Daily Hot Topic
Topic : Lack of Geo-conservation in India
GS-3 Mains  : Environment Conservation
Revision Notes


  • Despite international progress, India lacks a mechanism for geo-conservation.
  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has identified 34 geological monuments but cannot enforce preservation measures.

What is Geo-conservation?

  • Geo-conservation refers to efforts to preserve geological features, processes, and sites with scientific, cultural, educational, or aesthetic value.
  • Similar to biodiversity conservation, it protects geological diversity for future generations.

Need for Geo-conservation in India

  • Rich Geological Diversity: India’s geological formations, landscapes, and mineral resources require protection for scientific research, education, and understanding Earth’s history.
  • Cultural and Historical Significance: Geological sites like the Siwalik Hills fossil beds hold cultural and historical importance, preserving knowledge related to geology and India’s prehistoric past.
  • Natural Hazards Management: Understanding geological processes and landscapes helps manage natural hazards like earthquakes, landslides, and floods.
  • Tourism and Recreation: Unique landscapes, rock formations, caves, and mineral sites attract tourists interested in exploring India’s geological diversity.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Geo-conservation promotes responsible management of essential geological resources like groundwater and minerals for future generations.

Geo-heritage Sites

  • Geo-heritage sites are educational spaces promoting geological literacy.
  • The concept emerged in 1991 at a UNESCO event.
  • Many countries have established geo-heritage sites as national parks (Canada, China, Spain, US, UK). There are 169 Global Geoparks across 44 countries.
  • While a signatory, India lacks legislation or policy for geo-heritage conservation, unlike Thailand and Vietnam.

Government Attempts

  • In 2009, a Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha to create a National Commission for Heritage Sites.
  • The Bill aimed to implement UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention and create a national roster of heritage sites but was withdrawn for unknown reasons.
  • More recently, the Ministry of Mines drafted a Bill in 2022 for preservation and maintenance, but there are no updates.

Way Ahead

  • India needs to:
    • Create an inventory of all potential geo-sites beyond the 34 identified by GSI.
    • Frame geo-conservation legislation similar to the Biological Diversity Act (2002).
    • Establish a National Geo-Conservation Authority with independent observers, ensuring autonomy for researchers.

By conserving geological sites and resources, India can improve natural environment management and contribute to global environmental sustainability efforts.

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