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October. 1983



tasks ahead are by no means, over and there are 'many

problems, chronic in nature, yet to be solved. on
a priority
Poverty is our enemy number one which demands our undivided
attention. Economic growth with social justice has been our watchword. There have been positive achievements in this field and a
measure of progress is visible to the naked. eye. In my tours to
vario'us parts of the country I have observed that progress is being
made and the weaker sections, of society are marching forward.
'with co'nfidence about a bette'rfuture fodhemselves. ,"


Zail Singh

President oj India
(From l1Ie Independence


Day Message


l1Ie Nalion. August 14, 1983)


October, 1983

.', Hurukshllra.


i'( ,-,


(India's Jour~al of rural development)



Annual Number ' .


..4 ,~, ,f



, l

.BU,T H'OW:?



. ".

, .









. . . NE~ARY







'. M; Subramanian


. ~




. Balmj Mehta

2 ., D.Tripaih):


'" ~

36 .

, '"P. S';i"ivasall

. !






G. IV. S.




M. V. Rajasekharan

. -1


P. C. Joshi

"04. R. Pater

." F .


, .

N. V. Ratnam


R. V. Rao

"8" .'.



f; ..

v. K.





r' .







Agencies, etc. :


:'v. Vel/kalah."


Ratna Juneja
Assa. Editor
N. N. Sharma

Telc. 384888 & 382406


S. Manjula


views expressed by the
authors do 'lOt necessarily reflect Ihe
views of the Governmell/.



. Business Manager, Publications Division, Patiala House, New Delhi-I 10001

Editorial Office : Krishi Bhavan, New

Editor's Residence:


M. M. Parmar




ColQur Transparency
S. L. GhosaI


I ',0


'-1 ~

l t.,;'/

sn't it a matter of common concern to note that even after three and a half

'TV'.' ~.' ~!,,!,des of planned development abont half of our population still remains below;,,'I,
the poverty line? It is really depressing to know from the studies done by Planning
Commission and other ~agencies
number of
;rural poor, in
,.... the
~"-' ~
. . ....
- .'
the country.has in fact increased oVerthe years, notwithstanding the Government's
commitment to remove hunger, unemploymentand poverty in the shortest time possible.
. '.,
' .. -<' .. ,
I I .~'-.
Ironically, the kind of rural poverty'that .we now'have to contend' with in our rural
,.; .f'
~,. ! /1)
areas isnot'the one associated with 'econoniic 'stagnation inherited from the colonial
era but is rather the product of. planned. agrarian change 'of rural development in
th~vast; ~~';'i~g'
the i;w and the
'.". The!'g&p
continuing poverty of the many has been widening and creating new soci:il tensions
and coniIicts in the ;ountryside: I nOI f'''' I l' Ql'/O'f
'.'. . \ t 1 lQ/IH j .
Naturally the question .is : H after :ill these years of planned development
rur al poverty is only spiralling;(
IJi"t 'declilung, 'there'in~"'{be 'terious lacunae
f ,>~'.~'
in not only implementing the programmes 'for the amelioration of the conditions of
the rural poor but also in comprehending the. depth, the needs and the. tasks reqnired



, .






I ~





'.~ 'If



for tackling the Pllyerty:syndro~eIL








'IH lYli

,~so what do we do? Thi~~~a~ th~y ar~"t~~r~ m,!c~"rollmdor adding to

the present progranimes: of deve}opment.,Take, Integrated II Rural Development
.Programme (IRDP) for example. It possesses the required motive power to
"'.r..'r~ ~.T .- r.-t"'
blaze a meaningful crnsad.e on'rural poverty.' Vet beneath the reports that it is
gathering' momenu:in, the~~is a';'f~iilig' th~t it is veebit slower than we had desired
it to be. This is for :ill
interested in the
.to stop and think.
,..-' ..
It late to have la.n!'th~r,intrllspective look into its working to know
where our thrnst has been weak and where we need to restructure our approach.
o ~ 5IuUtJ, 1I if ' .~ t,J..
U: / i 15r0
It, is...p~~sely tl!is senso' ofjcllncern.""dl!n~k~ping
with the spirit of the
Prime Minister's new 20-Point Programme which rellects her deep concern for the
betterment of the roral poor tbat we rliavev deVl,te,iTthis:"'year;s":AMuai Nrimber
, "",.
.r~. ..' '''1 :"\:'/.")l .1
to the theme of "AlIenatIOn of Rur:ilPoverty". Our. effort has been to provide
a useful forum for exchange of ideas on. how to best tackle this most pressing
r problem of the day.
It is for our valued readers to tell us how far we have succeeded in this endeavour of ours.






\.' . \


".,:- . '!'.'1 I :"",,11

t,IOnl i ';1;:.,(,; f ~:.1 vP:~Jftl-~.d...'1












. t '.I~H'





l ~ ~...

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":. Allevia ting

.p'overty; but how?

,l ,.
A.noted economist and former Union Minister,
; ~~"

.) .. l,


~.. ..:...
'; I

,I': l'



.lv, .



t " .~.



recount the history of, eco~

country since indepen-.,
has been substantial
- \"
economic growth, its"benefits have not extended them-,
selves over the masses of the populatioJ;l with the
. IJ
result that, the proportion of the population below the
poyerty line, now placed. at Rs. 3,500 per year per
" J
family, I has, not gone do~, -and the poor in India
are ,now numbered in terms of many hundreds of .
The. author, a notea' economist, has' himself been in
millions, the hill of ~hom are to 'be found in the
the midst of formuiaiion
of economic' policies ever
rural a~eas. It .is, therefore, that .d"'lng the last few
si'1~e the dawn of planned development is of the opinion
years the Planning Commission has been devising plans
for, making a ,direct attack on poverty ,by' trying to
that ,"while broadly speaking, poverty is the result of
the poor 'and -tacic!-;;their problems ofpovert:i' "
lack of assets and of employment based on these assets
of employor of employmentT"ijn .wage ba.sis, it is also. necessary~ ..
. ,I. ;
, ment for the removaliof.poverty .in the rural areas has
to ask thether whose who are employed have any
, . been the keynote, of, the programme of alleviation of
assets or are in a p;sitio~ 'to take full productive advan, poverty, lin addition'. to .ideutifying,a given number of
tage of assets if they are given assets," and adds: "In
- families in each'taluk 'who .are 'below the poverty line
and ..directing their' attempts ,at ,giving' employment to
mY: opinion.tlu; missing link in the programme bf aile_ .
the identified'poor. ',Both ,the, integrated rural deve-'
vialion' of porerti is the motivation and skill'of
lopment .progt'!its 'new ,form and the national.
poor,'lvi1Ose'poveriy is' now b~ing sought to be Temoved.~' ;,:
rural ,employment. programrtle . 'announced 'oy .the"
He.further. adds: "No, programme of, alleviation ,of
Prime Minister' are intended as part' of the'strategy
rural poverty ,can be successful and escape leakages; "
for .removing-lpdverty,"

.; )r'



__ 11'/










ineffective .. delivery

If ~~~:

system unless.steps are laken to get rural poor organised,':' .. No amounl of spoo'n-feedingby

burea"udratic officials who





the plethora

now swarming'




in ,ti,~



There is. no substitute for organising and direct partici- .


pation in an organised manner bY,!he rural poor in the

atiempts' that are being made to solve the problem
of Iheif poverty,"



1'. -+.






/J "

rural countryside will solve the problem of rural poverty. ,




I am ,not in.,apositiou,to evaluate the success or,

otherwise . of; these I attempts':. at . alleviating rural;'
poverty. , In. fact.I do not,thiuk there is enough data ,;,
to make. a, proper eva!uati'on; but I thought it ,may ''1
be worthwhile' to point out some, of the conditions for
the ,success of such an effort .. ,If these conditions do not,
get. satisfied, the ..implementation of the anti-poverty
programme will,' I am afraid,; fail to achieve its objective in a lasting or durable manner.


October, 1983

HE FIRST POINT 1 want to make is that

broadly speaking, poverty is the result of lack of assets and of employment based on these assets, or of employment on a wage basis, it is also necessary to ask
whether those who are employed have any assets or
are in a position to take full productive advantage of
assets if they are given assets, or if they are able to
undertake productive efficiency-bascd work if there is
wage employment. In my opinion, the missing link
in the programme of alleviation of poverty is the motivation and skill of the poor whose poverty is now being
sought to be removed. Thus, for example, if a
mileh buflalo is given to an agricultural labourer without taking any steps to instruet him in how to look
after the animal and make productive use of it, or providing facilities for his obtaining fodder and other inputs required for feeding the animal, 'or providing
marketing facilities by which the milk that he produces
can be converted into' cash income, all that happens
is that aftcr some time the milch buflalo changes
hands, and the agricultural labourer remains as poor
as he was before and some beller equipped person
with more assets adds it to his livestock. This in fact
has been the experience on the field of many schemes
for giving employment to agricultural labourers by
giving them milch cattle for earning their livelihood.
Similarly, with other schemes for increasing productivity in self-employment for rural artisans, the fact.
that we are inclined to forget is that unless we educate
the rural poor and give them literacy and some training in business discipline and management in productive skills, mere transfer of assets does not bring about
a lasting solution. Therefore, any scheme for removal
of poverty by providing agricnltural labourers or
rural artisans with better assets can only succeed if
this is preccded or at least accompanied by an attempt

al1evlation j)r6gratllme that is being made for remova1

of poverty by providing cither assets or employment
or both.
I would like to
Tmake in connection with tbis programme
of reduc- .




ing the rural poverty is to emphasise the need for

modernisation of rural industrial skills. It is no good
thinking that we c~n restore tbe old artisan crafts which
have declined due to technological change. An ins- .
tance in point would be the state to which the village .
paller has been reduced when he found earthen vessels being replaceJ by plastic vessels which are manufactured 'in urban areas. Constantly harping on the
.thesis that rural industrial development must be
based on rural local resources and existing rural
industrial skills, will only perpetuate tbe phenomenon
of our rural poverty. We have to think in terms
of a new industrial strategy by which modern industries can be split up into various components which
requires simplc indostri'al skills and have these components manufactured in the rural areas by giving the
appropriate training to the artisans in addition to their
traditional skills. I am told for example that a recent
survey conducted in Ahmedabad of 150 small and tiny
industries showed that all these industries could be
transported to the rural areas without any adverse
effect on their efficiency, provided of course, that the
necessary training in education and industrial skills
are imparted to the concerned rural population. I also'
learnt personally when I was in Turnkur recently, talking to the management staff of the Hindustan Machine
Tools Unit there that a great deal of their production
is done through ancillaries, but these ancillaries
arc situated on the outskirts of Tumkur Town itself.
I don't see why these ancillaries should be located on

'All that happens is that after some time the milch buffalo changes hands, and the
agricultural labourer remains as poor as he was before and some belter equipped
person with more assets adds it to his livestock,
at educating and imparting of functional skills to them,
and seeing to it that that the assets are used for the
purpose for which they are intended, and the necessary
inputs and marketing facilities are provided for converting the; use of the assets into increments in income.
Motivation, education, skills and organisation of the
rural poor, constitute the essential conJitions for
giving success to the frontaI allack that is being made
on rural poverty. It would be worthwhile, therefore,
that while planning anti-poverty programmes of a
direct character or evaluating them 'later, attention is
paid to the extent to which these basic, if not preconditions, are fulfilled. In this connection I would
suggest the integration of the national adult education
progranumes and the integrated child and women welfare alld development progr~mmes with the poverty

the outskirts of big ctlles or towns and cannot be

transferred to the interior and provide
rural artisans who coulJ be given the necessary training for the purpose. 1 also learnt, for example that
one item viz., attaching strap to the watch is done
entirely by women, giving them a good deal of income,
and that required no special skills. Our new indust-,
rial technology of modern production should take the
form of more and more divided production process iOta, '
simpler and simpler. forms and going in for assembly on
a large scale which may be undertaken in urban areas.
I think this whole process of the transfer of ancillary
units and small scale and tiny units of industrial production from the metropolitan and urban areas to the
rural areas is a subject that deserves serious and indepth
study by the Planning Commission an\!. the Ministries

Oc~obe;r, 1983

of Industries. Such a study could reveal the pre-requirements of transferring modernised industries along
with its culture and discipline to the rural areas and
at the same time solving the problem of rural unemployment and poverty.
Marketing has been found to be Achilles heel of
most programmes of rural development. Here again,
we havc the successful example' of the Anand pattern
~ where the marketin,? problem has been solved for thou') sands of small and marginal farmers and agricultural
labourers, who are able to oDtain a decent livelihood
from animal husbandry and milk, production and where

areas and for inducing the enterprising' and socially

motivated among the urban areas to move into the
rural areas for pr~viding both leadership and employ;. mcnt to the rural poor arid the emergence of the new
industrial culture that I would like to see extended to
thc rural India.
no programme of alleviation of rural
poverty can be successful and escape leakages, cor.ruption, misuse, waste and. ineffective delivery system
unless steps are taken to get the rural poor organised.
Unless the' rural poor become organised and learn to
a'ct in a disciplined manner, not only by becoming

'Witb other scbemes for-increasing-productivity'in'self-employment for rural- artisans,

the fact tbat we are inclined to forget is that unlesswe educate the mral poor and give
tbem literacy and some training in business discipline and management in productive
skills, mere transfer of assets does not bring about a lasting solution'

. ,", ',. -.~-

-~i- , -



aware of their own interests but also of the work ethics

and discipline and management techniques that is
necessary for removing their poverty, no amount of
spoon-feeding by the plethora of bureaucratic officials
who 'are now swarming in the rural country-side will
solve the problem of rural poverty. There is no substitute for organising and direct participation in an
organised manner by the rural poor in the attempts
tIlat are being made to solve the problem of their
poverty. r have a feeling that the Government machinery by itself cannot successfully deal with these problems. We have to bring in voluntary organisations
and dedicated and socially motivated workers and institutions into the picture.
I see no reason why the
large bulk of educational institutions spread all ovcr
the country from high schools and colleges to technological institutes, shi'uld not be made to realise that in
addition to imparting of skills to their pupils they also
have a social responsibility towards the hinterland of
the areas where they function. I have long held the

attention is being paid to the problem' of increasing the

supply of animals without which the spread of milch
buffalo or milch cow technique for solving the rural
poverty cannot succeed. I understand the National
Dairv Development programme is noW thinking of 'extending the Anand pattern to tbe,"oil-s,ed 'fields. J, I
do not see any reason',why'ati in-depth study ,could not
be made to see how far the' Anand pattern' can be transferred to other items of production ~hich are now concentrated in the urban areas.


