Analysing the Physical, Demographic and Vulnerability Profile of Indian Coastal Zone


Ramakrishna NallathigaÕ

Knowledge Manager (Infrastructure & Environment), Centre for Good Governance, Dr MCR HRD Institute Campus, Hyderabad – 500 033 (A.P.), India



Indian coastal zone, comprised of the districts of various states, has widely varying physical and demographic characteristics.  It also has a varying risk profile with respect to the cyclonic storms that cross the coastline during monsoon period every year.  Vulnerability of the coastal zone depends upon both the risk arising from them and the exposure area characteristics i.e., physical and socio-economic characteristics of the coastal areas. In this paper, an attempt is made to depict the vulnerability profile of Indian coastal zone in terms of exposure area characteristics and the storm risk profile.  Here, the physical characteristics of the coastal zone are captured in the form of coastal insularity, the profile of which is relatively less known.  Further, population density and the concentration of population in coastal cities represent its socio-economic characteristics.  An attempt has also been made to establish statistical relationship between coastal insularity and other variables like population density and agriculture production and it has been found that both of them increase with increasing insularity i.e., greater the stretch of coastline, more it attracts population; while also resulting in more economic activities, thereby increasing their vulnerability.  However, the coarse vulnerability of the coast, crudely defined as a product of population density and coastal insularity, has shown an irregular variation across the coast, with the South-Western part being more vulnerable than other parts of the Indian coast.

Keywords: Coastal Zone, Demographics, Insularity and Vulnerability, Socio-economic Statistics

Õ This paper was presented at the Ninth Biennial International Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) on “Ecological Sustainability and Human Wellbeing” held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on December 16-18, 2006.