Geographic and Socio-Economic Realities of Himachal Pradesh, Northwestern Himalaya

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Geographic and Socio-Economic Realities of Himachal Pradesh, Northwestern Himalaya
R.B. Singh and Pankaj Kumar. PDF link

Himachal Pradesh is situated in the north-western part of Himalaya, covering an area of 55,673 kmz. Administratively, the state has been divided into 12 districts. Himachal Pradesh is a hill state, having Wide variations in altitude ranging from plains to mountain peaks. Varying aspects and altitudes results into considerable variation in temperature and rainfall, soil, and vegetation, and cropping patterns of the state vary spatially because of altitude, aspect, slope and micro-climatic conditions. Most of the area of the state is drained by five major streams; i.e,, Satluj, Beas, Chenab, Yamuna and Ravi.

It is primarily an agrarian state Where agriculture and horticulture are major economic activities. Tourism activities, both religious and adventurous, are another source of livelihoods in the state. The concentration of population is high in the southern plain area, while very sparse in the northem part of the state. The state is vulnerable to various hazards such as earthquakes, flash floods, avalanches, landslides, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), etc., due to active plate tectonic margins and altered climatic conditions.

Keywords Agrarian economy ~ Altitude – Hazards – Himalaya – Tourism
R.B. Singh (E)
Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi.
Delhi H0007, India
P. Kumar
Department of Geography, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, University of Delhi,
New Delhi 110017. India
R.B. Singh and R. Hietala (eds.), Livelihood Seruriry in Northwestern Himalaya. ll
Advances in Geographical and Environmental Sciences,
DOI 10.1007/978-4-43l-54868~3_2. © Springer Japan 2014

12 R.B. Singh and P. Kumzir
2.1 Introduction
Himachal Himalaya extends from the Shiwalik hills in the south to the Great Himalayan range, including a slice of Trans-Himalaya in the north. Geographically, the latitudinal and longitudinal extent of Himachal Pradesh is situated between 3O°22’44” to 33°12’4O” N and 75°45’55” to 79°O4’2O” E. The state is compact in
shape and almost wholly mountainous, with altitude varying from 300 m in plains
of Kangra and Una to nearly 7,000 m in Central Himalayan range of Lahaul and
Spiti. It covers a geographical area of 55,673 kmz, which is about 1.69 % of India’s
total area (Census of India 2011a, b, c). Administratively, Himachal Pradesh is
divided into l2 districts (Fig. 2.1). Lahaul and Spiti district is the biggest, While
Hamirpur is the smallest one.

2.2 Physical Landscape

The area covered by Himachal Pradesh lies in most complicated geological regions
of (l) Outer or sub-Himalayan zone, (2) Lower Himalayan zone, (3) Higher Himalayan zone, and (4) Tethys Himalayan zone (Wadia 1966). The highest relative relief (more than 5.100 m) is found in the eastern part of the state, covering the western part of Kinnaur, the northeastern margin of Shimla, and the southeastern extreme of Kullu districts. In the peripheral area of this belt, a very narrow belt showing highv
Fig. 2.1 Location, administrative division, and altitudinal variation (extracted from SRTM data)
of Himachal Pradesh

2 Geographic and Socio-Economic Realities of Himachal Pradesh, Northwestem. . .
relative relief (between 3,400 and 4,200 m) is noticeable. Another belt of high
relative relief (between 2,400 and 3,300 m) extends over the state from north to
southeast direction and it includes the northeastern part of Chamba, Bara Bhangal
area of Kangra, western and southwestern portions of Lahaul and Spiti, eastem part
of Shimla, and major portions of Kinnaur and Kullu districts.

ln the northwestern portion of the state, the relative relief is mainly between 2,000
and 2,700 m. In the northern, central, and southeastern parts of the state, the value of relative relief ranges between 1,300 and 2,000 m. The areas with comparatively low relative relief, between 600 and 1,300 m, are the northwestern and central parts of Kangra, the eastern portion of Hamirpur and Bilaspur districts, the most part of
Mandi, the entire Solan district, the western and central portions of Shimla district,
and the northwestem and central parts of Sirmaur district. Relative relief less than
600 m is found in the western and southem margins of the state (Jreat 2006).
Located entirely in the westem Himalaya, Himachal Pradesh not only has diversity
in relief features but also in slope of the land.