ALSO ,[ WEi-coME';r.the, '~ntrodu~ti6n "of

the new technology by:' which It IS possible" ,to
transport' practically' the' entire 'modern' textile 'industry
to the many villages 'with' their unemployed population. ArecentsiudvbY
a group'oNhinkers'headed
by" Shri Vadilal Lallubhai Mehta "of "A:hniedabad
has advocated a'neW'pattern 'of Amber charkha which
could transfer" the" 'bulk' of 'the" spinning ",'industry
t6 the rural areas/ but', on a':viable~'and)econOinically
competitive basis. 'It Is 'ilepity' that 'while we have so
, many CSIR 'Institutes. a'rid' Lilbonltories ,'which' deal
'mostly with the problems ohribdem'large scalC"indus, try and operations; we'lda noFhave a' net-work"of
'scientific and technological tesearch .'institutes" which
,deal 'With' the"problems ';of-'small and 'tiny 'sectors" in
, industry iIi' the .'sPeCial 'Context of theit "being m'ade
transferable to' the tural areas and the pre-conditions
necessary to make such a transfer viable and economically success(ul.. T don't think ,we'can sol~e the(problem
of rural poverty if we thInk in terms'of the dual society
of lJigher technology and' industrial culture he the
urban areas and' inferior technology .and agricultUral
culture in the rural areas." We' have' tii 'break"doWn
the dichotomy between' the urban and rural societies
by diminishin.,;.'if noieliiuiriatihg;
T ',"
~~: . .

- that exists in living facilities such as water; drainage,
"power, lighting; 'ro';d and'ttimsport etc.'j betWeen urb:m
. and rural areas, 50 as to make it"posslbl,;for the 'enter'prising, among the rural areas to stay back
the rural




view that the basic reform that we require in educa:-

tion is not merely to confine ourselves to dissemina..J

lOtion'"of'knowledge:':and. sponsorin~ of'''research, \ but
, also. to include, in .,the' .basic, objectives' of', education,
community, service .. not merely in' the form of lectures
or text books,. but in the form of action programmeS by
the educational institutions' concerned as 'part 'of their
.required"work 1The,jdea\may:sound fantastic~and'-.unorthodox biJt, in, the peculiar situation we ,find' our'selves in Tndia~one liaS to think. in unorthodox terms
and try t';' s~e how pradiClility can be implanted in
'Undrth'odox "thiriking.
" Au 'thai I'~riI '(ryingto point out is that if such 'progfanirries\o-!~lIeViat.ion~of
to' sucCeed,
.manv othe",ccoirditi<ms"rieed't6 'be,'.fulfilled. ' As 'IOIig
"as we"realise that:poverty' is not ,merelv a urbhlem of
.employment or of'assets, ,but includes ..the otherthingli
that I have mentjoned and a number of things which I
'have not: iher" is 'hope that we 'will sUeeee(;(in' eliminating rural poverty from our country.



Restructuring PRIs is
the only remedy
Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore


. "If underdevelopment is the contribution of the western

economists, poverty as a;concept and a basis of developineili 'can be' considEredas a typical Indian contribution
to Jhe develop'me~t'literat~re", says the aut~or.
And adds: "The problem of poverty as a basis jor excluSive developmental planning is in my' view an exclusive, effort. of. the Indian: economists to highlight the
p~litical sentiments of the pow;; structure. But,. in' the
.process. they.have failed t.o,answer one important question. That is, Ifpoverty isto'be the cause of development
. p in the initial yellrs; .-shouldthis be' tackled as a welfare
fwiction of ihe 'Govermnent or shiJuld idle made an
'.T'exclusive develojJlneni 'strategyol the country?' .This
" .ii 'a .m.ajo~~ue~don for;' the pol!c~:;''akers to .answer


.. noli.;:.





.... '



have been
with us for the past three decades, but, whether these have become a 'populist slogan aiding the
political powor game. in. a democracy-where
adult, whether he is poor or rich, unskilled or skilled,
has a vote--is a moot point, The world over developm'ent process symbolised economic develop men .
in the countries. This, in turn meant modernisatio'
and industrialisation, at the expense of rural societies~ at Ieast in the earlier stages of the process.. The
problems and prescription of economic development
in the 20tli century are quite different fro~ those
that had the advantage of industrial revolution in the
18th and 19th centuries, In this century, with no
new world countries awaiting colonisation and the
developed countries' effectively curbing large scale
migration, and technology transfer, the' consump-.
tion needs of several cloistered countries are to be
matched with' the initial sacrifices required of the
people to investment in'. the future of the country.
Simultaneously, . the increasing aspirations of. the
.present generation had to be kept alive in spite . of
. the population swelling alarmingly, outstripping any
gains of the development in the early stages.

, The, development .process has constrained growth of

the rural incomes to. keep pace with the productivity
gains of the agriculture' in the short run for two .re
sons.' Firstly, the. economic process as was defined;
treated agriculture. as a growth promoting sector ready
to' make all"'sacrifices and generate surplus resourceS
fot investment in the urban centres to prom'Ote indus-

trialisation. Tn addition, it has also to provide the

requisite .skilled manpower'to absorb those very inc
vestments. in- .the urban sector. However, to- meet
this new challenge of agriculture, . the industry itself

".'--: '_.~



is not in a position to make any contribution ill return, at least in the earlier stages, for improving
the quality of the people and bring the secondary
benefits of industrialisation to the countryside. The
development literature the world over has indieated
that the rural areas are to generate surpluses and it
is urban industry that benefits in the initial stages.
Secondly, the consumption needs of the rural areas
themselves are bound ,to get second priority in , the
verall context of developmental needs' of the co"ny due ,to priorities of industrialisation.
This process, therefore, accentuates the absolute
poverty in the rural areas among ,the, agricultural
labour vis-a-vis the land owning class and also the relative rural poverty in general compared to the ur1;lan
economy. lt is this dilemma, in my view, that has
promoted a specific eoncept like rural development
apart f~om the general strategies for economic deveopment pursued in the traditional
societies. We
on~ede that the methodology or strategy of rural
development pursued the world over has never been
e same but reflected the political will of the socieies superimposed on the agricultural resources posiion in the rural. areas. However, the success or
allure of the programme in a democraticpolitieal
rocess ultimately depends upon whether the political
eadership keeps the priorities of rural development
,If underdevelopment 'is the ,contribution of the
estern economists, poverty as a concept and a
asis of development can be considered as a typical
ndian contributi(jn ,to the development literature.
overly in this, context, is strictly defined in terms
f consumerism.
In a closed society these two are strictly the two
des of the same coin. Schedultz had integrated these
o lines of thought and proposed the production
rientation with the consnmerism in the developing
conomies and had come up with the concept of

question. That is, if 'povertyis'to

be the cause of
development in the initial years, sho"uld' this lie
tackled as a welfare function of the goverurnent or
sh(juld it be made an exclusive development strategy
of the country? This is a major question for the
policy-makers to answer now.

NTHE FIRST PLAN ITSELF, the problems of employment and the strategy for development have heen
clearly laid out 'when the First Five Year Plan categorised the problems of income distribution through
employment in two parts ;

(a) need to make the maximum USe of idle'

labour for the purpose of production. This is interpreted as effectively mobilising all available
labour resources at minimum social cost, and
(b) increasing the productivity of labour so that
large employment, can be provided at 'rising levels
of rural income.
The First Plan had warned that' both these aspects
may be apparently contradictory in the early stages
of development because, in promoting higher levels
of employment, it is necessary to see that the newly
mobilised labour is able to raise total physical, output
without creating excessive pressure of money incomes
, On available supplies, i.e., at a minimum social cost.
This is possible when the 'real incomes of rillal labour
are cons.trainednot to overrun the net incremental
(value of) production in the economy, i.e., the wages
for the new labour force should be less than marginal
value product of labour whicli is itself near zero in
a labour-surplus rural economy like India.
The pragmatism evident in the First Plan has some- '
how given way to populist policies of employment
and income without reference ,to productivitY during'
-the Sixth Plan' under IRDP.
The country has seen 'a turning point each
decade in the development strategy starting with,
the technology-oriented production programmes

'The problem of poverty, as ,a basis for exclusive developmental planniug is, in my

view, an exclusive effort of tbe Indian economists to higWight the political sentiments of the power structure. But, in the process they have failed to answer one
important question. That is, if poverty is to be the cause of development in the initial
years, should this be tackled as a welfare function of the governmeut or should it be
made an exclusive developmeut strategy of the couotry? This is a major question
for lbe policy-makers to answer now'
ality of people'" to underline the productivity aua'
asic services as priority for technology assimilation
the developing societies.
HE PROBLEM of poverty" as a basis for exclusive
developmental planning is, in my view, an exclue effort of the Indian economists to highlight the
litical sentiments of the power structure, But, in
e process they have failed to answer, one important

October, -1983

the high" pay-off 'agricultural

areas such 'ais
areas 'leading'
oriented 'agricultural 'enterprise.
The"" approach'
later on, ln the seventies, took a turn
the back:'
ward areas and' the weaker sections. The underlying
philosophy is that the'technological dev~lopmeut in
the progressive' agricultural districts has' come to a
take~off stage without,' it perceptible ' "trickle' aown"



at about ,Rs. )41.29 crores ,out of a totaLState plan,

outlaY,,?f ,~s'lJ99.75crores,
for 'the year 1983-84.
This 'J.1leaIjsthat .the ,cxpel}diture in each district o,n
the district ,plan component is roughly about Rs.. 7
crores per year. However, the district sub-plans covering
thc discretionary outlays of only, 3.75 per cent are to
be . drawn at the districUevel. while .the, rest is all
handed down asearma~k,ed outlay"for the districts.


,the spec.ific
in)~~:rrr'}Ljlf~as I,1e,ed)o:pe",giv~n ,)
a ~po~t'."~-'j;f


generation primarily-as a relief mea,'sure, has been a recurrent theme in the, p~st three
decades as a part of the' beneficiary-oriented progra(llm,es.;n rural ,.dev,elopll).ent,.
This .was.,particularly,
so. in. times of Jlat_ur~l disasters s.u~has. sev.ere. droughts ..
in the, djfferen,t,parts lof .the ,country..However, ,the:.
rur,al,,)"orks:prograj11me,l,and,hiter ,on the Drought,
Prone Areas Programme (DI'AP) , have' given it a
production, twist by, insistiqg
crea~ing qurabie
assets while generating employment in the rural areas.
The .Integrated Rural Development,,that was launched
in' the beginning of the, Sixth" Plan, period anyway
tried to' simi /upand integraU; these various aspects
of emphasi8ing production' technology and infrastructure," Employment .. for "the . ,unempl~yed and_the

The reason for. this state of affairs in terms of rural

development, has been admirably' sunnned up in a
recent workshop ,on DistriCt Planning' at Bangalore"
(21-23 July,jI983).
The workshop has identified'
that, "there appears to be an organisational vacuum
in the Karnat~ka District Planning set up". it further adds that the "line, bureaucracies of State headqU"!ter~ ,,,have, effec!iye1ythwarted the growth and
establishment"of ~ horizontal decision-making body
which ,can alter or arqend'departmental plan

.0; ,


.. r













'TItefuuetioning of the IRDP. iu the last 4 yea~~bas ~le~~ly'btougbi' o~i'ihe c~ntra- '
~' de~e,
,t pr,o!:':,.amme
merged uiio ~n antl"povertyp~ograinrneof the
Governmentof India while the original intentions of theIRDP. were the otbcr way
. ':".



