Ramsar Sites in India: 54 Sites, New Sites, Wetlands in India

By Durga Prashanna Mishra|Updated : July 27th, 2022

Ramsar Sites are wetlands or comparable sites of international significance. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has tight criteria in place to safeguard these wetlands. Wetlands are locations where water plays a major role in regulating the environment and the plant and animal life that it supports. They are found where the water table is at or near the land's surface, or where it's submerged.

Ramsar Sites in India are an essential topic that comes under the environment and ecology section of the UPSC Syllabus. Candidates can go through this article to gather in-depth information on Ramsar Sites in India.

Table of Content

What are Ramsar Sites?

A Ramsar Site is a wetland site voted to be of worldwide significance under the Ramsar Convention, which is also known as The Convention on Wetlands. An intergovernmental environmental treaty is related to the conservation of wetlands and prudent sustainable use of the resources.

This treaty was signed at Ramsar, a city in Iran. All this is done through local and national actions and international cooperation throughout the world. The different countries and NGOs started the negotiations in the 1960s that got signed in 1971 and finally came into force in 1975.

Latest News on Ramsar Sites

  • Five more Indian wetlands get the international tag of Ramsar sites namely- Karikili Bird Sanctuary, Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest, Pichavaram Mangrove, Pala wetland, Sakhya Sagar. The total Ramsar Sites in India now is 54.
  • Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary- Uttar Pradesh and Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary- Gujarat was announced as Ramsar sites on 2nd January 2022 on world Wetland day 2022.
  • In August 2021 there are four new sites have been added to the list of Ramsar Sites in India Namely, Sultanpur National Park - Haryana, Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary - Haryana, Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary - Gujarat, Wadhvana Wetland - Gujarat.
  • Haiderpur Wetland has been added as the 47th Ramser Site in India in December 2021.
  • 2 February 2021 was the 50th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention.

>> Download Ramsar Sites in India Notes PDF

Introduction to Ramsar Sites in India

The convention works on three pillars that define the purpose of the Ramsar Convention:

  1. To work towards the wise use of all wetlands.
  2. Designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance and ensure their effective management.
  3. Cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems, and shared species.

Below we have given information on the number of Ramsar Sites in every state of India.

State/UT

No. of Ramsar Sites

State/UT

No. of Ramsar Sites

Uttar Pradesh

10

Union Territory of Ladakh

2

Haryana

2

Manipur

1

Tamil Nadu

4

Odisha

2

Tripura

1

Rajasthan

2

Bihar

1

West Bengal

2

Himachal Pradesh

3

Assam

1

Punjab

6

Bihar

1

Gujarat

4

Uttarakhand

1

Kerala

3

Madhya Pradesh

2

Union Territory of J&K

3

Andhra Pradesh

1

Maharashtra

2

Mizoram

1

History of Ramsar Sites in India

It is an intergovernmental environmental treaty related to conserving wetlands and prudent sustainable use of the resources. This treaty was signed at Ramsar, a city in Iran.

  • All this is done through local and national actions and international cooperation worldwide. The different countries and NGOs started the negotiations in the 1960s, signed in 1971 and finally came into force in 1975.
  • Ramsar Sites in India are declared under the Ramsar Convention, established by UNESCO in 1971. If a site happens to meet any one of the nine criteria set under the Convention of Wetland, then it is declared a Ramsar Wetland Site in India

Features of Ramsar Sites in India

The Ramsar Convention believes in putting a stop to the universal loss of wetlands and preserving them through judicious use and administration of those that remain. International cooperation, policy-making, capacity building, and technology transfer are behind all this.

  • The insertion of a Ramsar Site in the List symbolizes the government's assurance to take the steps required to ensure that its environmental temperament is sustained.
  • There are nine criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance, especially those providing waterfowl habitat.

Significance of Ramsar Sites in India

The Ramsar Convention is unique in that it remains the only global convention the objective of which is to protect and conserve a particular type of ecosystem and the plant as well as animal life (in particular waterfowl), all needing support.

  • The mission of the Ramsar Convention is the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional, and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution toward achieving sustainable development throughout the world.
  • Ramsar Convention has two-fold objectives, viz. Preservation and sustainable use of wetlands; and brings to a standstill the intrusion and loss of wetlands. It is not a legally binding treaty and is not a part of UN & UNESCO conventions.

Limitations of Ramsar Sites in India

The major defect of this convention is that it is not a strong, strict, and rigid convention with built-in science. It is a kind of 'paper tiger' where everything is left to the government to take care of, without questioning their decision anyways.

