Natural Resources of India

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What are natural resources ?

Natural resources are useful raw materials that we get from the Earth. They occur naturally, which means that humans cannot make natural resources. Instead, we use and modify natural resources in ways that are beneficial to us. The materials used in human-made objects are natural resources. Some examples of natural resources and the ways we can use them are:


Natural resources                                                                Products and services

Air                                                                                         Wind energy

Animals                                                                                Foods ( Milk, Steak, Bacon etc.),

Clothing ( wool, silk etc.

Coal                                                                                       Electricity

Minerals                                                                                Coins, wire, Steel, Aluminium etc.

Natural gas                                                                             Electricity and Heating

Oil                                                                                           Electricity, Fuel for vehicles

Plants                                                                                      Wood, Paper, Cotton etc.

Sunlight                                                                                   Solar power, Photosynthesis

Water                                                                                       Hydroelectricity, Drinking, Cleaning



  1. Land Resources: In terms of area India ranks seventh in the world with a total area of 32, 87.263 sq. km. (32.87 crore hectare). It accounts for 2.42% of total area of the world. In absolute terms India is really a big country. However, land man ratio is not favourable because of the huge population size.

Land utilisation figures are available for about 92.9% of total geographical area, that is, for 3,287.3 lakh hectare. Forest constitutes 24.01 % of the total geographical area of country. Out of a total land area of 304.2 million hectares about 170.0 million hectares is under cultivation. Food grains have preponderance in gross cropped areas as compared to non food grains. According to Agricultural Census, the area operated by large holdings (10 hectares and above) has declined and area operated under marginal holdings (less than one hectare) has increased. This indicates that land is being fragmented.

  1. Forest Resources: India’s forest cover is 78.92 million hectare which is 24.01 % of the geographical area of the country. The per capita forest in India (0.5 hectare) is much less than that in the world (1.9 hectares). According to the National Policy on Forests (1988), one-third (33%) of the country’s area should be covered by forests in order to maintain ecological balance.
  2. 3. Mineral Resources :

Iron-Ore: India possesses high quality iron-ore in abundance. The total reserves of iron-ore in the country are about 14.630 million tonnes of haematite and 10,619 million tonnes of magnetite. Haematite iron is mainly found in Chbattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Goa and Karnataka. The major deposit of magnetite iron is available at western coast of Karnataka. Some deposits of iron ore arc also found in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Coal reserves : India has the fifth largest coal reserves in the world. As on 31 March 2015, India had 306.6 billion metric tons (338.0 billion short tons) of the resource. The known reserves of coal rose 1.67% over the previous year, with the discovery of an estimated 5.04 billion metric tons (5.56 billion short tons). The estimated total reserves of lignite coal as on 31 March 2015 was 43.25 billion metric tons (47.67 billion short tons). The energy derived from coal in India is about twice that of the energy derived from oil, whereas worldwide, energy derived from coal is about 30% less than energy derived from oil. Coal deposits are primarily found in eastern and south-central India. Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra accounted for 99.08% of the total known coal reserves in India. As on 31 March 2015, Jharkhand and Odisha had the largest coal deposits of 26.44% and 24.72% respectively .

The top producing states are:

Other notable coal-mining areas are as follows :



Bauxite is a main source of metal like aluminium. It is not a specific mineral but a rock consisting mainly of hydrated aluminium oxides. It is clay-like substance which is pinkish whitish or reddish in colour depending on the amount of iron content.

The total reserves of bauxite in India are estimated at 27.40 crores tonnes. The major bauxite producing states in India are Orissa, Jharkhand, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Goa in a descending order of importance.

Large amount of bauxite comes from:

Orissa : Sambalpur, Koraput, Kalahandi and Ganjam,

Jharkhand : Lohardaga near Ranchi and Palamau districts,

Maharashtra: Ratnagiri and Kolaba, Thane, Satara of Kolhapur district,

Madhya Pradesh:  Chhattisgarh – Balaghat, Rajgarh and Bilashpur,

Gujarat : Bhavanagar, Junagarh and Amreli,

Karnataka: Belgaum and Bababudan hills,

Tamil Nadu: Salem.