,~ .







all :these il1ustr~te the contradiction~the

pulls and
wcaker segments or'the rural 'society' has 'b~en subpressures-inherent
sumed in the production objective in the scheme of
things. as envisaged in the Interim report ofthe workbut"not far enough,-to devolVe all planning.functions
ing group on IRDP,. "
: ~
to the local lev.el".
,As,a memb~r ~f ,the..working group,.,on.IRDP, ,,in
1978,: this writer" had the"privileg~, of 'assisting in
Wc must emphasise that the' problems of rur
prppar\qg the:,dr'\ft; Inter\~ repp~t of the working
development. planning in many, other States are
group which)ried to integra!ethe ,area,!Ievelopment
worse than the situation in Kamataka.' ,The problems
progra~mes with ,the SFDA to provide a judicious
encountered in the district planning mcntioned above
mix 'of' public "and private investments in terms of
are due to , of ,emphasis on strengthening the
rural' infrastruct~'~e and beneficiary-oriented economic
institutions at the, panchayat raj level both finaucially
programmes. However, the IRDP had finally' emerg-'
and, organizationally." FOL instance" we have recomed as a subsidy-oriented credit programme' effectivemended, creation. O! DRDS, as a managemen! organily,.!lifting the planning responsibility to the nationasation for, watershed management, under !he control
constituted Distriet Rural
of the.zila~arishads.\
We have advocated lateral coDevelopment,Societies have been entrusted' with- an
ordin~tion, between',development departments in the
easy task of providing subsidies to' the banks' to
district. along with, a strong,planning-cum-moni[oring
finance 600 families,in limited, cluster of villages ,iri '.L .cell]manned: by, senior district ~.1evel officers under
the name of an anti-poverty .programme:;'.The"1unc- '0 DRD~.T ,Insteag, Lwhat _~e see .1'0W all overlhe
tioning of the thedast .4 years--has.cleady'"
country,is,:another, .organiza,tion.with no powers of
brought <Jutthe contradictions of a development pro- "d. effectiv".\,cpordin'ltionJ'!!ld:with no area planning and
gramme merged into .an 'anti-poverty programme' of '0' momt!,rJ11g,eell.j,What. we have now is the old wine
the Government of'India"while.:tbe origmal intentions'" . ill a .new ,bottlei!,
,of the IRDP were the o,ther way around.
of the new lRDP on subsidies
for loans, from, the .banking system, the bank,
. T}1edi~,lfjctpl'!J)!]ing!,i1,1,\I'e,po~ntry
J~~s.emp~'!~isec!,.\t appraisal has substituted the district plauning as an'
mt",4Igc;p!n,\ajy fPPro~~h tq ,t~;k1~ the,probleW's.,pf "
area developmert concept. The. DRDS, have eveu
i~v~~t,:,.,.obhgmgly,.placel:t advanced subsidies to be adjusted
m'ent!/pportullHl~~tm rur'!1 areas,.and prompting .the ,
age':,cies).ike DistrieL.Rural c Development. Societie~,
&:P: pas':M~nagement of Rural Develop(D~S!_to tak~'lvet the plaIJ.ning::~n.'t,g1oi;itoringo~" ment., A StudY.,of-"the Orgamsauonal Structure for Management of DPAIJ':. A report spo~ored aD:d.financed by Ministry
econo~c r~CtlYltle~ III a. graq~a);~~laI;1.ner~_.,_"
The "State
of Rural De~e1opment, Govt. of. India, Indian Institute of
Manageme!1t,,Bangalore (.1976) (Mirneo) ..
of .Kar,lW,!!<a
,has identified,tJi~~iS~clS.,,~ectoroutlays



10 .


October ,1983

against bankable prDposal" fulfilling the cluster conC'fpt and cDnting from within the 600 weaker families
identified in each block.
An analysis of the state of things in Karnatilka has
revealed that cDntrary to the .expectations . of even
mitjgating the suffering Dfthe rural poor, the IRDP
!'lid the cluster appro!lch had augmented once. again
the Commercial Banks deposits through the liquid
cash accumulations of DRDS. . The total investible
plan. resDurces with 19 DRDSs in Karnataka
State amDunt to. Rs. 18.10 crDres during 1981-82.
But the expenditure during this year was Duly arDund
:15 per cent! This is due to' the lack Df a) coordinating.
authority between the departmental hierarchies and
the. ;Taluk Development Boards, and b) a planning.
cell Df its Dwn to do. the area planning exercise Dn
watershed basis. While .these rural development
funds 'are meant for the uplift Df the rural poor, at
any time 2/3rd of the DRDS liquid resources are in
bank depDsits. This ShDWSthat the organisation and
management Df the IRD structure is more tuned to.'
benefit the public finance institutions instead Df the
rural poor.
The reDrientation of the IRD programme in tenns
Df the rural. poor amDng the weaker sectiDns in the
rural areas exclusively, that too. concentrating Dn a
cluster approach, has dearly brought out the so-called
"frontal attack" on rural poverty in the Sixth Plan.
owever, the constitutiDn of DRDS and the emphaDn rural poor have taken a comical twist in
the sense that the IRD in the present cDntext Dnly
means giving subsidies and money for the individual
beneficiaries to. meet the requirements Df viability as
a cDndition fDr obtaiuing the bank loans! In other
wDrds,. we. are trying to. mix the priorities Df the
rural develDpment in the name of tackling rural
poverty and cDnfuse the welfare Dbjective of COilsumption-oriented prDgramme with an economic programme.
WithOut adequate infrastructure develDpment to.
support these eCDnomic activities; all such activities
remained nDthing mDre

gramme with ail economic objective wherein the

matching investment on infrastructure is aSifn!iortmt
as individual beneficiary prograIhIhe. This emphasis
which was the strength of the DP AP and CAP prOgrammes has been forgotten in the process.
The new IRDP with the tWIst in the name Df
abolishing pDverty, has only brDught into. the field a
neW versiDn of the SFDA/MFAL which had lost their
f1avDurtDwards the end Df 1970's. This planning strategy fDllDWedby the urban elite has resulted in a structure convenient to. the bureaucracy wherein the
DRDS and ,the Dther state machinery in the district have Dnly to. dole out the money in the name Df
poverty programmes,
and shift the blame to. ,the
nationalised banks. In the process the grass-root level
Panchayati Raj institutions 'and the rural poor themselves are cl"arlyforgotlen.
and planning are at present geared to. the pDlitical
exigencies and party politics rather than giving priori-'
ties to the needs Df the rural areas at the local
level. This would be so. as long as the decentralised
planning and the implementatiDn of the prDgrammes
closer to the grass'root level dDes nDt materialise. This,
in my view can never become a reality as as the
Panchayati Raj institutions continue to. live Dn the
grants-in-aid etc., conferred by the State and the
centre as "earmarked expenditure". This will be the
case as IDng as the State level bureaucracy in a cadrised framewDrk operates at. the Panchayati Raj iustitutions. This vicious circle, in my view, can be broken
np only when the political leadership decides to. strengthen and prDvide a StatutDry guarantee o.f a Third
Level Government administratiDn for the Panchayati
Raj administration
to take care of social developments and watershed planning at the Block and district levels respectively converging on a viable Rural
Panchayat at the village level? This. shDuid pro.mote a programme of providing bread with dignity.
(In this context ... the more emphasis on poverty CDnnotes a philanthrDpic/recipients relationship which is

'In otber w~rds, we are trying 't~ mix the priorities of the rural development in the
name of tackling rural poverty and confuse the welfare objective of consmnptionoriented programme with aa econOlnicprogramme. Without adeqnate infrastructure
development to support these economic activities, all such activities remained nothing
mOre than money-changing propositions.'
HE RESULTof this distortion'is seen in tlie disalways counter-productive in terms of promoting
appointingiy taU clairils rtiad6 thili when once the
a rural economy which can integrate'Dn its o.wn terms
cluster is chosen for iiiiplefuelitiilg the IRD programme
with the' industrial urban elite.)
with Rs. 8 lakhs subsidy per year, poverty is banished
It is therefore necessary that we have to. imprDve the
from this cluster in three years and we are on the ',' operational management of the rural Panchayati Raj
march to. banish it frDm the other clusters in the dis- .
~ __
triet? It is, indeed comical because 'of a confusion of
2Ra;tnam, Nittall1'V ~ B Rao, ''The Management of
e consumption' obJoective of poverty relawd prt""lSOCial Development In Rural Areas", Newman Group' New
))elhi. (1983).


institutions' imd hand over the resources for a produCtion programme at the district and block levels. Simultaneously the goverument should take up directly the
welfare-oriented poverty programmes such as the employment guarantee schemes, food subsidies .and in.creased matching grants for providing social amenities .like health and education ifi partnership with the
Panchayati Raj institutions at the block level.


guarantee. scheme has the poeilt
. '. tial of combining the production-ori~nted deve-_
lopment programmes with the employment orientation
designed to give a ntinimum family income for the
i;,ir,al!P?"~' However,for this allocating some grants
per districts is not enough. It should be combined
Wiiha rigorousinterdiscij>linary (watershed) platming


Effective bifurcation of the political and bureaucratic

administration between the State and the Panchayati
Raj system. TwO parallel developments ~ve taken
piace in the states during the last two decades which
hav" rendered Panchayati Raj se~.up ineffective and
. whiiher away in despair. Firstly, .the tendency to
centralise. the affairs at the State level. The 'state
political leadership hi!! cOmpletely done away with
the elected leadership in. the Panchayati Raj insti-.o,
tutions. Secondly, the process of. cadrisation of.
Panchayati Raj employees and even the rural areas
have. done. away with the concept of community
,workers and employees . that can 'understand the
aspirations pf .the local' people. With the staff

. 'This pl~ing strategy followed by the orban elite bas resulted' in a structure cone
vemenfto tbe bureaucracy wherein the DRDS aIid .the otber state machinery in'tbe
district'have only to dole ont the money in the name of poverty programmes, and shift
the blame to the nationalised. banks. In the process the grass-root level Panchayati
Raj institutions and the rural poor tbemselves are clearly forgotten.'

a-rid Inonitoring machinery to provide a cafetaria of

I&al . projects tbat do not sacrifice the incremental
p'roductivity coricept.' For thiS to cocur, effective decentraiisation of rural' development function under the
following institutional reforms at tbe district level.and

:1. Augmenting

hampered rural industrialization.

cadres integrated into State bureaucracy, the limited autonomy and initiative for action has become
a myth. This can be corrected by reversing these
trends. A ray .of hope in this regard is the progressive Panchayati Raj legislation envisaged in
.Karnataka . to induct elected representation on .
again and to hand over all the class ill and Class
IV employees in the districts to the Panchayati Raj
institutions. In my view, they also 'should cede
the officer cadres at least under Class II and junior
Class I in the districts ,to the Panchayati Raj institutions.

tbe financial autonomy and statutory

.powers of taxation and revenue sharing to upgrade
tbe quality of adntinistraoon at Panchayati Raj Level.
. For 'example, in moststa!es,
the governments
have conceded the entire land revenues as grants-in_aid to Panchayati Raj institutions. But, still they
: .are unwilling to concede the land revenue adminis3 Constitutional guarantee of the third level Govern'.' .tration at the village and block levels to the Panment for Panchayati Raj system responsible for local
'. 'chayati Raj .system. Left to the Panchayati Raj
development is strongly advocated to effectively
. instituti6n, the land revenue can be made ei:juitable
safeguard the leaderShip from the changing the distiiC'tleveland reduce the uncertainties intudes of the politlcaI leadership at the State. In
volved in teriIM~ of selective rentissions .resorted to
my view, the forthright and illuntinating constitutional
by the state adrnilli~lration and political leadership
provision in the matter of taking over the State
on an ad hoc basis. In 'addition, this measure could
adminjstration by the Centre should be extended
pave the way for building up 'adequate infrastruct)lre
the' relationship between the State Government
. "",
,''',.:j.'., .".
to promote rural industrialisation. At present;,.
'and the Panchayati Raj structure. Otherwise in a
democracy-based adult franchise, the temptations of
rural investments in terms of the health, educathe State political leadership are great when the
tion and social. services and amenities have grierural development can be made a political slogan
'.vously suffered because of the lack of linkage betat .the top withont allowing it to strike root as
'ween the' resource mobilization and resource use
development programme in the rural areas.
even in agriculturally prosperous districts. This has

KURUKSHBTRA Octolier, 1983



Requir~d :
a people-oriented
development set~up
Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Rural Developmen-t

is certainly changing.
fast. At heart, however, rural India ~emainSthe.
same. India's villages have benefited in the last 36
years since independence from the efforts.,made "to
improve living conditions, to provide minlmum nee.ds
aild to increase productivity and .employment. .In
teims of living conditions, more villages have. been
connected with all-weather roads. The provision of
drinking water in each village' has been accorded. the
highest priority. Basic needs of education and health
are being taken care of under massive programmes
which cover practically every village of the count;y:
In recognising the winds of change that have. over:
taken rural India, meniion must also be made of .
the technological progresS in the field of agriculture
and irrigation that hal' made it possible for us to 'he:
come self-sufficient in food.
. .'
.. ,

As one closely involved in the drafting and implementing

of .the programmes of rural development, the author
is justifiably proud of the achievements made though
agrees' that this "progress is not achieved without problems. Gains of development have not yet reached every
family in rural India. There are' still large numbers
of rural poor and landless labour for whom there' is
need for greater effort in terms of creating employment opportunities and providing assistance in econ~mic
generation for crossing the poverty line."
And adds: "The provision of social and economic
, service to rural India is a task of tremendous magnitude. With its' limited resources, the administrative
.system has in many ways been able to provide the rural
community with assistance under various programmes.
However, the emerging challenges that rural India'
is facing will call for a more effective and efficient
delivery system for rural services".


