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Following article on” Assets of India ” is part of our series on general awareness:
India, the seventh largest country of the world by area and the second largest country of the world by population is poised to become the super power in future. Country posses ample resources, both human as well as material to achieve that goal but the road to become super power is also full of challenges. A super power is not just a military super power but also economic super power, technological super power, political super power etc. Assets of India which will be helpful for India to realize the goal of becoming a super power are:
Human Resources: Most significant factor which vital for India to become super power is its human resources. For any country, the most important assets is its human resource power and India boasts of 17.5 percent of world human resources. The presences of ample human resources with the country can boon as well as bane for the country. If nation uses its man power efficiently and ensures their contribution in the nation building process, it will certainly be a boon but if its vast population becomes a burden, then certainly it will be drag for the country’s development.
Ocean Resources: Oceans are one of Earth's most valuable natural resources. It provides food in the form of fish and shellfish; about 200 billion pounds are caught each year. It's used for transportation, both travel and shipping. It provides a treasured source of recreation for humans. It is mined for minerals (salt, sand, gravel, and some manganese, copper, nickel, iron, and cobalt can be found in the deep sea) and drilled for crude oil. India is surrounded by sea on the three sides and also lies on the major sea routes of the world. India’s location on the world trade route provides an opportunity to flourish with the increasing world trade. India has 12 major and 187 minor and intermediate ports along its more than 7500 km long coastline. These ports serve the country’s growing foreign trade in petroleum products, iron ore, and coal, as well as the increasing movement of containers. Already government is gearing up to develop Indian ports to meet the projected throughput of 3.2 billion tons by 2020 from the present 1 billion. Apart from trade, Department of Ocean Development is engaged in the development of technologies to which make the harnessing of resource, living as well non living, commercially viable. In the 21st century, Indians will have to depend a lot on sustainable use of ocean resources. Thirty per cent of our population lives in coastal areas. For a better India, we have to make a judicious use of our vast ocean wealth. For this to happen, we have to learn more about our oceans.
Technology: One cannot imagine a super power with a trivial technology and India has developed its technology at a brisk pace. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) etc have developed the military as well as civilian technologies. Role of ISRO in ushering the communication revolution cannot be neglected but there are few challenges which are yet to be addressed. For instance, for launching the geo-stationary satellites, Indian capabilities are very limited and such satellites are launched from French Korou.
Agriculture: India is among the top ten producers of almost all agriculture crops, yet it is unable to wipe out the hunger. India is far away from achieving the Millennium Development Goals. There is no element of doubt that agriculture is an important asset of India but it is also true that agriculture production in India is not up to its potential. Every year, India had to import oilseeds and pulses in huge quantity. Productivity in India is much lower than other nations like China, US and most of the countries of European Union.
Water Resources: India’s fresh water resources are third largest in the world and importance of water can viewed from the fact that many thinkers feel that the third world war will be fought for water. In the light of above fact, water is indeed an important asset for the country but the irony is many areas in India lacks potable water supply, only half of the country’s area is irrigated water borne diseases takes heavy toll on the health of citizens every year.
Energy: As the country develops, its energy demand is poised to increase and so is the case with India. India boasts of ample coal and water resources, thus has huge potential of thermal as well as hydel power. Apart from this, being a tropical country, receives ample sunshine for most of the year which means that solar energy can also be utilized for the energy starved nation. Despite of such a huge potential, power supply of the country is always less than the demand.
Forests: Forest resources are most important resources of our country useful in maintaining ecological balance, providing fire wood, providing raw materials to many industries, providing protection to wild animals and to conserve the soils. India has 75 million hectares under forest cover which accounts for 23% of total geographical area. Today forests resources are depleting due to urbanization and industrialization. Therefore the conservation of this asset is an urgent requirement not only for economic reasons but also for social reasons as many tribes depend on these resources for their livelihood.
Minerals: Minerals are valuable natural resources being finite and non-renewable. They constitute the vital raw materials for many basic industries and are a major resource for development. Management of mineral resources has, therefore, to be closely integrated with the overall strategy of development; arid exploitation of minerals is to be guided by long-term national goals and perspectives. India with diverse and significant mineral resources is the leading producer of some of the minerals. India is the largest producer of mica blocks and mica splitting; ranks third in the production of coal and lignite, barytes and chromite; 4th in iron ore, 6th in bauxite and manganese ore, 10th in aluminium and 11th in crude steel. Iron-ore, copper-ore, chromite ore, zinc concentrates, gold, manganese ore, bauxite, lead concentrates, and silver account for the entire metallic production. Limestone, magnesite, dolomite, barytes, kaolin, gypsum, apatite, steatite and fluorite account for 92 percent of non-metallic minerals.
Health: Healthcare is one of India’s largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment, and the sector is expanding rapidly. During the 1990s, Indian healthcare grew at a compound annual rate of 16%. Today the total value of the sector is more than $34 billion. This translates to $34 per capita, or roughly 6% of GDP. By 2012, India’s healthcare sector is projected to grow to nearly $40 billion. The private sector accounts for more than 80% of total healthcare spending in India. India’s expanding health facilities are also attracting the patients from the developing as well as developed world because of the power cost of treatment in India.
Industry: Indian industries developed at a brisk pace during the post globalization years. Industries like automobile, textile, gems and jewellary are the important assets for the country which are also the most important foreign exchange earners. But industrial sector is not able to grow to its full potential because of poor infrastructure. Poor infrastructure is a significant challenge and it must be addressed on priority basis otherwise we might lose the edge to the developing markets in China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Asean countries.
Services: Services account for more than 55 percent of the country’s GDP. They are also the most important foreign exchange earner as the service account always earns a surplus in the Balance of Payment account. Further, service sector is employment intensive also. Services like Transport, financial services, communication, personal services software services etc are growing leaps and bound.
Thus, India is neither short of resources nor efforts to become super power but still its far from becoming a super power. India cannot claim to become a super power with a medium level of human development index, one third of population living below poverty line, power cuts are frequent. Therefore it is expedient for the country to utilize its resources fully and ameliorate the internal challenges. Once India successfully fights with poverty, unemployment and inequality, it tag of super power will come automatically.
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