Uranium deposits : Jaduguda in Singhbhum Thrust Belt (in the state of Jharkhand, formerly part of Bihar) is the first uranium deposit to be discovered in the country in 1951. The Singhbhum Thrust Belt (also known as Singhbhum Copper belt or Singhbhum shear Zone) is a zone of intense shearing and deep tectonization with less than 1km width and known for a number of copper deposits with associated nickel, molybdenum, bismuth, gold, silver etc. It extends in the shape of an arc for a length of about 160 km. This discovery of uranium at Jaduguda in this belt paved the way for intensive exploration work and soon a few more deposits were brought to light in this area. Some of these deposits like Bhatin, Narwapahar and Turamdih are well known uranium mines of the country. other deposits like Bagjata, Banduhurang and Mohuldih are being taken up for commercial mining operations. Some of the other areas like Garadih, Kanyaluka, Nimdih and Nandup in this belt are also known to contain limited reserves with poor grades. Apart from discoveries in the Singhbhum Thrust Belt, several uranium occurrences have also been found in Cuddapah basin of Andhra Pradesh. These include Lambapur-Peddagattu, Chitrial, Kuppunuru, Tumallapalle, Rachakuntapalle which have significantly contributed towards the uranium reserve base of India. In the Mahadek basin of Meghalaya in NorthEastern part of the country, sandsyone type uranium deposits like Domiasiat, Wahkhyn, Mawsynram provide near-surface flat orebodies amenable to commercial operations. Other areas in Rajsthan, Karnataka and Chattishgarh hold promise for developing into some major deposits.






The IAEA’s 2005 report estimates India’s reasonably assured reserves of thorium at 319,000 tonnes, but mentions recent reports of India’s reserves at 650,000 tonnes. A government of India estimate, shared in the country’s Parliament in August 2011, puts the recoverable reserve at 846,477 tonnes. The Indian Minister of State V. Narayanasamy stated that as of May 2013, the country’s thorium reserves were 11.93 million tonnes (monazite, having 9-10% ThO2, with a significant majority (8.59 Mt; 72%) found in the three eastern coastal states of Andhra Pradesh (3.72 Mt; 31%), Tamil Nadu (2.46 Mt; 21%) and Odisha (2.41 Mt; 20%). Both the IAEA and OECD appear to conclude that India may possess the largest share of world’s thorium deposits.


Iron reserves : Iron ore is a metal of universal use. It is the backbone of modern civilisation. It is the foundation of our basic industry and is used all over the world. four varieties of iron ore are generally recognized.

(i) Magnetite: This is the best quality of iron ore . It possesses magnetic property and hence is called magnetite. It is found in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.


(ii) Haematite:

It contains 60 % to 70 % pure iron and is found in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

(iii) Limonite:

It contains 40 per cent to 60 per cent pure iron. It is of yellow or light brown colour. Damuda series in Raniganj coal field, Garhwal in Uttarakhand, Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh and Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh.

(iv) Siderite:

It contains many impurities and has just 40 to 50 per cent pure iron. However, due to presence of lime, it is self fluxing.


(4) Oil reserves : India had about 750 Million metric tonne of proven oil reserves as April 2014 or 5.62 billion barrels as per EIA estimate for 2009, which is the second-largest amount in the Asia-Pacific region behind China. Most of India’s crude oil reserves are located in the western coast (Mumbai High) and in the northeastern parts of the country, although considerable undeveloped reserves are also located in the offshore Bay of Bengal and in the state of Rajasthan. The combination of rising oil consumption and fairly unwavering production levels leaves India highly dependent on imports to meet the consumption needs. In 2010, India produced an average of about 33.69 million metric tonne of crude oil as on April 2010 or 877 thousand barrels per day as per EIA estimate of 2009. As of 2013 India Produces 30% of India’s resources mostly in Rajasthan.

India’s oil sector is dominated by state-owned enterprises, although the government has taken steps in past recent years to deregulate the hydrocarbons industry and support greater foreign involvement. India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is the largest oil company. ONGC is the leading player in India’s upstream sector, accounting for roughly 75% of the country’s oil output during 2006, as per Indian government estimates. As a net importer of all oil, the Indian Government has introduced policies aimed at growing domestic oil production and oil exploration activities. As part of the effort, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas crafted the New Exploration License Policy (NELP) in 2000, which permits foreign companies to hold 100% equity possession in oil and natural gas projects. However, to date, only a handful of oil fields are controlled by foreign firms. India’s downstream sector is also dominated by state-owned entities, though private companies have enlarged their market share in past recent years.

The Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (ISPR) is an emergency fuel store of total 5 MMT (million metric tons) or 36.92 MMbbl of strategic crude oil enough to provide 10 days of consumption which are maintained by the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited.

Strategic crude oil storages are at 3 underground locations :  in Mangalore, Visakhapatnam and Padur(nr Udupi). All these are located on the east and west coasts of India which are readily accessible to the refineries. These strategic storages are in addition to the existing storages of crude oil and petroleum products with the oil companies and serve in response to external supply disruptions .

