Energy Resources and Natural Resources - Contributor to Economy

Energy and natural resources are vital for the economy of any country. India has several such energy resources like coal, petroleum, hydro-electricity and atomic power. Similarly, India is gifted with various natural resources like vast river systems for generating hydro-electricity, natural vegetation, forests and a wide variety of mineral resources all of which potentially contribute for the economic power of the country.

A country which has the gift of natural resources can be a powerful country and capable of maintaining strong defence forces.

Energy Resources

The major power resources of the country can be categorized into four:

  1. coal
  2. petroleum
  3. hydro-electricity
  4. atomic power

Coal is still the principle source of power in India. India is the ninth largest coal producing country in the world. The main coal deposits are in Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. It is used in power generation for the country and also in other industrial productions like steel industry, cement industry.

Petroleum is a very valuable source of energy which has no waste and each one of its by-products have other use i.e. petrol, fuel oil, diesel, lubricating oil, grease, etc. Without the by-products of petroleum land, sea and air forces would be immobilized and no modern war can be fought. Important oil producing areas in India are Assam (Digboi, Sibsagar, Bappapung, Hansapung, Naharkatia & Moran), Gujarat (Cambay, Ankleshwar, Kobal), Punjab (Adampur,Janauri), UP (Ujhani), Besides this, the off-shore oil is produced in Bombay High, Basin strictures in the Arabian Sea and North Bay of Bengal. New oil explorations are going on in the deltas of Krishna, Cauvery and Mahanadi. We are dependent on oil and are forced to import about 70% of our need from oil producing countries such as USA, Iran and UAE. This affects our economy.

Hydro-Electric Power - This power is continuous and cannot be exhausted. Hydro-electric dams and power stations are vulnerable to air attack which may initiate disasters like sudden sheet floods. If hydro-power is important then it is also important to conserve and protect our water resources. An important aspect of strategy is 'Environment Security'.

Atomic Power is both destructive and constructive power in the world, capable of bringing doom and progress in the most isolated port. India has the raw material (Uranium, Thorium and Monozite) as well as the ability to develop atomic energy. Atomic energy plants are set up at Tarapore, Rana Pratap Sagar, Kota and Kalpakkam in Madras.

Natural Resources

River systems: Water is the main source of life and India is bestowed with several perennial rivers. There are three major river systems in India and the Himalayan mountains are a good source of one of the greatest river systems called the Himalayan rivers. They are: the Indus river systems, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra river systems all of which run to more than 2000 km. Besides this there are other major rivers like Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and Narmada rivers. The river systems provide good source of power generation for the country.

Natural Vegetation: The character of vegetation of a place depends on its temperature, rainfall, interference by man and soil. The vegetation is tropical monsoon in character throughout India below a height of 900 meters. Owing to unequal amount of rainfall in various regions and varied conditions, India is rich in a number of species of plants which range from drought resisting thorny scrub to tropical wet evergreen forests.

The lofty Himalayas grow a large variety of vegetation, the zonal distribution of which varies from tropical to alpine types. India also has a variety of climatic regions. It has tropical rain forests found in the coastal plains and western Ghats and parts of North East India, tropical Savanna, Semi-arid, Tropical desert, humid sub-tropical climate with dry winters and mountainous climate in mountains above the range of 6,000 m such as the Himalayas and the Karakoram range of mountains.

Forests are important resource of a country and play an important role in the country's economy. India has a very valuable asset in this varied wealth. It is considered that in a tropical climate, one third of the total area should be under forests for maintaining suitable climate conditions. The distribution of forests in our country is very uneven. This is largely because of irregular distribution of precipitation or rainfall.

Mineral Resources

Minerals form the basis of the industrial development of a country. India is fortunate to have rich deposits of some essential minerals. There are large reserves of coal, iron ore, mica, manganese ore, magnesite, bauxite and thorium. Coal is found in West Bengal, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. While these minerals are adequate and distributed throughout the country, some are inadequate.

Petroleum, phosphates, sulphur and potash fall considerably short of the requirement f the country. Hence, India is forced to depend on other countries for the supply of these minerals. The distribution of important mineral resources in India is:

  1. Iron ore is located in Bihar, Orissa, A.P, M.P, Mysore and Tamil Nadu.
  2. Manganese is located in Orissa, Karnataka, used for smelting process and India is the largest producer in the world next to Russia and Ghana.
  3. Chromite is used for defence purposes and is located mainly in Mysore and Orissa.
  4. Mica is mainly located in Bihar, Rajasthan & AP. India is the largest producer of mica in the world.
  5. Bauxite. Rich deposits of its ore found in Bihar, Gujarat, MP, Tamil Nadu & Orissa.
  6. Gypsum is used in Cement and fertilizer industries and it is mainly found in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
  7. Uranium resources are also found in places like Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. These are also used for military purposes particularly in the production of nuclear weapons.
  8. Thorium is also used for weapon production and is found in the coast of Kerala and in the rocks of Aravalli hills in Rajasthan.
  9. Gold is another major resource found in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.