Rural India can. thus be justifiably proud of its

new face but progress is not achieved without prolr
lems. The gains of development have not. yet reached
every family in rural India. There .are still a large
number of rural poor and landless labour for whom
there is need for greater effort in terms of creating
employment opportunities and' providing assistance in
income generation for crossing the poverty line. The
provision of social and economic services to" rural
India is a task of tremendous magnitude. .With its
limited resources, the administrative system has in
many ways been able to provide the rural commuirity
with assistance under various programmes. However,
the emerging challenges that rural India is facing will
call for a more effective and efficient delivery system
for rural services.
It is relevant to recall here the emphasis laid by'
late Prime Minister J awaharlaFNehru oli' tJi~ involve"

mentof the community in rural development. Development is not a process which can be brought about
by governmental action alone. It is the rural community th'at can transform itself with necessary government support. It was thus appropriate that the
focus in the rural India of the 1950s was on community development programmes. In the 60s, the
concept of community participation was transformed
into one of the people's participation through the Panchayati kaj system. With the advent of the Green
Revolution, however, the emphasis shifted towards
greater productivity in agriculture. The framework
that was advocated in the early days after independence for mobilising the support and participation of
the people remained to be vitalised. More recently,
however, the need for special attention to those families in 'the rural areas who are assctless and who live
below the poverty line has been recognised. Equally
4nportant is the need, for, creating additional employment Oppoltunities and income generating activities
in the rural areas. This concern for the alleviation
of poverty has been reflected in the introduction of
tlte Integrated Rurl!! Development Progra~e
and the Nwtional ,Rural
Employment Programme
The inclusion of a large number ,of programmes relating to rural development in the new
20-Point Programme reflects the growing concern for
accelerating ilie process of social 'and economic change
in: rural India.
are being brought
about under tlte new programmes have tremendous socio-economic significance for rural India,
though this is not always perceived. The, obligation
cast on the banking system ,to provide credit support
for income-generating activities under the IRDP has
converted these security-oriented lending institutions
into development banks for rural India. The creation of durable community assets has been made tlle
principal objective of rural employment programmes'
so that, the workers perceive themselves as contributors
to area <!evelopmimt instead of mere wage-earners.


ported by appropriate productive and remunerative

labour-oriented technologies.
F VILLAGE development is to enable rural citizens to
learn self-government, the plll1chayati raj system'
needs to be strengthened. Suggestions iliat development
of panchayati raj institutions should have a constitu,tional basis merit careful consideration. It follows tltat
the quality of political leadership at tlte grass root level
will be a major factor in rural development. Knowledge and skills and reorientation are also needed for'
those who will exercise power under democratic decentralisation. There is a need for setting up trainin\;
institutions that will cater to the needs of these nonofficials who are deeply involved 'and in many ways
responsible for development in rural areas.

Inadequate awareness of development programmes

is partly responsible for lack of community participation. Procedural delays and tlte scope for malpractices
at the field level tend to keep citizens away from
greater involvement in community development. A
greater openess iri the system will be possible if gram
sabhas are made effective instruments' of community
decision-making by consensus. More effective communication will also ,have to be developed through
functional literacy programmes and by giving the
media a greater rural bias.
In a sense, we are at the crossroads. We have come
a long way, but still have miles to go. Whether we
can chang~ the face of rural India so as to reduce
poverty and improve tlte quality of life depends very ~
much on how we manage rural development programmes in the coming years. In my view, 'this
would call for a new approach to development administration in the rural areas. Firstly tlte time has come for
us to take a hard look at the present structure of block
and district 'administratio'n and take necessary steps 'to
restructure and re-orient th~ administrative ,apparatus
that is entrusted with the delivery system for social'and
economic services. NQ comprehensive analysis of' tJie
administration of development programmes has be<;n
undertaken in recent years. With tlte introduction 'of

'In recognising the winds of change that havecovertaken rural India, mention most
also be made of tbe technological progress in:the field of agriculture and Irrigation
that bas made it possible for os to become food.'
The concept of 'gram swara)' advocated by Mahatma
Gandhi" is still the foundation of these development
strategies. 'Creation of irrigation sources, reclamation
of. wasteland, sOCial forestry and other activities are
meant to be 'so planned as to restore the ecological
b~ance and to, meet the energy and consumption
needs of the villages from the development of local
resources. New technologies are making, rainfed
agriculture productive for small and marginal farmers
as, well. ,Rural India can sustain itself only with a
baiimced groWth of fal1!' and non-farm activities s!lP'

District Rural Development Agencies as the 'principal

instruments for administering poverty alleviation. programmes, there is an urgent need for a re-definition of
the respective roles of various official 'and ncin-offtcial '
agencies entrusted with development 'tasks at tlte block"
and district level. Secondly" management of. rural
development has to be as professional as tlte manag~nient, of the industrial sector. The need for formin.g
appropriate cadres and trainiIig and motivating theill
for effeCtivelyimplcmeritingrural development projeeis


(Conld. onp. 27)

:KURUKSHETRA Octo1>er,1983

,~ t,;




;~' ,J,:,,~I ],.{; .





~.~ 'l



"~ '




~ ..-~~


".. ""
" .',. ,P~CJ9.SHI
Director, Institute of Economic Growt14 Delhi




THi'\!odIAL "sHuATIoN


'in 'many Asia;" cOU11tries

:I.'iiiCiudirig:'InCila 'is m~tk&!. by a 'great paradox.
While the question of 'poverty llas acquired political
i!J1P~rtance ~nd l~gitiniacy" the poor themselves .are
stilUa.r from ,:becQrning (ully articulate and from
emerging as a social force i.e. as an agent of social
change: , There is still a vas! hiatns between politicisa~on ,of the.issue of poverty an,d the politicisation of
tIie poor., The issne of mass P9verty is frequently nsed
by,o~e s~ctionpf 'uie political ~li!e for ,a~ indictmel)t of
the, ,9th~r sec\ion.s,,'YithOl:ittnepqor ,themselves being
mobilised to protest or rise against their own depriva-


U .. '




tio~.~t ....
. \,'.'
.What explain~' this .lag between the, vast mobilising
p~tenti~l of poverty ~nd the lack' of realisation of this
potential: for soci~l, and political. change? What explaips th.!' elllergenc~ of the, politics of poverty as au
jssu~"of .po~er~truggle witltin the political elite with"
out the involVement of the poor. them5;'lves in the
struggle against the forces perpetuatm.g"lhe
socioThe author, an emment SOCial SClentlst, IS piqued to
economic basis of. poverty,? One must first seek the
. .- .~.
- ..,..
note that in our country" While the question of poverty
. reasons for it in, the ,nature 9.f .c,o.nt~mporary politics
has acquired politi4al ~iff/po;t~ce _jJgiifu;a~j;...
I~!p Il~'3~i~xt
relevant to.
pdor themselves a;~ still fa~.'j~~m
th~ political. e~te
.:' "
suffers from, a strange amblviilence as reflected 1U Its
culate and from emergmg as a sOClal force'f,
~.a '!'," ':"b"~';'
fr om th'e poor.
....-,,'. ,',
'concern ;~f.:;-;.t
or poverty
ut ":'t"~'
IS ance
agent of social change,""
'is put into'the centre
,j , t. .
of 'politics but 'thdssue of identification of the poor a'iW'
,4nd qautlOns : The SOCialchlf"ge p~tentl~l of poverty
of their, 'own protest againsi their poverty is not put
would be obscured if the question of,rich vs. poor is
iilto the'centre of the 'political stage. Moreover, the
'misrepresented as a question of town vs.village.HIt
spontaneous protests of the poor when ihey oCca'idle to think that poverty in 'the rural ar~as can be '
sionally. occur do not find adequate 'response from
, .,,',

who contr,ol,the mass
era lea e WI ou
e suppor OJ e ur an poor all
.. media (pres's,
, ,'..
" "
films erc.) ;or. from. those who dommate the polilical
, th<;t the rural development can be achleved,wI!h~~t the"
forums' (par1iiuiient, legislatures, political parties
s,upport of urban industrial development and adf~1
'iO ,
,that "in the preseni day India the ideologyof
ruralism ,\
(iNtERN FOR POVERTY ]filt distance from the
is the most formidable obstacle in transforming poverty ,
'" jiO<\r --is-Aot oWly a inarkea characteristic
'ilftiJ an ageni of social ciunige:'" '.,
Iiidian 'politics tOday.' it is a1s'o maik~ cnaracteristic

'.-- ,-

beco'~i';gYully ~rii;~!




of Indian literature and social science. In Western

countries poverty and degradation of the working
people in the early stages of industrialisation found
its first poignant and indignant expression in the
novels of Balzac, Dickens, Zola and a hQl;t of other
social novelists of the nineteenth century. But Indian
literature has perhaps yet to throw up its Dickens and
Zola voicing the S\Iffering and degradation of the poor
in India. So far as social science is concerned, Western
sociology had its origin in social surveys into conditions
of the rural and urban poor. Moreover, studies of
the miserable, conditions of, the working .,people. dut:,J"



eni- :0 '~pri~tive~acclirrnJlaiion;:~served"fas-' a .'

basis of the revolutionary as well as scientific writings

of both Utopian and scientfic " socialist thinkers,
Neiher Indian lite:ature nor Indian' social science
mirrors the life of th.c poor in India in any significant
and meaningful way, even though poverty is the ,most
conspicuous faci .of Indian life and the poor constitute
tJ:e '!Iujority of the Indian p~ople..
. , " . '
. Nothing in fact reveals the povet'tyof social scierice
iri India as its sophistication in quantifying" poVerty
but its reluctance to come into' direct contact with the'
poor for first hand enquiries into'theiife of the poor:
Social science itself provides a riCh ',Ilan's view of'
poverty and not the' poor m'dn';view .. (For the rich,
poverty is bestundersi6olF\>fhen it Iis measured . by
"the poverty line" etc.; or' by the' impersonalised magnitudes of poverty ... By' these scientific' devices . and
procedures refinement is achieved in measurements of
poverty' bilt insight is not provided into basic issues
relating to' the genesis of poverty or ..the relation of,
poverty:'to the social, economic. and: political system
within which the poor. are deprived,'" The very definition of poverty evades th".basic issues oHundamental change ,in the system which: generates Fand filer:"
petuates poverty. ,1'''''




The transformation of the poor from a passive

human mass into a socially conscious, productive class
has been closely related in the past to three important
developments viz. (i) the accentuation of 'artificial
poverty' in the midst of 'uatural poverty'; (li) the
emergence of radical intellectuals as the Cleators and
disseminators of a new outlook on poverty linking
poverty with class 'exploitation'; and 'systemic' cbange
and finally, (iii) the growth of a cri!ical consciousness among tbe poor as a sequel to a break from the
fatalistic and a paternalistic outlook and a fundamen!al re-evaluation of their position in society and their
role in social change.

TURNS TO past history one finds that the

aggravation of 'artificial' poverty was a necessary condition for the transformation of the poor into
an agent of social change. 'Natural poverty' can be
defined as a state of economic scarcity associated with
underdevelopmeut of. the' economy or of the social



. ,
" ')
While tbequestion I'0f poverty bas acquired political importance and I~gitimacy,
!. J,l ,'r
tbe poor themselves-are ,stil' far from becoming'fully articulate'and' from emerging
a s a social forcei,e: as an ~'g.nt of social cbang~:' Thereis still 'a vast biatus bet,I
,wee? politicis~,ti?n'of, !h( issue' of po~,:rty and the politicisation of the poor.'




OF ./sCientific' ~nalyses
into. poverty, ;s tbat they assign the crucial ,role,
in the crusade against, p'overty' t,~ the paternalism and
the benevolence of the haves and their social and
political represeutatives: But the' poor are assigned
no' vital role iu the mobilisation against poverty. In
other words; the grea'test'indictnient. of contemporary
sOCial science as of contempotary 'politics is that;. to
quote Karl Marx, "they see iu poverty only poverty
withouL noticing its revolutionary and, subversive aspect, whicn will, overthro~1 the old soci~ty'~; they se.e'"
iu the pOOLonly
.lnd pathetic hllman mass ~
_..' a.helpless,-.HE GRAVEST ,'WEAKNESS


deserving pity and. compassion~o[ Jhe ruling classes

a~d not the. reservoir of colossal creative energy without which no gennine economic development aJid
. -transformation can be accomplished. Hence the endless discussions and deliberations of high-level experts
and technocrats on schemes for the reEef and uplift
of the poor and on the best methods ~nd means of
'huplementing these schemes. What these sympathisers of the poor do not however see, or do not wish
'to see, is the fact of the poor ,getting transformed
into the agents of social change. Social science has
still to put into forefront the question as to how from
a 'position of being the victhus of their fate the poor
are converted into an active social force capable of
over-throwing the old system which keeps them exploited, deprived and of creating a new social system
which would put an end to their exploitation l.lrid



productive forces. Such underdevelopment of productive forces' favours the acceptance "f poverty' as
a natural phenomenon (i.e. o,s God-given and unalterable) aud to be shared by both the haves and
have,uots alike. Under such a regime of genera!
economic scarcity the essence of exploitation. in. the
relations betweeu the haves and the have-nots tends
to get obscured by the appearance of. interdependence'.
The conflict of intereSI gets subordinated to the
harmony of interest huposed hy the common struggle
against natural economic scarcity. Even when exploitation is perceived, it is ignored by the ,have-nots
KURUKSHETRA October, 1983

as a price to be paid by them for the

. vided to theJ!l by the haves.



security pro.

