Major Industries in India - UPSC Notes

Major Industries in India – UPSC Notes – Indian Geography

An industry is a manufacturing unit that transforms raw materials into usable goods. (Goods can be classified as final goods or Capital goods.) This is termed the Secondary sector of the economy. The industry is at the heart of a country’s economy; it encompasses the manufacturing of goods, extraction of metals, and provision of services. All the products available for use in the market are finished products and are the result of some Industries.

These industries are established based on economic activities known as Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Quaternary, and Quinary activities.

  • Primary Activities:
    • Directly dependent on environments such as land, water, vegetation, building materials, and minerals.
    • Examples include hunting and gathering, pastoral activities, fishing, forestry, agriculture, and mining and quarrying.
    • Red-Collar job.
  • Secondary Activities:
    • Transforming raw materials into valuable/useful products.
    • Examples include manufacturing, processing, and construction (infrastructure) industries.
    • Blue-Collar job.
  • Tertiary Activities:
    • Sector/activity that provides services to end consumers and to the primary and secondary sectors.
    • Examples include transportation, health care, food service, retail sales, advertising, entertainment, tourism, banking, law, etc.
    • White-collar jobs.
  • Quaternary Activities:
    • Consists of intellectual activities often associated with technological innovation.
    • Activities include government, culture, libraries, scientific research, education, and information technology.
    • Drives technological advancement.
    • Sometimes called the knowledge economy.
  • Quinary Activities:
    • Subdivision of the quaternary sector.
    • Includes the highest levels of decision making in a society or economy.
    • Involves top executives or officials in fields such as government, science, universities, nonprofits, health care, culture, and media.
    • May also include police and fire departments.
    • Economists sometimes include domestic activities (duties performed in the home) in this sector.
    • Gold collar professions.

Footloose Industries

Footloose industries can be situated in a wide variety of places. They are not dependent on any specific raw material, weight losing, or otherwise. They produce in small quantity and also employ a small labour force.

These are generally not polluting industries. The important factor in their location is accessibility by road network.

Classification of Industries

An industry can be classified on the basis of raw material, size and ownership

  • Based on Raw Material:
    • Raw material: Material obtained from natural surroundings for use by industries.
    • Examples: Plant and animal-based products in food processing, vegetable oil, cotton textile, dairy, and leather products (agro-based industries).
    • Another type: Forest-based industry produces paper, pharmaceuticals, furniture, equipment, and buildings.
  • Based on Ownership:
    • Classification: Privately owned, cooperative, or state-owned.
    • Privately owned: Owned by an individual or group (e.g., Tata group).
    • State-owned/public sector: Owned and operated by the government (e.g., Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited).
    • Joint sector: Partnership between the state and an individual or group (e.g., Maharashtra Scooters Limited).
    • Cooperative sector: Formed to advance agriculture and related industries; facilitated by the state for producers, suppliers, and workers to own enterprises (e.g., Amul Dairy).
  • Based on Size:
    • Classification: Large-scale or small-scale.
    • Small-scale industry: Requires lesser capital and technology inputs.
    • Large-scale industry: Automated production, capital-and manpower-intensive, requires heavy investment in plant and machinery.

Factors responsible for location of Industries

  • Availability of Raw Material
  • Power Resources
  • Availability of water
  • Labour
  • Transportation
  • Availability of Market
  • Capital
  • Government Policies

According to a geographical theory, the location of an industry is largely influenced by the transportation cost of raw materials and finished products.

  • If an industry is a weight losing industry, i.e. the net weight of the product is less than the net weight of raw material, then the industry is located near the raw materials. Examples include the iron and steel industry, glass industry, etc.
  • If there is no loss or gain in the net weight of raw material and product, then the industry can be placed anywhere between raw material and market. Other factors become more important. Examples include cotton, leather, etc.
  • If an industry is a weight-gaining industry, i.e. the net weight of the final product increases, then the industry is located near the market. Examples include automobiles, heavy machinery, etc.

Industries are usually located in temperate areas, sea ports, and coal mines. When many industries are located close by, the place becomes known as an industrial region.

This is why governments provide incentives like subsidized power, low transport cost, and infrastructure to industries located in the backward regions of the country.

The three steps involved in an industrial cycle are: Input, Processes, and Output.

