Class 10 Geography

Lifelines of National Economy: Seaports, Airways and Communication

Coastline of India

With a long coastline of 7,516.6 km, India is dotted with 13 major and 187 medium and minor ports, which make up for the total 200 ports. These major ports handle 74% of cargo and 95% of India’s foreign trade.

Major Sea Ports

Kandla Port: It was the first port developed just after independence to ease the load on Mumbai port. The load on Mumbai port had increased because Karachi port went to Pakistan after partition. Kandla is a tidal port. This port caters to the highly productive granary and industrial belt stretching from north to west India.

Mumbai Port: It 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.


Air transport is faster than any other means of transport. It is highly convenient for long distance travel. India is the 3rd largest civil aviation market in the world (2017). The air transport in India carried 131 million passengers in 2016. Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir are some major airlines in the country. The regulatory authority for air transport is named DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation). Indira Gandhi International Airport (New Delhi) is the busiest airport in the country.


The government has recently announced the UDAN-RCS initiative. UDAN stands for Ude Desh Ke Aam Naagrik, while RCS stands for Regional Connectivity Scheme. This scheme has been launched to connect smaller towns with air transport network. Moreover, this plan also aims at providing affordable air tickets to the common people.


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.


India has one of the largest telephone networks in the world. India is the 2nd largest telephone market in the world in terms of number of subscribers. In 2019, there were 1.1724 billion telephone subscribers in India. India has the 2nd largest internet user base and the figure is 661.94 million. There are 121 crore mobile phones being used in India. (Data in 2019)

Before mobile phone became part of our everyday life, people used to rely on landline telephones. In those days, it was difficult to get connected through telephone. So, the government introduced STD (Subscriber Trunk Dialling) facility. This helped in connecting the remotest part of the country with telephone. Now, STD booths have become a thing of history.

Mobile phones have changed the way people communicate. Penetration of mobile phone has helped every section of society in business transaction. The arrival of smartphones further opened the unlimited opportunities for facilitating business interaction.

Mass Comunication

Radio, television, newspapers, magazines, books and films are the modes of mass communication. All India Radio (Akashwani) and Doordarshan (Television Network) are owned by the government and they have reach to every nook and corner of the country. DTH (Direct To Home) facility has helped in proliferation of private television channels to most of the parts of the country.

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. Hindi newspapers are being published in the largest numbers, followed by English and Urdu newspapers.

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 higher than export then this is a situation of unfavorable balance of payment.

Export (2010-11

CommoditiesShare in Exports
Agriculture and allied products9.9%
Ores and minerals4%
Gems and jewelry14.7%
Petroleum products16.8%

Major Imports to India (2010-11

CommoditiesShare in Imports
Petroleum and petroleum products28.6%
Pearls and precious stones9.4%
Inorganic chemicals5.2%
Coke, coal, briquettes2.7%

Bulk imports as a group registered a growth accounting for 28.2 per cent of total imports. This group includes fertilizers (3.4 per cent), cereals (14.3 per cent), edible oils (17.4 per cent) and newsprint (40.3 per cent).

There had been dramatic changes in international trade in the last two decades. Commodities and goods are being replaced by information and knowledge; as items of exchange.

Tourism as a Trade

Tourism in 2011
Foreign tourists' arrival+23.5%
Foreign Exchange64889 crore rupees
No. of foreign tourists5.78 million
No. of people directly employed in tourism15 million

Tourism helps in promoting national integration. It supports local handicrafts and culture. Tourism helps in understanding culture and heritage. This helps in developing a sense of cross-cultural sensibilities.