As we begin this chapter, I express my extreme contempt at anyone who dares to consider the Nature’s gifts as ‘resources.’

  1. What are resources?
    Everything available in our environment which can be used to satisfy our needs, provided, it is technologically accessible, economically feasible and culturally acceptable can be termed as ‘Resource’.
  2. The process of transformation of things available in our environment involves an interactive relationship between nature, technology and institutions. Human beings interact with nature through technology and create institutions to accelerate their economic development.
  3. Do you think that resources are free gifts of nature as is assumed by many? Why?
    They are not. Resources are a function of human activities. Human beings themselves are essential components of resources. They transform material available in our environment into resources and use them.
  4. How are resources classifies?
    1. On the basis of origin.
      1. Biotic
      2. Abiotic.
    2. On the basis of exhaustibility.
      1. Renewable
      2. Non-renewable
    3. On the basis of ownership.
      1. Individual,
      2. Community,
      3. National
      4. International.
    4. On the basis of status of development.
      1. Potential,
      2. Developed stock and reserves.
  5. On the Basis of Origin?
    1. Biotic Resources: These are obtained from biosphere and have life such as human beings, flora and fauna, fisheries, livestock etc.
    2. Abiotic Resources: All those things which are composed of non-living things are called abiotic resources. For example, rocks and metals.
  6. On the Basis of Exhaustibility?
    1. Renewable Resources: The resources which can be renewed or reproduced by physical, chemical or mechanical processes are known as renewable or replenishable resources. For example, solar and wind energy, water, forests and wildlife, etc. The renewable resource may further be divided into continuous or flow.
    2. Non-Renewable Resources: These occur over a very long geological time. Minerals and fossil fuels are examples of such resources. These resources take millions of years in their formation. Some of the resources like metals are recyclable and some like fossil fuels cannot be recycled and get exhausted with their use.
  7. On the Basis of Ownership?
    1. Individual Resources: These are also owned privately by individuals. Many farmers own land which is allotted to them by government against the payment of revenue. In villages there are people with land ownership but there are many who are landless. Urban people own plots, houses and other property. Plantation, pasture lands, ponds, water in wells etc. are some of the examples of resources ownership by individuals. Make a list of resources owned by your household.
    2. Community Owned Resources: There are resources which are accessible to all the members of the community. Village commons (grazing grounds, burial grounds, village ponds, etc.) public parks, picnic spots, playgrounds in urban areas are de facto accessible to all the people living there.
    3. National Resources: Technically, all the resources belong to the nation. The country has legal powers to acquire even private property for public good. You might have seen roads, canals, railways being constructed on fields owned by some individuals. Urban Development Authorities get empowered by the government to acquire land. All the minerals, water resources, forests, wildlife, land within the political boundaries and oceanic area upto 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) from the coast termed as territorial water and resources therein belong to the nation.
    4. International Resources: There are international institutions which regulate some resources. The oceanic resources beyond 200 nautical miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone belong to open ocean and no individual country can utilise these without the concurrence of international institutions.
  8. On the Basis of the Status of Development.
    1. Potential Resources
      1. Resources which are found in a region, but have not been utilised. For example, the western parts of India particularly Rajasthan and Gujarat have enormous potential for the development of wind and solar energy, but so far these have not been developed properly.
    2. Developed Resources
      1. Resources which are surveyed and their quality and quantity have been determined for utilisation. The development of resources depends on technology and level of their feasibility.
    3. Stock
      1. Materials in the environment which have the potential to satisfy human needs but human beings do not have the appropriate technology to access these, are included among stock. For example, water is a compound of two gases; hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen can be used as a rich source of energy. But we do not have advanced technical ‘know-how’ to use it for this purpose. Hence, it can be considered as stock.
    4. Reserves
      1. Reserves are the subset of the stock, which can be put into use with the help of existing technical ‘know-how’ but their use has not been started. These can be used for meeting future requirements. River water can be used for generating hydroelectric power but presently, it is being utilised only to a limited extent. Thus, the water in the dams, forests etc. is a reserve which can be used in the future.
  9. What is the importance of developing resources?
    1. Resources are vital for human survival as well as for maintaining the quality of life. It was believed that resources are free gifts of nature.
    2. As a result, human beings used them indiscriminately and this has led to the following major problems.
    3. Depletion of resources for satisfying the greed of a few individuals.
