3rd Five Year Plan
[ Home ]
<< Back to Index

Introduction || Planning Commission
1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9 || 10 || 11 || 12 || 13 || 14 || 15 || 16 || 17 || 18 || 19 || 20 || 21 || 22 || 23 || 24 || 25 || 26 || 27 || 28 || 29 || 30 || 31 || 32 || 33 || 34 || 35 || Conclusion || Appendix A || Appendix B || Appendix C || Glossary

Chapter 12:


Under its terms of reference, the Planning Commission was required to—

  1. make an assessment of the material, capital and human resources of the country including technical personnel and investigate the possibilities of augmenting such of these resources as are found to be deficient in relation to the nation's requirements, and
  2. formulate a Plan for the most effective and balanced utilisation of the country's resources.

Accordingly, the First Five Year Plan presented an account of the land, water, mineral and energy resources of the country on the basis of information then available. It drew attention to the main problems in each field and set out programmes for further surveys and investigations. It also offered suggestions for strengthening the organisations responsible for these surveys, providing them with personnel and equipment, and expanding programmes of training.

Over the past few years organisations dealing with the survey and utilisation of natural resources, such as the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Central Water and Power "Commission, Central Board of Irrigation and Power, Geological Survey of India, Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Indian Bureau of Mines, Survey of India, Forest Research Institute, Atomic Energy Commission, and the Council, of Scientific and Industrial Research and its National Laboratories have been greatly expanded and have undertaken a series of new surveys and investigations. These surveys have resulted in a fuller assessment of the country's natural resources bringing to light the gaps in information relating to these resources as also their deficiencies in relation to the nation's future requirements.

2. The objective of planning is to raise the standard of living of the people as a whole. The attainment of this objective involves the development on scientific lines of the nation's natural and human resources. Expanded demand for natural resources and materials has led to technological developments which have in part overcome limitations and thus increased the supply of resources. The dynamic forces at work in creating shifts in the demand for and supply of natural resources necessitate their continuous study as well as reformulation of policies relating to them. Natural resources must be looked at in a coordinated manner and their investigation and utilisation planned for long-term needs. The extent to which resources have been studied and possibilities established ahead of needs is an important factor determining the rate at which the economy can grow.

3. With the formulation of the Third Five Year Plan, the stage has reached when, as a necessary condition of well-conceived long-term plans, a comprehensive view needs to be taken of the extent and quality of the information available in respect of the country's main natural resources. The principal gaps which exist, the surveys required in this connection, and the further steps needed in relation to specific longrange objectives, such as irrigation, power, steel, coal, oil and minerals, land use and forest resources have to be identified. As stated earlier, over the next 15 years, population may increase by about 187 million. Increase in labour force is reckoned at about 70 million, of whom some two-thirds must be absorbed outside agriculture. It becomes, therefore, a matter of the greatest importance that a high rate of economic growth is achieved and sustained during this period. Her natural resources give India a large potential for agricultural and industrial production, and their rapid development is an essential condition for the achievement over the next two or three Plan periods, of a self-reliant and self-sustained economy which can provide to the mass of the people continually rising living standards and opportunities for gainful employment. The long-term goals in national and per capita incomes and the development of agriculture, irrigation and power, and the provisional targets suggested earlier for industries like steel, aluminium, coal, oil refining, fertilisers, cement and others can only be achieved in time if the nature and extent of the natural resources of the country and the essential requirements concerning their development are assessed and the necessary steps taken well in advance. For balanced development, it is equally necessary to assess availabilities, requirements and possibilities in relation to each of the principal regions within the country.

4. In the Chapters on irrigation and power, forests, industries, minerals and others, an attempt has been made to indicate the main directions in which further efforts are needed to ascertain more fully the resources of the country and the measures required for their more rapid development. The object of the present Chapter is to set the problem of assessing and developing natural resources in the context of the Third and subsequent Plans and to explain briefly some of the implications in this respect of the growth of population and of intensive and large-scale industrialisation.

A unit for Natural Resources has been recently set up in the Planning Commission for studying problems relating to the assessment and development of natural resources and assisting the various a'gencies engaged in the survey and investigation of these resources in linking up their work closely with the requirements of the rapidly growing economy, and generally, helping in securing a common approach in various related fields. This unit will be strengthened as its work develops. In collaboration with other organisations, it is hoped to arrange for coordinated studies of natural resources on a continuing basis, to specify gaps in the existing information, particularly from the aspect of long-term development, and to suggest suitable policies and measures for giving effect to them. Against this background, it is proposed briefly to review recent developments and to indicate the problems that lie ahead in relation to the development of the land, water, mineral, energy and other resources of the country.

