Indian Economy - CMA

Natural Resources in the Process of Development

One of the biggest factors in the economic development of a country is the presence or absence of favorable natural resources. In fact, most developed countries make the best use of the natural resources available to them. In this article, we will explore the natural resources in India and their role in the economic process of development of our country.

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Any underdeveloped country starting its journey of economic development has to begin with and concentrate on the development of locally available natural resources.

These resources help in increasing the levels of living and purchasing power. Further, an increased purchasing power helps obtain foreign exchange which is then used to purchase capital equipment. This sets the development process in motion.

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Natural Resources in Process of Development

process of Development

                                                                                                                                           Source: Pixabay

Typically, natural resources include land, water sources, fisheries, mineral resources, marine resources, forests, rainfall, climate, and topography. While some of these resources are known to us, there are many unknown resources too.

As a country increases its knowledge about the unknown resources and their use, it natural endowment is materially altered. Let’s take a look at the natural resources in India.

Land Resources

India has a total geographical area of around 329 million hectares. However, we have statistical information of only around 306 million hectares. Also, this information is based partly on village papers and partly on estimates.

Forest Resources

In India, forests have been the most important natural resources. Right from providing timber, wood for fuel, and fodder to a wide range of non-wood products, forests play a critical role in environmental and economic sustainability.

Learn more about Transport System and Economic Development in detail here.

Water Resources

Around the world, India is one of the wettest countries. We receive an average annual rainfall of around 1100 mm.


This is a resource which is vast and diverse. In India, we have:

  • 2 million square kilometers of Exclusive Economic Zone for deep-sea fishing
  • 7,520 kilometers of coastline
  • 29,000 kilometers of rivers
  • 1.7 million hectares of reservoirs
  • Around 1 million hectares of brackish water area
  • 0.8 million hectares of tanks and ponds for inland as well as marine fish production

We have still not exploited these resources completely.

Mineral resources

The industrial growth of a nation depends largely on the development and management of its mineral resources. For example, coal and iron are required for the growth and development of the iron and steel industry which is vital for the development of any country.

Further, there are many other minerals which are of economic importance. Also, mineral fuels like petroleum, coal thorium and uranium are of national importance.

Economic Development and Environmental Degradation

When we achieved Independence in 1947, the economic policymakers of our country launched several plans for rapid expansion in agriculture, industries, transport, and other infrastructure.

We needed to increase employment and production in order to reduce poverty and inequality of income and wealth. This was the first step toward establishing a socialist society based on justice and equality.

However, as the years rolled by, our population grew and so did the degree of mechanization in the country. This led to mindless and ruthless exploitation of our natural resources.

Today, we have degraded our physical environment and rapid economic development is turning our country into a vast wasteland. Here are some areas, where India is witnessing extreme levels of environmental degradation due to economic development:

  • Deforestation led to land degradation as well as soil erosion
  • Overgrazing led to ecological degradation
  • Irresponsible and faulty utilization of water resources has caused adverse environmental effects
  • Mining has led to certain environmental problems
  • Industrialization has also led to atmospheric pollution

Solved Question on Process of Development

Q1. In which areas is India experiencing environmental degradation due to economic development.

Answer: The areas in which economic development is leading to environmental degradation are:

  • Land degradation as well as soil erosion due to deforestation
  • Ecological degradation due to overgrazing
  • Overall environmental degradation due to irresponsible utilization of water resources
  • Problems due to mining
  • Atmospheric pollution due to industrialization
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