Nearly 70 % of the state area is covered by steep to very steep sloping land, about 19 % is covered by moderate to moderately steep slope, and only about 1 1 % is covered by gentle to nearly level slopes. Almost the entire districts of Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur (except a narrow strip along the rivers) have rock outcrops and very steep slopes. The district of Chamba, northern Kangra, Kullu and parts of Shimla, and Simqaur and Solan districts are characterized by steep slopes and moderately steep slopes. Moderate sloping land is seen along the river valleys in the Kullu and Shimla districts. Level to gentle sloping land is limited to the southem Kangra and parts of Mandi district, the dun valleys of Una, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Solan and Sirmaur districts (Jreat 2006).

2.2.1 Topography
On the basis of elevation and slope, geographers have grouped Himachal Pradesh into
three distinct topographical regions. These are: (1) Shiwalik Hills, (2) Mountains—
Lesser Himalaya, Greater Himalaya and Trans Himalaya, (3) Valleys—Shiwalik dun
valleys, fluvial, and glacio-fluvial valleys, and (4) Mountain Passes.
Shiwalik Hills: These are the outermost ranges separating Himachal Himalaya
from the Punjab plain. The altitude ranges from 600 to 1,200 m. These ranges are
the youngest of the Himalayan ranges and are made up of tertiary sediments
consisting of sand, clay, and boulder conglomerates brought down by the rivers
from the main Himalayan ranges situated further north. They are composed almost
entirely of tertiary and upper tertiary sedimentary river deposits.
Mountains: Deep gorges a.nd V-shaped valleys, abruptly rising bare crags
and sharp pyramidal peaks of the Greater Himalaya, which are in contrast to the
even crest line of the Shiwalik hills, characterize this zone. The mountains of
Himachal can be classified in three categories, viz., Lesser Himalaya, Greater
Himalaya, and Trans Himalaya,

14 RB. Singh and P. Kumar
Lesser Himalaya: The Middle or Lesser Himalaya is located north of Shiwalik
range. They form an intricate and mgged mountain system about 6(P80 km wide
and 1,0004,000 m high. Several peaks rise to nearly 5,000 m and remain snow-
covered throughout the year. The Lesser Himalaya lics between the “main bound-
ary” and the “central Himalayan” thrusts. Most of this zone consists of granite and
other crystalline rocks of unfossiliferous sediments. Similar to the Shiwalik range,
Lesser Himalaya are not a continuous range but consist of a number of smaller
ranges like Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal, Churdhar, and Shimla ranges.
Great Himalaya: The Inner or Great Himalaya is the highest mountain ranges that
run along the north eastern border of Himachal, through Lahaul, Spiti, and Kinnaur
districts. The Great Himalaya is most prominent in the eastern section of the state,
particularly in the southern part of Spiti. The Great Himalayan range has a mean
elevation of 5,500 m with several peaks rising over 6,000 m. These glaciers are a
source of water to many important rivers; such as, the Chandra, the Bhaga, the
Baspa and the Spiti.
Trans-Himalaya: Beyond the almost inaccessible snow-covered Great Himalayan
ranges lies the cold arid region of Kinnaur, Lahaul, and Spiti. The trans-Himalayan
area of the Spiti valley is composed of continuous series of highly fossiliferous
marine residue rocks of earliest Palaeozoic to the Eocene age. The average eleva-
tion of the Trans-Himalaya is over 3,000 m. This region is cold and arid because the
monsoon winds cannot reach here because of the lofty Greater Himalayan range.
Zanskar range is the most prominent range of the Trans-Himalaya, separating Spiti
and Kinnaur from Tibet.
Valleys: The state has number of valleys of various elevations, which are formed by
tectonic forces as well as by the work of rivers and glaciers. The valleys ofHimachal
can be grouped into: (l) Shiwalik duns, and (2) Fluvial, glacio-fluvial valleys of
outer, inner, and greater Himalaya. The Kangra valley is the most prominent valley
of the outer Himalaya. The Kangra valley is an extensive dun-type valley of tectonic
origin located between the Dhauladhar range in the north and the Shiwalik in the
south. This beautiful valley extends down the southern slopes of the Dhauladhar
range, covered with forests of pines, tea gardens, and terraced fields. The valleys at
higher elevation are found along the major rivers and their tributaries.
Mountain Passes: Himachal Pradesh, being a hilly state, is bounded on many sides
by high hills and there are several inhabited valleys enclosed around by high
mountains (Attri 2000).
2.2.2 Glaciers
There are more than 5,230 glaciers in the Himalaya, out of which nearly 2,550
glaciers are in Himachal Pradesh (see Chap. 3 Kumar and Singh). The glaciers of
Himachal hold 387.3 cubic km of ice reserves. This much of ice reserves can cater