II.land resources

5. The most important natural resource of the country is land, which is the base for agricultural production. While population grows, the land surface is fixed, and of this only a certain proportion is available for cultivation. Several aspects of the problem need to be studied. Through irrigation and other measures of agricultural development, the productivity of land can be considerably increased. It is necessary to ascertain the extent to which land now lying waste can become available for cultivation. Increasing population also means withdrawal of areas now under farms for building houses. Development of communications such as roads, railways, and airways may take up fertile land. Owing to rapid urbanisation and growth of large cities land is needed for parks and open spaces. Irrigation dams may submerge fertile areas. Industrial plants and other establishments also require substantial areas. In all these developments wherever fertile land can be saved efforts should be made to do so. This indicates the need for a comprehensive inventory of land and for greater refinement in land classification and continuous attention to land use.

6. Land utilisation.—The total geographical area of India is about 806 million acres, of which reporting area is about 721 million acres and net area sown is about 318 million acres. The broad features of the present pattern of land utilisation and that anticipated by the end of the Third Plan are set out in the Table below ;

Table 1 : Land utilisation in 1965-66
(area in million acres)

1955-56 1960-61 1965-66
total reporting area 720-0 721-0 721-0
forests 125-6 131-0 132-0
land under miscellaneous tree crops and groves 13-9 14-0 15-0
permanent pastures and other grazing lands 28-4 32-0 32-0
culturable waste 54-8 47-0 40-0
barren and uncultivated land and land put to non-agricultural use 118-7 114-0 114-0
fallow lands other than current fallows 30-9 28-0 26-0
current fallows 29-5 28-0 25-5
net area shown 318-2 327-0 335-0
area sown more than once 44-4 51-5 67-0
gross area sown 362-6 378-5 402-0

Availability per head of cultivable land in India is about 0.82 acres as against 0.42 in U.K., 0.48 in Germany, 0.17 in Japan, 0.50 in China, 2.68 in U.S.A. and 2.59 in U.S.S.R.

7. Soil surveys.—Until recently knowledge of soils in different parts of the country was inadequate and the necessary organisation for soil surveys had not been established. Appraisal of soil resources, involving survey and classification of soils provides the basis for assessing their potentialities as well as their limitations for effective exploitation and rational land use. The main object of soil surveys is to classify and map out of various types of soils, to know soil differences, and to coordinate knowledge of soils with a view to laying down standards of nomenclature, etc. With the aid of these surveys it becomes possible to prepare schemes for the better use of land and to plan for soil conservation and irrigation and drainage works. In 1955 an all-India soil survey scheme was initiated at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute with a view to carrying out reconnaissance soil surveys leading to correlation of soils of different regions. Soil correlation work involves classification and laying down of nomenclature of soils on a uniform basis and also the preparation of soil survey reports and soil maps. In the field of soil surveys, State Governments are specially concerned with aspects relating to agriculture, forestry, irrigation, drainage, soil conservation, etc. Since there are common soil problems covering more than one State and all States do not have their own soil survey organisations, with a view to coordinating work on soils, it was felt that the best course would be to set up laboratories on a regional basis for tne four major soil groups occuring in India, namely, (1) at Delhi, for the Alluvial Soil Region. (2) at Poona (now at Nagpur) for the Black Soil Region, (3) at Kharagpur (now at Calcutta) for the Red and Laterite Soil Region I, and (4) at Bangalore for the Red and Laterite Soil Region II. Three years after its inception, the scheme was integrated with the scheme for soil and land use planning drawn up by the Central Soil Conservation Board for the purpose of soil and land use survey in the catchment areas of six major river valley projects, namely, Machkund, Hira-kud, Chambal, Bhakra Nangal, Kosi and Damo-dar, totalling about 78,000 square miles. Surveys in the catchment areas aim at classifying lands into capability classes essentially from the point of view of adopting soil conservation measures with a view to minimising soil erosion, preserving the top soil for cultivation and preventing sediment flowing into storage reservoirs, and thus increasing their life. Soil conservation work in the catchment areas involves detailed surveys in agricultural lands and reconnaissance surveys in other areas. The total area to be surveyed is about 500,000 square miles. By the beginning of 1961, an area of about 18,000 square miles had been covered by both detailed and reconnaissance surveys undertaken through the all-India scheme. Of this area, about 3000 square miles fall within the catchment areas of the river valley projects. Soil survey organisations in the States have surveyed about 50,000 square miles. Under the all-India programme, about 23,000 square miles are to be surveyed during the Third Plan.