A. sharp discontjnuity is introduced into this social

situation with die emergence of a capitalist economy
which according to Marx fQrced upon society. the recognition of "the identity between national wealth
and the poverty of the people" (K. Marx, Capital
Vol. I, 725) and which according to Mahatma Gandhi
led to the emerg~nce of "mass production" .with the
I/:l\IDina:tion of "production by the masses" (1934).
This social situation compelled a redefinition of
pove~y; instead of "physical or material deprivation"
resulting from. Uliderdevelopment as in the past,
poverty now was, paradoxically speaking, the prodnct
of. "development" itself. The v~ry process of deve-

!tis ncicessa:iy"to'empbasise the criicial distinction

as suggested bY-Mllrxon the one liarid' arid Gandhi
on the other betwtien conservative arid a. radical 'approachto the probleni or-pOverty. , Tlie former considers poverty as the outcome of a defective pattern of
distribution. of means of ,.consumption (I.e. income)
and, therefore, lays the' primary emphasis on res!ruc~
turing the pattern . of income diStribution without
reference to, the pattern of distribution of' means of
production. The latter on the other mnd starts from
the premise that "any distribution whatever of the
means of"coIiSumptiol1' is only a consequence of the
dis'tribution' of the conditions of' production them-,
selves" and any scheme of redistributing the means of
consUIription independent of the' mode of production
is bound to prove futile. . As Gandhi said, the' roots

'Concemfor,poverty but distnnee from thei'poor iscnot only~a~marked~characteristic..l

of Indian literature and social science. In Western countries poverty and degradation of the working people in the early stageS cif industrialisation' found its first
poignant and indignant expression in th. novels.of Balzac,. Dickens,' Zola and a host
of other social novelists ....
But Indian literature has perhaps' yet, to .throw up
its Dickens and Zola voicing the sulfering and degradation or the poor in India.'
!opment which generated affluence for the few simultaneoUsly generated poverty for the many (C.T.
Kurieri 1978 : 8, 77) . There emerges in this process
anew category of the poor, the "free labouring poor",
as "that artificial product of modern society" as distinguished from "the naturally poor" which were the
: roducts of the old society (Capital Y.QI.I: 760).
T SHOULDBE NOTEDthat in real life the phenome'non of natural poverty arising as a result of general
economic backwardness is often mixed up with the
phenomenon of artificial poverty arising as a result of
the socio-economic system. This intertwining of two
qualitatively different types of poverty acts as a mystifying force, keeping the poor in darkness about the
social genesis of poverty and thus thwarting their
emergence as a socially conscious force. The revolutionary potential of poverty may continue to be unexploited, or insufficiently exploited, for social change
if "the artificially impoverished" are overshadowd by
"the naturally poor". This potential may also remain
unexploited if the "artificially impoverished" continue
to interpret their poverty in terms of categories of
understanding characteristics' of the previous era. In
emancipating the minds of the millions of "the artificially impoverished" from the myths and illusions of
the era of undifferentiated natural poverty and in
. eologicl!llY remoulding their minds, the role of radical intellectua,ls is crucial. They act as' the carrier.;
of a new consciousness of the radical potential of
poverty and they accelerate the transformation of the
poor from mere victints of class exploitation into
agents of change in the very sysrem of class exploita-'


October, 1983

of mass poverty lie: in' the mode of production which

determines also the mode of distribution. Only that
section of the poor which experiences in every moment
of its social existence an acute perception of deprivation from the means of production has, therefore, a;
critical and active.ratl)er than a'passive and resigned
attitude towards poverty or the potential of attacking
poverty at its roots. The remainiug sections of the
poor who' are draWn: into the system of ownership of







and inconsequential, a manner are handicapped

from perceiving the tme, causes' of poverty. Radical
theorists have in 'the past characterised
small holding peasants as conservative in the sense
that remaining in "stupefied seclusion within the old
order 'they want to see themselves and their small
holding saved and favoured by the' ghost of the empire". They aISo saw their radical potential insofar
as, impoverished by the domination of capital, small
holding peasauts were forced "to strike out beyond
the condition of their social existence" and seek in
the urban, proletariat "their naturally and leader"
(K. Marx 1955: '337, 338).

A SCIENTIFICapproach to
poverty from other approaches, it should also be
poiuted out that a scientific approach to the problem
of poverty is at once" structural and a developmental
.approach. TJie, roots of poverty are thus identified
by scientific theory in the sphere of the economic
structure and not merely in the manner of functioning
of this structlire.'~Changing the structure rather than
merely influencing the functioning of the structure

appears as a crucial characteristic of the scientmc $J,N tHE CONtEMPORARY' SOCIAL situation In .India
. proa~4f!lr er,a~jcatil)g,p!lveJ;1y,' At th~_same time t~e
1. the scientific perspective which links up the struggle
~c;entific vielY.'Il,!st be (Ii~tiJJIDJish~f[9m~n ti()n9qUc
against poverty with structural change on the one
romanticist view which believes that a structural transhaild aild with capital accumulation oil the other has
formation w~s ~y, itself, s~fjjcient to abo~h ]JOverty,
great historical' relevance, This perspeCtive departs
A'ssi~nti!if', apprgach, ~O\vever, sta11s from the preon the one hand from those idcclogies who seek 'to
miSe, that "justice can nexe.r.rise superior to theecocope with poverty without altering the" paitem of dis4,oJi;jc cOl)d\tlolls'of tlie time" (Maurice Do,bb 1947,:
tribution of means of production which generates and
148), Structural change according to the scientific
perpetuates po,crty, it departs on the other ha~d
conception, t~e~efore': i~ ~ot a; culmU;atipn of th~
from those romanticists who make no distinctionbet~
st':Uggle ~g~inst povertY but. only its begjn,ning: . It
ween 'artificial poverty' and 'natural poverty' and wh6
can becollJe, a crucial stl1Pin the struggle t"wards a,b!lc
therefore detach the struggle against poverty fromth'e '
. liti()n of 'poverty ~nl>'.if it is an instrument o~:capital
. hiitorically necessary task of' Capital accumulation.
accumulatjon (Le. of ecol)olllic growtl!) ... Structurjll
What is required in India is a new unity between
cha~ge, becomes alJ engin~ of capil'aL ~cc!!lJ1ulatiol)if
radical theorists who uphold an integrated persPeCtive
it serves'
~el)ns of. el!mill.ating'the gap between
on poverty and growth on the one handaild
actual economic surplus and potential economic sur- "artificially impoverished masses" on the other who
plus and thus the means of enlargement of the size of.
need this perspective in their struggle for a new life.
the economic surplus and. the mode. of its utilisation
A meaningful struggle against poverty must, therefore,
for productive purposes (Panl. A. Baran, 1957,:
,begin with a struggle against the cUrrent poverty of
25-48). The scientific perspective on Poverty therephilosophy which "sees in poverty only poverty withfore views the struggle against p.overty f\ a single ...out noticing its revolutionary' and subversive aspect
leap from poverty to plenty but as a protected. struggle ,f, which will overthrow the old society".
on two fronts, against class exploitation on the one .
In the new situation, therefore, an objective basis
hand and against, the low level of development of. prois emerging for a unity' of the rural arid urban pi$or
ductive forces on the other. "
since the urban poor are mostly niral poor ilhs'hed
out'into urban areas. The recbJ.(' resurgence' of
The abolition of 'artificial. poverty' through strucRuralism the rural-urban cleavage rather
tur,al 'change must become the initiator of a protracted
than ~the rich-poor cleavage is only meailt to mystifY
struggle against 'nat"ra!. Poverty' Le. against the low
and obscure the fast-growing economic difIerentiatioJL
level. of, development of produ~tive forces which is the
in iuial and urban areas, The socIal cluinge p',jtentia1~
~ltirnate cause oj material deprivation, The . emerof poverty'would be obscured if the qu~tio~ "':;
gence of. the '~artificially impOverished': as a separate
VS, poor is misrepresented as a question of 'town v~.
category assumes historical significance insofar as it
village. It is idle to think that poverty in t1ie rural
proyjdes ,the social instrument of initiaing the struggle
areas can be eradicated without the support of the uri:iiU{
against "natural" pOverty. In struggling for their own
pooriind !h'at rural developinent can 'be achieved wiiiiabOlition as a social category in the short-run,' the
b~!{tlie>u~po.~t.of ur~ari, ~d?~.triar ci~~elo~~~iil.
c1'assof the "artificially impOverished'.:,c~~te the sociopresent'd'lY IndIa the ideology of rurahsm JS the most
economic and political preconditions for. the abolition
formidable' obstacle in transforming poverty into. ~~
agerif'of social' change:
of "natural'; poverty itself. in the long-run.





,"I '.

,-" -









l; .,.


.. 1


. ~..



KURUKSHETRA October, 1983

A rural youth after training under Trysem programme

is able to earn around Rs. 20 a day :in any of the trades
he learns.

..concern for the alleviation of poverty of the rural masses

is the hall-mark of all our rural development programmes.

Rural artisans specially those in ivory and filigree work

are being given the utmost" aitentionand assistance to continue their traditional arts.

of rural
Decorative wood and gravure work are the
tage of our carpenters who are now given
the State. Their products fetch a ready market

proud heriassistance by
in the country

A view of the standing loom in the village. A weaver is now helped not anI
in securing raw materials but also in marketing his products.

Sheep-rearing is an important programme helped

financed under the
development programme.

Rigs are
wells and

drinking water to our villages including the

villages, is being given the topmost priority.
deployed in these distant villages to dig Dew
wherever needed drinking water is reached by
emergency water tankers.

A village level worker is.the kingpin of the rural development set-up for he interprets development programmes
to the villagers and also serves as the feedback.

The weaker sections of the society like carpenters, weaver

and potters are very much within the ambit of the rura
development programmes and are given all possible assis
tance in producing and marketing their goods.

Major structural
changes necessary
Freelance Journalist,





New Delh

and forces at work

. in society which mock at S'Ubjectivedesires and

preferences, howsoever laudable they might be. Swings
from populism to pragmatism and realism on the part
of political formations of all kinds and hues in the
practice of our parliamentary democracy are indeed a
fascinating spectacle. But massive dehumanising
'poverty in the midst of the growing affluence of a thin
segment of the population remains a fact of life in
India even after 36 years of gaining political freedom
and three decades of development planning.

The author is anguished to observe the phenomenon of

"massive dehuinanising poverty in the midst of the
growing ajJluence of a thin segmen't of the population
in India even after 36 years oFgaining political freedom
and three decades of development planning."
And opines: "A frontal attack on ruralpoverty requires
major structural reforms in the economy, a radical
redistribution of incomes and wealth in society, redeft. nitiim of development priorities both as regards mobili.
sation and deployment of resources for development
and sharing of tlte gains of development". And further
adds tltat "populist gestures are no substitute for
meaningful action for any frontal attack on povertyrural .and urban-to be mounted".
i ~


It i.spointless; as matters stand, to get bogged down

by statistics on poverty and definitions of poverty. The
periodic announcements by political personalities and
official planners about variations in numbers and percentage points below and above the poverty line-whether the number is 3510 million or 2810 million and
the percentage of those below the poverty line has
declined from 50 to 48-and claiming achievements
in poverty alleviation measures on this basis 'not only
do not carry conviction but even emphasise the growing alienation of the power establishment from and
its increasing



the conditions


the people.
Still more cynical is the move launched last year to
review and refine the definition of poverty with a view,
presumably, to refurbish the grim reality and present
a better'image to the world. The move was apparently inspired' by the idea that statistics when they
did not. accord with the god-like' vision and perception of high personages should be redone and juggled
for the subjective satisfaction

of the ruling authority.

It is indeed sickening to watch the growing obsession

of persons and groups in authority with' their illusions
which clash with reality and images that they hanker

after for presenting to their own' people and more especially people-foes and friends alike-in
lands. And: yet, there is no hesitation in opening up
to the contempt of many and amusement of others
when frantic cries are raised for more and more
foreign aid to keep the economy and polity of the
country afloat and strong protests are made when some
aid-giving quarters taking advantage of the boastful
claims of progress suggest that India has graduated'
out of concesSional aid flows and there should be cuts
in such aid to India.
POVERTY IN INDIA is universal and pervasive
is indisputable. But its worst manifestation and
concentration is undoubtedly in rural India. According to official estimates, 251 million below the poverty
line, as at present defined broadly in terms of calories
intake (which incidentally is placed at a'lower level for
the rural poor than the urban poor), live in rural areas
as againsf 51 million in urban areas. The Minimum
Needs Programmes, special rural employmeut programmes and other poverty alleviatibn programmes
which have been launched since the Fourth Five Year
Plan with more and mote strident fanfare are olaimed
to be especially directed to give relief to the rural.
poor. The idea seems to be that financial a1locations
which' only superficially ajppe~ to be impressive but

"Ve must give the- best possible education.

to the ignorant ,"'magers. We must treat
them on terms of equality, teach them their
rights and show them how to fight consti.

Gangadhar Tilak


attack" on poverty for the first time in India's economic development strategy. This was widely hailed.
It was the economic articulation of the political slogan
of Garibi Ratao. However, the concept was projected within the overall framework of a developmental
strategy which remained unaltered and was limited to
the idea of a sizeable and possibly growing provision of
financial outlays for what was called the Minimum
Needs Programme for the poor and the a1leviation of
their poverty. It was thus an addendum to the development pl,!"s and not part of a new development
strategy. It soon lost its charm for the ruling Establishment.

