Coastal Vulnerability Index

Context: Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has carried out coastal vulnerability assessment for entire Indian coast at states level to prepare a Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI).

Coastal Ecosystem

  • The highly productive coastal zone, intermediate between land and sea, is very vulnerable to coastal hazards because of its dynamic nature.
  • The coastal ecosystem provides various ecosystem goods and services for human well-being and the livelihood of coastal communities. 
  • Due to their productivity, coastal zones are also crucial for long-term global sustainability and economic development. 

What is coastal vulnerability?

  • It is the identification of coastal resources at risk due to coastal hazards.
  • A coastal hazard is defined as the occurrence of a phenomenon (e.g., a tropical storm/Sea level rise/Tsunami etc.), which has the potential for causing damage to, or loss of, natural ecosystems, buildings, and infrastructures.
  • Climate change poses a serious threat to the physical, economic, and social systems of the coastal environment.
  • Unprecedented pressure from population growth and development activities has had a negative impact on natural coastal phenomena.
  • In tropical countries, the coastal zone is constantly affected by cyclonic activities and storm surges, resulting in coastal erosion, inundation, and seawater intrusion, which has greatly increased the vulnerability of the coastal environments.
  • Environmental degradation, loss of mangroves, land conversion for shrimp farming, and other developmental activities have also increased coastal vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic hazards. 
  • Short term vulnerability: Due to Cyclone / Storm surge/ Tsunami / Flash rain Flooding / Earthquake in the coastal area etc. 
  • Long term vulnerability: Due to Sea level rise (SLR) / Ocean acidification / Coastal land subsidence etc.

Vulnerability of the Indian coastline

  • India has a 7500-km-long coastline with nine states and four union territories are highly susceptible to climate change. 
  • About 35% of the Indian Population live within 100 km from the shoreline.
  • Most of the coastal areas are low lying and vulnerable to Oceanogenic disasters such as Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Sea-level rise.
  • Dec 26, 2004, Tsunami resulted in a loss of 18,045 deaths and 6,47,599 persons displaced.
  • Increased frequency and intensity of the disasters (Uttarakhand flood 2013, Phailin Cyclone 2013.

About Coastal Vulnerability Index

  • It is a quantitative tool that combines physical and socioeconomic indicators to evaluate how vulnerable coastal areas are to the effects of climate change, including but not limited to sea level rise, storm surges, and erosion. 
  • INCOIS has prepared the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) maps for the entire coastline of India to assess the probable implications of sea-level rise along the Indian coast.
  • Parameters: shoreline change rate, sea-level change rate, coastal elevation, coastal slope, coastal geomorphology, significant wave height and tidal range. 


  • It was established as an autonomous body in 1999 under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and is a unit of the Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO).
  • It is mandated to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community through sustained ocean observations.
  • Its mission it to provide ocean data, information and advisory services to society, industry, the government and the scientific community through systematic and focused research in information management and ocean modelling.
  • Its headquarters is situated at Hyderabad.

UPSC Mains 2022 PYQ:

Q. Explain the causes and effects of coastal erosion in India. What are the available coastal management techniques for combating the hazard? (250 Words)

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