  • The first step involves putting together the inputs, like raw material, labour, cost of land, transport, power, and other infrastructure.
  • The second step is the process, which includes a wide range of activities that convert the raw material into finished goods like ginning, spinning, weaving, dyeing, and printing.
  • The final step is the finished product or the output that we use.

Major Industrial Regions of India

  • Mumbai-Pune Industrial Region
  • Hugli Industrial Region.
  • Bangalore-Tamil Nadu Industrial Region
  • Gujarat Industrial Region
  • Chotanagpur Industrial Region
  • Vishakhapatnam-Guntur Industrial Region
  • Gurgaon-Delhi-Meerut Industrial Region
  • Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram Industrial Region.
Major Industrial Regions of India

Minor Industrial Regions of India

  • Ambala-Amritsar in Haryana-Punjab.
  • Saharanpur-Muzaffamagar-Bijnaur in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Indore-Dewas-Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Jaipur-Ajmer in Rajasthan.
  • Kolhapur-South Kannada in Maharashtra-Karnataka.
  • Northern Malabar in Kerala.
  • Middle Malabar in Kerala.
  • Adilabad-Nizamabad in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Allahabad-Varanasi-Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Bhojpur-Munger in Bihar.
  • Durg-Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
  • Bilaspur-Korba in Chhattisgarh.
  • Brahmaputra Valley in Assam.
Minor Industrial Regions of India

World Industrial Regions

World Industrial Regions

Industrial Disasters

Industrial workers are sometimes required to work in a dangerous environment. Any lapse in the regular maintenance of technical equipment or irresponsible handling of hazardous material may lead to accidents. There are some risk reduction measures, which, if followed, can prevent large-scale disasters like:

  • Industrial areas should be on the outskirts of a city or town or located far away from residential areas.
  • People in the vicinity of the industrial area should be aware of the hazardous materials handled in these industries and their effects on humans in case of an accident.
  • Improvement in the fire warning systems, firefighting systems, and pollution dispersion qualities, and limiting toxic storage capacity within these industries will reduce the risk of a large-scale disaster considerably.

Major Industries in India

Cement Industry

India is the second largest producer of cement in the world.

  • As of July 2019, the production of cement stood at 28.08 million tonnes.
  • The cement production capacity is estimated to touch 550 MT by 2020.
  • Of the total capacity, 98 percent lies with the private sector and the rest with the public sector.
  • Of the total 210 large cement plants in India, 77 are located in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Cement production in India increased from 230.49 million tonnes in 2011-12 to 297.56 million tonnes in 2017-18.

Iron and Steel Industry

India was the world’s second-largest steel producer in 2018, second only to China. The growth in the Indian steel sector has been driven by the domestic availability of raw materials such as iron ore and cost-effective labour. Consequently, the steel sector has been a major contributor to India’s manufacturing output.

  • India’s crude steel production in 2018 was at 106.5 MT, up by 4.9 percent from 101.5 MT in 2017.
  • Indian steel industries are classified into three categories: major producers, main producers, and secondary producers.
  • The country is slated to surpass the USA to become the world’s second-largest steel consumer in 2019. In India, as per the Indian Steel Association (ISA), steel demand is projected to grow by over 7 percent in both 2019-20 and 2020-21.
  • In FY19, India produced 131.57 million tonnes (MT) and 106.56 MT of gross finished steel and crude steel, respectively.
  • Exports and imports of finished steel stood at 2.45 MT and 3.35 MT, respectively, in FY20P (up to August).
  • The Government has launched the National Steel Policy 2017 that aims to increase the per capita steel consumption to 160 kgs by 2030-31.
  • National Mineral Development Corporation is expected to invest US$ 1 billion in infrastructure in the next three years to boost iron production.
  • As per the Economic Survey 2018-19, steel production will touch 128.6 million tonnes by 2021.

Textiles Industry

India’s textiles sector is one of the oldest industries in the Indian economy dating back several centuries.

  • India’s overall textile exports during FY 2017-18 stood at US$ 39.2 billion and are expected to increase to US$ 82.00 billion by 2021 from US$ 31.65 billion in FY19.
  • The Indian textiles industry, currently estimated at around US$ 150 billion, is expected to reach US$ 250 billion by 2019.
  • India’s textiles industry contributed seven percent of the industry output (in value terms) of India in 2017-18.
  • It contributed two percent to the GDP of India and employs more than 45 million people in 2017-18.
  • The sector contributed 15 percent to the export earnings of India in 2017-18.
  • The Indian government has come up with a number of export promotion policies for the textiles sector. It has also allowed 100 percent FDI in the Indian textiles sector under the automatic route.
  • India is the world’s second-largest exporter of textiles and clothing.