'This is tbe typical growtb model whicb worked in:;tbe special bistorical conditions
of 6tb to 9tb century in Western Europe and tbe U.S.A. bnt is totnny out
of place in conditionswhicb prevail in India at present.'
are, in fact, far too inadequate to make anything like
effective impression on mass poverty and administrative
action, which is always half-hearted if not altogether
counter-'productive in the prevailing order of power
and influence will alleviate poverty in course of time.
But these are no more than palliative and often 'have
very little integration with and relevance for the overall economic growth strategy. and process which' is
guided by the theory of precedence for growth. The
gains of growth even if they might be monopolised to
begin with by the dominant strata of the population
which are active participants and manoagersof tbe
growtb strategy and process are expected under this
theory eventually and after suitable time lag to percolate
down to lower levels of society and uplift them above
the poverty line. This is the typical growth model
which worked in the special historical conditions of
16th to 19th century in Western Europe and the USA
but is totally 'Jut of place in conditions which prevail
in India at present. Renee 'the growing tensions iii
Indian suciety and polity and failure of the economic
development process to the limited extent if is making
some headway to resolve them.
The first Approach T'ape,r 011, the Fifth Plan
drawn up in 1972 projected the concept of "frontal

early sixties when development planning was still young in our country
and evoked much faith and fervour in the political
and the administrative est"blishment and aroused
hopes and expectations among the people that Perspective Planning Division under the devoted leadership of late Pitambo.rPant in Yojana Bhawan presented.
a, "Perspective of Development : 1961-76, implicaions of planning for a minimum level of living. "It
postulated 7"per cent annual rate of growfh of the
economy during 1966-76 which would, at the same
time, reach the objective of Rs. 20 per month as the
national minimum consumption level (at i96Q-61
prices) 'by 1975-76 and a reduction in the concentration ratio of per capita consumption from 0.33 to
0.25. This has turned out to be a dream which
got lost in the mid-sixties even is development planning and process got bogged down and growth rate
slumped to 3.5 per cent as against the 7 per cen~~
postulated. But the failure in the attainment of the"
equity objectives earlier projected was 110t only due
to the slump in the growth rate postulated. The very
assumption that a certain level of growth of the economy would result in the desired measure of redistribution of income and consumption levels was misplaced. Further, the assumption that growth strategy


lCURUKSHETRA October, 1983

functionally independent of social objective of reuction of poverty and that the two objectives of
owth and social justice can be pursued independently
f each other was f?cile. Experts have, of course,
uggested that it is possible to construct a growth
odel which is based OIl the in!erdepe!,dence of the
. objectives of growth and social justice. But then
hey also point out that the implement;ltion of any
uch model involves the exercise of political will needfor redistributive planning real and ~ffective. If
e needed political will is 1<Lcking,such a model will
ot be constructed and if constructed will not be implemented. This is exactly how things have happened
uring the last twanty-five years ..

VE:,. WHI~E GROWTHH;ASremained' arrested and

.' politlcal will and adnulllstratlve efficiency has
been lacking for making any prograinnle of'redistributive justice real and effective, economic and social
disparities have .inevitably alld .relentlessly widened.
This process has only intensified as attempts have
been made more and more vigorously to push growth
by relying on profit maximisation motive of what are
called the "viable" segments in the est,!blished socio~
economic structure-those
classes and groups which
already have a stake in this structure and are keen to
strengthen their stake. This has been most glaring
and unequivocal in the rural socie,ty during the seventies with the launching of the so-called 'gre-en '~evoluJion and the strategy for ilgricultural growth which
has been associated with it. The promise of landre- .
orms through the ceiling laws' has turn~d o"ut in this
context to be not only phoney 'but de~tive.

economy a powelful segment of rich farll1..ersengaged

in modern capitalist agriculture and even if it has disintegrated old feudal system in agriculture, it h,!s, at
the same time, paupersied. the mass of the peasantry
and intensified the exploita!ion of the growing army
of landless who have nothing but their labour to sell
in conditions where widespread unemploymen! and
under-employment pre:v~il. There i~ no gainsaying
the fact that the bargaining power .of those who have
to sell their labour in such conditions is veery weak
in relation to those who hire their labour.
TIS THUS THAT the so,called minimum wage
legislation has become more of a window dressing than protective of .the rights of wage earners to
fair wage and a fair sharing of the gains of increase.s
in production and productivity in agricul!ure and rural
economy. Even in such are~s as Punjab and Haryana
where middle peas,mt faunin& is predomlimnt and the
land ceiling laws did not result in as large a scale
eviction of tenants from resumption of land for self. cultivation as in most parts of the country, the emergence of labour shortage in agriculture and existence
of "high" wages for ~gricultural labourers is a myt1I.
Whatever small gains have been made by agricultural
labourers in tile Punjab and Haryana countryside too
have been attempted to be neutralised .by mechanisation and hirhrg of labour from more poverty-stricken
areas outside Punjab and Haryana ..

The fact indeed must be reckoned with that the

cumulative effect of slow ]lace of economic growth
and of the industrialisation process Which has not

,This has turned out to be a dream wbichgot lost in,tbe mid-sixties even as develop"
ment planning and pro<css got bogged down and growtb:rate slmnped to 3.5 per cent
as against the 7 per cent postulated. But the failure in-tbe attainment of the equity
objectives earlier projected was not only due to tbe slump in tbe growtb rate postulated. Tbe very assUllIptiontbat a certain level of growth of tbe economy would
result in tbe desired measure of redistribution of income and consumption levels
was misplaced.'
Land ceiling laws have not resulted infinCing surplus land to any worthwhile extent for redistribution
among the landless.
They have only encour"ged
"resumption of land for personal cul!ivation" upto
the ceiling on a large scale which, in turn, has respited
in extinguishing the tenancy righ!~ of actual cultivators on such lands and turning them into agricultural
labourers without any rights on land.
" Those who have resumed land for personal cultivation under the ceiling laws' have also claimed .under
the incentive scheme for producing marketable surpluses under the green r~volution strategy higher and
higher procurement prices for their. produce, sub-"
sidised inputs-from
fertilisers and pesticides to private irrigation facilities and tractors---and liberal credit facilities. This process has' created"in .the rural
KURUKSHETRi\. OctolJer, 1983

generated adeqJJate employment opporWnityto

absorb either the growth of population or surplns labour
in agriculture combined with growing concentratioli
of land in fewer and fewer bands and pauperisation of
the mass of the peasantry are th~ basic' c!,use of em"
ployment and under-employment and mass poverty
in rural society. Even in the urban ar""s, the existence of large numbers of those below the poverty
line ~re those who have iu the last couple of decades
migrated from rural areas to urban areas in search
Any talk of alleviation cf rural poverty
in those conditions is bound to lack conviction as well
as credibility. The proclaroajions of 20 or more or
less point progranunes and ad hoc financial provisions
whicb are residual after all other claims to priority
(Contd. on P. 35)

Needed! J
efficient planning
and sincere execution
.Jt. Diredof, Water Mgmt.

DVD., Union Ministry of Irrigation

in rural areas
, was givenconsider~ble attention during the Fourth'
. Plan as it was realised by then that a technology-oriente
ed intensive agricultural programme alone does not.
ensure an equitable distribution of benefits of development in th" rural co=unity.
A very large number of
rural population comprising small farmers, marginal
farmers, landless labourers,
rural artisans and the
disadvantaged groups like scheduled castes and sche- ~
duled tribes, with very low or no asset base, did not "
benefit from various area development and other community development progra=es.
In fact, the problem
of poveI1y had its origin in (a) low asset base and
(b) unemployment.

The author feels



technology-oriented in-

tensive agricultural programme

alone does not ensure

",;". While the gen~ral economic development would take

an equit",ble distribution of benefits of ~evelopment.
care of a portion of poverty, specific schemes were to
The fact remains that a very large number
of ,rural
'" ;"be developed for a concerted assault on poverty. The
population comprising small farmers, marginal farasset aspect was sought to be tackled through developmers, landless labour, rural artisans and disadvanta.
ment of special agencies for identification of poverty"
ged groups like scheduled castes and scheduled
stricken and support through institutional agencies for
creation of assets and steady flow of income. Unem.tribes with very loll' or llO asset base did not benefit
was principally to be attacked through spefrom various area development and other community
generation schemes specially devised
development programmes".
for .the purpose.
And adds : "the problem at the moment is the
The 'first major thrust for proVIsion of income yielddevelopment of proper organisation or planning, exe-.
ing of. assets for the poor came in the form of Small
cution, moniioring and evaluation of different prograFarmers Development Agency (SFDA) and Marginal
mmes in which integration is a vital e/ement~ Integra.
Farmers and Agricultural
Labom;ers - Development
tion aspect is vital as it has got bearing on the dynaAgency (MFALDA) progranunes, during the Fourth .
mic elements of various programmes in relation to the
Plan with three major schemes:
(a) agricultural in.puts .inCiuding agriculture implements;' (b) developproductivity,
employment and income generation .....
ment of minor irrigation i.e. dugwells, pumpsets, tubeThe extent to which poverty could be eradicated will
wells, cO=lmity irrigatiou works (both ground water
depend upon the efficiency with which we plan and
and surface projects) and (c) subsidiary occupatiou
sincerity with which we execute such schemes."
schemes; relying maiuly on animal husbaudry i'.e. dairy


October, 1983
---~- - ---,


sheep and goat-rearing, ,poultry-keeping. In some of

the SFDA and MFAL, rural artisans programme
was taken up to help 'ih~ rural artisans ..
The 'second, aspect of poverty alleviation ,was taken
up through a number of community asset creation pro-

'It is .. natural that we should think of the


change and improvement in the surrouDings of

the rural ~eas"Our obje~tiveis to improve the
economic -conditions of Our country and for
that we have always said thdt both agriCulture as well as industries have .to devel.ap.







The principal programines were Crash Scheme for

Rural Employment (CSRE), 'Food for Work .Programine (FFW)"and Rural Works Programme (RWP) under SFDA and MF AL at the national level and
I,'._chemes like EmpliJymmt Gllaran~ce.Scheme of Malia'
"'ashtra at the state levels m a hmlted scale. These'
programmes were intended for "directly benefiting the
persons 'in rural areas' who live below the poverty line
by providing them employment and raising their incomes and nutritional levels" .


first and try to bring about a radical

and expand.
Agriculture 'alone cannot meet
the present day challenge of fighting pO'ierty
and also prOl'iding employment to our people.

Therefore, there has to be a very ha~py

combination of industries as ,,,'ell as agri-'
culture. '

Bahadur Shastri

-in a sense. were meant for
-'the very poo~.,v}th. vcry low, asset base or no as:-:et


base whereas the previous programnies were principally

for: a slightly higher. a~set baSed poor. In addition .to
these two, a number pf other are,a development programmes like Command Area Development Programme
,(CADP), Drought ,Prone. Area, Pr.Jgramn,e (DPAP)
and Minimum 'Ne~ds 'Programme (MNP)' were in
execution which had 'a lot of potential for helping the
rural poor.
' ,'J

. t.



The". poverty. seen

the Sixth Plan
,. at the beginning of~
was very ugly in spite of ,the execution of various progralll.fl1~s. Not only 'pf)~e{.ty' was growing in terms of
:' umber of people below th.: pov'erty line, in percentage
terms also it was very high. This disconcerting feature
called for further sirenb~heJijng of the attack on poverty
resulting in Integrated .Rural Development Programme
(IRDP) in, the first diegory and National Rural Employment Programme '(NREP.) in the second. The
New 2o-Point Programme of the Prime Minister.
directed a number of schemes for better' and quicke;
alleviation oLrural poverty.
Objectives of all the schemes under various programmes takcn up before the Sixth Plan were very
well intentioned. Yet the 'poverty grew. 'In 'this context, a few questions.,that arise are '(a)' what was rhe
impact of these prograIhmes; '(b) why th'e poverty
grew if the programmes were good; (c) If there were
some lacunae, whether ','the later schemes introdueedin Sixth Plan have tried to rectify 'them, and (d) what
mOre can be thought of for quicker alleviation ofrun;1
OF' thO:-impact of'differffit
schemes c~uld be don~ p;ovided data are avail- '
able' from studies with wide coverages specifically at
micro levels. In the absence of such detailed studies.
ostof the data on programme ,impact are taken from
the ,fudies' having all-India coverage and conducted by





Programme Evaluation Qrganisation of, the Planning

Commission. For the first category of projects, the
findings of a study are quite revealing. ,.For example,
net increase in income per benefiCiary in minor ir.riga-

tion and dairy schemes was Rs. 1670 and Rs. 829
respectively: Increase of this order can certainly be

as subst;tnti~~limprovement over the prc~

But there were' wide "variat,ions in
income accrual pee bGneHciary as between states. In
re-spect of, minor irrigation, the range varied between.a

vious' situation.

net loss of Rs. 1690 per beneficiary in Sirmur project

to a net benefit of Rs. 4785 for Rae BareH. Similarly,
the range of net increase, of income per beneficiary of
the dairy scheme was also very' wide~a
loss: of
Rs. 1589 in respect of Gurgaon project as against
Rs. 2869 for Thana-Nasik project

Sheep and goat rearing contributed a net loss or'

Rs. 103 and net profit of Rs. 192 respectively per
beneficiary on all-India basis. The range in case of
former was from a loss of Rs. 934 to a benefit of
Rs. 1603 as against a range Rs. 84 to Rs. 209 for the
The' employment generation j;npact of the second
category of the programmes at micro level appear,
"- prima 'facie, substantial. The employment generated
through CSRE and FFW were 315.78 million mandays and -1184.77
million man-days respectively.
Under the RWP, the total employment generated was
much less (only 9.68 million man-days) .. The employJilent generated. under the,EGS in Maharashtra was
562.7 million man-days.
The per capita ,employment generated through the'
earlier programmes seems to be very Jow; only 3 mfUl-

days per capita in a year 'in respect of the beneficiaries'

of CSRE and 8.5 man-days in -respect of'RWP. Later

schemes like FFW' and EGS provided higher employment per beneficiary per annum. Whereas EGS provided 50 days of employment, 44 days of employment
was provided per family in a year lhrough FFW pro
01 the programmes
under the first category in a few districts of India
seems to be very good and in some cases even outstanding. However, thc inter-project variations and
the inter-programme variations of benefits are so wide
that one has to" look into the data vei'y carefully to
arrive at any conclusion. . As for example, getting
negative benefits or very low benefits from a programme in any project or any part of the project casts
doubt about the suila;,ilit., of the scheme for the orea
and the beneficiaries.