2 Geographic and Socio-Economic Realities of Himachal Pradesh, Northwestem. . . l5
18 % of fresh Water demand of India. Most glaciers in Himachal (945 glaciers) are
in the Satluj basin, followed by Chenab and Beas. They are natural reservoirs of
fresh Water which feed the north Indian rivers. They are located in altitudes of over
4,000 m above msl in the Pir Panjal, Greater Himalaya, Dhauladhar, and Zanskar
ranges. A majority of them are small in size, with accumulation zone of 2-4 kmz.
They are linear in form, varying in length from 2 to 25 km. The major glaciers in
Chenab basin are Bara Shigri, Samudra Tapu, Mulkila, Ghhudong. Miyar, Chota
Shigri, and Sona Pani. The largest four glaciers in Beas basin are Dudhen, Sara
Umga, Trichu, and Dibhika.
2.3 Drainage
The state is drained by a number of rivers and streams (Fig. 2.2). Most important
among them are the Chenab, the Ravi, and the Beas, located in Middle and
Great Himalayan ranges. The Satluj is another important river that rises in Tibet.
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2,, < I \- “° Fig. 2.2 Drainage of Himachal Pradesh 16 R.B. Singh and P. Kumar This Trans-Himalayan river is a typical example of antecedent drainage. All four rivers join the Indus river system. A small southeastem section east of the Satluj river is drained by the Giri, the Pabbar, and the Tons rivers, which drain into the Yamuna and ultimately into the Ganga river system. Most of the rivers in the state are perennial rivers, originating from glaciers and snow fields. Only the rivers originating in the Shiwalik and lower hills like the Ghaggar, Soan, and Ghambar are seasonal streams. 2.4 Soils The soils of the state have not been classified properly so far because of lack of information and a great deal of heterogeneity (Singh and Bhandari 2000). According to Raychaudhary and Govinda Rajan (1971), these soils have been shown as brown hill soils in the old system of classification. These soils have been termed as Cambisols as a broad soil region in FAO—UNESCO soil map of the world (Anonymous 1977). However, based on their development and physico— chemical properties, the soils of the state can be broadly divided into 13 groups (Yadava and Thakur 1972; Verma 1979; Verma and Tripathi 1982; Verma et al. 1985; Singh et al. 1996). The 13 modified categories were derived out of 95 class soil map prepared by National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (ICAR), Nagpur (Fig. 2.3). HIMACHAL PRADESH A SOILS n -1–~T Ill |>\|l
mll \’\.\(I\\ \|\ .1 \|r\|
m .. h|| .. ntlwnu
– hum: I i.i\=..|>| -tn.-.|…1..
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– T\yu.|’~l|llu\»’r||.
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– “pa. » M… 1-..|..~i…,.>.
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– ‘\’vl;l\ll[NaII||Il\Y1l\’|’~ll”ll\W\‘* 11 ,, W ,… -iIZ.iET.IZ:.‘…_,
– ‘“’~’ “~“~'”\’“ ~t—‘- ~ – l’.’I§‘.lT.T’§T.’
1. 1-7l’l Mini ‘»~i.w| 1-tm|~-i.– Z?
Fig. 2.3 Soils of Himachal Pradesh

