Q.1) What is a region? Discuss the types of regions and methods of regionalization (20 marks)
A region is a perceived segment of space which is different from others on the basis of one or more defining features. The defining characteristic may be natural (taiga forest) be cultural (Hindi speaking belt) or economic (industrial conurbations).
The basic criterion for delimitation may be relation uniformity or homogeneity of geographical phenomena over space. So, a region includes several contiguous homogenous territories, although occasionally non-contiguous spatial units are also put under one region, e.g., India is a political region with Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands as the non-contiguous units, the Hawaii Island and Alaska in the USA are examples of non-contiguous regions.
The regions may be categorized as naively given and instituted or denoted. A naively given region refers to a territory recognized by the people living outside the territory For example, Avadh. Mewar are naively given regions delineated on the basis of shared culture or history.
Instituted regions are delimited by human agencies and therefore possess distinct limits, e.g., blocks, districts, states. The instituted or denoted regions are further classified as formal (uniform) regions and functional (nodal) regions.
The formal or uniform is a geographical area, homogenous on the basis of selected geographical characteristics, viz., climate, natural vegetation etc., as in the case of natural regions. The regions homogenous in terms of socio-cultural features are designated as socio-cultural regions, e.g., the Central Indian tribal belt. If the homogeneity is observed in economic attributes, i.e., the production structure, work force etc.. such regions are known as economic regions.
Functional (nodal) organization, internal flows (of people, goods, services, communication) and the presence of a or a focus.
So, functional regions stress on linkage or heterogeneous units such as cities, towns and villages. The functional inter-relationships are usually revealed in flows — Of people, services, commodities or communications.
Methods of Regionalisation:
(a) the fixed index method,
(b) the variable index method, and
(c) the cluster method.
Under the fixed index method, a common characteristic feature is chosen, i.e., per capita income, percentage of literacy, etc.
Under the variable index method, variable weights are attached to highlight different levels of activities in different regions.
The cluster method is employed to identify homogenous regions.
Identification of Functional Regions:
The methods used are
(a) flow analysis and
(b) gravitational analysis.
Flow analysis considers intra-regional commuting flows, commodity flows; migration flows, trade area, newspaper circulation area and so on.
Gravitational analysis studies the theoretical forces of attraction between two centres.
Q.2) Critically examine the role of growth centres and growth poles in regional development process. (15 marks)
Growth does not appear everywhere and all at once but appears at selected points or developmental poles along various channels with varying terminal effects to the whole of economy.
The growth pole idea, at present performing the three functions of theoretical concepts, planning instrument, and hypothesis for historical studies.
The basic economic concepts and their geographic developments from the writings on the growth pole and growth centre theories areas (i) the concept of leading industry, (ii) the concept of polarisation and (iii) the concept of spread effects.
The economic polarisation will relatively lead to geographic polarisation with the flow of resources to and the concentration of different economic activities at different centres within a region. This is nothing but spread effect of the dynamic propulsive qualities of the growth pole radiating outwards into surrounding region. These ’trickling down effects’ on spread effects from a growth pole are particularly necessary for regional development, though there is little empirical evidence that does in fact take place.
Effectiveness of this theory for Regional Planning
The growth pole and growth centre theory is attractive as a policy tool for the following reasons:
(i) It tends to be an efficient way of generating growth and subsequent development in the surrounding due to various agglomeration economics.
(ii) Concentration of function in specific locations reduces the cost of investment.
(iii) The spread-effects out of the growth points will help to solve the problems of less developed area.
Misra et al attributed four major weaknesses of this hypothesis when applied to developing countries. These are: (a) incapability to varied regional problems, (b) Functional rigidities, (c) lack of spilt over mechanism and (d) Urban and industrial bias
Incapability to varied regional problems
The growth pole hypothesis is not of much success in resource-rich, well populated but socially and economically backward regions like Vishakhapatnam ship yard and steel plant complex in Andhra coast.
One of the problems faced as ‘growth pole’ in economically backward areas is the lack of channel through which impulses can be diffused. So while the poles do contribute to the national economy, they fail to generate substantial economic development.