8. Survey of wastelands.—Agricultural production can be stepped up through extension of area under cultivation by cultivating waste lands, double cropping of single crop areas, and other measures of intensives farming. There is considerable scope for extending the gross area sown by double cropping. It is anticipated that the area sown more than once might increase from about 52 million acres in 1960-61 to about 67 million acres by 1965-66. According to the available land utilisation statistics the area under culturable waste in 1955-56 amounted to about 55 million acres. In June 1959, the Government of India constituted a Committee to make a survey of land classified as "other uncultivated land excluding fallow lands" and "fallow lands other than current fallows" and to locate areas where large blocks of land are available for reclamation and resettlement. The Committee has completed its survey of seven States. In these, the area of wasteland available for cultivation in blocks of 250 acre or more is reckoned at nearly a million acres. The Committee's findings regarding the present statistics of wastelands are of considerable importance. On the whole the existing data are not sufficiently reliable, and lands classified as culturable waste at the time of settlement often continue to be shown as such in the revenue records long after they have come under cultivation. In the view of the Committee, the mere collection of statistics under the head 'culturable waste' can serve little purpose and detailed information should be available about the types of wastelands in each State, the ownership of such lands, their availability in sizeable blocks and .the cost of reclamation measures. The Committee has, therefore, recommended that rapid reconnaissance surveys should be conducted for collecting such information.

9. To sum up, there are large gaps in the information at present available regarding land resources. To secure quick results it is necessary that land surveys using photogrammetric techniques (aerial photographs) should be undertaken, and data on land use, land improvement, reclamation of water-logged, saline and alkaline lands and productivity should be collected in a systematic manner with a view to drawing up further plans.

Ill. forest resources

10. Out of the total geographical area of 1.26 million square miles, about 274,000 square miles or about 21.8 per cent of the area consists of forests. Due to variations in climatic conditions and differences in altitude a large variety of natural vegetation ranging from temperature to tropical is found in the forests of India. Forests may be classified as follows :

Table 2 : Classification of forests

temperate forests
coniferous 3
broad-leaved 4
tropical forests
deciduous 80
evergreen 12
others . 1

11. The productivity of India's forests can be greatly increased. Forests are among the few renewable resources in nature which, if properly managed, could go on yielding at undiminished rate and for an indefinite period. There is shortage of timber and fire-wood, of raw materials for drugs, paper and pulp and of fodder for cattle.

12. Wood and other forest products are basic raw materials essential for industrial development. In the past no proper appraisal of local forest resources was made and products such as paper or pulp, plywood, tannin, etc., were freely imported. With a view to developing such industries in the country, an appraisal of the position of such raw materials is a matter of importance. The consumption of industrial wood in India is as low as 0.6 eft. per capita per year as against 16.0 eft. in France and 13.4 eft. in Japan. India's present requirements of industrial wood amount to 4.5 million tons and are estimated to be more than 9 million tons in 1975. As regards firewood resources, in the ordinary course, a demand of 100 million tons is anticipated by 1975.

13. It is essential that a sustained increase in production should be secured from year to year through injtensive development schemes, including selection of high yield areas, planting of quick-growing species, introduction of improved logging and processing techniques, development of communications and more generally, the linking of forest development with specific schemes of industrial development to be undertaken over the next few years. While the requirements and supplies of industrial wood are still more or less balanced, it is considered that over the next 10 or 15 years unless special steps are taken, acute shortages might be experienced. This calls for measures for the intensification of production, development of hill forests, improved utilisation of low grade timbers, economy in fuel wood consumption and systematic surveys of forest resources in relation to specific industries. It is also necessary to undertake a survey of forest lands, indicating areas which are badly eroded, those fit for natural regeneration and those where planting should be undertaken. In some areas, specially in Central and South India, there are natural forests with trees which have only fuel value. These areas can be covered with valuable planted forests. There is need too for obtaining data regarding forest resources in inaccessible areas.

IV. Water Resources

14. Water resources may be divided broadly into surface water and underground water. Their development has to be viewed in relation to the need to increase the productivity of land through irrigation, flood control, drainage and other means and also to domestic and industrial requirements.

15. Surface water.—The annual rainfall over the entire country represents something more than 3000 million acre-feet of water. Of this amount, about 1000 million acre-feet are lost immediately due to evaporation and roughly 650 million acre-feet seep into the soil, leaving 1350 million acre-feet to flow into the river systems. The entire surface flow cannot be utilised because topography, flow characteristics, climate and soil conditions impose limits on usability. It has been estimated that only 450 million acre-feet can be harnessed for purposes of irrigation. Progress in actual utilisation is as follows:

Table 3 : Surface water utilisation for irrigation

million acre-feet as percent of usable flow as percent of total flow
upto 1951 . 76 17 6
upto 1960-61 120 27 9
upto 1965-66 (anticipated) l 160 36 12

