The Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is known throughout the country as 'Kalapani' because of their having been a penal settlement under the British Rule. The islands lie in a long and narrow broken chain, approximately north-south sprawling like an arc. Andaman group of islands and the Nicobar group of islands, have entirely different population and problems. The dreaded 10o channel, which is about 145 km wide and 400 fathoms deep, separates the two groups.
This territory comprises islands some of which are large such as North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Baratang, Little Andaman in the Andaman group and Car Nicobar. Situated in the Bay of Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar islands constitute one of the most important union territories. This is a group of big and small picturesque islands forming a narrow broken chain in the form of a north-south arc and are situated at 16oN and 14oN latitude and 92oE and 94oE longitude. Geologically the islands appear to have been part of the land mass of South east Asia comprising North East India, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The climate of the islands is generally described as tropical and warm but the temperature is pleasant by sea breeze. The islands are exposed to both the monsoons and to north-easterly gale from November to December and south-westerly gale from May to October. The weather is calm only from January to April and to some extend in October. The average annual rainfall is 318cms. Rough weather prevails at the beginning of south-west monsoon and at the change of monsoon. The average temperature ranges between 22.5o and 29.9o.
This territory consists of two distinct groups of islands-Andaman and Nicobar. There are more than 3000 islands, islets and rocks in the archipelago while only about 300 of them are of appreciable size. Of these only 39 islands are inhabited. The northern most point is Landfall island which is 901 kms away from the mouth of Hoogly River and about 190kms from Burma. The southern-most island is Great Nicobar, the southern-most tip of which Pygmalian Point now Indira Point is about 150 kms away from Sumatra (Indonesia).
The terrain is generally mountainous with long ranges of hills enclosing narrow valleys. The configuration of the land clearly points to these islands being the visible ridges and summits of sunken ranges of mountains, Saddle Peak in North Andaman at a height of 732 metres above sea level is the highest point in these islands. There are no great elevations and the slopes are moderate to steep and rugged. They are susceptible to heavy soil erosion. Flat lands are comparatively scarce. The villages in Betapur and Diglipur constitute the main flat lands in the Andaman group.
The islands in the Nicobar group are surrounded by coral reef and shallow seas. Long narrow stretches of sandy beaches are a salient feature of the topography here. Car Nicobar and Katchal are almost flat while the others have hilly terrain. In Little Nicobar and Great Nicobar in the Nicobar group, the land surface is very irregular, cut up by steep hills and valleys.
The original inhabitants of the islands lived in the forests on hunting and fishing . There are four Negrito tribes, viz., the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinalese in the Andaman group of islands and two Mongoloid Sentinalese are still hostile. They are still keeping a separate entity and have not yet learnt the concept of covering their bodies.
The modern history of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands begins with the establishment of a settlement by East India Company in 1789. However, in 1796 this settlement was abandoned. Following the first war of Indian Independence in 1857, the British India Government founded the penal settlement in these islands in 1858, primarily known as Kalapani, for the deportation of freedom fighters from the mainland India, which continued till the second World War. During the Second World War, the Japanese forces occupied the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1942. Further following the surrender of the Japanese forces in the Second World War, the British India Government reoccupied these islands in 1945 and continued their administration till the Independence of the country in 1947.
The state of Andaman & Nicobar Islands has an area of 8249 sq. km. and a population of 0.37 million. There are 4 districts, 7 blocks and 547 villages. The State has population density of 43 per sq. km (as against the national average of 312). The decadal growth rate of the state is 26.90% (against 21.54% for the country) and the population of the state continues to grow at a much faster rate than the national rate.
The Total Fertility Rate of the State is NA. The Infant Mortality Rate is 24 and Maternal Mortality Ratio is NA (SRS Report 2010-12). The Sex Ratio in the State is 878 (as compared to 940 for the country). Comparative figures of major health and demographic indicators are as follows :
Demographic, Socio-economic and Health profile of Andaman & Nicobar Islands State as compared to India figures
|Indicator||Andaman & Nicobar Islands||India|
|Total population (in crore) (Census 2011)
|Decadal Growth (%) (Census 2011)
|Crude Birth Rate ( SRS 2013)
|Crude Death Rate ( SRS 2013)
|Natural Growth Rate (SRS 2013)
|Infant Mortality Rate (SRS 2013)
|Maternal Mortality Ratio (SRS 2010-12)
|Total Fertility Rate (SRS 2012)
|Sex Ratio (Census 2011)
|Child Sex Ratio (Census 2011)
|Schedule Caste population (In crore) (Census 2001)
|Schedule Tribe population (In crore) (Census 2001)
|Total Literacy Rate (%) (Census 2011)
|Male Literacy Rate (%) (Census 2011)
|Female Literacy Rate (%) (Census 2011)
Health Infrastructure of Andaman & Nicobar Islands
|Primary Health Centre
|Community Health Centre
|Health worker (Female)/ANM at Sub Centres & PHCs
|Health Worker (Male) at Sub Centres
|Health Assistant (Female)/LHV at PHCs
|Health Assistant (Male) at PHCs
|Doctor at PHCs
|Obstetricians & Gynecologists at CHCs
|Pediatricians at CHCs
|Total specialists at CHCs
|Radiographers at CHCs
|Pharmacist at PHCs & CHCs
|Laboratory Technicians at PHCs & CHCs
|Nursing Staff at PHCs & CHCs
(Source: RHS Bulletin, March 2011, M/O Health & F.W., GOI)