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Importance of Natural Resources

Last updated date: 22nd May 2024
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What is the Importance of Natural Resources?

Natural resources refer to the resources that we find readily available in the natural world or nature. It refers to the water we get from the flowing rivers and seas, the wood and timber we get from trees, the oil we get from the deep reserves of our planet, the plants we get from every corner of our earth, among so many others. Natural resources hold a place in every life, whether we live in a rural or urban area, whether we live a life of wealth or poverty, whether we are daily wage labourers or CEOs of world-renowned companies.

In its essence, a natural resource is a resource that is abundantly available in nature and comes to good use by humans. Here is a list of what all we call natural resources to understand what they are:

  • Oil

  • Coal or natural gas

  • Solar energy or sunlight

  • WaterMetals like silver, gold, copper, aluminium, iron, etc.

  • SaltTimber or wood

  • All plants, medicinal and general

Natural Resources in India

Now that we know what natural resources are, let’s wander together: is India rich in natural resources? 

India is incredibly rich in natural resources, as our country is so vast and has so many different kinds of lands and sceneries. Now, we will explain the most important natural resources of India and where they are found in the country.

  • Coal

India has one of the largest reserves of coal in the entire world, falling in 4th place for the same. The states in descending order of the number of coal reserves in India are Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and several others underneath these states.

  • Oil

India is also fairly rich in oil, as can be with its positioning in the world. The highest amount of reserves of crude oil in India lies in Assam, Gujarat and the Western as well as Eastern Offshores.

  • Natural Gas

In India, the natural gas distribution is also fairly high - the Eastern and Western Offshores have the highest amount of natural gas reserves, as does the Coal Bed Methane. Assam and Gujarat, once again, are the two states which have the leading reserves of natural gas in the country.

  • Metallic Minerals

Metallic minerals include iron, copper, aluminium, gold, silver, bauxite, manganese, zinc, and others. The distribution of these metals, as well as their production and sourcing, is spread out all over the country, depending on where all their belts lie. Private companies, as well as public enterprises, have taken up the production of metallic minerals.

  • Nuclear Resources

India’s Department of Atomic Energy has been working on developing nuclear energy from the resources uranium and thorium. Nuclear energy is an incredibly important natural resource as even a little bit of nuclear power can create a big boost of power. The development of nuclear power as a natural resource adds the same as one of the very important economic resources of India.

The Role of Natural Resources in Economic Development

An abundance of natural resources in a country means that development will come a lot easier to that country than for one where there isn’t much natural resource available. There is a positive relationship between natural resources and economic development. Why are natural resources important in terms of development then?

To understand the role of natural resources in economic development, we need to understand what ‘capital’ means. Capital refers to an asset that can be used to bring about growth and development, and it can include such things as machinery, money, etc. It is with natural resources that we can create capital that will help us begin or catalyse the process of development.

Another reason why the role of natural resources in economic development is undeniable is because of this - we often equate development and urbanisation, and in both their essences, we are correct in doing so. When foreign companies like MNCs (multinational corporations) see that natural resources are abundant in a country, they choose to invest in factories and build more workplaces in such countries, bringing about the urbanisation of such areas in the process. This is how urbanisation is defined when new infrastructure comes about, and this is also how commercial towns are created.

Natural resources are simply the fundamental raw material that supplies basic substances to be manufactured. There will be technically nothing to depend on if there is no presence of natural resources. The Indian economic sector, to a big extent, relies on agriculture and raw production. But even these processes are complemented by natural resources. Big technological industries like coal mines, oil factories and all sustain as they are involved in the processing and refinement of such natural resources. These industries also add up to about 40% of total economic value. 

The optional value of nature is another topic to consider. As humans continue to use these resources lavishly, there are high chances of resources getting over and animals becoming extinct. This will leave our future generation to suffer and starve with nothing else to do. Optional value refers to the value that is placed on private willingness to preserve by maintaining or protecting the natural assets or service even if there is little or no likelihood of the individual ever using it. So, it is our duty to keep our environment saved and safe for the future.