16. Underground water.—Of the 650 million acre-feet of water that seep down annually into the soil, about 350 million, acre-feet get absorbed in the top layers, thereby contributing to soil moisture which is essential for the growth of vegetation. The remaining 300 million acre-feet percolate down into porous strata and represent the annual enrichment of underground water. The total storage underground at any particular time may be several times this amount, but it can be assessed only if a country-wide investigation is undertaken. The actual utilisation of underground water at present is less than 20 per cent of the annual enrichment. | Over the past eight years, through a series of ground-water exploration projects, efforts have been made to establish areas favourable to the sinking of tube-wells. For the Third Plan, a project including 500 exploratory borings has been accepted. With a view to facilitating the work of exploration and reducing the need for large-scale drilling, it is also proposed to carry out geophysical investigations. In peninsular India such investigations would quickly determine the depth of the bed rock and are likely to give first indications of ground-water availability. A survey programme is also in hand in Andhra Pradesh for localising areas of underground water where filter points for extraction of water can be successfully drilled.

17. Utilisation.—The major use of water is for irrigation and hydropower generation, but water is also used for public water supply, industrial and navigation purposes. Water supply for irrigation can be obtained both from surface and underground resources.

18. The Central Water and Power Commission initiated in 1954 a study of different basins in the country for assessing the ultimate potential of major and medium irrigation projects. For purposes of this study the country was divided into five principal zones covering groups of river basins, and for each river basin the topography, rainfall, intensity of cultivation, possible storage sites, irrigable areas, reservoir capacity and other relevant factors were examined. Studies in respect of four zones are almost complete, while the fifth has still to be taken up. A preliminary assessment places the irrigation potential of major and medium projects at 100 million acres (gross) distributed as follows :

Table 4 : Irrigation potential of major and medium projects :

Irrigation potential (million acres)
zone 1 : West-flowing livers (covering river basins in Kerala, Mysore and Maha-rashtra State and the basins of Tapti-Narmada and others) 10
zone 2 : East-flowing rivers (covering the basins of Tambraparani, Vaigai, Cauveri, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar and others) 33
zone 3 : Indus basin 13
zone 4 : Ganga basin (covering, Chambal, Jamuna, Ramganga, Tons, Gomti, Sone, Ganga and its tributaries) 41
zone 5 : Brahmaputra basin 3
total 100

The net area irrigated by major and medium projects at the end of the Second Plan is about 31 million acres.

19. The first comprehensive attempt towards assessment of the minor irrigation potential was made in 1955 by the Minor Irrigation Committee set up by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Similar studies were later initiated by the Minor Irrigation Team of the Committee on Plan Projects. Some State Governments have also initiated minor irrigation surveys. A tentative appraisal of the data from these surveys indicates that the total ultimate irrigation potential of minor irrigation projects may be about 75 million acres (gross).

20. It will be seen that there is considerable scope for increasing the ratio of irrigated area to cultivated area. By realising the entire potential for irrigation of 175 million acres (gross) over the next 20-25 years (by which time the cultivated area may increase to about 350 million acres) the proportion of irrigated lands may perhaps rise to 50 per cent. Correspondingly, the amount of water utilised may go up to 350-400 million acre-feet or 60 per cent of the annual supply from both surface and underground sources. That will leave adequate quantities of water for meeting public supply, industrial needs and the requirements of thermal power generation the demand for which is likely to rise steadily.

21. Industrial uses.—The major uses of water in industry are for cooling, processing and boiler feed. Industrial needs of water are increasing rapidly. Hence the need to pay attention to methods of conservation and re-use of water in industries has become urgent. Most of the water used for industrial purposes is renewable in the sense that it becomes available for re-use if properly reconditioned.

22. One of the important problems associated with industrialisation and urbanisation is the pollution of available water supplies, specially rivers, by industrial effluents and trade waste. This leads, amongst others, to mortality of fish and contamination of drinking water. Proper disposal of these wastes is difficult and costly. The problems which arise in this connection are being studied by the All-India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Public Health Engineering Research Institute. There is need for coordinated surveys and experimental work. These should cover analysis of effluents, data on extent of pollution caused by them, development of methods for their treatment and preparation of standards to which they should conform, before they can be discharged into rivers.

