class ten social science geography lifelines of national economy seaports

Lifelines of National Economy

Major Sea Ports

With a long coastline of 7,516.6 km, India is dotted with 12 major and 181 medium and minor ports. These major ports handle 95 per cent of India’s foreign trade. Kandla in Kuchchh was the first port developed soon after Independence to ease the volume of trade on the Mumbai port, in the wake of loss of Karachi port to Pakistan after the Partition. Kandla is a tidal port. It caters to the convenient handling of exports and imports of highly productive granary and industrial belt stretching across the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Mumbai is the biggest port with a spacious natural and well-sheltered harbour. The Jawaharlal Nehru port was planned with a view to decongest the Mumbai port and serve as a hub port for this region. Marmagao port (Goa) is the premier iron ore exporting port of the country. This port accounts for about fifty per cent of India’s iron ore export.

New Mangalore port, located in Karnataka caters to the export of iron ore concentrates from Kudremukh mines. Kochi is the extreme south-western port, located at the entrance of a lagoon with a natural harbour.

On the east coast, is the port of Tuticorin, in Tamil Nadu. This port has a natural harbour and rich hinterland. Thus, it has a flourishing trade handling of a large variety of cargoes to even our neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives, etc. and the coastal regions of India.

Chennai is one of the oldest artificial ports of the country. It is ranked next to Mumbai in terms of the volume of trade and cargo.

Vishakhapatnam is the deepest landlocked and well-protected port. This port was, originally, conceived as an outlet for iron ore exports.

Paradip port located in Orissa, specialises in the export of iron ore.

Kolkata is an inland riverine port. This port serves a very large and rich hinterland of Ganga- Brahmaputra basin. Being a tidal port, it requires constant dredging of Hoogly. Haldia port was developed as a subsidiary port, in order to relieve growing pressure on the Kolkata port.


The air transport was nationalised in 1953. On the operational side, Indian Airlines, Alliance Air (subsidiary of Indian Airlines), private scheduled airlines and non- scheduled operators provide domestic air services. Air India provides international air services. Pawanhans Helicopters Ltd. Provides helicopter services to Oil and Natural Gas Commission in its off- shore operations, to inaccessible areas and difficult terrains like the north-eastern states and the interior parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Indian Airlines operations also extend to the neighbouring countries of South and south-east Asia and the Middle east.

It can cover very difficult terrains like high mountains, dreary deserts, dense forests and also long oceanic stretches with great ease.


Personal communication and mass communication including television, radio, press, films, etc. are the major means of communication in the country.

Indian Post: The Indian postal network is the largest in the world. It handles parcels as well as personal written communications. Cards and envelopes are considered first–class mail and are airlifted between stations covering both land and air. The second–class mail includes book packets, registered newspapers and periodicals. They are carried by surface mail, covering land and water transport. To facilitate quick delivery of mails in large towns and cities, six mail channels have been introduced recently. They are called Rajdhani Channel, Metro Channel, Green Channel, Business Channel, Bulk Mail Channel and Periodical Channel.

Telephone: India has one of the largest telephone networks in Asia. In order to strengthen the flow of information from the grassroot to the higher level, the government has made special provision to extend twenty-four hours STD facility to every village in the country. There is a uniform rate of STD facilities all over India. It has been made possible by integrating the development in space technology with communication technology.

Mobile Telephones: India is one of the fastest growing mobile network in the world. Mobile phones have changed the way Indians conducted business. Now even low income group people like vegetable vendors, plumbers and carpenters get better business because they are connected through mobile phones.

Mass Comunication: Mass communication provides entertainment and creates awareness among people about various national programmes and policies. It includes radio, television, newspapers, magazines, books and films. All India Radio (Akashwani) broadcasts a variety of programmes in national, regional and local languages for various categories of people, spread over different parts of the country. Doordarshan, the national television channel of India, is one of the largest terrestrial networks in the world. It broadcasts a variety of programmes from entertainment, educational to sports, etc. for people of different age groups.

Newspapers: India publishes a large number of newspapers and periodicals annually. They are of different types depending upon their periodicity. Newspapers are published in about 100 languages and dialects. Largest number of newspapers published in the country are in Hindi, followed by English and Urdu.

Films: India is the largest producer of feature films in the world. It produces short films; video feature films and video short films. The Central Board of Film Certification is the authority to certify both Indian and foreign films.

International Trade

Trade between two countries is called international trade. It may take place through sea, air or land routes. Advancement of international trade of a country is an index to its economic prosperity. It is, therefore, considered the economic barometer for a country.

Export: When the goods are sent to other country for sale it is called as export.

Import: When the goods come from other country to be sold in India it is called import.

Balance of Payment: This is the difference between export and import of a country. When export is higher than import then this is a situation of favourable balance of payment. On the other hand when the import is hihger than export then this is a situation of unfavourable balance of payment.

Indian Commodities Witnessing growth in share in Export:

Commodities Share in Exports
Agriculture and allied products 2.53%
Ores and minerals 9.12%
Gems and jewelry 26.75%
Chemical and allied products 24.45%
Engineering goods 35.63%
Petroleum products 86.12%

Major Imports to India

Commodities Share in Imports
Petroleum and petroleum products 41.87%
Pearls and precious stones 29.26%
Inorganic chemicals 29.39%
Coke, coal, briquettes 94.17%
Machinery 12.56%

Bulk imports as a group registered a growth accounting for 39.09 per cent of total imports. This group includes fertilizers (67.01 per cent), cereals (25.23 per cent), edible oils (7.94 per cent) and newsprint (5.51 per cent).

International trade has under gone a sea change in the last fifteen years. Exchange of commodities and goods have been superseded by the exchange of information and knowledge.

India has emerged as a software giant at the international level and it is earning large foreign exchange through the export of information technology.

Tourism as a Trade

Foreign tourist’s arrivals in the country witnessed an increase of 23.5 per cent during the year 2004 as against the year 2003, thus contributing Rs 21,828 crore of foreign exchange. Over 2.6 million foreign tourists visit India every year. More than 15 million people are directly engaged in the tourism industry.

Tourism also promotes national integration, provides support to local handicrafts and cultural pursuits. It also helps in the development of international understanding about our culture and heritage.

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