The setting up of a growth pole will perhaps have solitary impact as is seen at Hyderabad in Telengana, Patna.in Bihar, or Kanpur in U.P. The relationship between leading industry and subsistence agriculture is teneous at best and that between industries and regional need is very weak.
In industrially advanced regions of India the growth pole hypotheses form the basis of development programme undertaken in mineral rich and heavy industrial region. But in these regions which perhaps meet all the requirements for the development of a growth pole strategy, this has not succeeded. Industrial centres like Rourkela, Durgapur and Asansol stand as national monument but regional failures. The impact of these developments on the surrounding backward regions are almost little. In these regions substantial bases of heavy industries have been created which have not stimulated the quantum of secondary growth and trickle down effects.
Q.3) Discuss various strategies for correcting regional imbalances. (15 marks)
Regional imbalances or disparities means wide differences in per capita income, literacy rates, health and education services, levels of industrialization, infrastructural facilities etc. between different regions. Regions may be either States or regions within a State.
1. Identification of the Backward Areas and Allocation of funds: First of all, government must identify all the backward areas within the country and special attention should be paid by preparing and implementing special plans and models suited to these for the overall development. Due care also to be taken by allotting sufficient funds.
2. Need for Investments in Backward Areas: Government and the private sector must realize that regional disparities can be removed only, if greater attention is paid towards backward areas, which need more investments. It is also important to formulate special policies and programmes for the development of backward areas like – north- eastern regions.
3. Good Governance: Good governance refers to equitable distribution of the gains of development to all the regions without any prejudice so that over all development takes place in a country. Thus, the better the governance, the less would be the disparities in country.
4. Political Will: Political will is vital for the balanced regional development i.e. to remove regional imbalances in a country.
5. Incentives: Incentives should be provided for promoting investments in the backward regions. Incentives may be broadly divided in to (a) Central Government Incentives (b) State Government Incentives.
(a) Central Government Incentives: Income Tax Concession, Tax Holiday , Central Investment Subsidy Scheme, Transport Subsidy Scheme should be provided to all the identified backward and Hill areas to correct the regional imbalances.
(b) State Government Incentives: In order to attract private sector investment in backward regions, the State Governments have also been offering several incentives in different forms. The State Governments should review all these schemes time to time for further development of their backward regions.
6. Promoting New Financial Institution in Backward Region: In order to accelerate the pace of industrialization in backward areas, the Government of India should promote new financial institutions. Government must see that these Institutions functional well for all round development of the backward areas.
7. Setting Up of Regional Boards: As per Article 321 D of Indian Constitution, Regional Boards with necessary legal powers, funds should be instituted to remove regional disparities in the States.
8. Growth Corridors comprised of education zones, agricultural zones and industrial zones should be operationalised for the rapid development of backward areas in the states.
9. Strict restrictions on usage of productive agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes to be implemented. If required, permissions for non-agricultural usage should be granted only after the farmers have been guaranteed a better life.
10.Usage of natural resources for the development of tribal areas to be implemented. There should be guaranteed share for the tribal in the income generated from the use of natural resources.
The points in the answer are highly relevant to Indian context, So if the question is about in general regional imbalance try to manifest these points in general context.
Q.4) “Geographical traits lead to regional imbalances.” Examine. (15 marks)
Regional Disparity is a spatial analysis of the growth pattern or the economic development. Certain areal units have higher growth propensity because of geographical advantages & inertia, while certain regions lack such advantages. Thus, they remain economically depressed & growth impulse are emancipated.
Geographical traits lead to regional imbalances
Geographical factors play an important role in the developmental activities of a developing economy. The difficult terrain surrounded by hills, rivers and dense forests leads to increase in the cost of administration, cost of developmental projects, besides making mobilization of resources particularly difficult.
Most of the Himalayan states of India, i.e., Himachal Pradesh. Northern Kashmir, the hill districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and other North-Eastern states, remained mostly backward due to its inaccessibility and other inherent difficulties.