V. fisheries

23. Inland fisheries.—Rivers and their tributaries, canals, lakes, reservoirs, tanks and ponds with perennial water supply constitute a rich potential source of inland fisheries. Out of 1.4 million tons of annual catch about 300,000 tons are from inland water. In the first Plan over a million acres of inland waters were surveyed and 68,000 acres reclaimed. In the Second Plan about 340,000 acres of inland waters have been surveyed and an area of 720,000 acres stocked. The Third Plan includes proposals for the development of more than 50,000 acres of water area as demonstration fish farms, 1500 acres for estuarine fish culture and reclamation of about 1500-2000 acres of marshy and fallow lands for fish culture. An urgent need is a complete survey of waters which do not dry up during summer and which can be stocked with fish. An inventory of the existing waters as to type namely, ponds, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, etc. and the areas under each type should be prepared. This should be followed by a detailed inventory of the physical, chemical and biological features. When this work is completed, it will provide a sound basis for development of the inland fisheries resources

24. Marine fisheries.—Out of the total fish production of 1.4 million tons annually about 1.1 million tons are marine. Of the marine fisheries, the most important are the mackerel, sardines and prawns. India's need is estimated at about 4 million tons but the production rate is only about a quarter of requirements. The sea fisheries generally exploited are confined to 6—10 miles from the coast.

India's marine fisheries resources have not been properly assessed and there is need for a comprehensive survey. The importance of this survey is underlined by the fact that the resources of the sea can supplement those of the land to a significant extent.

VI. Mineral Resources

25. Minerals play an important part in the industrial economy of the present day—some like coal and mineral oil are sources of energy, others arc raw materials for industry, while a few are the ultimate source of synthetic substitutes for natural materials like rubber, timber cotton and others.

The country has fairly abundant reserves (in terms of volume) of coal, iron ore and mica, adequate supplies or ores of manganese, titanium and aluminium, raw materials for refractories and lime-stone, but there is deficiency in ores of copper, lead and zinc. There are no workable deposits of tin, nickel, molybdenum and elemental sulphur. Until recently, except for Digboi in Assam, mineral oil was not known to occur in other parts of the country.

25. Coal.—Coal is India's most important mineral asset and is the main source of commercial energy. Reserves of coal estimated for seams of thickness 4 feet and above are of the order of 50,000 million tons, of which coking coal accounts for 5.6 per cent, or about 2800 million tons. Inferred reserves are placed at 80,000 million tons. In addition about 2073 million tons of lignite are estimated to be available

The coking coal reserves are a matter of concern in future. For every ton of steel 2.2 tons of coal are required. The rapid increase in the output of steel visualised during the next 15 years will increase the demand for coking coal. There is need to conserve carefully the limited reserves of coking coal. The position in regard to non-coking coal is not unsatisfactory, but since the bulk of the resources are of the low grade, economy in the consumption of better grade coal is essential.

The overall coal resources are highly concentrated. About 80 per cent of the present supply comes from a group of mines in a 200-mile section of Bihar and West Bengal, thereby making it necessary for coal to be hauled over distances of 400-1400 miles for consumption in Southern and Western India. Efforts are being made to increase production from coal fields outside Bihar and West Bengal—their production increased from 5.7 million tons in 1951 (16 per cent of the total) to 10.2 million tons (20 per cent of the total) in 1960. By the end of the Third Plan the output of coal outside Bihar and West Bengal is expected to increase to about 28 million tons or 29 per cent of the total production in the country.

27. Mineral oil and natural gas.—Next to coal, petroleum and natural gas are major sources of commercial energy. So far India has not developed any considerable domestic petroleum supplies. However, intensive exploration for oil is under way. New oil wells in Assam are expected to produce about 2.75 million tons of oil per annum in the initial stages which is likely to increase by the end of the Third Plan. Considerable quantities of natural gas are found associated with petroleum in Assam and in addition there is non-associated natural gas also. Plans have been made for utilising the associated natural gas. Recent drilling operations in Cambay and Ankaleswar areas have given encouraging results and the production from these areas may reach about 2.0 million tons by 1965-66.

The annual increase in the demand for petroleum products which was 4.5 per cent during the last decade is expected to rise to 10-11 per cent in the current decade. The total demand which was about 7.5 million tons in 1960 is expected to rise to over 11 million tons in 1965-66 involving a foreign exchange expenditure of over Rs. 50 crores for meeting the deficit of 5 million tons by imports. Household requirements (chiefly kerosene for lighting) represent about 25 per cent of the total consumption.- The demand of the transport sector (diesel oil and gasoline) is more than 30 per cent. The share of industry is about 20 per cent mainly in the form of furnace oil. There Has been a significant increase in the consumption of middle distillates comprising kerosene and diesel oil.

28. Other minerals.—Though the principal mineral regions have been ascertained and a broad indication obtained of the potential mineral wealth of the country, until recently no detailed investigations had been undertaken for a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the country's mineral resources. With the initiation of the planned development of the country attention was paid to systematic and detailed surveys and investigations by the Geological Survey of India, Indian Bureau of Mines, National Laboratories and Atomic Energy Commission with a view to a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the reserves of the more important minerals and their proper utilisation and the adoption of a policy aimed at systematic exploitation of minerals with due regard to conservation. As a result of surveys carried out during the last ten years, more information is now available of the extent of mineral reserves and their quality. Estimated reserves of manganese ore have now gone up from 20 million tons to 180 million tons. The assessment of sulphur-containing pyrites in Amjor area (Bihar) opens up the prospect of meeting a substantial part of demand of sulphur from internal production. Reserves of copper ore, iron ore, chromite, bauxite, magnesite, gypsum, limestone, lead and zinc, etc. have now been assessed and the gaps between requirements and availability determined.