In the 2017-18 budget speech by the Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley, it was announced that two more such caverns will be set up Chandikhole in Jajpur district of Odisha and Bikaner in Rajasthan as part of the second phase. This will take the strategic reserve capacity to 15.33 million tons.

Apart from this,India is planning to expand more strategic crude oil facilities in second phase at Rajkot in Gujarat, Padur in and Udupi district of Karnataka.

(5)  Natural gas reserves : Natural gas consists primarily of methane .Propane , butane, pentane and hexane are also present . KG basin, Assam, Gulf of Khambhat, Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, Barmer in Rajasthan etc. are natural gas reserves of India.





Wind energy resources : The development of wind power in India began in the 1990s, and has significantly increased in the last few years. Although a relative newcomer to the wind industry compared with Denmark or the US, domestic policy support for wind power has led India to become the country with the fourth largest installed wind power capacity in the world.

As of March 31, 2016 the installed capacity of wind power in India was 26,769.05 MW, mainly spread across Tamil Nadu (7,269.50 MW), Maharashtra (4,100.40 MW), Gujarat (3,454.30 MW), Rajasthan (2,784.90 MW), Karnataka (2,318.20 MW), Andhra Pradesh (746.20 MW) and Madhya Pradesh (423.40 MW) Wind power accounts for 14% of India’s total installed power capacity. India has set an ambitious target to generate 60,000 MW of electricity from wind power by 2022.




Solar power Solar power is attractive because it is abundant and offers a solution to fossil fuel emissions and global climate change. Earth receives solar energy at the rate of approximately 1,73,000 TW. This enormously exceeds both the current annual global energy consumption rate of about 15 TW, and any conceivable requirement in the future. India is both densely populated and has high solar insolation, providing an ideal combination for solar power in India. India is already a leader in wind power generation. In solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km² area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 to 2,100 GW.

With about 300 clear sunny days in a year, India’s theoretical solar power reception, just on its land area, is about 5 PWh/year (i.e. = 5 trillion kWh/yr ~ 600 TW). The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 1500–2000 sunshine hours per year, depending upon location. This is far more than current total energy consumption. The India Energy Portal estimates that if 10% of the land were used for harnessing solar energy, the installed solar capacity would be at 8,000GW, or around fifty times the current total installed power capacity in the country. For example, even assuming 10% conversion efficiency for PV modules, it will still be thousand times greater than the likely electricity demand in India by the year 2015.



NTPC  Vidyut Vyapar Nigam(NVVN) ,the nodal agency for implementing the first phase of JNNSM , received 418 applications against a requirement of 650 MW(500 MW Solar Thermal and 150 MW Solar PV) for Batch I. Out of this 343 applications were for solar PV and 55 for Solar Thermal. The interest was high in the investor community for solar PV as applications worth 1715 MW (343*5 MW) were received as against a total of 150 MW. 30 bidders were selected through reverse bidding and projects were allocated to companies that offered highest discount to base tariff rate of Rs. 17.91/kWh. Projects totaling 610 MW were awarded with 145 MW under solar PV and 470 MW under Solar Thermal. The winning bids for solar PV varied from Rs. 10.95/kWh to Rs. 12.76/kWh and for Solar Thermal it was Rs. 11.14/kWh  in Phase I Batch I. Camelot Enterprises Private Ltd was the lowest bidder and other successful bidders included Mahindra Solar One, Azure Power, SunEdison Energy, Lanco Infratech.  The project capacity under Batch I is 5 MW for solar PV and minimum 5 MW and maximum 100MW for Solar Thermal. By July 2011, negotiations were concluded, PPAs awarded and financial closure achieved for 34 projects.

Under batch II, the project size has been increased up to 20 MW and the base price for solar PV projects is Rs. 15.39/kWh.  NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) received 154 applications for 1915 MW of solar PV projects against a requirement of 350 MW. The results of the bidding for solar PV projects indicate that the grid parity for solar power may not be too far off. The winning bids varied from Rs. 7.49/kWh to Rs. 9.41/kWh. The average bid price for both batch I and II was Rs. 12.15/kWh. French project developer Solairedirect emerged as the lowest bidder and Green Infra Solar the highest bidder. The other successful bidders included companies like Welspun Solar, Azure Power, SunBorne Energy  and Mahindra Solar One. Around 70% and 85% of the allocated capacity under Phase I Batch I and Phase I Batch II respectively is to be implemented in Rajasthan.


Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as settlements and semi-natural habitats such as arable fields, pastures, and managed woods. It also has been defined as “the total of arrangements, activities, and input that people undertake in a certain land cover type.

