Resources and Development - Long Answer Questions

Q.1.       Why is resource planning important for India? What are the steps involved in the resource planning process?

Ans. Resource planning is important in a country like India due to the enormous diversity in the resources that are available. Some regions are rich in certain types of resources, however they may  be deficient in some other types of resources. E.g. a mineral-rich region may be poor in infrastructure or may be socio-culturally backward and included in economically backward regions.

Some regions are self-sufficient in terms of availability of resources, while, on the other hand, there are regions that face an acute shortage of resources. Thus, for proper development, distribution, sharing and utilisation of resources, taking into consideration the technology, quality of human resources and historical experiences of the people, resource planning is essential for development. India has made concerted efforts for achieving the goals of resource planning right from the First Five Year Plan launched after    Independence.

Resource planning is a complex process which involves:

(i)            Identification of resources across the country through surveying, mapping and preparation of inventory of resources through their quantitative and qualitative estimation and measurement.

(ii)           Develop a planning structure for resource development taking into account technology, skill and infrastructure available for implementing the    plans.

(iii)          Matching the resource development plans with overall national development plans. This involves systematic planning of exploitation of    resources.


Q.2.        What are the main types of soil found in India? Which type of soil is the most widespread and important soil of India ? Describe in detail about this soil type.

Ans. The main types of soil found in various parts of India are as follows :

(i)            Alluvial soil.

(ii)           Black soil.

(iii)          Red and yellow soil

(iv)         Laterite soil

(v)          Arid or  Desert soil.

(vi)         Forest and  Mountainous soil.

Alluvial soil is the most fertile, widespread and important soil of India. They are riverine soil transported and deposited by the three great river systems— the Indus, the Ganga and Brahmaputra – which have formed the entire Northern Plains. They are also found in the deltas of the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Kaveri rivers along the Eastern Coastal plains. They also extend in a narrow corridor to Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The fertility of the alluvial soil has made the Northern Plains and the Eastern Coastal Plain the most productive agricultural regions of India with a high density of population. The alluvial soil contain adequate proportion of potash, phosphoric acid and lime which are ideal for cultivation of paddy,  wheat, other cereals and pulses and sugarcane.

The alluvial soil consists of various proportions of sand, silt and clay. The soil near the floodplain are more or less fine and in the deltas they are finest. They are coarse in the upper reaches of the river valley specially near break of slope and in piedmont plains like Duars,  Chos  and Terai. Alluvial soils are renewed every year during annual floods. The new, fertile, light coloured and fine alluvial deposited near the river is called khadar. The old alluvial deposited earlier are found at about 30 metres above the flood level of the rivers. They are clayey, dark in colour,  coarse with kanker nodules and less fertile.


Q.3.        What is soil erosion? How do human activities and natural forces cause soil erosion? Suggest measures of soil conservation in hilly, and mountainous areas and in desert areas.

Ans. The denudation or destruction of the soil cover and their subsequent natural removal is termed as soil erosion. Human activities as well as natural forces cause denudation of the top soil. The soil nutrients are subsequently washed away by running water or blown away by wind.  Human activities like deforestation, overgrazing, construction and mining as well as faulty methods of farming lead to soil erosion. Natural forces like wind, water and glacier can cause soil erosion. Surface runoff leads to formation of gullies, badlands and ravines by cutting out channels in the soil. Entire topsoil may be washed off under the impact of sheet erosion caused by large water flows down a slope. Loose soil may be blown away by wind easily.

In hilly and mountainous areas the following measures can help to control soil erosion :

(i)            Contour ploughing or ploughing along the contour lines of a high land can decelerate flow of water down the   slopes.

(ii)           Terrace  cultivation or cutting of steps around the slopes to provide land for agriculture  also checks downhill flow of water and controls soil erosion, e.g. as in Western and  Central Himalayan region.

(iii)          Afforestation can help in soil conservation in hilly areas.

In dry desert areas, planting of rows of trees known as shelter belts to check velocity of wind can control soil erosion. These shelter belts have contributed significantly to the stabilisation  of sand dunes and checking the spread of desert in Western India.


Q.4.        What is the need for ‘conservation of resources’? Elucidate in the light of Gandhiji’s view.

Ans. Irrational consumption and over-exploitation of resources without consideration for the future generations have led to grave socio-economic and environmental problems. Social and economic distinctions on the basis of have and have-nots and global ecological problems like global warming, ozone layer depletion, environmental pollution and land degradation are all consequences of uncontrolled exploitation of resources. To overcome these problems and to preserve resources for our future generations as well, conservation of resources is essential. Gandhiji expressed his concern about resource conservation through these words, “There is enough for everybody’s need but not for anybody’s greed.” According to Gandhiji, greedy and selfish individuals and exploitative nature of modern technology is the root cause for resource depletion at the global level. He advocated production by the masses and was against mass production that lead to uncontrolled exploitation of    resources.

Accumulation of resources in a few hands due to indiscriminate exploitation of resources has divided the society into rich and poor. An equitable distribution of resources has become essential for sustained quality of life and global peace. This can reduce tension between countries and lead to planned and judicious use of resources. Similarly, conservation of resources can also help tackle ecological crises of global level.


Q.5.        What does the term ‘land degradation’ mean? Which human activities have contributed significantly in land degradation? Suggest measures to solve the problems of land degradation.

Ans. Continuous use of land over a prolonged period of time, without taking necessary steps to conserve and manage it, has resulted is land degradation, i.e., qualitative degradation of land. The quality of the land becomes poorer due to gradual loss of fertility due to unplanned use.