The National Laboratories have carried out investigations with a veiw to improving the quality of minerals, making them usable (through investigations on the washing of coal, manganese ore, copper ore, etc.), finding uses for materials which would otherwise be wasted (as in the utilisation of scrap and waste mica) and substituting scarce metals by metals available within the country (for instance, nickel-free stainless steel and coinage alloys and aluminised steel wires).

29. The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1948 which was subsequently amended and elaborated in 1957, and the rules framed thereunder have brought a measure of uniformity in regard to leasing of mineral properties and for ensuring systematic development of the mineral resources of the country. The Coal Mines Conservation and Safety Act, 1952 provides for the adoption and enforcement of methods of conservation in regard to coal.

30. Though in the recent past a considerable amount of work has been done in the study of mineral resources and in assessing reserves in quantitative and qualitative terms in particular areas, in the context of rapid industrial development of the country and the consequent increa' sing demand for mineral raw materials, exploration for and investigation of mineral deposits requires to be pursued with greater vigour in order to know more fully the minerals available and eventually their quality and quantity. The importance that has to be attached to this will become clear from the following Table which gives against the more important minerals the known reserves, the present production and the present demand thereof.

Table 5: Production and demand for minerals

Mineral unit estimated reserves present production curent consumption
coal (non-coking) million tons 50000 37.0 51-8
Coal (coking) million tons 2800 14.8  
lignite million tons 2073 negligible negligible
mineral oil million tons not assessed 0-2+ 6.0+
manganese ore million tons 180 1-2 0-3
iron ore million tons . 21870 26-7 10-5 8-0
chromite million tons . 2-3 0-10 0-02
vanadium ore million tons 26.7    
tungsten (metal) tons not assessed 3-0 3-0
nickel (metal) tons . negligible   3-0
ilmenite (titanium ore) million tons 350 0-25 0-01
copper (ore) million tons . 32-9 0 .44*' 0 .07(metal)
lead ore million tons 10-7@ 3670 tons 0-03 (metal)
bauxite (aluminium ore) million tons 260 0-38 0-10*
zinc ore million tons   0.01 0.06
gypsum million tons 1117 0-98 0-98
magnesite million tons 100 1 -15 0-14
limestone million tons 15740 12-5 12-5
phosphatic nodules million tons 2-0    
million tons . tons 0-87 0-014 0-22
tin (metal) tons negligible   4550
graphite tons . not assessed 1500 2500
sulphur (element) million tons negligible  


pyrites (40 percent) million tons 384    
asbestos tons 580000 1683 30000

*1959 figures. +crude; ++products; **concentrates. ; ***equivalent to 8767 tons of metal. @includes zinc ore also.

31. Apart from the urgent necessity of more intensive exploration for minerals, there is need for enforcement of measures for conservation. Measures for conservation in relation to minerals will mean mainly avoidance of waste in mining and processing and in a large sense the substitution of scarce materials by those which are abundantly available in the country. Avoidance of waste in mining requires that there should be no selective mining—the richer and the poorer grades should be'worked together and then blended to obtain a marketable grade. Upgrading of low grade ores (e.g. beneficiation of manganese ore, coal, copper ore, etc.) and utilising byproducts of mining and processing, (e.g.sintering of iron ore fines and utilising washery middlings) are also measures of coservation.

VII. Energy

32. The demand for energy in India is growing rapidly due to industrialisation, increasing transport facilities and rising standards of living. India's consumption per head is still among the lowest in the world.

33. Pattern of production and consumption.— The total production of energy in India during 1960-61 was roughly of the order of 165 milliontons of coal equivalent. The commercial sources of energy are coal, petroleum and falling water. Wind power and solar, geothermal and tidal energy may constitute future sources subject to appropriate technological developments. Nearly 61 per cent of the energy comes presently from non-commercial sources, such as cattle dung, wood, charcoal, farm wastes, etc. as will be apparent from the following Table. Amongst the non-commercial sources of energy, that from animate effort has not been taken into account. This has been estimated to be equivalent to 76 million tons of coal per year.