Gems & Jewellery Industry

  • Market Size Projection: India’s gems & jewellery market size is expected to reach US$ 100 billion by 2025.
  • Significance in Indian Economy:
    • Contribution to GDP: The Gems and Jewellery sector plays a significant role in the Indian economy, contributing around 7 percent of the country’s GDP.
    • Export Contribution: It contributes 15 percent to India’s total merchandise exports.
  • Employment:
    • Current Employment: Employs over 4.64 million workers.
    • Expected Employment Growth: Expected to employ 8.23 million by 2022.
  • Growth and Characteristics:
    • Fastest-growing sector.
    • Export-oriented and labour-intensive.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI):
    • Policy: The Indian government presently allows 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector through the automatic route.
  • Global Contribution:
    • Global Jewellery Consumption: India’s gems and jewellery sector is one of the largest in the world, contributing 29 percent to global jewellery consumption.
    • Diamond Processing: India is the world’s largest center for cut and polished diamonds, exporting 75 percent of the world’s polished diamonds.
    • Market Share: Today, 14 out of 15 diamonds sold in the world are either polished or cut in India.

Sugar Industry

  • Raw Material: Sugarcane serves as the raw material for this industry.
  • Geographical Significance: Maharashtra is an important producer of sugarcane.
  • Co-operative Sector: In Maharashtra, both the cultivation of sugarcane and the sugar industry operate under the co-operative sector.
  • Global Position: India is one of the major sugar producers of the world.

Oil refining

  • Crude Oil Import: India imports crude oil from several West Asian countries.
  • Refineries: Numerous oil refineries are established across the country for refining crude oil.
  • Key Refineries: Notable refineries include Digboi in Assam (the oldest), along with facilities at Noonmati, Haldia, Bongaigaon, Barauni, Mathura, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai, Cochin, Mumbai, and Koyali (Vadodara).

Petrochemical Industry

  • Derived from crude petroleum, these industries provide raw materials for various new industries.
  • Categorization: Petrochemical industries encompass polymers, synthetic fibers, elastomers, and surfactant intermediate industries.

Petrochemical Industry Hub:

  • Location: Mumbai serves as the hub of the petrochemical industry.

Key Organizations:

  • Three organizations operate in the petrochemical sector under the administrative control of the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals:
    • Indian Petrochemical Corporation Limited (IPCL)
    • Petrofils Cooperative Limited (PCL)
    • Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology (CIPET).

National Organic Chemicals Industries Limited (NOCIL):

  • Established as a private sector entity in 1961.

Information Technology (IT)

The information technology industry specializes in the storage, processing, and distribution of information. Presently, this industry operates on a global scale, propelled by a combination of technological, political, and socio-economic factors. Key factors influencing the location of these industries include resource availability, cost, and infrastructure. Silicon Valley, California, and Bangalore, India serve as major hubs for the IT industry.

Cottage Industries

A cottage industry refers to a small-scale, decentralized manufacturing business typically operated from a home rather than a purpose-built facility. These industries are characterized by the limited investment needed to start and the size of the workforce employed. While they often focus on producing labor-intensive goods, they encounter challenges when competing with large-scale manufacturers that mass-produce goods in factories.

Key Characteristics:

  • Provide jobs to millions of people.
  • Prevent the migration of rural residents to urban areas.
  • Can be initiated with low investment.
  • Supplement the income of rural residents.
  • Utilize local raw materials, contributing to the optimal use of national resources.
  • Contribute significantly to foreign exchange earnings for the country.
  • Generate both seasonal and year-round employment opportunities for labor.
  • Play a vital role in the national economy.

Tea plantation Industry

Labour Availability:

  • Weeding, manure, pruning, and plucking are tedious tasks requiring skill and patience.
  • Cheap female labor force is essential, similar to sericulture.
  • Mechanization is not feasible for tea cultivation on hill slopes.
  • Skilled manpower is required for tasks such as drying, rolling, fermentation, grading, and packaging of tea.
  • Tea plantations are typically located near areas with high population density.

