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 which is abundantly available in nature and comes to good use of humans. Here is a list of what all we call natural resources to understand what they are:
Coal or natural gas
Solar energy or sunlight
Metals like silver, gold, copper, aluminium, iron, etc.
Timber or wood
All plants, medicinal and general
Natural Resources in India
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Now that we know what natural resources are, let’s wonder 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.
India has one of the largest reserves of coal in the entire world, falling in the 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.
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 lie in Assam, Gujarat and the Western as well as Eastern Offshores.
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 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.
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 which will help us begin or catalyse the process of development.
Another reason why the role of natural resources in economic development is undeniable 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.
Thus, the importance of natural resources, especially in development, is essential and undeniable.