Major and Minor Industrial Regions of India - UPSC Notes

Major and Minor Industrial Regions of India – UPSC Notes – Indian Geography

Industrial Regions form when a group of industries cluster together and enjoy the benefits of their proximity. They prefer to focus on specific places due to favorable geographic characteristics. Industrial zones are frequently built around a natural resource, such as coal or iron ore, or a water supply. It is generally well served by transportation arteries, such as rail, and may not be homogeneous, that is, there may be numerous unrelated types of production in the same region. This article will explain to you the Industrial Regions of India which will be helpful in Geography preparation for the UPSC Civil service exam.

Industrial Regions – Concept

  • Industrial regions: Locations where industries consolidate due to advantageous geoeconomic circumstances.
  • Manufacturing activity: Carried out on a huge scale and employs a substantial part of the population.
  • Built around natural resources: Such as coal, iron ore, or water supply.
  • Well served by transportation arteries: Such as rail.
  • May not be homogeneous: Various unrelated types of production can coexist.
  • Diverse sectors: Steel manufacturing, electricity generation, primary food processing, and service sectors like education.
  • Labor demand: Large places require more labor, leading to nearby residential areas or mixed land use.
  • Empirical delineation: Geographers attempt to define industrial areas based on different criteria.
  • Industry clustering: Occurs when industries group together to benefit from proximity.
  • Focus on specific places: Due to favorable geographic characteristics.
  • Indices for detection:
    • Number of industrial units
    • Total industrial employees
    • Population engaged in secondary activities
    • Proportion of industrial employees to total workforce
    • Power utilization for industrial purposes
    • Total industrial production (Gross industrial output)
  • Value addition: Manufacturing adds value to raw materials.
Locational factors of Industries

Industrial Regions – India

Industrial areas form when a group of industries cluster together and enjoy the benefits of their proximity. They prefer to focus on specific places due to favorable geographic characteristics. When a collection of industries cluster together and profit from their closeness, industrial areas arise. Because of favorable geographic attributes, they choose to concentrate on certain locations:

  • Mumbai-Pune region
  • Bangalore-Tamil Nadu region
  • Hugli region
  • Ahmedabad-Baroda region
  • Chota Nagpur industrial region
  • Vishakhapatnam-Guntur region
  • Gurgaon-Delhi-Meerut region
  • Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram industrial region.

Industrial Regions can be classified into two types:

  1. Major Industrial Regions
  2. Minor Industrial Regions
Industrial Regions - India

Major Industrial Regions

The Mumbai-Pune Industrial Region

This is the country’s major industrial area. The region grew following the entrance of the British in India, who built the Mumbai harbor. The sea route between India and Europe was significantly restricted once the Suez Canal opened in 1869. The history of the cotton textile industry in India is intertwined with the growth of this industrial region.

The humid environment, natural port facilities, availability of hydro-power, skilled labor, and a wide cotton-producing hinterland all played important roles in the development of this industrial region. Only in Greater Mumbai are around 8000 registered factories, 350 of which are cotton textile companies. The region’s other industries include engineering products, chemical industries, food processing industries, leather goods, pharmaceutical industries, and film industries.

The majority of the output in Mumbai is light-textured, fine, and ultra-fine cotton fabrics. This region’s industrial sector employs around 15 lakh people. Pune is the region’s second most important industrial center. It is home to about 1200 registered industries. Its industries manufacture metallurgical, chemical, engineering, and automotive products. Pune has two plants that manufacture scooters and mopeds. This industrial zone has nearly reached saturation. Among the major issues confronting this industrial zone are:

  • Inadequate power supply
  • Outdated and obsolete machinery
  • Expensive land and commercial space
  • Unrest in the workplace
  • Growing regionalism
  • High crime rate
  • Increasing pollution in the environment

The division of the nation in 1947 had a negative impact on this region since Pakistan received 81 percent of the entire irrigated cotton acreage cultivating long-staple cotton. Mumbai, the industrial region’s hub, is now constrained by a lack of available area for industry growth. Decongestion can only be achieved by the dispersal of industries

Bangalore Tamil Nadu region

  • Major industrial hub: Spans Tamil Nadu and southern sections of Karnataka.
  • Significant growth: Achieved post-independence.
  • Cotton-producing region: Mainly focuses on cotton production.
  • Contributing factors to growth:
    • Favorable environment
    • Disciplined skilled and unskilled labor
    • Consistent electricity supply from Mettur, Papanasam, Pykara, Savitri, and Sivasamudram
    • Proximity to Chennai, Kochi, Mangalore, and Tuticorin seaports
  • Workforce distribution:
    • Textile sector: 60%
    • Engineering: 18%
    • Food processing: 12%
  • Loom business growth: Particularly noticeable alongside cotton mills.
  • Industrial monuments in the region:
    • HAL aircraft
    • Machine tools
    • HTL telephones
    • Bharat Electronics
  • Key industries:
    • Textiles
    • Rail wagons
    • Diesel engines
    • Radio
    • Light engineering products
    • Rubber goods
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Aluminum
    • Sugar
    • Cement
    • Glass
    • Paper
    • Chemicals
    • Film
    • Cigarettes
    • Matchbox
    • Leather goods
  • Recent projects:
    • Petroleum refinery near Chennai
    • Iron and steel mill in Salem
    • Fertilizer factories

Hugli region

The Kolkata-Hugli industrial zone is situated along the banks of the Hugli River. Industries have also emerged in the western region of Midnapur. The Hugli River provided an ideal location for the establishment of an inland river port, serving as the nucleus for the development of the Hugli industrial zone.