Resource (natural and mineral) rich regions are at the fore front in industrialisation and the resource poor regions lag behind developmental activities. For example, England is the first to get industrialised and developed whereas most parts of Africa due to lack of requisite resources in the category of Least developed Countries.
The climate determines the spatial pattern of population distribution. For example, the population is scarce in highly extremes of climates viz. Arctic, Siberia, Antarctica, Deserts (both cold and hot) regions. Due to this the regions even though having potential resources not developed.
Soil and soil fertility also play great role in regional disparity. Regions with highly fertile soil tend to develop more than regions with less fertile soil. For example, flood plains of the rivers (Gangetic basin, Nile river) have fertile alluvial soils and hence developed more than the regions of desert soils, mountainous soils etc (N-E states, Rajasthan) which are less fertile.
Water/hydrology – water is the most essential input for both industries and agriculture. The regions deficit in water lag behind in development and those regions blessed with water develop more rapidly. Example, North Karnataka is water deficient region and lags in development where as South Karnataka due to advantage of water developed more than that of North Karnataka.
Q.5) Regionalism in India. (10 marks)
Regionalism at national level refers to a process in which sub-state actors become increasingly powerful, power devolves from central level to regional governments. These are the regions within country, distinguished in culture, language and other socio-cultural factors.
It is not just a territorial unit but a culmination of socio-economic and political factors. Regionalism can be defined in connotations both positive and negative.
Positive regionalism means love towards one’s culture, region, language etc whereas negative regionalism is an excessive attachment to one’s regions in preference to the country of the state.
Positive regionalism helps to build Brotherhood and commonness on the basis of common language, religion or historical background and it helps a particular regional group to maintain their independent identity. It gives self-determination to people and empowers them to feel happy.
Negative regionalism may pose a threat to the unity and integrity of the country. in the Indian context generally the term regionalism has been used in the negative sense.
Causes of regionalism in India
i) Geographical factor: The territorial orientation based on geographical boundaries relate to the inhabitants of a particular region which are symbolic, at least in the Indian context. This is more so because of the linguistic distribution along geographical boundaries. The topographic and climatic variations along with differences in the settlement pattern induce in people the concept of regionalism.
ii) Historical and cultural factors: In the Indian scenario, the historical and cultural factors assume greater significance. The historical and cultural components interpret regionalism by way of cultural heritage, folklore, myths, symbolism and historical traditions. People of a particular cultural group also derive inspirations from the noble deeds and glorious achievements of the local heroes. Nevertheless, there are sudden political and economic realities which can be covered under the gamut of historical and cultural factors.
iii) Caste and religion: When caste is combined with language conflicts or religious fundamentalism, it breeds regional feeling. It leads to dogmatism, orthodoxy and obscurantism.
iv) Economic factors: Uneven development in many parts of the country may be construed as the prime reason of regionalism and separatism. There are certain regions in the country where industries and factories have been concentrated, educational and health facilities are adequately provided, communication network has been developed, rapid agricultural development has been made possible. But there are also certain areas where the worth of independence is yet to be realized in terms of socioeconomic development. Indeed, the British administration may be held responsible for causing such wide regional variations due to their suitability for the purpose of administration, trade and commerce. But in the post-independence era, efforts should have been made for regional balance in matters of industrial, agricultural and above all, economic development. This disparity has caused the feeling of relative deprivation among the inhabitants of economically neglected regions. It has manifested itself in the demand for separate states such as Bodoland, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Chhatisgarh, Telangana, and so on.
v) Politico-administrative factors: Political parties, especially the regional political parties as well as local leaders, exploit the regional sentiments, regional deprivation and convert them to solidify their factional support bases. They give place to the regional problems in their election manifesto and promise for political and regional development.
Characteristics of regionalism
i) Regionalism is conditioned by economic, social, political and cultural disparities.
ii) Regionalism at times is a psychic phenomenon.
iii) Regionalism is built around as an expression of group identity as well as loyalty to the region.
iv) Regionalism presupposes the concept of development of one’s own region without taking into consideration the interest of other regions.
v) Regionalism prohibits people from other regions to be benefited by a particular region.