Resources that man uses are distributed over the earth in an uneven and discontinuous system. The development of resources, as we have seen, depends on several factors. Nor can all the resources in an area be used all at once. Therefore some important factors are associated with planning of resources.
1. Steps in Planning of Resources
In order to correlate resources to their needs, following steps are essential for planning of resources.
(a) Survey: This is done by an expert body like the Geological Survey of India in the case of mineral resources. They use various methods and techniques to identify and locate resources in certain geographic areas. Similarly animal resources, land resources, forest resources may be surveyed and identified by respective expert bodies specialized in their respective field of interest.
(b) Potential Resources : These are the type of resources likely to exist in an area or the region. For example, India has vast potential human resources which if channelized properly can make a miracle happen on earth. Moreover such resources are not properly developed therefore, identification and development of potential resources is an important step in planning of resources.
(c) Reserves : These are the deposits of resources which can be developed economically. Not all potential resources can be turned into reserves. Reserves have the chief characteristic of being used over time to meet the demands. Use of reserves into resources may lead to their scarcity. Similarly, low grade resources like for example, lignite coal can be converted into a useful reserve with the change in technology and proper planning. Lignite (coal) is today used profitably for making various types of chemicals.
(d) Actual Resources : These are the resources actually identified for use based on available technology. The actual resources are also economical to use.
(e) Reserve : It is that portion of actual resources which can be developed economically at available technology.
2. Importance of Planning of Resources
(i) Conservation of Resources : The greatest need for proper planning of resources arises from conservation of resources or their protection and preservation for future use. Because of huge population growth and environment degradation conservation has become very necessary. The demand for resources had also considerably risen on account of higher standard of living and rising consumption pattern This is specially true in the case of western countries where consumption patterns today are extravagantly stretched.
(ii) Stabilizing Prices : Increased demand for resources and their short supply tends to raise the prices. The fear of exhaustion leads to undesirable marketing practices like hoarding arid black-marketing
which also push up the prices. Therefore, it is necessary to have a coordinated resource policy to keep the prices in check.
(iii) Problem of Wastes and Pollution: The exploitation of resources leads to accumulation of huge wastes in our environment. Moreover, many resources are also used wastefully either because of inefficient
technology or wasteful consumption patterns. The inefficient technology is characteristic feature of developing countries and wasteful consumption patterns prevail in advanced countries. Both contribute to pollution of our environment in many different ways. For example, mining of coal raises huge dust in our environment. For example, lots of resources are used in canned foods — aluminium cans, glass, paper and boards are daily wasted in tons and tons. Disposal of wastes, associated with agriculture, domestic and industrial, is also today a great problem. While planning for resources steps are needed to be taken in advance before utilizing resources.
(iv) Accidents : Many accidents happen while mining, transporting and using resources. These accidents not only cause loss of life and property but also cause great damage to our environment. Oil leak in oil tankers in oceans can cause great damage to marine life. Transporting coal in open railway wagons in India is threatening our environment. Coal mining is also very hazardous. If no proper planning is done there will be frequent accidents. Detergents, chemicals, pesticides have a disastrous effect on
vegetation, wildlife, fish as well as human life.