Economic Geography is the study of physical and non-physical environment of man and its influence on his economic life. India is one of the richest countries in natural resources and energy. Since India’s internal structure of the earth is the product of ancient hard rock’s therefore almost all kinds of minerals are found here. India has 24% of the total surface area of the world and about 0.57% area of the earth. As per rough estimate of Census Commission, out of total land area-10.7% is Mountainous. 18.6% are Hilly area, 27.7% is Plateau and 43.0% is Plain area.
- Resources are of two broad types, human resources-the functional part and natural resources-the fundamental part of the economy. Natural resources are directly derived from the environment and broadly classified as water resources, mineral resources, energy resources and biotic resources or wildlife.
- India has 4% of world water resources, deficient monsoons often lead to shortage of drinking and irrigation water, ground water is polluted due to poor land practices, atmospheric deposition of pollutants and direct discharge of sewage into water bodies are limitations of water resources in India.
- Energy resources are classified as renewable resources; those have either inexhaustible reserve or could be replenished through natural or human efforts. Non-renewable are those which are built over a long geological time spanned and the rate of their formation is very slow. They cannot be replenished within a time frame meaningful to human beings. Ex-Coal, Petroleum, Nuclear material etc.
- On the pattern of use, energy resources can be recognized as conventional sources like, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydro energy, nuclear energy resources, etc. Non-conventional source includes alternate and complementary energy resources like solar, wind etc.
- The natural resources for electricity generation in India are unevenly dispersed and concentrated in a few pockets. Hydro resources are located in the Himalayan foothills and in the North-Eastern Region (NER).
- Coal reserves are concentrated in Jharkhand, Odisha, Paschim Banga, Chhattisgarh, parts of Madhya Pradesh, whereas lignite is located in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. North Eastern Region, Sikkim and Bhutan have vast untapped hydro potential estimated to be about 35000 MW in NER, about 8000 MW in Sikkim and about 15000 MW in Bhutan.
- Energy sector in India has a mix of thermal (68.14%), hydro (17.55%), nuclear (2.12%) and renewable (12.20%) as per installation capacity. Maharashtra is the highest producer of thermal energy followed by Gujarat.
- India is the fifth largest hydroelectricity producing country with Punjab has highest share followed by Karnataka. Wind energy potential in India is 45600 MW and is the largest non-conventional energy source and 3rd largest energy contributors in India.
- Nuclear power supplied 20 billion KW (3.7%) of India’s electricity in 2011 from 4.4 GWE (of 180 GWE total) capacity. India was planned to have nuclear capacity of 14600 MWe by 2010 and aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
- Nuclear power plants are located at Narora in Uttar Pradesh, Rawatbhata in Rajasthan, arapur in Maharashtra, Kakrapara in Gujarat, Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, Kaiga in Karnataka and Kalpakam in Tamil Nadu. The first one was at Tarapur in 1969.
- Some important renewable energy production sites are: wind-Kanyakumari, geothermal-Manikaran in Kullu district, Puga valley in Ladakh and Taptapani in Odisha, wave energy- Vzhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, tidal- Kandla in Gujarat and Durga Kuani Creek in Sundarvan delta etc. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Ladakh are the ideal areas for the development of solar energy.
- Ministry of Power launched a unique initiative in 2005-06 to facilitate the development of Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) each having a capacity of about 4000 MW each, at both the coal pitheads and coastal locations. UMPPs are awarded at Sasan in Madhya Pradesh, Mundra in Gujarat, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Tilaya in Jharkhand.
- Mineral resources are broadly classified as metallic and non-metallic resources. India produces 4 Fuel minerals, 11 metallic, 52 Non-metallic and 22 minor minerals, totally 89 minerals, India’s major mineral resources include Coal (4th largest reserves in the world), Iron ore, Manganese ore (7th largest reserve in the world as in 2013), Mica, Bauxite (5th largest reserve in the world as in 2013) Chromite, Natural gas, Diamonds, Limestone and Thorium (world’s largest along Tamil Nadus shores).
- India’s oil reserves, found in Bombay High off the coast of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and in Eastern Assam meet 25% of the country’s demand.
- Japan is the largest importer of Indian iron ore. Bailadila mine is the largest mechanised iron mining in Asia. Nagpur-Bhandara district of Maharastra and Balaghat-Chindwara district of Madhya Pradesh is important manganese producing regions, Odisha is the largest producer of chromite, Malanjkhand belt of Balaghat and Khetri-Singana belt of Jhunjhun are important copper mining centres. Mica is one of the important non-metallic resources in India.
- A national level agency National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS) established in 1983 for integrated natural resources management in the country. It is supported by the previously Planning Commission (India), now NITI AYOG and Department of Space.
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