2 Geographic and Socio-Economic Realities of Himachal Pradesh, Northwestem. . . 17
2.5 Forest Cover
As we move from lower to higher altitude in the state, variation in vegetation
pattern can be noticed easily (Table 2.1). Dry scrub vegetations are prominent at
lower altitude, alpine meadows at higher altitude. Dry deciduous forest, moist
deciduous forest, pine, oak, and deodar mixed coniferous and temperate broad»
leaved forest zones are found in between these two extremes. Altogether, 20 differ-
ent vegetation zones can be identified in the state. Generally, these vegetation zones
are synchronous to altitudinal stratification. Micro-climatic changes, due to the
effect of slope and aspect, break the continuity in vegetation zones in some part of
the state.
2.5.1 Types of Forest
The forest of Himachal Pradesh are characterized by temperate conifer, mixed
forest (moist and dry temperate forest), subalpine forest, tropical forest (moist
deciduous, swamp, and subtropical pine forest) and broad-leaved forest (tropical
dry deciduous and subtropical dry evergreen forest) (Table 2.2). The forests of
Himachal can be classified into nine forest types.
Table 2.1 Altitudinal zone—wise forest cover of Himachal Pradesh
Altitudinal zones (m) Very dense forest Moderately dense forest Open forest Total area (kmz)
0-500 13 424 311 748
50CP1,000 237
1,000—2,000 569
2,00(%3,000 1,860
>3,000 545
Total 3,224
Source: India State of Forest Report (2009)
Table 2.2 Geographical distribution of fore
st of Himachal Pradesh
Area (kmz)
Percentage of geographical
area (%)
Percentage of forest
area (%)
Geographical area
Forest area
Area under tree cover
Very dense forest
Moderate dense forest
Open forest
1 1.47
Source: Forest Survey of India Report (2009)

18 RB. Singh and P. Kumar
Dry Alpine Forests: are found in the Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, and Pangi region of
Chamba district. Extensive alpine pastures are the characteristic feature of this
forest type. These alpine pastures are generally devoid of trees. Some junipers and
birches can be found along the river margins, or in watery patches of rocks, due to
scarcity of precipitation. The pastures support large herds of sheep and goats during
the summer months and remain snow-covered during winter. Moist Alpine Scrub
Forests: are found above the tree line and consist of evergreen scrub growth
forming a dense cover in patches, and broken by grasses in-between. The flora is
fairly rich, and medicinal plants grow in a narrow zone at the margin of melting
glaciers. Subalpine Forests: are found above the altitude of 3,500 m and below the
alpine scrub forest. These types of forests are covered with rhododendrons and
junipers. The lower linings are marked with blue pine forest and deciduous scrub.
Parkland, which is characterized by grasslands scattered with misshapen, stunted
trees of kharsu oaks, maples, etc., are used as grazing grounds by the migratory
herds of sheep and goats. Himalayan Temperate Forests: occupy a large area of
the state between 1,500 and 3,000 m. These forests are further sub~grouped into
(a) Himalayan moist temperate forests, (b) dry temperate forests, (c) temperate
coniferous forests, and (d) temperate deciduous forests. The moist temperate forests
are the most valuable timber forests of the state. The area contains scattered trees
and bushes such as chilgoza pine, willow, robinia, poplars and alpine pastures.
Deodar is the dominant species of the temperate coniferous forest. Wet Temperate
Forests: are confined to the wet slopes of the Dhauladhar ranges of the Kangra
district. These include various temperate species and have some major pasture
lands. The annual rainfall varies from I00 to 250 cm, with snowfall during the
winters. The maximum temperature during summers ranges between l5 and 20 “C,
and during winters temperature falls to minus IO °C. Subtropical Pine Forests:
occur in the lower Himalaya between 1,000 and 2,200 m. Chir pine is the most
dominant species of this zone. Subtropical Broad-leaved Hill Forests: are found
around Mandi town along the Beas river below the 1,200 m altitude. Tropical Dry
Deciduous Forests: occurs up to L200 m in the lower hills, extending into the
interior valleys along the rivers. Sal is the dominant species and is primarily found
in the Nahan region of Sirmaur district. Tropical Thorny Forests: occur in small
pockets, especially in Nalagarh region of Solan district, and in some parts of
Sirmaur district. They are found in areas where the summer temperature goes up
to 40 °C and rainfall varies between 50 and 75 cm. This zone is characterized with
thorny forests mostly of xerophytic species.
2.6 Climate
The great diversity in relief, variation in elevation, and the geographical location of
Himachal Pradesh has given the state diverse climatic conditions. In addition, local
sight factors, such as aspect and proximity to forest and water bodies influence the
climate. Geographically, the state is located roughly within the 30° north latitude,