15 PER CENT of the' SFDAs and 8 per cent

of the MF ALs, dairying, instead of augmenting the
income proved to be a liability of the beneficiaries. In
one of the projects, wrong selection of beneficiaries led
to poor returns from the investment on dairy. In two
districts, Gurgaon and Bhiwani, because of . lack of
supervision the loans were misutilised. In Chindwara, the quality of animal supplied was not suitable
for the local climate and the beneficiaries did not even
have the requisite knowledge of animal husbandry.
Good extension would have helped the beneficiaries to
get some benefits, in these cases. But extension was .,~
found to be poor. In sheep-rearmg the loss was
mainly due to non-availability of veterinary facilities.
In case of goat-rearing, the failure in one of the projects was interestingly explained thus:

whkh contribl,ted to low reon investment in minor irrigation as found
from the investigation are' given below:
Low returns have generally been attributed to lack
6f e"tension support. Absence of proper co-ordinated action in several project areas impaired the'
effectiveness of the programme. For instance, in a
nuinber of project areas, pumpsets were sanctioned
without ascertaining from the Electricity Department
whether they will be able to energise the pumps
(e.g., Ballia, Rae Barcli, Nalgonda, Tumkur, Bhandara and Gurgaon) with the result t1iat even when
the pumpsets were installed they. could not be used
for want of electricity connections. In some projects, the funds sanctioned could not be effectively
utilised due to difficulties of securing building (e.g., Alwar, Badaun and Bhandara). Though
considerabl<i stress had been laid on groundwater
surveys in each project area, such surveys had been
conducted in very few of them. In the absence "f
such surveys, some farmers, who took loans, often
came to grief on account of failure of well or were
confronted with cscalated cost due to rocky soil or
very loY' water table. In the absence of any pro~
vision for compensation in such cases of failure of


"The factor
was the absence <ifproper veteri~
nary arrangements. It is reported that there were .
heavy casualties of goats in the ab~ence of proper
health cover which c",used a great setback to the
programme and losses to the beneficiaries. There
were complaints regarding absence of proper heaI!h
cover in certain other projects as well".

The experience of poultry farming was rather

. alarming. Except for SFDA, Surat, in all other
areas the scheme failed. The main factors responsible
for the failure were improper selection of beneficiaries,
lack of experience or training in upkeep of birds
among beneficiaries, absence of extension services ~
and inadequate or no arrangements for health cover
for birds or for marketing of the produce. The situation was compounded by escalation in cost of feed 1
and its general scarcity. In the absence of any
arrangements for supply of feed at reasonable prices,
the beneficiaries found it uneconomic to keep the .
birds. Many participants in the scheme suffered
heavily on account of mortality among birds in the
absence of any knowledge of poultry keeping, extension support or arrangements far getting adeqnate
medical aid.

,Not only 'poverty' was growing in terms of number of people below tbe poverty
line, in percentage terms also it was very high. This disconcerting feature called
for further strengthening of the attack on poverty resulting in Integrated Rural
Development Programme (IRDP) in the first category and National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) in the second. The new 20-point programme of the Prime
Minister has directed a nnmber of schemes' for better and quicker alleviation of
rural poverty.'
wells, farmers found themselves saddled with infructuous debts ("e.g.Nalgonda an~ Visakhapatnam).
In some of the project areas, financial institutions
could not assess the viability of the proposals in the
absence o( .groundwater survey reports. and, therefore were chary in giving loans.


For the second category of programmes, wide:'"

variations were marked in per capita em'ployment.
As for example,
while in Madhya Pradesh'
District) only 0.3 days of employment was created under CSRE, 23.3 days of employment per capita was created in Rajasthan (Ajmer
KURUKSHETRA Octooer,1983

The RWP provided 10 days of employment in MFAL arens nnd 11 days of employment in
SFDA areas per beneficiary per annum. In only
about 1/3rd of the projects, RWP provided employment for more than 15 days in a year. The per
capita income generation was only Rs. 42 .

As against the belief that more and more agriculturallaboilrers are available for work-during off-season,
it was found that less agricultural labourers were available for off-season employment in certain areas. ' TIlls
was principally due to the type of wage arrangement
provided under certain schemes. As for \,xample, for

tL THESE FActORS were known by the beginning

of the Sixth Plan, which envisaged a two-pronged
atiack On poverty i.e. through growth and income,distribution, the former contributing a little 'over SOper
cent of the total poverty reduction, from 48.44, per
cent in 1979-80 to 30 per cent in the terminal year of
the Plan. There was more stress on the income distribution aspect of poverty redressal in rural areas.
"The public se<otoroutlay in the Sixth Plan provides
many poverty alleviation programmes which is to
operate mainly by way of tmnsfering assets and skj])s
and by providing employment in slack seasons of the
year .. : . . . . . .. Besides, there are a large number of

,However, the inter-project variations and the inter-programme variations of benefits

are so wide that one has to look into tbe data very carefully to arrive at any conclusion.
As for example, getting negative benefits or very low benefits from a programme in
any project or any part of the project casts doubt about the suitability of the scheme
for the area and the beneficiaries.'
EGS less agricultural labourers were available in comparison to cultivators of higher land holding groups,
in spite of higher wages offered in the EGS works than
the prevailing market wage. Agricultural labourers
constituted only 21 per cent of the EGS workers. The
landless agricultural labourers were more concerned
about the daily payment of wages as they were, hand
to mouth and could not afford to wait for the wages
to be paid after a week or 10-15 days which was the
mode of wage payment.

ASPECT of the above schemes
of direct employment generation 'was the creation
of labour-intensive durable community assets in consonance with local development plans. The idea behind
such a condition was that the 'assets created would help
in future income flow through their linkage effects
instead of being one-time income generation schemes.
But in a large number of projects this condition 'was
violated. For example in FFW, road construction a~d
drainage which together constituted more than 50 per
cent of total expenditure the percentage ,of durable
assets were as low as 32 and 21 respectively., Further
the assets so created were poorly maintained for want
of adequate funds for their maintenance. A large
number of local bodies refused to accept the transfer
of the completed works froni the implementing agencies.


Evaluation of various schemes implemented before

the Sixth Plan indicated the inadequacy of development
of proper schemes at operational 'level leading 'to much
lower achievements in generation of income than what
was envisaged. Among other things contributing for
lower achievements were, low participation rate of the
rural people and rural democratic institutions and Jack
of integration as between different projeets/~chemes
of development and rural, employment.,
' ,

October, 1983

other public sector schemes which will contribute to

the reduction of unemployment and under-employment". The main thrust of the income distribution
schemes envisaged in the form of Integrated Rural
Development Programme' (lRDP) and National Rural
Employment Progranune (NREP).
IRDP which had a modest beginning in '1978.79 was
extended ,to all the development blocks of the country with effect from October 2, 1980. Though all the
schemes under SFDA (MFALDA)
were included
under lRDP, there was a change in the basic approach
in the latter. It was more comprehensive as it included agriculture. non-agriculture and ,tertiary sector. It
concentrated its attention on the poorest of the poor
through 'Antyodaya' approach and envisaged substantial increase in income oJ the participant-beneficiaries
so that they cross and remain above the poverty line
level. Added importance was given on monitoring
of the additional income generated in case of each
participant. It also contemplated a micro level' block
planning and suitable economic programmes for
,effective participation of the rural poor. 111e total
estimated credit requirement of this sector was of the
order of Rs. 3000 crores witl1 a subsidy component of
1500 crores on 50 pcr cent basis. The ,total invest.
ment envisaged was Rs. 4500 crores.
NREP which replaced the erstwhile FFW incorporated the same characteristics under which it was
envisaged to integrate the development projects and
target group-oriented employment generation projects.
It was also felt desirable to involve the Panchayati Raj
institutions in plannin'g and execution of the works and
the educational research and technical institutions' in
preparing a shelf of projects which would help in 'en.
sunng that the assets created are at least equal in
value to the wages paid. Emphasis was laid on the

creation or durable community assets except for

schemes benefiting ,individual members of the. scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.



schemes in the Sixth Plan,

therefore, have the following characteristics:




(a) identification of the poor

(b) devClopment of proper schemes for the poorest and provision of help
(c) integration of special schemes of rural employment with that of other 'plan programmes and projects
(d) participation of rural democratic institntions
in planning and execution of commnnity
projects of durable nature.


The schemes under various programmes incorporated certain other elements to minimise' the leakages
trom the system for maximisation of benefits to the

The problem at the moment is the development of
. proper organisation. for planning, execution, monitoring
,and evaluation of different programmes in which'integration is a vital element. Integration aspect is vital
as. it has got bearing on the dynamic elements of
various programmes in relation to productivity, ' employment and income generation.
Integration is a function of proper planning of
. varions sectors an-j subsectors of the rural economy
with shclves of properly prepared viable projects in
,each of them indicating details of the areas and category of beneficiaries and the linkage effects. It then
, pre-supposes adeqnate planning machinery at varions
levels i.e. panchayats, block, district or area and each
plan being dovetailed to the other at higher levels.
Block and district plans with their decentralised charac,ter ,are still in their infancy. Withont such plans at
present, the integration between the schemes of poverty alleviation and other developmcnt schemes appears
highly inadequate:
Proper integration of schemes under IRDP and
NREP will have better impact on employment, productivity and income generation than individual schemes
taken up in isolation. Integration of schemes wilJ be
dependent' on the following two factors :
'---, (I) Organisation for planning, execution, Monitoring and evaluation, and
(ii) Resources availability.

personnel having wide field experience may not be

available in a' scale required for the whole nation. The
planning exercise will be the first of its kind f,?r these
personnel. As such there should be proper training
i,mparted to them before they are positioned.. While
at national level or to some extent at state level, planning exercise is done with'a g~d knowledge regarding
resource flow, at district or lower levels planning exereises are to be done without a ,very Clear idea abou '
resource transfer from Centre and from the State. The
planners may have to prepare alternative plans with
assumption of various levels of resource transfer inClnding the credit flow;from the institutional sector.
If 'the present Icvel of human resource availability for
decentraHscd planning is taken into account, it can be
said that a lo! of preparation and execution of human
resource devClopment schemes are required to be done
before the decentralised plans are taken up on a mass
scale. Otherwise, the decentralised plans at various
levels will just juxtapose the" schemes of different
departments, with some beautifully couched words on
integration, rnral development, poverty allcviation 'and
so on,

The schemes and programmes' of poverty alleviat'ion

are conceived of at central' level on the basis of avail.
able information. It is quite likely that a few of them
may face operational problems at the execution level
thercby defeating the very purpose for which th
were created. For example, minor irrigation schemes'
like dugwells, pnmpsets, etc. are meant for small and
marginal farmers. Experience. suggests that quite a
large number 'of them cannot utilise this opportUnity
as their lands are " highly' fragmented: Many 'who
avail.of the opportunity with heavy subsidy are not able
to utilise it and eit,her deriveiyery , low.return, or lose
. heavily. The scheme may need some I.modification.
Public projects like. public tubewells may be taken up
,Jo help such identified individuals instead of individual
beneficiary asset-oriented schemes. Any' departure
from the gencral guidelines which will help the rural
poor should be taken up by planners at decentralised
level with the higher, levels for quicker approval.
The subsidiar~ occupation schemes have been confined to a few animals viz, cows and buffaloes in dairy
sheep and goats, pigs and poultry with a minim
viable unit approach. In a large number of' cases
agricultural labourers, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes
who take up snch schemes do not have' the manager!'
capability to adop"~such a high technology and as

Hn about 15 per cent of the SFDAs and 8 per cent of the MF ALs, dairl'ing, inslead
of augmenting Ihe income, pro~ed 10 be a liabilitl' of tbe beneficiaries.,
at decentralised
level are' more demanding than either at state or
central level due to a number of faclors. Suitable



result incur heavl' loss. Although a family of sucI1

disadvantaged individual can probably manage a small
piece of land, a ,few birds 'and snpplement the livin~


with income from agricultural labour or off-seasou

NREP employment, this schemc is not bankable for
the credit institutions in present circumstances. The
planner, at operational level may suggest a change in
the scheme-a change from bankability of the scheme
to bankability of the whole family proposition.