Land is a scarce resource, whose supply is fixed for all practical purposes. At the same time, the demand for land for various competing purposes is continuously increasing with the increase in human population and economic growth.

Agricultural land: Agricultural land (also agricultural area) denotes the land suitable for agricultural production, both crops and livestock. It includes net sown area, current fallows and land under miscellaneous trees crops and groves. Agricultural land in India totals approx. 46 %  of the total geographical area in the country. This is the highest among the large and medium-sized countries of the world. This indicates The influence of favourable physical factors (like size, extent of plains and plateaus, etc.) and  The extension of cultivation to a large proportion of the cultivable land. But, because of the large population of the country, the per capita arable land (i.e. land suitable for agriculture) is low: 0.16 hectares against the world average of 0.24 hectares. About 15 per cent of the sown area is multi-cropped.

Non-agricultural land: This includes land under forests and permanent pastures, land under other non-agricultural uses (towns, villages, roads, railways, etc.) and  land classified as cultivable waste as well as barren and uncultivated land of mountain and desert areas.


The population continues to grow rapidly in India and great pressure is being placed on arable land resources to provide an adequate supply of food and energy requirements. Even if land resources are never exhausted, on a per capita basis they will decline significantly because they must be divided among more people. Land is one such natural resources of a nation on which the entire superstructure is created. Thus, land use is a synthesis of physical, chemical and biological systems and processes on the one hand and human/societal processes and behavior on the other hand. Land is important not only for producing food stuffs, cereals, fruits and vegetables for consumption but also for generating surpluses to meet the increasing demands created by rising population and developing industrial sector, for laying down the transport network, communication lines, for the construction of dwellings and public institutions, etc. Due to unprecedented population growth, man has made uses and misuses of land resources causing environmental degradation.

Again environmental degradation in developing countries like India, especially its manifestations in the form of soil erosion, deforestation etc, is often attributed to rapid population growth. It has however been increasingly realized that since these predominantly agricultural countries are undergoing the process of technological progress and development, many other factors also modify the relationship between population and land. Changing techniques of production, changes in the pattern of land utilization of natural as well as human resources, industrialization, urbanization, changing life styles, rising aspirations, change in consumption pattern are some of the macro level factors which make the relationship between population and land use much more complex.




Objective questions


Q 1. Which one of the following is an example of non-renewable resources?

  1. Wind
  2. Natural gas
  3. Solar energy
  4. Soil

Q 2. Consider the following statements regarding the reserves of natural resources in India ?

  1. Naharkatia and Kalol are famous for reserves of Crude oil .
  2. Kolar is source of Diamond .
  3. India’s forest cover is 14 % of the total geographical area .

Which of the statements given above is / are correct ?

  1. only 1
  2. only 1 and 2
  3. only 2 and 3
  4. only 1 and 3

Q 3. Which of the statements given below is / are correct ?

  1. Natural gas primarily consists of Butane and methane and propane are also present in minor amount .
  2. Barmer in Rajasthan is natural gas reserve.

Choose the correct answer from the code given below :

  1. only 1
  2. only 2
  3. 1 and 2 both
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


Q 4. Which of the following place is well known for Uranium reserves ?

  1. Narwapahar
  2. Koraput
  3. Ratnagiri
  4. Balaghat


Q 5. Consider the following statements regarding land use pattern in India :

  1. More than 50 % area is swon area in the country .
  2. Urbanization and industrialization are the factors changing India’s land use pattern

Which of the statements given above is / are correct :

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. 1 and 2 both
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q 6. Which of the following statements is / are correct ?

  1. India’s geographical location is favourable for solar power .
  2. India ranks first in wind energy production.

Choose the correct answer from the code given below :

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. 1 and 2 both
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q 7. Which the following is / are non-metallic mineral/s ?

  1. Limestone
  2. Mica
  3. Gypsum
  4. All of the above


Q 8. With reference to the Iron ore which of the following statement/s  is / are correct ?


  1. Limonite contains max. percentage of pure iron.
  2. Magnetite is not found in India.

Choose the correct answer from the code given below:

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. 1 and 2 both
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


Q 9. Which of the following statement is correct ?


  1. Neyveli lignite mines are located in Jharkhand.
  2. Singrauli coalfield is in Uttar pradesh .
  3. Kalahandi is famous for Bauxite.
  4. Lohardaga bauxite mine is located in Karnataka.


Q 10. Siderite is an ore of :


  1. Aluminium
  2. Thorium
  3. Iron
  4. Uranium




  1. B
  2. A
  3. B
  4. A
  5. B
  6. A
  7. D
  8. D
  9. C
  10. C
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