2 Geographic and Socio-Economic Realities of Himachal Pradesh, Northwestem. . . l9
which corresponds to the warm temperate zone of Mediterranean region, but the
high Himalayan mountain ranges and the southwest monsoons play an important
role in modifying the climate. The influence of altitude modifies the climate into a
mountainous type, while southwest monsoon winds make it more humid than the
Mediterranean type of climate.
2.6.1 Temperature
There are striking variations in the mean annual temperature in the state. Mean
annual temperature is higher in westem parts of the state and it decreases gradually
towards north and eastern parts, as the altitude increases. The maximum mean
annual temperature of above 25 °C is recorded in the southern and western part of
Una district, the western parts of Bilaspur district, and the extreme southwestern
part of Solan district. The average annual temperature lies between 20° and 25 °C in
the remaining parts of Una and Bilaspur districts, the northwestern part of Solan
district, parts of Hamirpur district, and the extreme western part of Mandi district.
In the eastern parts of Mandi district, parts of Kullu district, Kangra valley area, and
the northeastem part of Solan district, the variation in mean annual temperature is
between 15 and 20 °C. In the remaining parts of the state, the mean annual
temperature is less than 15 °C. Temperature in general decreases from south to
north. The average monthly temperature of the summer months varies from 26 °C in
the lower outer valleys to 14 “C in the inner valley zone, and that of winter months
from 13 “C to —4 “C. Temperature also decreases with increasing altitude.
2.6.2 Rainfall
Most of the rainfall in Himachal Pradesh originates from the southwestern mon-
soon, starting in June and stretching up to September. Maximum rainfall occurs
during the months of July and August. During winter months, a fairly good amount
of rainfall and snowfall is also received from western disturbances throughout the
state. Spatially, in general, rainfall follows altitudinal pattems and increases from
plains to the hills.
Due to rain shadow effect of the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges, rainfall starts
decreasing towards Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur. Spiti valley is closed from all sides
by high mountains and therefore it is driest. Rainfall distribution varies from less
than 50 mm in the drier part of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts to over 3,000 mm
in the area around Dharamsala. Dharamsala receives the highest rainfall in the state.
The peripheral areas of Dhararnsala region, the southwestern part of Chamba, and
the southern part of Sirtnaur receive annual rainfall above 2,000 mm. From these
regions, the rainfall declines gradually towards the northern and eastem parts of the
state. In the central, southwestem a.nd southeastern parts of the state, rainfall ranges