Raw Material:

  • Tea processing involves considerable weight loss from tea leaves to tea, hence processing is usually done on the estate/plantation itself.
  • Further blending/repacking may occur at break of the bulk locations, such as port cities like London.
  • Break of the bulk refers to the place where the mode of transportation changes (e.g., from waterway to railways).


  • Frost damages tea leaves, limiting tea cultivation beyond Northern China / Honshu.
  • Very long winters retard plant growth, reducing yield.


  • Tea plants do not tolerate stagnant water, necessitating cultivation on highlands or hill slopes.
  • Examples include the hills of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri (West Bengal), and Nilgiri (Tamil Nadu).

Coffee Plantation → Karnataka + Kerala (India)

RegionThe Western Ghats + Nilgiri Hills region
Suited for both Tea + coffee 
SoilRed soil  best suited
Hill areas of  No stagnant water 
TempCoffee is grown on the Northern and Eastern slopes of the Ghat (Because coffee hates direct sunlight)
Moderating effect of Lakshadweep sea
Temp stays ~25 throughout the year 
TransportVia Kochi port 
MarketKochi port to (mostly) Italy
Local demand in South India

Industrial Policy

The new Industrial Policy was implemented in 1991, encompassing three primary dimensions: liberalization, privatization, and globalization.

Under this policy, key measures include:

  • Abolition of industrial licensing
  • Free entry to foreign technology
  • Foreign investment policy
  • Access to capital market
  • Open trade
  • Abolition of phased manufacturing program
  • Liberalized industrial location program

Globalization entails integrating the economy of the country with the world economy.

Industrial Policy


ReportGiven ByIndia’s Position
Global Intellectual Property Index 2020Global Innovation Policy Center or GIPC of the US Chambers of CommerceIndia has slipped to 40th position in 2020 from the 36th position in 2019.
Ease of Doing Business, 2020World BankIndia was at 63rd position (2019) out of 190 countries. It improved 14 places from its 77th position in 2018. India maintains first position among South Asian countries. The index considers 10 parameters: 1. Starting a Business, 2. Dealing with Construction Permits, 3. Electricity Availability, 4. Property Registration, 5. Credit Availability, 6. Protecting Minority Investors, 7. Paying Taxes, 8. Trading Across Borders, 9. Contracts Enforcement, and 10. Resolving Insolvency. It ranks countries based on the Distance to Frontier (DTF) score highlighting the gap of an economy with respect to global best practice.
Industrial Development ReportUnited Nation’s Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
World Intellectual Property ReportWorld Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)Published every two years. India ranks 10th in the number of patents given according to the 2018 report.
Index of Economic FreedomHeritage Foundation & Wall Street JournalEconomic freedom is measured broadly on 4 pillars: Rule of Law, Government (fiscal health, tax burden), Regulatory Efficiency, and Open Markets.
Travel and Tourism Competitiveness IndexWorld Economic Forum (WEF)It measures the factors and policies that make a country a viable place to invest within the Travel and Tourism sector. India has secured 34th place in the Index.


During the Five Year Plans, India’s industries made significant progress. There was a rapid increase in industrial output, a substantial expansion in key sectors, and notable growth in mineral and energy resources.

FAQs on Major Industries in India

What are industrial clusters in India?

Industrial clusters in India refer to geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field or industry. These clusters often share common resources, technologies, and markets, leading to increased productivity and innovation.

What are the major industries in India?

India’s major industries include manufacturing, textiles, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, automotive, information technology (IT), telecommunications, biotechnology, renewable energy, and tourism.

Which industries contribute significantly to India’s economy?

Industries such as manufacturing, IT/software services, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, automotive, and textiles are major contributors to India’s GDP and employment generation.

What are the major industrial regions of India?

The major industrial regions of India are geographic areas characterized by the concentration of industrial activity and infrastructure. These regions play vital roles in the country’s economic development and include clusters of manufacturing, technology, and other industries.

Where are the primary industrial regions located in India?

The primary industrial regions in India include the Mumbai-Pune-Nashik region in Maharashtra, the Kolkata-Haldia region in West Bengal, the Delhi-NCR region encompassing Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, the Bengaluru-Chennai-Hyderabad region in South India, and the Ahmedabad-Vadodara-Surat region in Gujarat.

What factors contribute to the development of industrial regions in India?

Factors such as access to transportation networks, availability of raw materials and skilled labor, presence of supportive infrastructure (ports, airports, roads, etc.), government policies, and market demand influence the development of industrial regions in India.

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