Human Activities – Secondary

Human Activities - Secondary | Geography




  • We all know that our planet Earth is rich in natural resources like minerals and agricultural resources.
  • These resources can be better utilized only when they are processed.
  • We cannot consume products in their original form.
  • They must be processed and made into useful products.
  • The place where the raw materials are converted into finished or usable products with the help of machines is known as an industry.
  • The activity of processing raw materials into finished products is called a Secondary Activity.
  • Activities associated with the secondary sector include automobile production, chemical and engineering industries, aerospace manufacturing, breweries and ship building.
  • Manufacturing industries are the chief wealth producing sectors of an economy.
  • The economic strength of a country is measured in terms of its industries.
  • Manufacturing industries are quite recent as compared to activities like hunting and fishing.
  • Today, the industry is an important part of most societies and nations.
  • Manufacturing industries came into being with the development of technology in the 18thand 19th  centuries which resulted in the mass production of goods in the western world.
  • This was widely known as the ‘Industrial Revolution’, one of the most important events in history.
  • Coal was the first fuel that launched the industrial revolution.
  • Major changes in agriculture, mining and transport brought about a socio-economic transformation in the world.

Factors affecting the Location of Industries

  • Industries cannot be developed everywhere. There are certain factors that influence the location of Industries.
  • These factors can be both geographical and human factors.

Raw Material

  • Some Industries require large quantities of heavy raw material.
  • Such industries are located near the raw materials to reduce the time and cost involved in transporting them.
  • Iron and steel industries are always located near the coal mines or iron mines.
  • For example, Tata Iron and Steel industries are located near the Raniganj, Jharia and Bokaro coal fields.


  • Industries require a lot of cheap labour or manpower. Industries tend to locate in areas that have high populations.
  • Countries like India and China have a large and cheap labour force.
  • Labour can be further divided into skilled labour which has specific skilled labour which has specific skills and semi-skilled labour which does not require a specific skill.
  • Diamond cutting industry requires skilled labour while packing industry does not possess specific skills.


  • Power is the basic requirement to operate machinery.
  • The industrial sector uses about 70% of the total commercial energy available all over the world.
  • Major sources of Power for Industries are thermal (coal) and hydroelectric (water).
  • Industries are located in areas, where power is easily available.


  • Capital or money is essential to set up any industry.
  • This is required for getting all the necessary inputs for the industry.
  • Some industries require large investments of money while others are not capital intensive.
  • Larger the industry, greater is the capital requirement.
  • Industries develop in areas where capital is available for investment.


  • Transport is essential to procure raw materials from the sources to the industry and transfer the finished products to the market.
  • Industries require fast and cost-effective modes of transport. Hence, industries are located in areas where transportation is well developed.

Proximity to Market

  • Certain industries are located near the market when they involve the assembling of numerous components.
  • For example, the automobile industry.
  • Industries producing perishable commodities like dairy products and fragile goods like glass are also located near markets.
  • One or more of the above geographical and human factors determine the location of industries worldwide.
  • Other factors like climatic conditions and availability of water also influence the location of industries.



Types of Industries

  • In the previous lesson, we studied the factors that influenced the location of industries.
  • Industries can be generally classified into different types, on the basis of raw materials, location, size, production, and process, the nature of work and ownership of the industry.

Classification of Industries

  • Ownership
  • Production process
  • Raw materials
  • Location
  • Size

Nature of work


Based on Raw materials

  • Based on the type of raw materials used industries can be classified into the following types.

Forest-based Industry

  • In this industry, the raw materials are obtained from the forests.
  • Examples of such industries include paper industry and furniture making

Agro-based industry

  • These industries use raw materials obtained from agriculture to produce new products like cotton textiles, jute products and sugar.

Mineral-based Industry

  • The raw materials for these industries are mineral ores.
  • Examples of such industries are iron and Steel, Cement Aluminium and Chemicals.

Size of industry

  • Based on the scale of operations industries are divided into

Large-scale Industry

  • These industries are large establishments which involve huge investment, the use of heavy machinery and the employment of a large number of workers.

Medium-scale Industry

  • The industries are medium in size and investment and are technology-oriented.
  • The example: computer industry and electronic industry

Small-scale Industry

  • These industries are small establishments with small investments and small labour force.
  • It may involve domestic production.
  • For example, hosiery, hand tools and stationery items.

Cottage Industry

  • These industries are very small in size with low investment.
  • They are usually family or small group based.
  • Examples of such industries include handloom, mat weaving, bamboo, cane products and pottery

Production process

  • Based on the process involved in the production, industries are categorized into

Heavy industry

  • These industries use bulky raw material and produce large and heavy products.
  • They are capital and resources intensive industries and involve large scale manufacturing.


  • Iron and steel industry (TISCO)
  • Heavy Electricals (BHEL)
  • Automobile Industry (Ashok Leyland)

Light Industry

  • In these industries, both raw materials and finished products are light in weight.
  • They are less capital intensive and consumer-oriented.
  • Example hosiery, watch industry and household goods.

Nature of work

  • Under this criterion, different industries can be distinguished based on the nature of work. They are

Processing Industries

  • These industries process raw materials into semi-finished products.

Examples of such Industries are

  • The tanning industry which coverts skin and hide into the leather in the tanneries, ginning industry which removes cotton seeds from cotton and smelting of metallic ores.

Light industry

  • These industries convert raw materials or semi-finished products into finished products.

Examples of such industries are:

  • The textile industry which converts yarn into fabrics,
  • The iron and Steel industry which coverts iron and steel into machinery
  • The furniture industry in which timber is converted into furniture.

Assembling Industry

  • These industries can be located anywhere because the raw materials are machines or parts manufactured.

Example: Watch industry

Nature of ownership

  • Based on the ownership of the industry, industries are classified into

Public sector

  • These industries are industries which are owned by the government.


  • The steel Authority of India (SAIL)
  • Bharath Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

Private Sector

  • These industries are owned by individuals or small groups.

Example: Reliance


  • Based on the location of the industry, Industries may be classified into.

Raw Material Oriented

  • These industries are located near the raw materials because of the bulky or peculiar nature of the raw materials.
  • For example, iron and steel industries use large quantities of iron ore and coal and so are located near the raw material sources.
  • The sugar industry is located near the sugarcane fields because the sugar content decreases within 24 hours of harvesting the cane and so the cane has to be processed immediately.

Market Oriented

  • These industries are located near the markets because of the perishable nature of the products.
  • Example Bread, Cakes, cooked meats which are not canned or frozen.

Footloose Industry

  • These industries can be located anywhere because the raw materials are machines or parts manufacture. Example Watch industry.
  • Manufacturing industries are the chief wealth producing sectors of an economy.
  • The different types of industries contribute to the economic development of the countries
  • Economically advanced countries are those that have a well – developed industrial sector.

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