IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


3rd August, 2023 Environment

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During the recent edition of Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted how the business of 'bhojpatra calligraphy' by the women of Mana village near Badrinath has taken off, helping them to improve the economy of the region.


About Bhojpatra(Himalayan Birch)

  • Found at a height of 3,000m or above, Himalayan Birch is a tree whose bark is used as a paper on which text can be written.
  • It is a deciduous tree native to the Western Himalayas, growing at elevations up to 4,500 m.
  • It forms a treeline in the Himalayan region because of high freezing tolerance potential.
  • The white, paper-like bark was used in ancient times for writing Sanskrit scriptures and texts.
  • It is still used as paper for the writing of sacred mantras, with the bark placed in an amulet and worn for protection.


  • Deforestation due to overuse of the tree has caused loss of habitat for many native groves of Bhojpatra.
  • Illegal and unregulated logging for the timber and paper industry.
  • Disease and pests outbreak can make the trees susceptible to other threats.

Conservation Efforts

  • The first high-altitude bhojpatra nursery was established in 1993 at Chirbasa, just above Gangotri, where many Hindus go on pilgrimage to the source of the sacred Ganges
  • Harshvanti Bisht, a Himalayan mountaineer, established the first nursery and continues to expand the reforestation of bhojpatra in the Gangotri area and inside Gangotri National Park.

About Mana village

  • Mana is a small village located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand in India. It is situated near the Indo-Tibetan border and is one of the many border villages in India.
  • Mana village was previously known as the Last Village of India due to its proximity to the Indo-Tibetan border, now known as the "First Indian Village".
  • Mana Village is also known for its proximity to the holy shrine of Badrinath, which is located about 3 km from the village.
  • The village is believed to be the birthplace of the Pandavas.


Bhojpatra offers significant economic benefits in various industries like art, handicrafts and pharmaceuticals, which contribute to local livelihoods generation and regional economies. Thus, efforts should be made for its conservation and ensure the long-term survival of Bhojpatra trees and protect their ecological significance.


Which of the following statements is correct regarding Bhojpatra (Betula utilis)?

1. Bhojpatra is a species of flowering plant commonly found in Southeast Asian Forests.

2.  The bark of Bhojpatra is traditionally used for writing purposes in some Himalayan regions.

3.  Bhojpatra is a rare species of marine fish found on the Eastern coast of the Indian Subcontinent.

4. It is a type of evergreen coniferous tree known for its large fruit.

Select the correct option:

a) 1 and 2

b) 2 only

c) 3 and 4

d) 2 and 4

Answer: b)