20 RB. Singh and P. Kumar
between 1,000 and 2,000 mm. In the northwestem and eastem parts of Chamba, the
south~western portion of Lahaul—Spiti, the southern and westem parts of Kinnaur,
and parts of eastern Kullu, the annual rainfall varies between 50 and 100 mm.
2.7 Demographic Profile
I-Iimachal Pradesh, much like other states of India, is experiencing a demographic
transition. Such transition (along with forces of migration) is affecting population
size, growth rate, density, age structure, sex composition and distribution patterns
that are important indicators of human resources in the state (Kant 1995).
According to the 2011 census, the state accounted for a very meager share of
total population of India (0.59 %), more or less the same as in 2001.
2.7.1 Population Growth, Population Density and Sex Ratio
The total population of the state is 6,856,509 as per the census record. Out of the total
population, 3,473,892 are males and 3,382,617 are females. The total population in
the state grew from 1.9 million in 1901 to 6.8 million by 2011, making a net addition
of 4.9 million in the 110-year period. The average annual population growth rate
crossed the two-percent mark and peaked at 2.37 % during 1971-1981. The last two
decades recorded definite signs of deceleration in the momentum of population
growth in Himachal Pradesh, with the mean annual growth rate (1.28 %) falling
not only below the “standard” two-percent mark but also to pre-1951 level. Much of
this population expansion in the state has been indigenous; the contribution of
in-migration from other states in India and from countries outside India was insig»
nificant. As far as district level analysis is involved, in the last decade, population
growth has been greatest in Una district (+16.24) While Lahaul and Spiti district
(-5.10) have shown negative growth rate. Decadal growth of population has
increased substantially from 1901 to 201 1 (Fig. 2.4),
Density of population is a better measure of understanding the variation in the
distribution of population than the mere number of people. The density of population
in the state was 123 persons/kmz in the 2011 census against 109 persons/kmz in 2001.
Thus, there was a net addition of 14 persons/kmz in the state during 2001-201 1. This
density of population is quite low when compared to India‘s average of 382 persons/
kmZ—and there are wide spatial variations in the density pattern even within the state.
At the one end, La.haul-Spiti district has population density of 2 persons/kmz, while at
the other end in Hamirpur district it is 406 persons/kmz. The state’s density pattern can
be grouped into four categories. Very Low Density (less than I00 persons/kmz): Lahaul
and Spiti, Kinnaur, Kullu, and Chamba districts. Low Density (100—200 persons/km2):
Shimla and Sirrnaur districts. Moderate Density (200—300 persons/km2): Kangra,

2 Geographic and Socio-Economic Realities of 1-Iimachal Pradesh, Northwestern. . . 21
Decadal Growth ofPopulntion
l> LI!
l‘6ZOZ6 1
: iZ8Z6
(972 I 82

8 80817
(X)6L L09
2000000 ._ .-
1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
(‘ensus Year
Fig. 2.4 Decadal growth of population
Solan. and Mandi districts. High Density (above 300 persons/kmz): Hamirpur, Bilaspur,
and Una districts,
Sex ratio is helpful in determining the proportion of females in the total
population. In the state, sex ratio is not in favour of females. In the year 2011, the
proportion of females per 1,000 males in the state is 974. The numbers of males and
females are 3,473,892 and 3,382,617 respectively. The sex ratio in the state has,
however, been showing an increasing trend since 1951 census. It was 968 in the
year 2001 and has increased to 974 in the census year 2011, which could be due to
good health and hygiene conditions of female children. District-wise assessment of
sex ratio shows that in some districts (Hamirpur, Mandi and Chamba) females do
outnumber males (Table 2.3).
2.7.2 Literacy
Literacy is an index of human development and quality of life. Poor literacy hinders
economic development, and. in case of females, even retards the progress of family
planning programmes. As per the census of the year 2011, total percentage of
literacy in the state is 83.78 %. Male and female literacy percentages are 90.83 %
and 76.60 % respectively. Comparing to the national literacy rate, which is 74.04 %,
the state has much higher literacy; it is also improving faster than the national
figure. High literacy rates coincide with the districts of higher percentage of males,
indicating a very strong correlation between literacy rate and sex ratio. Hamirpur
district has the highest literacy rate of 89.01 %, followed by Una (87.23 %), Kangra
(86.49 %), Bilaspur (85.67 %), and Solan (85.02 %). Chamba has the lowest
literacy rate of 73.19 %, followed by Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu, Kirmaur, and Shimla.

