Why was this topic chosen?
Andaman and Nicobar islands was in news for different reasons.
- Island development authority was formed in 2017 (Governance)
- Issue of invasive species on the islands was a prominent (Environment)
- India for the first time has invited a foreign country (Japan) to invest on the islands. This was a break from the earlier stand of non-interference in the region (International Relations)
- Centre relaxes Andaman’s Restricted Area Permit conditions specified for foreign tourists (Economy Tourism)
The government has chosen 10 islands in Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar for their holistic development in the first phase of work being done by newly constituted Island Development Agency (IDA).
Placing it in Syllabus
- Salient features of Indian physical Geography and distribution of Key natural resources
- Environment and disaster management
- Security Issues
Andaman and Nicobar profile
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands lie between 6“ 45’ N and 13° 30’ N latitudes and 90° 20’ E and 93° 56’ E longitudes.
A total area of landmass of these islands is approximately 8249 Sq. Km. and coastline is about 2000 km. The land area of the Andaman Islands is 6340 sq km and that of Nicobar is 1953 sq km.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands constitute the physiographic continuation of the mountain ranges of Naga and Lushai Hills and Arakan Yoma of Burma through Cape Negrais to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and South-east of Sumatra (Achin Head). The chains of these islands are summits of submerged mountain ranges projecting above the sea level running north to south.
The Andaman and Nicobar archipelago lie in a crescent shape that stretches from cape Negrais of Myanmar to Banda Arc of Sumatra (Indonesia) about 1200 km away from east coast of Indian mainland and situated in the southernmost portion of the Bay of Bengal of the Indian Ocean.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are broadly divided into two groups, separated by the Ten Degree Channel.
The Andaman group consists of 324 islands of which 20 are inhabited. The Main part of the group is collectively known as the Great Andamans comprising of five closely adjoining Islands, North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Baratang and Rutland Island, all separated by narrow channels. The southernmost island of the Andaman group is the Little Andaman which is separated by a strait called Duncan passage. The highest peak in the whole of the archipelago is Saddle Peak (732.12 m) in North Andaman.
The Nicobar group comprises 24 islands of which 13 are inhabited. The Indira Point is the southernmost boundary of India and is about 144 km from Achin Head of Sumatra. Great Nicobar is the longest of the Nicobar group. Other notable islands of the group are Car Nicobar, Choura, Camorta, Trinket, Nancowry and Little Nicobar. Car Nicobar is the Capital of the Nicobar group of islands. It is a coral island and has a shape more or less like that of Australia with a land area of 127 sq. km.
Volcanism in Andamans
Barren Island volcano is an active andesitic volcano located 135 km ENE of Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. It is the northern most volcano in the Indonesian arc. The volcano is associated with the subduction of the Indian Plate beneath the Burmese Plate along the Andaman Trench.
As per Geological Survey of India (GSI), Narcondum islands are dormant andesitic volcanoes in the Andaman group.
Baratang island eruption is considered as the mud volcanic eruption (mud volcano).
Corals of Andaman and Nicobar:
Much of the coral reefs of Andaman and Nicobar islands are fringing reefs. Important regions where corals are distributed in Andaman and Nicobar islands- North Reef Island, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Rani Jhansi Marine National Park, Smith island, Ross island, Avis island, Lamia Bay, Harmindar Bay, Campbell island, Cinque Island, Nancowry group of Islands
Geologically, the rock types in the Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands include metamorphic rocks, sedimentaries and an igneous suite of rocks called ophiolites. Metamorphic rocks include quartzite, schist, amphibiolite of pre-cambrian era. Sedimentary rocks include sandstone, shale, and limestone. And also the coralline rocks.
The climate is monsoon tropical climate. Because of its latitudinal location and maritime effects the extremes of the climate are unknown. The average temperature varies between 23°c to 32°c. The average annual rainfall recorded is around 318 cm. The islands receive rainfall both from south-west and north-east monsoon with dry seasons extending from Jan to April.
Nearly 86.93% of total area is forested. Important types of forest include Tropical Evergreen vegetation, Moist Deciduous vegetation and mangrove vegetation. Shoal Bay in South Andaman, Austrin Creek in Mayabunder, Yerrata and Rangat Bay in Middle Andamans etc. are important mangrove sites.
Paddy is the most important crop especially cultivated in Andaman Islands. Apart from rice, cashew nut, areca nut, coconut, banana, sweet potato, vegetables, rabi pulses etc. are other important crops
As such the island has deposits of limestone. Some deposits of iron-ore can be found and is considered as potential for hydrocarbons.
Island Development Agency
Chairman: Home Minister
Other Members: Cabinet secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary (MoEF- Environment, Forest and Climate change), Secretary (Tourism) and Secretary(Tribal Welfare)
Areas: Holistic development in the project islands after giving due consideration to unique maritime and territorial biodiversity of the islands.
IDA discusses and decides the policies and programmes for the integrated development of the Islands, and reviews the progress of implementation and impact of the programmes of the development.
The recent and second meeting of IDA was held in November 2017. It reviewed concept development plans and detailed master plans for holistic development of 10 islands, 5 in Andaman & Nicobar islands (Smith, Ross, Aves, Long and Little Andaman) and 5 in Lakshwadeep ( Minicoy, Bangaram, Suheli, Cherium and Tinnakara ).