The rapid rise of this industrial region can be attributed to several key factors:

  • Availability of Agro-Raw materials (jute, indigo, and tea)
  • Proximity to coal mines (Raniganj and Jharia)
  • Abundance of water
  • Cheap labor
  • Export facilities

Moreover, Kolkata served as the capital of British India from 1773 to 1911, attracting numerous businessmen to establish their ventures in the city.

This belt specializes in the manufacture of various products, including:

  • Jute
  • Silk
  • Cotton textiles
  • Engineering products
  • Electrical goods
  • Automobiles
  • Chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Transport equipment
  • Leather footwear
  • Iron and steel
  • Food processing
  • Light machinery
  • Locomotives
  • Spare parts

Important industrial cities and towns in this region include Naihati, Bhatpara, Shamnagar, Krishnanagar, Serampore, Titagarh, Rishra, Kolkata, Haora, and Budge.

Primary issues confronting this industrial region include:

  • Traffic bottlenecks and space constraints
  • Shortage of drinking water, sanitation, and infrastructure
  • Silting of the Hugli river causing problems for Kolkata port
  • Outdated machinery
  • Political turmoil and the Naxalites’ movement
  • Lockouts and strikes
  • Power supply failures

To address these challenges, the West Bengal government is pursuing a liberalization agenda and inviting both domestic and global investors to invest in the region. Some progress has been made in recent years in addressing these issues.

Ahmedabad Baroda region

This is the country’s third-largest industrial region. The abundance of cotton in the hinterland, inexpensive land, cheap skilled and unskilled labor, port facilities, and proximity to petroleum, thermal, hydel (Ukai project), and nuclear power stations are the key reasons for the growth of this industrial region (Kakrapara).

In this region, there are about 11,000 registered industries employing over 15 lakh people. It is the country’s second-largest cotton textile industry center. It also specializes in the chemical and technical sectors, as well as medicinal items. Vadodara is a major producer of woolen textiles and petrochemical products. Surat is famous for its silk textiles and diamond cutting. Anand, Ankleshwar, Bhavanagar, Bharuch, Godhra, Jamnagar, Kalol, Kheda, Rajkot, and Surendranagar are also prominent industrial centers in this region.

Water scarcity and a lack of high-quality cotton are two of the region’s major issues. Communal tensions have hampered investment in this region’s industry in recent years.

Chota Nagpur Industrial Region

  • Industrial zone: Encompasses Jharkhand, Odisha, Southern Bihar, and western West Bengal.
  • Nicknamed “Ruhr of India”: Due to high concentration in the iron and steel industry.
  • Abundant resources: Fossil fuels, metallic, and nonmetallic materials. Damodar Valley Corporation provides electricity.
  • Inexpensive labor source: States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
  • Primary production hubs:
    • Asansol
    • Bokaro
    • Burnpur
    • Durgapur
    • Kulti
    • Jamshedpur
    • Rourkela
  • Other key industrial centers:
    • Sindri for fertilizer
    • Chittranjan for locomotives
    • Ranchi for HMT
    • Ramgarh and Bhurkunda for glass
  • Power supply: Thermal and hydroelectric projects in the Damodar Valley.
  • Labor supply: Neighboring densely populated regions.
  • Primary concerns:
    • Lack of power
    • Political upheaval, including issues with Naxalites
  • Investor hesitation: Due to labor upheaval.

Vishakhapatnam Guntur Region

This industrial zone extends from Visakhapatnam to Kurnool and Prakasam in the south. The region’s industrial growth relies on the ports of Visakhapatnam and Machilipatnam, as well as the developed agriculture and mineral deposits in their hinterlands. The Godavari basin coalfields supply energy. Vishakhapatnam’s shipbuilding industry commenced in 1941. The establishment of petroleum refineries based on imported petroleum facilitated the expansion of various petrochemical businesses.

The main industries in this region encompass sugar, textile, jute, paper, fertilizer, cement, aluminum, and light engineering. Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Vijaynagar, Rajahmundry, Guntur, Eluru, and Kurnool stand as important industrial centers.