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2 Geographic and Socio-Economic Realities of Himachal Pradesh, Northwestem. . . 23
2.7.3 Occupational Structure
Agriculture is the main occupation of Himachal Pradesh. About 67 % of the
population directly depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Due to hilly topo~
graphic condition, terraced cultivation is widely prevalent in the state. Small and
marginal famters comprise 80 % of the total holdings of the state. During the past
three decades, due to ideal climatic condition, a Well-diversified farm economy has
developed in the state. As per census of year 2001, the share of main workers in the
total population is 32.31 % and that of cultivators within main workers 55.45 %.
Agricultural labourers comprise a 1.22 % share in total workers. During the decade
1991-2001, the work force has increased 35.18 %, while the population has
increased 17.54 %. The decadal increase of the work force is, thus, 6.42 % (Census
of India 2001).
2.8 Economic Characteristics
Over the years, the economy of the state has kept pace with the economic environment
in the country as well as across the globe. Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP)
registered a growth of 6 % per annum between l994~l995 and 1999—2000.
This growth rate was higher than the growth rate achieved at national level.
The share of the primary sector has declined from 35.1 % in 1990-1991 to 27.4 %
in 2000-2001.
2.8.1 Agriculture
Himachal Pradesh is situated in the north-western part of Himalaya. Most of the
geographical area of the state comes under forest, pasture, and grazing land;
agriculture is possible only on less than ten percent of the state’s net area. The
physiography and climatic condition in the state favours diversified potential for
fanning and allied activities. Due to the undulating terrain condition ranging from
plains to high hills, mixed farming is predominant. Most of the farming activities
are concentrated along the channels of major rivers and their tributaries.
The state has been divided into four agro-ecological zones based on precipita-
tion, altitude, and irrigation (Table 2.4). Each agro-ecological zone has its distinct
climatic and soil conditions. Different type of climatic conditions result into
varied cropping pattems. Monsoon season in Himachal Pradesh receives more
than 70 % of its total rainfall. Therefore, for the rest of the year, there is water
shortage and agriculture requires irrigation. Zone II supports most of the agricul-
tural activities, since rainfall and irrigation are highest in this zone while; they are
lowest in Zone IV.

24 RB. Singh and P. Kumar
Table 2.4 Characteristics of agro-ecological zones
Character Zone I Zone II Zone III Zone IV
Ecology Low-hill Mid-hill High-hill High-hill
Subtropical Subtropical Temperate Temperate
Humid Wet Dry
Geographical 35 32 25 8
area (%)
Cropped 33 53 1 1 3
area (’70)
Irrigated 17 18 8 5
area (%)
Altitude Up to 914 915-1,523 1,524-2,472 2,47(¥70,000
(m asl)
Rainfall (cm) 100-150 150-300 100-200 20-50
Area Kangra. Kangra, Mandi, Kangra, Mandi. Sinnaur, Lahaul~Spiti.
(District) Hamirpur, Solan, Shimla, Shimla, Kullu, Bilaspur, Kinnaur,
Solztn, Sirmaur Chamba Chamba
Source: Agricultural Statistics at a Glance. Himuchal Pradesh (2001)
Different varieties of crops are being cultivated in the state. Among the cereals,
wheat, rice, maize, and barley are important. The state also produces pulses and
oilseeds. Cash crops are also becoming important, since fair amounts of potato,
ginger, tea, and peas come from the state. Fruits, dry fruits, and a variety of
vegetables are grown in the state. In addition, there is cultivation of medicinal
plants and herbs, which is also being promoted by the govemment. Cropping
intensity of the state is over 175 %.
2.8.2 Industry and Mineral Resources
Himachal Pradesh is primarily an agricultural state. Industrialization in the state is a
comparatively recent development. Due to the globalization and liberalization
policies in the last two or three decades, industrial development has started taking
shape. The state, as well as central government, policies of providing monetary and
fiscal benefits in the form of subsidies and incentives, further promoted private and
public sector organizations to establish their industries in the state. In addition,
better infrastructural facilities, in the form of ready-to-use plots, power, and better
connectivity to big markets, have played a crucial role in the industrial development
of the state.
The contribution of the secondary sector has grown significantly from INR 7,740
million in 1995-1996 to INR 19,200 million in 2001—2002. In terms of percentage,
the share of the manufacturing sector in the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP)
has increased from 12.18 % in 1995-1996 to 14.38 % in 1999-2000. The industrial