Table 6: Consumption of energy in 1960-61

source energy consumed (million tons of coal equivalent) as per cent of commercial energy as per cent of total energy
coal 54 '6 84-0 33-0
oil 9-5 14-6 5-8
water 0-9 1-4 0-6
total—commercial 65-0 100-0 39-4
cattle dung 46-0 27-9
fuel wood . 35-0 21-2
agricultural waste 19-0 11 -5
total—non comrneicial 100 -0 60-6
total—all sources . 165-0 100'0

34. Non-commercial sources of energy.— Dried cattle dung is the main source of energy for cooking and heating throughout the rural area and in many urban households as well. It has been estimated that the amount of cattle dung annually available is 1200 million tons (wet weight) of which 400 million tons are used as fuel and 215 million tons as manure, the balance being wasted. On the basis of energy content, 400 million tons of dung is equivalent to 46 million tons of coal. Wood is used as fuel both for domestic purposes as well as by some industries either directly or in the form of charcoal. The fuelwood consumption of the country is estimated to be of the order of 60 million tons, which in terms of energy equivalent would be equal to roughly 35 million tons of coal.

35. Commercial sources of energy.—These include coal, mineral oil and natural gas which have been considered in the previous section, and electricity which is discussed below.

Electric power.—Large quantities of low grade coal and middlings will be available at qollieries and washeries for generation of power. These locations are therefore well suited for coal-fired stations. Hydel stations take a long time to set up, involve relatively large outlays and arc, by their very natnure, located in relatively remote localities from which the power has to be transmitted over long distances. These are, however, the cheapest source of power. The break-up of generating capacity among different types of plants is indicated below :

Table 7 : Generating capacity by source
(million kilowatts)

  1951 1954 1961 1966
hydel plant 0-56 0-94 1-93 5-10
coal 1-59 2-27 3-46 7-08
oil . 0-15 0-21 0-31 0-36
nuclear       0-15
total 2-30 3-42 5-70 12-69

Currently, the electric energy consumption in India is about 45 kWh per head of population. In 1950 it was 14 kWh and in 1958, 35 kWh and by 1965-66 this is expected to increase to about 95 kWh per capita. This rate of increase will need to be maintained for a long period. Compared to other countries India's consumption is exteremely low. In Japan per capita consumption rose from 455 kWh in 1947 to 930 in 1958 ; in Italy during the same period it rose from 454 kWh to 928.

Water power.—The potential of water power has been generally estimated to be about 41 million kW distributed as shown below:

Table 8: Water power potential

(million k\V)
west-flowing south Indian rivers 4-35
edst flowing south Indian rivers 8-63
central Indian rivers 4-29
rivers of Ganga basin 4-83
rivers of Indus basin 6-58
Brahmaputra and others 12-49
total 41 -17

However, extensive surveys of individual project sites involving contouring, reservoir areas, flow characteristics, availability of local construction materials, etc., have to be undertaken before th's potential can be more definitely assessed and harnessed. In the Third Plan 64 specific project sites are proposed to be investigated.

Nuclear energy.—For a self-sufficient atomic energy programme an adequate supply of fuel material is a prerequisite. It has been known for several decades that in the monazite sands found on the beaches of the Kerala and Madras coasts India has one of the largest deposits of thorium in the world, containing no less than 200,000 tons of thorium in a concentration of over 9 %. As a result of the work of the Atomic Minerals Division, during the period of the Second Plan an even more extensive monazite deposit has been discovered in the State of Bihar which contains no less than 300,000 tons of thorium in a concentration of over 10%. India thus has the largest known thorium reserves in the world equalling in amount the total world reserve of uranium. Several deposits of uranium also have been discovered in various parts of the country, which are still being proved by drilling. A deposit containing several thousand tons of uranium has, however, been established in Bihar and steps are being taken to open up a mine to produce a thousand tons of ore a day. Nuclear power plants are expected to make a progressive contribution towards meeting the growing demand for power.

36. Unconventional sources of energy.-— Attempts to convert primary forms of energy such as solar radiation, wind motion, tidal energy, heat of the earth and oceans, etc. are being made in different parts of the world. Of the several devices developed so far, solar house heating, solar batteries and wind power generators have proved reasonably successful in many places. Tidal motion has also been harnessed in some countries.

In India, work has been done on the development of a solar cooker, a solar evaporator and prototype windmills. A great deal of research and experimentation and several years of development work go into every divice meant for catching the energy of the sun, wind or tides in an efficient and economical manner. Research schemes for tapping unconventional sources of energy should be developed.

