Mica-processing and application
- Mica occurs as muscovite, biotite, phlogopite and lepidolite, mixed with potassium, iron or magnesium. Biotite is economically more important and is found in schists and gneisses.
- The major mica producing state in India is Bihar. Some deposits are also found in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. Bihar mica is of very high quality and occurs in the districts of Gaya, Hazaribagh, Mongyr, Bhagalpur, Dhanbad, Palamau, Ranchi and Singhbhum.
- Crude mica obtained from mica mines is full of flaws and cracks. These are removed by cutting by employing manual labour.
- India is the world’s largest producer of high quality block mica.
- Mica is an important product with various uses. Its heat resisting property and electrical non-conductivity makes it an effective insulator for use in the electrical industry. It is also used in medicines, manufacture of condensers, window-covers, electrical ovens and furnaces, gas lamps and masks, etc.
Refractory minerals in India
- Materials which are resistant to heat at high temperature (1500° C) are called refractories. They are used for making firebricks which line the walls of high heat furnaces. Refractory minerals include fireclays, magnesite, graphite and aluminium silicates such as sillimanite and kyanite.
- Magnesite occurs in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. Fireclays are found in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Magnesite is used in blast furnaces and other industrial furnaces and also for producing liquid carbon dioxide.
- Sillimanite which occurs in Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Bihar is used for glass tank furnaces, where high temperatures are developed and also in electric furnaces because of its strength and low electrical conductivity.
- Kyanite found in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa, Rajasthan and Maharashtra is used for lining copper smelting furnaces.
- Graphite, scarce in India, is found in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Karnataka and Orissa and is used in foundries, graphite crucibles and lead pencils.
Ferrous mineral—source and area of occurrence
- The ores of iron, manganese, chromite and nickel are generally grouped together as ferrous minerals. In these minerals iron is present in varying degrees.
- Iron ore occurs as hematite, magnetite, or limonite. These are oxides, hydroxides and carbonates of iron.
- Manganese ore occurs in combination with barium or other metallic oxides. The main manganese ores are called braumite, purolusite, psilomelane and magnetic.
- The chromite ore occurs in combination as an oxide of chromium and iron (FeCr2O4)
- Nickel in the form of nickel sulphide occurs in association with copper and chromite or pyrite ores.
- Of the ferrous minerals, iron ore is the most important. India has vast resources of iron ore spread over Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Some magnetite ores are also found in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- Limonite and Siderite ores have been found in Ranigunj coal field areas, and certain districts of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
- Manganese ores are found in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka with low grade ores in Goa and Rajasthan.
- Chrome ore occurs in Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Tamil Nadu.
- Minor quantities of nickel ores occur in Mosabani, Raka-Roan and Jadugoda mines in Bihar, Sukhinda, Saurabil and Sukaingee regions in Orissa.
Export of Iron ore and import of steel—How far is it justified?
- India’s iron ore reserves are estimated at 2071 crore tonnes. Only about 5 crores tonnes are extracted every year at present. This includes the ore which is exported. It will be seen that there is a vast potential both for use in manufacture of steel and for export.
- The shortage of steel in India which necessitates imports is not due to shortage of iron ore but to other causes like shortage of coking coal, poor capacity utilisation in steel plants, obsolete steel making technology, and power shortage. Since huge quantities of ore are available and not all of it can be used for making iron and steel in India, there is every justification for exporting iron ore and earning valuable foreign exchange for the country.
- The apparently anomalous position is due to the fact that our steel production has not kept pace with demand.
- To improve the production, steel technology has to be upgraded and problems of shortage of coking coal and power have to be shorted out. Steps are being taken in this direction.
- Better quality coal is being ensured by beneficiation and import of low ash coal. Mini plants based on use of non-coking coal and natural gas are also being set up.
Fertilizer minerals—their prospects
- Minerals containing phosphorous, nitrogen and sulphur are grouped under fertiliser minerals as the salts manufactured from these minerals viz., phosphates and sulphates are mainly used as fertilisers.
- India produces nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilisers in which it holds an important rank amongst world producers.
- India has sufficient petroleum and naphtha but negligible deposits of sulphur. Rock phosphates (also known as phosphorites) occur in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. Apatite which is another source of phosphatic fertilisers, occurs in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
- Gypsum is a source of sulphatic fertilisers. It is found in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
- The country has to import rock phosphates and sulphur whereas raw materials for nitrogen and ammonia fertilisers are available indigenously from oil refineries.
- As fertiliser is essential for agricultural growth, the prospects of the fertiliser industry are good. But the cost of production is high resulting in subsidies to farm users to encourage fertiliser use.
- The supply of natural gas is a great advantage to the industry in Gujarat. At present 80% of fertiliser demand is met by the industry.
- By 1994-95 further production from new units based on natural gas supply will be commissioned in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The industry, it is expected, will stabilise by that time.
India has made significant progress in the fisheries sector in recent years. The main challenges facing fisheries development have been proper assessment of fishery resources, both inland and marine, and their potential in terms of fish production, development of requisite technology for fish culture, harvest and post-harvest operations, strengthening of infrastructure for production of fish seed, providing berthing and landing facilities for fishing vessels, training for deep sea fishing operators and other officers, besides taking adequate care for the welfare of fishermen.
Fisheries is a State subject and as such the prime responsibility for developmental efforts rests with the State Governments. The main emphasis for developmental efforts on the part of the Central Government is to assist the States and Union Territories in attaining increased production and productivity by supplementing and complementing the efforts of the State Governments. The overall strategy for development has been evolved with a view to improving the exploitation of the vast fisheries resource potential to augment food supply, generating employment and earning foreign exchange.
The main objectives of fisheries development have been enhancing production and productivity, augmenting export of marine product, generating employment and improving welfare of fishermen and their socioeconomic standards. The schemes for fisheries development are essentially focused towards:
- Production system
- Infrastructural development
- Human resource development
- Input mobilisation
- Management and information system and
Infrastructure development for marine fisheries
For the development of any sector of the country, existence of basic infrastructure is most strategic. Creation of landing and berthing facilities for the steadily increasing fishing vessels/crafts has therefore, been an area of special focus of the Government's policies. The objective of developing adequate infrastructure for marine fisheries is achieved through two important schemes, viz., Central Sector Scheme for Fishing Harbours at Major ports and Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Minor Fishery Harbours and Landing Centres.
Welfare programme for fishermen
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme Welfare of Fishermen' has the following three components :
(i) Development of Model Fishermen Villages
(ii) Group Accident Insurance Scheme for Active Fishermen.
(iii) Saving-cum-Relief for Marine Fishermen
Rainfed Farming Systems
The Government has accorded the highest priority to provide the holistic development of extensive rainfed areas which constitute 70 per cent of our cultivated land for;
-Realising the project requirement of about 240 million tonnes of annual food production by 2000 AD and to smoothen out fluctuation in annual production;
-Reducing regional disparity between irrigated and vast rainfed areas;
-Restoring ecological balance in the degraded and fragile rainfed ecosystems by greening these areas through appropriate mix of trees, shrubs and grasses, and;
-Generation employment for rural masses.
Holistic approach for integrated Farming Systems Development on watershed basis is the main pursuit of the development activities in rainfed areas under the National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA) and other multi-national and bilateral water-shed development projects.