Gurgaon Delhi Meerut region

This location is remote from mineral and energy resources, and the industries are small and market-focused. The region’s main industries include electronics, light engineering, and electrical items. There are also large-scale enterprises in cotton, woolen, and synthetic textiles, hosiery, sugar, cement, machine tools, tractors, bikes, agricultural equipment, chemicals, and vanaspati. The software sector is a relatively new addition to the industry.

The Agra-Mathura industrial sector, specializing in glass and leather items, is located to the south. Mathura hosts a petrochemical complex due to its oil refinery.

Gurgaon, Delhi, Shahdara, Faridabad, Meerut, Modinagar, Ghaziabad, Ambala, Agra, and Mathura are just a few of the industrial cities in this region.

Primary issues in this location include expensive land prices, transportation congestion, and a high crime rate.

Kollam Thiruvananthapuram Industrial region

This industrial zone encompasses the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alwaye, Ernakulam, and Alappuzha. The region’s industrial foundation is based on plantation agriculture and hydropower. Agricultural goods processing and market-oriented light industries prevail in this region, which is located distant from the country’s mineral belt. Cotton textiles, sugar, rubber, matchboxes, glass, chemical fertilizers, and fish-based businesses are among the most significant. The industries of food processing, paper, coconut coir products, aluminum, and cement are all important. Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Alwaye, Kochi, Alappuzha, and Punalur are important industrial centers.

Minor Industrial Regions

Kanpur-Lucknow Industrial Region – Produces cotton, woolen, and jute textiles, leather products, fertilizers, chemicals, medications, pharmaceuticals, electric goods, and light machinery.

Assam Valley Industrial Zone – Features petrochemical, jute, and silk textiles, tea processing, paper, plywood, match, and food processing industries. Bongaigaon, Dibrugarh, Digboi, Guwahati, Noonmati, and Tipsukia are important industrial centers.

Darjeeling-Siliguri Industrial Region – Renowned for its tea processing industry and tourism.

North Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh Industrial Region – Main industries include sugar, cement, glass, jute, fertilizers, locomotives, paper, and food processing. Allahabad, Dalmianagar (Bihar), Gorakhpur, Patna, Sultanpur, and Varanasi are important industrial centers.

Indore-Ujjain Industrial Region – Specializes in cotton textiles, chemicals, medicines, electrical and technical items, and food processing.

Amritsar Jalandhar-Ludhiana Industrial Region – Produces sports products, cotton and woolen textiles, hosiery, food, and tourism.

Nagpur-Wardha Industrial Region – Key sectors include textiles, engineering, chemicals, and food processing.

Godavari-Krishna Delta – Industries encompass iron and steel, shipbuilding, fertilizer, rice milling, cotton textiles, sugar, fish processing, engineering, and chemicals. Guntur, Machilipatnam, Rajahmundry, and Visakhapatnam are main industrial centers.

Dharwad-Belgaum Industrial Region – Focuses on cotton textiles, chemicals, spice packing, and food processing.

Kerala Coast Industrial Region – Engages in coconut oil extraction, rice milling, fish packaging, paper, coir matting, shipbuilding (Kochi), petroleum refining (Kochi), and chemical and electronic goods.


India is partitioned into eight major industrial areas. These locations boast advantageous geoeconomic foundations, leading to a higher concentration of industries. They typically house large-scale manufacturing units, providing employment to a significant portion of the population. Industry location is often dictated by the proximity of raw materials and market availability. Raw materials are categorized as either Gross raw materials, which undergo a substantial weight loss during manufacturing, or Pure raw materials, which maintain their weight throughout the process.

FAQs on Major and Minor Industrial Regions of India

Question: What indices are used to detect industry clustering?

Answer: Various indices are employed to identify industry clustering. Some prominent ones include:

  • Number of industrial units
  • Total number of industrial employees
  • Population engaged in secondary activities
  • Proportion of industrial employees to the total workforce
  • Power utilization for industrial purposes
  • Total industrial production (Gross industrial output)
  • Manufacturing value added

Question: Explain the significance of the Mumbai-Pune Industrial Region?

Answer: The Mumbai-Pune Industrial Region holds immense significance due to its strategic location, well-developed infrastructure, and diversified industrial base. It serves as a major economic powerhouse in India, contributing significantly to the nation’s GDP. This region is renowned for its manufacturing prowess, particularly in sectors such as automotive, engineering, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, its proximity to major ports facilitates seamless import and export activities, further boosting its economic importance.

Question: What do you mean by Industrial regions?

Answer: Industrial regions are geographical areas characterized by a concentration of industrial activities and establishments. These regions typically exhibit a clustering of industries, facilitated by factors such as the availability of raw materials, skilled labor force, transportation networks, and market access. Industrial regions play a crucial role in driving economic growth and development by fostering innovation, generating employment opportunities, and stimulating local economies. They are essential components of a country’s industrial landscape, contributing significantly to its industrial output and competitiveness on the global stage.


Analyse the factors for the highly decentralized cotton textile industry in India. [UPSC 2013]

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