2 Geographic and Socio-Economic Realities of Himachal Pradesh, Northwestem. . . 25
activity is still dominated by small~scale industries which provide the bulk of
employment to the working population. In August, 2007, there were about 33,888
small units employing 161,408 people,and 369 large units employing 44.665
Spatially, industries are not evenly distributed in the state. The entire state is
industrially fairly underdeveloped, except for the southern periphery of the state.
The state can be classified into two categories. Firstly, there is the industrially
developed area, which includes the developed blocks of Paonta Sahib and Nahan in
Sirmaur, Nalagarh, Dharampur, and Solan districts. Secondly, there is the industri-
ally backward area, which covers the rest of the state. Most industries are concen~
trated in a belt spanning Paonta Sahib, Kala Amb, Parwanoo, Baddi, and Nalagarh.
This industrial belt has well-developed transport links and a prosperous agricultural
region. Other areas of industrial concentration are found close to the towns of
Solan, Mandi, Kullu, Shimla, and Kangra. At the district level, Solan district has the
largest number of medium and large-scale industrial units (Economic Survey 201 1).
Himachal Pradesh is endowed with several minerals like limestone, high grade
limestone, quartzite, gold, pyrites. copper, rock salt, natural oil and gas, mica, and
iron ore. Himachal Pradesh is the only state in India where rock salt is mined.
2.8.3 Tourism
Pilgrimage as well as adventure tourism has good potential in the state, on account
of the presence of many religious shrines and the large number of trekking routes.
Domestic as well as international tourist inflow has been increasing in the last three
decades because of various govemment initiatives to promote tourism in the state.
According to State Tourism Policy 2005, the state aims “to make tourism the prime
engine of economic growth by positioning the state as a leading global destination
by the year 2020”. To promote tourism in the state, the State Tourism department
created a new slogan, Himachal for all seasons and reasons, to further attract
Tourist arrival statistics indicate that there has been a steady increase in tourist
arrival to the state over the years. The total tourist traffic increased from only
1.94 million in 1990 to 13.26 million in 2010. Domestic tourists by far outnumbered
foreign tourists in the state. Statistics reveal that foreign tourist arrival, which was
only 0.019 million in 1990, gained slight momentum in year 2000 when it reached
0.11 million. Since year 2000, foreign tourist arrival has shown a steady increase
and touched 0.45 million in 2010. In December, 2010, there are 2,169 hotels having
bed capacity of 55,928 registered with the State Tourism department. The total
tourist traffic concentrates markedly on a few selected districts. The most prominent
tourist destinations are Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Dharamsala, Dalhousie, and Kasauli.

26 RB. Singh and P. Kumar
2.9 Conclusion
The lush green valleys of Himachal Pradesh and snow clad mountain peaks attract
tourists throughout the year. In northern mountains, surplus snowfall results into the
permafrost condition, and geologically unstable nature frequently poses threats to
the inhabitants of the region. Changes in temperature and rainfall in this area
result in multi-faceted, both negative and positive impacts on living organisms.
The natural endogenetic and exogenetic forces coupled with human-induced
climate change result in increased frequency, and magnitude of, multiple hazards
like GLOFs, avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, flash floods, etc. Therefore, for
sustainable development of this mountainous terrain, it is essential to study its
various characteristics in detail and formulate any plans according to demand.
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Q Sprmger
Livelihood Security in Northwestern Himalaya
Case Studies from Changing Socio-economic
Environments in Himachal Pradesh. India
Singh. R.B.: Hietala. R. (Eds.)
2014. VIII. 258 p. 54 illus., 27 illus. in co|or.. Hardcover
ISBN: 978-4-431-54867-6