Resource utilisation, Extent of Resource Utilisation in India, Conservation of Resources

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Resource Utilisation

  • To satisfy their needs, humans have been using resources for time immemorial. This process is called resource utilisation. Human skills, technical know-how, and hard work convert the neutral stuff into a commodity or service to serve material and spiritual needs of the human society. Thus, resources are created by man. But he needs the help of culture to convert the neutral stuff into valuable resources. Culture includes all the equipment and machines, means of transport and communication as well as efficient management, group cooperation, recreation, intellectual work, education, training, improved health, and sanitation. Without culture, man has only a limited capacity to work and produce.

  • In the modern age, the application of science and technology has increased the human capacity and capability to use resources in efficient manner for production purposes. For example, United States of America and West European countries have high developed economies for efficient use of their natural wealth with advanced technologies. On the other hand, several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America are lagging far behind in development level in spite of abundant natural resources there. Since, these countries are lagging behind in terms of advanced technology.

Extent of Resource Utilisation in India

  • The natural resources have played a significant role in the socio-economic development of our country. Today, India is the second largest agricultural giant in the world. It is because India has varied climatic conditions and an endless growing season to grow different crops. India’s large mineral wealth has enabled India to be industrially developed.

  • In recent decades, in our desire not only to feed the rapidly growing population but also to accelerate economic well-being to vast Indian population, the exploitation of resources has increased phenomenally. This has led to environmental and ecological imbalances as resources were used on unsustainable basis. Production of resources has been motivated by the maximisation of output and profit maximization rather than the optimization of net social benefits. The precious resource of land is under the threat of degradation, because of soil erosion, deforestation, overgrazing, and careless management of forests. Unscientific farming practices like Jhumming in northeast India and an excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides coupled with over irrigation result in loss of soil nutrients, water logging, and salinity.

  • Under the pressure from rapid population growth, the available resources of water are being exploited and depleted at a fast rate. Due to lack of technology only 37 % of total annual flow of Indian rivers and equal proportion of the available ground water resource is available for use.

  • After independence, the fisheries industry, particularly the marine sector, has witnessed a massive transformation from a traditional and subsistence type enterprise to market driven multicore industry. Currently, India exports nearly 55 categories of marine products to South Asian, and European countries and U.S.A.

Conservation of Resources

  • Conservation of resources means the judicious and planned use as well as the reuse of natural resources by avoiding their wastage, misuse, and overuse.

  • Today, depletion of resources is a matter of great concern. In order to reach the maximum production limit, we are using all those resources which are actually the property of future generations. In fact, as the concept of sustainable development suggests, resources are the inheritance which one generation of human society has to pass on to next one. Non-renewable resources may come to an end after some time; therefore, striking a balance between the growth of population and the utilisation of resources is absolutely necessary. Of course, such a balance is bound to vary in time and space. We have to look at the balance between population and resources in a region or country as dynamic rather than static one. Any imbalance in either of the two may disrupt the continuity of our economic, social, and cultural development. Therefore, resources should be used in a planned way so that imbalance does not take place.

image of natural resources chart

Image of Natural Resources Chart

image of natural resources chart

Methods of Conservation of Resources

  • It is necessary to create awareness about the preservation and conservation of resources among people. They should be made aware of the harmful result of large-scale destruction of natural resources.

  • Afforestation, preventing the felling of immature and young trees, and creating awareness amongst the local people about planting and nurturing trees may help in conserving forests.

  • Terrace farming in hilly regions, contour ploughing, controlling the shifting cultivation, overgrazing, and plugging the gullies are some of are the important methods of soil conservation.

  • Construction of dams to impound rainwater, use of sprinklers, drip or trickle irrigation technique, and recycling of water for industrial and domestic purposes will help in the conservation of invaluable water resource.

  • Minerals are non-renewable resources, so they need to be conserved through efficient utilisation, development of better technology of extraction and purification, recycling of minerals, and use of substitutes.

  • Non-conventional sources of energy e.g. solar, wind, or water will have to be developed in order to save conventional sources of energy.

Policy on Conservation of Resources

With growing consciousness of environment conservation, the efficient use of resources has become important for a developing country like India. We have to increase our R & D (Research and Development) efforts to explore for new resources, devise technologies to minimize waste, and conserve non-renewable resources. Government of India has formulated several policies and programmes to implement for conservation of our biotic and abiotic resources.

  • The Ministry of Forests and Environment was created at the union level in 1980 to give high priority to issues relating forest and environment in the country. By now, all the state government have also created independent ministry of forest and environment.

  • National Forest Policy of 1950 was revised in 1988 to make an effective tool as per current needs to protection, conservation, and development of forest in the country. Under this policy, the Social Forestry Scheme was launched to increase green coverage, produce and supply of fuelwood etc.

  • National Land Use and Conservation Boards were established in 1983, and restructured in 1985 for land resource conservation and preparation of perspective plan for optimum utilisation of land resources.

  • National Water Policy was adopted in 1987 which accord the highest priority to drinking water, followed by irrigational hydel power generation, navigational, industrial and other uses of water.

  • A National Mineral Policy framed in 1990 has allowed both domestic and foreign enterprise to invest in mineral extraction and export. It also allowed the authority to permit investment in mineral extraction directly under the Union Ministry of Mines.

  • In new agriculture policy, encouragement is given to use eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural technology, such as biotechnology.

In brief, it can be said that

  • Any material found on the earth becomes a resource only when it has got some utility. It is therefore human ability and need which create resource value. Resources form the backbone of the economy of a nation. They constitute the natural environment like air, water, forests and various life forms, which are essential for human survival. They are the bases for economic strength and prosperity.

  • There are two types of resources on the basis of their origin - biotic and abiotic. Biotic resources include forests and all forest products, crops, birds, animals, fish, and other marine life forms. Abiotic resources include land, water, and minerals e.g., iron, copper, gold, and silver.

  • About 23 % of total area of India is covered by forests. About 75,000 species of animals are found in India. Wide climatic variations and a long crop growing season has put an advantage before India to grow variety of crops. India has nearly three-fifths or about 57 % of the world’s buffalo population and 15 % of the cattle population. Further, the large continental shelf provides large scope for the development of fisheries in India. Vast size of India in itself is the most important resource. Large water resources are found in form of surface water, ground water, rains and oceans. Mineral wealth of India is equally rich.

  • Conservation of resources stands for judicious and planned use of natural resources. It is necessary to create awareness among people about the preservation and conservation of the resources. Various methods such as afforestation, terrace farming in hilly regions, use of advanced irrigation techniques, efficient utilisation of minerals, and use of alternative sources of energy should be used to conserve natural resources.

  • Government has adopted various measures to conserve natural resources. Several policies and programmes have been framed and implemented to conserve the resources. Examples are framing of National Forest Policy, establishment of National Land Use and Conservation Board, National Water Policy, Mineral Policy and Agricultural Policy.

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