VIII. Resources of The Sea

37. India has a coastline of about 3530 miles. a continental shelf of more than 10,000 square miles and a large number of gulfs and bays along the coast. This alone indicates the vast possibilities of marine resources in the form of marine algae, fish and other edible animals as well as minerals. Oceans are huge reservoirs of organic material and photosynthesis occurs in them at greater rate than in forests or grasslands. The importance of marine fisheries has already been stressed. Marine algae (sea-weeds) are a promising source of food which still remains un-exploited in India. Sea-weeds are also the source of agar, alginates, mucilages and iodine. Some of them can be used for making jams, jellies, etc. for human consumption. Addition of sea-weeds to cattle feeds in other countries has proved remarkably beneficial due to the presence of trace elements which the farm animals generally lack. Similarly, incorporation of sea-weed—cow-dung compost to soil proved much more beneficial to crops than cowdung alone. A preliminary survey conducted by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Station, Mandapam, indicates that systematic exploitation of sea-weeds could be quite profitable. There is need for a comprehensive survey of the availablility of economic sea-weeds on India's coastline and their utilisation.

38 Mineral resources from the sea hold considerable promise. Of these, the most important is the common edible salt. Its production in 1958 was about 4.2 million tons valued at about R. 8.5 crores. At present very little use isbeing made of salt bitterns which are a source of magnesium chloride, potassium chloride and bromine. Against a possible quantity of million tons, only 8000 tons of magnesium salts are recovered. Only a few hundred tons of potassium chloride are recovered against a possible total of 90,000 tons. Similarly, bromine is recovered to the extent of 25-30 tons against a possible total of several' thousand tons. The ocean is likely to become the major source for sodium, potassium, magnesium, bromine and chlorine. A recent development is the possibility of recovering manganese, cobalt, nickel, copper and thorium from nodules that occur on the deep sea floor. So far no surveys have been made to estimate the mineral resources of the ocean bed.

IX. Surveys and Programme of Work

39. The Survey of India, the Botanical Survey and the Zoological Survey have been strengthened under the first two plans and have undertaken extensive surveys in their respective fields. Thus, the Survey of India has carried out surveys in connection with the multi-purpose river valley projects, oil refineries, coalfields and the lead-zinc zones in Rajasthan. The Botanical Survey of India was engaged in exploring plant rcsour-des of the country. The Zoological survey has been engaged in collecting scientific information regarding animals, fish, birds, insects, etc. and its studies are of great importance in the fields of public health, agriculture and forestry.

40. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the National Laboratories have undertaken a number of important surveys. Among these, mention may be made of studies of wind velocity, tanning materials to replace imported wattlebark, road materials, medicinal plants, raw materials for glass and ceramics, refractories, paper and pulp, and food and agricultural wastes and their utilisation.

41. Several surveys of a regional character have been undertaken in recent years and some are in progress. Under the auspices of the Planning Commission, the Indian Statistical Institute has carried out a pilot regional survey of Mysore and also a less elaborate survey of the State of Kerala. A diagnostic survey of the Damodar region is being carried out jointly by the Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and the Universities of Calcutta and Patna. The survey is potentially of great importance for the planning and development of the Damodar Valley area. The National Council of Applied Economic Research has, at the instance of the State Governments concerned, undertaken techno-economic surveys of the States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Mysore, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal. It has also completed for the Government of India surveys of the Union Territories of Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura. These surveys bring together a considerable body of information and will be of use as bench marks for later studies. They also indicate possibilities of development which need to be studied further. The survey of the metropolitan region of Delhi, completed recently, has value not only for the development of the region but also as a pioneering effort of interest to other large towns. A similar survey is proposed to be carried out for Calcutta.

42. Natural resources cover a most extensive field and, within the compass of a short chapter, it is not possible to do more than touch upon a few broad features of the subject. Over the past ten years, a great deal of new information regarding the country's natural resources has become available. The principal organisations engaged in surveys of resources are now equipped with personnel and expertise to expand their activities even more rapidly in the future. States are also more fully seized of their own problems .of resource development. Considerable numbers •of highly trained scientists and technologists are already engaged in studies relating to resources. There is growing recognition of the need for conservation of natural resources in all fields, .but in this direction much still remains to be done. A great deal of valuable scientific research is being undertaken for resource location and resource utilisation in the National Laboratories, in the universities and in other research establishments. Technological changes are already transforming the economic life of the country. With economic development, there will also be greater technological progress and many new possibilities wiU open up. The preparation of a long-term plan of economic development, stretching over the next fifteen years and more can serve as a common thread to hold together and help interpret the results of scientific research and the growing knowledge being gained of the country's resources. It will also point to gaps that exist and suggest new problems for study. The task ahead is one of considerable magnitude and will call for continuous cooperation between the Planning Commission, the various research organisations of the Central Government, Departments in the States, leading institutions engaged in scientific and economic research and the universities. The potential for development of India's natural resources is vast; with systematic study and exploration of these resources and the increasing application of science and technology in their assessment and utilisation, the possibilites of economic growth may be enlarged far beyond the present anticipations.

[ Home ]
^^ Top
<< Back to Index