It is left entirely up to the government to provide the information, and then the Ramsar accepts whatever it is handed. The government must protect it and ensure that there is proper policing.

List of Ramsar Sites in India

Ramsar Convention was signed with the aim of making wise use of the wetlands with national, international, and also local corporations for sustainable development of the overall world. There are a total of 54 Ramsar Sites in India which is the highest in South Asia.

Ramsar Sites in India

State - Location

Vembanad Kol Wetland

Kerala

Wular lake

Jammu & Kashmir

Sunderban Wetland

West Bengal

Asan Barrage

Uttarakhand

Kanwar Lake or Kabal Taal

Bihar

Sandi Bird Sanctuary

Uttar Pradesh

Sarsai Nawar Jheel

Uttar Pradesh

Sasthamkotta lake

Kerala

Surinsar- Mansar lakes

Jammu & Kashmir

Tsomoriri

Ladakh

Lonar Lake

Maharashtra

Sur Sarovar

Uttar Pradesh

Tso Kar Wetland Complex

Ladakh

Beas Conservation Reserve

Punjab

Bhitarkanika Mangroves

Odisha

Upper Ganga river

Uttar Pradesh

Hokera Wetland

Jammu & Kashmir

Kanjli Wetland

Punjab

Keoladeo National Park

Rajasthan

Keshopur-Miani Community Reserve

Punjab

Kolleru lake

Andhra Pradesh

Loktak lake

Manipur

Ropar Wetland

Punjab

Rudrasagar Lake

Tripura

Saman Bird Sanctuary

Uttar Pradesh

Samaspur Bird Sanctuary

Uttar Pradesh

Parvati Agra Bird Sanctuary

Uttar Pradesh

Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary

Tamil Nadu

Pong Dam lake

Himachal Pradesh

Renuka lake

Himachal Pradesh

Nalsarovar Bird sanctuary

Gujarat

Nandur Madhameshwar

Maharashtra

Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary

Punjab

Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary

Uttar Pradesh

Sambhar lake

Rajasthan

Bhoj Wetlands

Madhya Pradesh

Chandra Taal

Himachal Pradesh

Chilika Lake

Odisha

Deepor Beel

Assam

East Kolkata Wetlands

West Bengal

Harike Wetlands

Punjab

Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary

Haryana

Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary

Gujarat

Wadhvana Wetland

Gujarat

Ashtamudi Wetland

Kerala

Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary

Gujarat

Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary

Uttar Pradesh

Haiderpur Wetland

Uttar Pradesh

Sultanpur National Park

Haryana

Karikili Bird Sanctuary

Tamil Nadu

Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve ForestTamil Nadu
Pichavaram MangroveTamil Nadu
Pala wetlandMizoram
Sakhya SagarMadhya Pradesh

Ramsar Sites in India UPSC

Ramsar Sites in India are an important topic from environment and ecology that helps in answering questions on environmental concerns, actions, issues, etc. The knowledge about the same along with the methods to conserve by the government can be learned by referring to Geography Book for UPSC as well as NCERT Books for UPSC. One can download these books to study for the exams and make their mark.

Candidates should read the relevant facts and the list about the Ramsar sites and the Ramsar convention for UPSC Exam preparation. Objective-type questions based on the Ramsar Sites can be included in the UPSC Prelims Question Paper.

>> Download Ramsar Sites in India UPSC Notes PDF

Ramsar Sites in India UPSC Question

Prelims 2019 Question - Consider the following statements:

  1. Under Ramsar Convention, it is mandatory on the part of the Government of India to protect and conserve all the wetlands in the Indian territory.
  2. The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 were framed by the Government of India based on the recommendation of the Ramsar Convention.
  3. The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 also encompass the drainage area or catchment regions of the wetlands as determined by the authority.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Answer - C

Other Important UPSC Notes
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Quit India MovementOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Inner Line PermitRight to Information Act

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FAQs on Ramsar Sites in India

  • Ramsar Sites are any wetland site that has been listed under the Ramsar Convention.

  • The Ramsar Convention is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.

  • Chilika Lake in Odisha and Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan were the two first Ramsar Sites in India.

  • Currently, India has a total of 54 Ramsar Sites.

  • Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat and Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh have been named the two new Ramsar sites. The Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav made this announcement on World Wetlands Day 2022.

  • Sundarbans is the largest Ramsar Site in India.

  • The smallest Ramsar Site in India is located in Himachal Pradesh and goes by the name of Renuka Wetland (0.2 km square).

  • The first or the oldest Ramsar Sites in India have been recognized as Chilka Lake (Orissa) and Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan).

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