medium,  Small  and  Tiny Industries  –  Industrial  regions  of  India.  Industrial  infrastructure  –  Railways,  Roads,  and  Ports.  Backward regions and rural industrialisaton. Regional Planning and Development -Tribal and hill areas, drought prone areas, command areas and river basins. Classification of Towns and Cities. Urban Structure.


  1. Physiographic divisions –  Climate,  Rivers,  rainfall  distribution,  Natural  vegetation  and  Soil.   Agriculture and Agro climatic regions, Major crops, Plantation and commercial crops of Karnataka. Mineral Resources of Karnataka. Sources of Power (Hydro, Thermal, Solar, Nuclear and Wind). Major, Medium and Small Scale industries,  Agro  based  Industries.  Transportation  and  Communication  Systems  in  Karnataka.  Geographic information system .
  2. Urban Land use Policy and Urbanisation- Demographic features Literacy and Urbanisation. Population Problems and  policies,  Literacy,  City  classification  and  urban  spheres  of  influence,  rural  urban  fringe, problems  of  urban  growth.  Land  use,  Town  planning,  slums  and  urban  housing.  Intra  and  Inter  regional trade and the role of rural Market centers

Section II – Overview of Indian Constitution (7 units)

  1. Nature of the Constitution-Constitutional developments, , salient features of Constitution: Preamble, Directive Principles of State Policy, Indian federation, etc.,
  2. Fundamental rights –  Right  to  Equality,  Right  to  Freedom,  Right  against  exploitation,  Right  to  freedom  of religion,  Cultural  and  Educational  rights,  Right  to  Constitutional  remedies.   Reasonable  restrictions  –  Provision for  schedule  caste,  schedule  tribe  and  minorities,  Reservations  for  SC/ST  and  OBC’s,  preventions  of  SC/ST Atrocities Act, National and State SC/ST Commission
  3. Distribution of  Legislative  powers  –  Between  the  Union  and  the  State,  Administrative  and  Financial  relations between  the  union  and  the  states,  Powers  and  functions  of  constitutional  bodies.  Powers  and  Functions  – Governor, Council of Ministers and Cabinet, Judicial remedies.
  4. Unicameral and Bicameral legislations– Functions and crisis of accountability, delegated legislation, Legislative procedure and  committees  of  legislature,  legislative  and  judicial  control  over  the  delegated  legislation,  judicial review of administrative action. Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Attorney General of India.
  5. Important Amendments  of  the  Constitution  – Basic  structure  theory,  Emergency  provisions  and decentralization, Panchayathi raj, Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth amendments etc.,
  6. Welfare mechanism  in  India –  Directive  principles  of  State  policy  and  their  relationships,  Right  to  property, Election  Commission,  Public  Service  Commissions,  Women’s  commission,  National  and  State  Minorities commission, Backward Commission, Human Rights Commission, Information Commission, Finance Commission, Planning Commission, National Development Council.
  7. Services under the Union and State – Constitutional provisions relating to Government and public servants.


Section III- Public Administration and Management – International Relations ( 7 Units)

  1. Private and  Public  Administration  –  its  role  in  society,  Public  Administration  as  an  art  and  a  science,  New Public  Administration  and  New  Public  Management.  Responsive  Administration.   Difference  between administration and management. Difference between public and private administration.
  2. Structure of  Organisation –  Personnel,  Financial,  Administrative  Law,  Maintenance  of  Law  and  Order, Administration for Welfare. Issues of Areas in Indian Administration. Development Administration.
  3. Organisational Behaviour and Management Concepts; Organisation structure, systems, Processes, Strategies, Policies and  Objectives,  Decision  making,  Communication,  Centralisation,  Decentralisation,  Delegation  of authority, Responsibility, Control.
  4. Formal and informal Organisation,– Functional management: Finance, HR, Marketing, Production, Leadership and Motivation.
  5. Management Tools  and  Techniques:  Decision  making  under  uncertainty,  PERT  &  CPM,  PIME,  POSD-CORB, SWOT  Analysis,  Performance  Standards  and  appraisal,  PDCA  Cycle,  Personnel  Policies,  Manpower  –  Policy  and Planning,  Training  and  Development,  Conflict  Management,  Management  of  change  and  development.  Team Building,  quality  tools  (Brain  Storming,  nominal  group  technique,  pareto  chart,  fishbone  diagram  and  process chart).
  6. Administrative Reforms,  Ethics  and  Values  in  Public  Service,  Public  Relations,  Good  Governance, Accountability  and  control,  Program  monitoring  and  evaluation,  Lokpal  and  Lokayukta,  Redressel  of  Citizens grievances,  District  Administration  and  Panchayathi  Raj  System,  Law  and  Order  and  Development  Functions, Development  Programmes.   Welfare  Programmes  for  SC/ST  and  women.  People’s  participation.   Administrative Reforms Commissions – Central and State.
  7. United Nations  and  Specialised  Agencies,  Other  International  Organisations  and  Agencies  –  Origin  and development of UNO – Role in International Relations, General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council,  Trusteeship  Council,  International  Court  of  Justice,  UN  and  Peace  Keeping  Operations,  UN  and Disarmaments, Future of UN. Special Agencies like WHO, ILO, FAO etc., International Organisations like IMF, World  Bank,  ADB,   WTO,  EU,  ASEAN,  SAARC,  AU,  NATO,  NAM,  OPEC,  G-8,  IAEA,  etc.,  Role  of  Developing countries in International Relations, India and her Neighbours. Etc.,

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