    4. Accumulation of resources in few hands, which, in turn, divided the society into two segments i.e. haves and have nots or rich and poor.
    5. Indiscriminate exploitation of resources has led to global ecological crises such as, global warming, ozone layer depletion, environmental pollution and land degradation.
  10. What is sustainable economic development?
    1. Sustainable economic development means ‘development should take place without damaging the environment, and development in the present should not compromise with the needs of the future generations.’
  11. What is resource planning?
    1. Planning is the widely accepted strategy for judicious use of resources.
    2. It has importance in a country like India, which has enormous diversity in the availability of resources.
    3. There are regions which are rich in certain types of resources but are deficient in some other resources.
    4. There are some regions which can be considered self sufficient in terms of the availability of resources and there are some regions which have acute shortage of some vital resources.
  12. Why is resource planning not very easy in a country like India?
    1. The states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are rich in minerals and coal deposits.
    2. Arunachal Pradesh has abundance of water resources but lacks in infrastructural development.
    3. The state of Rajasthan is very well endowed with solar and wind energy but lacks in water resources.
    4. The cold desert of Ladakh is relatively isolated from the rest of the country. It has very rich cultural heritage but it is deficient in water, infrastructure and some vital minerals.
    5. This calls for balanced resource planning at the national, state, regional and local levels.
  13. How is Resource Planning done in India?
    1. Identification and inventory of resources across the regions of the country. This involves:
      1. Surveying,
      2. Mapping
      3. Qualitative and quantitative estimation
      4. Measurement of the resources.
    2. Evolving a planning structure endowed with:
      1. Appropriate technology,
      2. Skill and
      3. Institutional set up for implementing resource development plans.
    3. Matching the resource development plans with overall national development plans.
  14. What has India so far done for resource development?
    1. India has made concerted efforts for achieving the goals of resource planning right from the First Five Year Plan launched after Independence.
  15. What are the challenges that India faces in terms of resource development?
    1. The availability of resources is a necessary condition for the development of any region, but mere availability of resources in the absence of corresponding changes in technology and institutions may hinder development.
    2. There are many regions in our country that are rich in resources but these are included in economically backward regions.
    3. On the contrary there are some regions which have a poor resource base but they are economically developed.
  16. How was India’s rich resources responsible for colonization of the nation?
    1. The history of colonisation reveals that rich resources in colonies were the main attractions for the foreign invaders.
    2. It was primarily the higher level of technological development of the colonising countries that helped them to exploit resources of other regions and establish their supremacy over the colonies.
  17.  ?
    1. Therefore, resources can contribute to development only when they are accompanied by appropriate technological development and institutional changes.
    2. India has experienced all this in different phases of colonisation.
    3. Therefore, in India, development, in general, and resource development in particular does not only involve the availability of resources, but also the technology, quality of human resources and the historical experiences of the people.
  18. Conservation of Resources:
    1. Resources are vital for any developmental activity. But irrational consumption and over-utilisation of resources may lead to socio-economic and environmental problems. To overcome these problems, resource conservation at various levels is important. This had been the main concern of the leaders and thinkers in the past. For example, Gandhiji was very apt in voicing his concern about resource conservation in these words: “There is enough for everybody’s need and not for any body’s greed.” He placed the greedy and selfish individuals and exploitative nature of modern technology as the root cause for resource depletion at the global level. He was against mass production and wanted to replace it with the production by the masses.
  19. Land resources?
    1. We live on land, we perform our economic activities on land and we use it in different ways.
    2. Thus, land is a natural resource of utmost importance. It supports natural vegetation, wild life, human life, economic activities, transport and communication systems.
    3. However, land is an asset of a finite magnitude, therefore, it is important to use the available land for various purposes with careful planning.
    4. India has land under a variety of relief features, namely; mountains, plateaus, plains and islands.
    5. About 43 per cent of the land area is plain, which provides facilities for agriculture and industry.
    6. Mountains account for 30 per cent of the total surface area of the country and ensure perennial flow of some rivers, provide facilities for tourism and ecological aspects.
    7. About 27 per cent of the area of the country is the plateau region. It possesses rich reserves of minerals, fossil fuels and forests.

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

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