Unplanned use and over exploitation by humans have led to degradation of land and have also aggravated the pace of natural forces to cause damage to land. Human activities such as deforestation, over grazing, mining and quarrying have contributed significantly in land degradation. Faulty methods of cultivation and over-irrigation have also caused land degradation in some areas. Mineral processing like grinding of limestone for cement industry, industrial effluents and wastes cause pollution and lead to land degradation.

The problem of land degradation may be tackled by adopting certain measures to conserve  land.

(i)            Afforestation or large scale plantation of trees and proper management of grazing.

(ii)           Planting of shelter belts of plants and stabilisation of sand dunes by growing thorny bushes in windy,  arid areas like desert of   Rajasthan.

(iii)          Proper management of wasteland and control of mining activities.

(iv)         Proper discharge and disposal of industrial effluents and waste after treatment in industrial and  suburban areas.


Q.6.        What is resource planning? Why is resource planning essential? Explain with three reasons.

Ans. Resource planning is the widely accepted strategy for judicious use of resources. It is  a complex process which involves  :

(i)            Identification and inventory of resources across the regions of the country through surveying, mapping and qualitative and quantitative estimation and measurement of resources.

(ii)           Evolving a planning structure endowed with appropriate technolgy, skill and institutional set-up for implementing resource development   plans.

(iii)          Matching the resource development plans with overall national development plans. Resource Planning is essential mainly because of the following reasons.

Resources are not equally distributed throughout the world. Within a country also some regions may be rich in resources and self sufficient in terms of availability of resources while some other regions may have acute shortage of some vital resources. There are regions which are rich in certain types of resources but are deficient in some other resources. Some regions in the country that are rich in natural resources may be included among econmically backward region. On the contrary, there are some regions which have a poor resource base but are economically developed. Technology, quality of human resources and the historical experiences of the people influence resource    development.

In a country like India which has an enormous diversity in the availability of resources, resource  planning  is indispensable.


Q.7.        Explain any four human activities which are mainly responsible for land degradation in India.

Ans. Continuous use of land over a prolonged period of time without taking necessary steps to conserve and manage it, has resulted in land degradation. Four human activities responsible for land degradation in India are as follows :

(i)            In states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa deforestation due to mining have caused severe land degradation. Mining sites are dug, drilled or quarried and abondoned after excavation work is over, leaving the landover burdened and in a highly degraded state.

(ii)           Mineral  processing  like  grinding  of  limestone  for  cement  industry  and  calcite  and soapstone for ceramic industry generate huge quality of mineral dust in the atmosphere which ultimately settles down on the land. It retards the process of infiltration of water   into the soil, thus, degrading the land. Discharge of industrial effluents and wastes cause pollution and land degradation in industrial regions.

(iii)          In states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra overgrazing is one of the main reasons for land degradation.

(iv)         In Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh over-irrigation is responsible for land degradation. It leads to water logging which in turn increases salinity and alkalinity in the soil and reduces its  fertility.


Q.8.        Give the importance of soil. Explain any three factors responsible for soil formation.

Ans. Soil is the medium of plant growth and supports different types of living organisms, including animals and human beings, by providing them with food for their survival. Human existance and settlement is determined by soil fertility as it determines agricultural productivity of an area. Soil determines the natural vegetation and type of crop production of an area.

It also influences the landuse of an area. Areas of fertile soil are agriculturally productive and densely populated. It is one of the most important renewable natural resource.

Relief, nature of parent rock or bedrock, climate, vegetation and other forms of life (especially decomposers) and time are important factors in the formation of soil. The three most important factors of soil formation are   :

(i)            Nature of parent rock. It influences the colour and texture of the soil. The mineral content of the soil also depends on the parent rock from which it is formed.

(ii)           Climate influences the rate and types of weathering and erosion of the rocks. Weathering of the parent rocks due to climatic factors and natural forces lead to disintegration of rocks which leads to the formation of soil.

(iii)          Time determines maturity of the soil. The soil is a living system. It takes millions of years to form soil upto a few centimetres in depth.


Q.9.        Classify resources on the basis of ownership into four categories. Mention the main features of each.  

Ans. On the basis of owership resources can be classified into the following categories :

(i)            Individual Resources.     (ii)  Community Owned Resources.     (iii)  National Resources.               (iv)  International Resources.

(i)            Individual resources are owned privately by individuals or group of individuals. Plots of lands owned by farmers, pasture lands, ponds, orchards, water in wells, are examples of resources owned by individuals in the villages. Plots of lands, houses, cars, and other property are some examples of individual resources in urban areas. Plantations are also individual resources. Its plot of land, management, revenue, products and profits are under individial ownership.

(ii)           Community owned resources are accessible to all members of the community. These resources can be used by all people living in the area. Picnic spots, maidans, village ponds, grazing grounds, burial grounds, etc., in villages; playgrounds, public parks, markets, etc  in urban areas are examples of community owed    resources.

(iii)          National  Resources  mean  all  resources  owned  by  a  nation.  All  the  forests,  wildlife, minerals, water resources, land within the political boundaries of a nation and oceanic area up 12 nautical miles, i.e., 19.2 km, from the coast termed as territorial water, and resources therein belong to the nation and are termed as national resources.

(iv)         International Resources are under the jurisdiction and regulation of international organisations. The oceanic resources beyond 200 km of the Exclusive Economic Zone belong to open oceans and no individual country can utilise these without the concurrence of international institutions, e.g. manganese nodules in bed of the Indian Ocean.