There is something known as the aesthetic value of nature. A humongous Indian revenue comes from travel and tourism. India, being the most visually pleasing and aesthetically rich country, the aesthetic value of India is high. The preservation of natural resources is important to keep the economy growing. 

Thus, the importance of natural resources, especially in development, is essential and undeniable.

Students being the future of the country should always take care of natural resources and the environment. Missions and moments should be conducted to boost the significance of the protection of the environment. Awareness campaigns should be regularly carried out throughout the countries. Overconsumption of natural resources like coal and all not only drain the resource faculty but also causes pollution problems. So that should be also taken care of. 

Thus natural resources not only add to economic development but also to the sustainable and peaceful livelihood of people. 

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FAQs on Importance of Natural Resources

1. What is the Importance of Natural Resources?

Natural resources are the resources which we can find abundantly available in nature and which can come to good use in the development and enhancement of living in a country. This is also the reason why natural resources are important, because they help in development, adding to the fact that we all need them at almost every point in our lives. Everything that we own comes from natural resources or has used natural resources to be created. Almost all of what we do, what we eat, what we wear, how we travel, everything we do, uses natural resources. Our cars use fuel which comes from the earth, we need water to survive, which also comes from the natural world, the food we eat comes as a natural resource, too. Thus is the importance of natural resources in our lives.

2. Is India Rich in Natural Resources?

India is known to be quite rich in natural resources, which is no surprise because we all know the number of rivers run through our country, the number of crude oil and natural gas reserves we have, and several other such factors. In a country as vast as India, with all its mountain ranges, coastal areas, a plateau, a rainforest, a desert, etc. there has to be an abundance of resources. Many foreign companies looking to build factories and offices in India because of the enormous availability of cheap resources. This speaks a lot to the richness of India in terms of natural resources.

3. What are the different types of natural resources?

There are two types of natural resources. They are given below:

  • Renewable Resources

  • Non-renewable resources 

Renewable Resources - Resources that can be replenished to replace the portion which got depleted by usage and consumption either through realistic yield or other processes within a stipulated time. 

Eg: Water, Minerals, Petroleum products etc. 

Non-renewable resources - Resources that cannot be easily restored using natural ways within a given time to keep a balance with consumption. 

Eg: Carbon-based fossil fuels, oil etc. 

Whether renewable or nonrenewable, unsustainable usage of such resources without giving a thought to subsequent generations can lead to total exhaustion. 

4. Give a few examples of the consequences faced by the people due to the overutilization of natural resources?

Few examples to show the effects of overutilization of natural resources on the environment and our lives are:

  • The cutting down of timber and firewood from the forest is fast but it will take a considerable amount of time for it to get reloaded. 

  • A loss of trees and plants will also cause loss of forest cover and natural temperature and setting of the forest.

  • When the number of trees lessens, it will lead to climate instability.

  • The soil loses its moisture and since natural forests act like a sponge that absorbs what, in a case where they are deteriorating, natural calamities like flood etc will occur. 

5. What is the “product value” of natural resources?

Biodiversity facilitates the provision of a range of goodies, from agricultural crops to medicines and many more, to which a direct value and cost can be determined. This direct economic value is split into those associated with consumption and production. To be much more clear, consumptive use and productive use-values. The productive value is closely related or almost the same as economic value. So conserving and taking care of productive value actually contributes to the economic value of the country that people live in.

6. What are fossil fuels?

Fossil fuels are non-renewable natural resources found under the deepest layers of earth. Coal, natural gas etc are instances of fossil fuels. The coal is found in the sedimentary rocks deposit. It is formed as a result of piled up decayed compositions of dead plants and animals for millions of years. The National Academies of Sciences states that almost 81% of the total energy used in the United States come from coal, oil and natural gases. This energy is heated up to deliver electricity to houses and businesses and to also operate factories.