7 General factors influencing location of industries in India are: 1. Raw Material 2. Energy 3. Transport 4. Labour 5. Water 6. Market 7. New Factors in a Changed Situation.
The decision regarding the location of a particular industrial activity is guided by many factors which may be geographical, socio-political, economic and historical.
These factors, specific to the Indian conditions, are discussed below:
1. Raw Material:
The earliest industries in India developed near the sources of raw material. For instance, the textile mills of Bombay had supply of cotton coming from Gujarat and Vidarbha and the jute mills of Hooghly region got the raw material from the delta region of the Ganga. The nature of raw material also has a bearing on the location.
For instance, those raw materials which get reduced in weight during manufacturing (i.e., which are perishable) influence the industry to be located near the source. This explains the particular location of sugar mills in Maharashtra and western Uttar Pradesh and of iron and steel industry in West Bengal-Bihar- Orissa belt.
The iron and steel industry has been traditionally tied with the coal resources, as it uses coking coal for fuel. Similarly, the electro- metallurgical and electro-chemical industries, being power intensive, have been located where electricity is easily available.
This explains the location of aluminum producing units at Korba and Renukoot in Madhya Pradesh and of the fertiliser plant at Nangal in Punjab. However, since electricity can be easily transmitted, and petroleum can be transported, these industries can also be dispersed. It was only because of the transmissibility of electricity that industrial development could take place with hydel power in the coal deficient peninsular region.
Transport is required for carrying raw materials to manufacturing units and finished products to the market. The earliest industries developed near the port towns of Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, since these ports were linked with rail and road to hinterland. This infrastructure for transport was further developed after independence.
The availability of both unskilled and skilled, or technically qualified manpower, is an important factor in the location of industries.
Unskilled labour is easily available in urban locations due to large rural-urban migration. One characteristic feature of the labour factor is its mobility. The industrial belt around Mumbai attracts labour from all over the country. Some of the small scale industries traditionally associated with labour is glasswork (Ferozabad), brass-work (.Moradabad), utensils (Yamunanagar in Haryana), silk sarees (Varanasi), carpets (Mirzapur), etc.
Water is required to produce hydel power and in the process of manufacturing for cleaning, cooling, washing, etc. The industries which heavily depend on water, for one purpose or the other, include iron and steel (for cooling), textile (for bleaching and washing), paper and pulp, chemical, jute, food processing, leather and atomic power. Naturally, these units are located at places where water is easily available.
High demand and a satisfactory purchasing power give impetus to industrial development. Government policies facilitate expansion of the market and, thus, of the industry. Market may be local, national or international.
7. New Factors in a Changed Situation:
With scientific and technological advancement, the constraining geographical factors have not remained rigid. Labour has become more mobile, long distance transmission of energy is possible now and alternatives of various raw materials are available. Therefore, new factors have come into play which include skilled managerial services, availability of capital and financial resources and export potential of products.
The government policies seek to promote regional parity by locating the industry in backward regions. For instance, such objectives guided the government’s decision to locate an oil refinery in Mathura, a coach factory in Kapurthala, and a fertiliser plant in Jagdishpur, Uttar Pradesh.
Government policies also seek to check environmental degradation and to reduce congestion. Export potential of iron and steel products guided the location of new steel plants at Visakhapatnam and Salem. Visakhapatnam is a port, while Salem is well connected to the ports of Chennai and Kochi by rail and road.