, In the district or decentralised planning effort, credit

?lans h~ve to play a very significant role specifically
m relatiOn to povcrty alleviation programmes. Credit
~ plans cannot be prepared in isolation. Once the district plans indicate, apart from budgetary resources
detai!~,?f ~heprogrammes or schemes to bc supported
by the InstItullonal sector, credit plans can be prepared
\yhl~~'will be more in the' nature of likely deployme~t
of credit by various, institutionW'.agencies rather than
just ,estimation of credit requirements.

the question of integration. 'Development

of dramage, constructIon of chak roads, establishrnent of regulated markets, execution of social forestry,
soJ! conservatIOn could be linked up with NREP, once
,the labour requirement 'and implementation scheduies
are available. IRD schemes could be linked with the
pr~grammes under special component plan 'along with

'From the traveller, 'whose sack of ,provisions

is empty before the voyage is ended, wbose
garment is torn and dust~laden, whose stre~
ngth is exhausted, remove shame and poverty,
and renew his life like a 'flower under the
cover ;of thy kindly night. '


the utilisation of Special 'Central Assisiance. 'The

nature and extent of such integration will of course
have spatial variation.
Integration of various schemes of rural development
and of alleviation of poverty at decentralised levels will
have a multiplier effect on productivity, employment
and income generation. The extent to which poverty
could be eradicated will depend upon the efficiency
with which we plan and the 'sincerity with which we
execute such schemes.


(Conld ..from Page 14)


has not been adequately recognised; Thirdly, more

thought needs to be given on how the 'general support
and partiCipation of the people can 'be mobilised' in
these programmes so that the development process
tends to be more a people's movement than a government programme.
that TUralIndia: acquires ,a:new
face. It' is necessary that rural India must arise to a
'new awakening and it must propel itself speedily 'towards greater social and economic 'justice for all the
millions that inhabit our villages. Wis necessary for
'this purpose that committed and competent young men
and women from the villages are 'encouraged to come
'forward With the support 'of voluntary agencies and
Govetmnent."ind offer their service 'on a part-time basis
for mobilising the pcople of their villages for participation in the constructive' tasks ahead. Ultirnately, the
'face of nira! India can be transformed onlywhcn the
human resources 'in, the villages ar.e made productive.

.. l~




(. _


KURUKSHETRA October, 1983

Adult eduCation, health care; rural industrialisation,

development of women and children and other community development programmes can make India's villages
self-reliant and self-sufficient only when the people of
rural India organise themselves for constructive work.
I do hope that in th~ 'coming years, we shaIl build a
professionally competent people-oriented development
administration which will function with the support of
voluntary workers drawn from the community itself.
Rural India 'i's developing fast but it must also come
alive to ensure that the fruits of development 'are available to the rural poor and to the community aUarge
in such a manner that there is a perceptible'change in
the overall quality of life everywhere in the country,side. Thus, the ncw face of rural India must not
merely reflect the vast physical changes in the infrastructure brought on by the process of development: It
should also reflect the happiness that progress brings
to each' rural household 'which alone can be the true
, measure of sOCialand economic change in rural India.


Poverty alleviation is a
multi-level endeavour

Manager (AFD '& PMEC), Bank of Baroda, Bombay


''}':. -




"While Integrated Rural Development Programme

has made ,appreciable progress since its inception, a
,f;~'+ questions yei re~ain unanswered!';' says ~he
author.: Can ati. investment. .of Rs. three thousand t~
,four thousand as envisaged in the programme help the
family below poverty line cross poverty line once and
for all?
Have the benrificiariesreally benefited ?
'-iIave the Jno:vedbleassets created out of'investm(!nt
l' been ',really enjoyed by those beneficiaries or
they b~en;sold or transferred to 'other wel/-to-do per. i:sons .? Or have the supporting facilities as envisaged
;in'the Programme been extended to them to make them
i economiciIllj viable ?




In the background of these gaps, the author em'ph;,.,ies the 'need for correcting the drificienciesin the
r... ,

'i,!,plementation of I.R.D. programme through for. ~r;,,;;taii~g 'result-oriented ac.tion plan' and the ''ne;d
.t?I.have an ,effic(ent delive~y system at the grassroot
level which may provide innovations and all needed
services to the beneficiaries.





'"deep-tooted in ihe developing countries where 40
per 2ent population lives in absolute poverty (in case
of India the percentage has been 50.82 in rural and
38.19 in the urban area indicating overaI! 48.13 per
cent as per 1977-78 data) and their life is so degraded
by disease, illiteracy, malnutrition ffnd squalor that the
attainment of even the basic necessities seems to be
difficult. The United Nations Conference On Human
Settlement held at Vancouver, Canada in May-June
i976, had recommended that the developing countries
pay special attention to the improvement of rnral areas
where a majority of their population resides. 'In general, it beckoned the member-countries to enlarge employment opportunities to the rural poor, extend public
services and improve the levels of living of those living
in the rural areas. The Conference also called upon
to improve the physical environment and thus enhance
in ,gencr~I the quality of life.


Government of India has been committed to remove

hunger, .'unemployment and 'poverty through implementi,lg 'planned
programmes. Integrated
,Development Programme (IRDP) had indeed been
conceived as anti-poverty programme. It seeks to reduce the poverty in the rural India through the adoption of the family as a unit of planning and by making
it economically viable through provision of technologically feasible and financially viable schemes with
package of services which would lead to the generation .~
of'income sufficient for crossing the poverty line, once .
and for all. Initially in 1978-79, it was decided to
implement lRDP in selected 2000 blocks out of 3000
,blocks in which SFDA, DPA and CAD programmes
were in operation. However, with effect from October
2, 1980 the prograrmrte has beeu extended to cover
, KURUKSHETRA October, 1983

all the 5011 blocks in the country. Under theprogramme, it is expected that 15 million families would
be assisted to cross the poverty line once and for all by
the end of Sixth Plan (1980':-85).
'Nhilc the' programme is supported by a provision of ~ubsidy of
Rs. 1500 crores to make the scheme viable as well as
to serve as, incentives to the identified ben~ficiaries,
banking system has been called upon to provide loans
amounting to Rs. 3000 crores to these beneficiaries
~ under the programme. Perhaps, this would be the
first of its kind of anti-poverty programme being implemented in the world on such a massive scale.. As such
the method of implementation and its impact would
definitely be seriously studied by the economists, planners, administrators, financiers, scientists at the national
and international'level so as to draw,Jesson for underdeveloped countries where hunger and poverty have
been as deep-rooted. The programme has almost
completed three years and the performance is quite
impressive from the point of view of achieviog the targets, release of subsidy, disburse!"ent of credit and
coverage of scheduled caste/scheduled tribes. It is
against this background an attempt is made here to
discuss in brief the direction in which the progamme

4. Central assistance

Rs. 82.58


5. State assistance

Rs. 153 .9
6.. Institutional cr~djt . RS.199


which now forms a. major
component of the New 20-Point Programme has
showed considerable improvement. The dala presented
in the following lable reveal thai there has been steady
progress under the programme in respect ~f coverage,.
release of subsidy, mobilisation of credit and per capita
inveslment from 1980-81 to 1981-82 and 1982-83_:



of the Performance

under IRDP




Feb. '83)
1. No. of families

27 .90 lakhs

2. No. of SCjST
families benefited
3. Percentage coverage 24.9


28.30 lakhs
35 ,I

OctolJer, 1983

22 ,00 lakhs
41 .5



(37 '16%)
, 190.0J'

470 crares

(upto Jan.


_ ..

7. Pcr capita subsidy


8, Pf;rc'apita credit'


.9. Pcr capita .invest.ment


. (

10. Subsidy credit ratio

1 .35





17.83 ,;.' .

I '84


*Figures in parentheses indicate perc~ntage increase ova the

preceding year. .

It" is of" interest to note that. perce~'tage of l?e."nefi~iaries belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled
tribes has sharply iocreased from 24.9 in 1980-81 to
35.1 in 1981-82 and 41.5 in 1982-83 as against the
target of 30 .per cent of the total beneficiaries,. t'? be

dt is of interest to note that percentage of beneficiaries belonging to schednled castes

and scheduled tribes has sharply increased from 24.9 of 1980.81 to' 35.1 in 1981-82
and 41.5 in 1982-83 as against the target of 30 percent of tbe total. beneficiaries to
be covered nnder tbe programme. Per capita snbsidy and per capita credit bave also
increased remarkably well' from Rs. 550 and Rs, 741 in, 1980-81 to Rs. 928 and
Rs. 1713 in 1981-82 and fnrther to Rs, 1036 in 1982-83 and Rs. 2076 in 1982-83.'
has' been moving, idenlifY .the factors associated with
this kind of development and suggest measur!,s to
remedy the situation.


. crores
(55 .53 %)


covered under the programme. Per capita subsidy

and per capita credit have also increased remarkably
well from Rs. 550 and Rs. 741 in 1980-81 to Rs. 928
and Rs. 1713 in 1981-82 and further to Rs. 1036 and
Rs. 2076 '10 1982-83. Thus, the subsidy credit ralio
now has reached a level of 1:2. in 1982-83 as. largeted under the programme . As a consequence of this,
.. per capita iovestment has showed substantial im~
provement from Rs. 1291 in 1980-81 to Rs. 2641 in
.1981-82 and Rs. 3112 in 1982-83 indicaling 104.57
";per cent iocrease 10' 1981-82 and 17.83 per cent 10
1982-83 over the preceding year. It is undoubledly
certain that Ihis figure must have shown further
improvement as these dala retate to January-February,
1983 which should have considerably increased at the
end of March 1983, being the end of the financial
satisfactory with regard to the fulfilment of targets. However, following questions are-yet unanswered:

Have Ihe beneficiaries for whom the'programine

is meant and to whom the subsidy as well as .
credit has been disburSed really benefited ?


Have the moveable assets created out of subsidy

and bank loans been really enjoyed by these
beneficiaries or have they been transferred to
other well-to-do persons?
Have supporting facilities, including inputs of
production, raw material, marketing etc. which
have direct bearing on the successful .implementation of IRDP been provided to the beneficiaries who have been disbursed loans and
provided subsidy?
Can per. capita investment of the order
Rs. 3112 or so help the IRDP beneficiary
cross poverty line, once and for all ?


An in-depth study and experience on the implementation of IRDP have revealed that though the Government has created a full-fledged organisational set-up
known as District Rural Development Agency (DRDA)
in all the districts with definite objective of playing a
weU defined role so that the assisted families cross the
poverty line once and for all, effort of the DRDA has
been directed only to achieve the physical targets . of
covering three million families, release of subsidy of
Rs. 300 crores and getting loan of matchable amount
disbursed. The possible reason for thi; state of affairs
has been the lack of appreciation of :
(i) the concept


and its


(ii) meticulous planiring exercise, and

(iii) developing a result-oriented action. plan.
IDLE LAYINGDOWNtargets for this kind of development-oriented programme has been essentially
accepted as a part of plarining process; however, under

ment etc. Thus, it bas mov~ only in one direction

of achieving targets and other quite ilIl[loruint aspect
. of ensuring that the family has crossed poverty line
has' been neglected. -It is therefore, essential that
implementing ,agency at the block level including
DRDA, Banks and Panchayat administration should
appreciate following important comPonents of the pro,
to ensure
- end-result.

has now come to be rcalised'.
as a sine qua non for national development and. >
social welfare. The problem is not merely one of
development' of rural areas but of the development of
rural communitie.s-to dispel ignorance and poverty'
and assist the process of creating self-reliant and selfc
sustaining modern little communities. Thus, rural
development can no longer be identified with mere

increase in GNP or even per capita national income.

The increased income is expected to be 50 distributed

as to result in significant diminution of inequalities of

income and wealth. In short, every rural family
shonld have its reasonable share in the generation of
GNP and increasing per capita income. The major
objective should be to reconstruct and. develop the
rural economy in s,!ch a way that income owing from
the ownership of productive assets, skills and labour
would be automatically distributed . more equitably.
. This fact. therefore, focusses the need, urgency and
importance of. building viable rural communities of
functional rural clusters with improved dwellings, ""
clean water and modern sanit~tion, a congenial
environment, dependable and convenient energy supplies, adequate transport aI)d communication facilities
that link it to the larger world, suitable health and
educational facilities, access \0 crectit and markets,.
culturally invigorated and no longer compartmentalised

, ,Under IRDP the official machinery at the block; district and state level only desires
to achieve targets of 600 beneficiary families per block per year witbont being prepared to do groundwork envisaged in the programme. This process of achieving the
targets in each blnck M5 further created climate 'wherebymost of-the beneficiaries are
interested in securing subsidy without paying :attention to achieve the end-results
of the programme. This has created h~st of problems'
IRnP the official machinery at the block; district atid
state level only desires to achiev~ targets of 600 beneficiary families per block per year without being prepared. to do groundwork envisaged in the programme.
This process of achieving the targets in each block
has further created a climate whereby most of the
beneficiaries ;;;'e iIiterested in securing subsidy without.
paying attention" to achieve
the end-results of the pro.
gramme. This has created a host of prOblems: VIZ..
.supervision. on the end-use of credit,. follow-up for
seeking solution to the problem of beneficiaries; recovery of !l;mn instalments, ascertaining the genuine need
for re-scheduling the repayment period, cr~dit manage.30

. by barriers .of castes and feudal distinctions based on

land ownership or occupation.
Tl:Ie economists and social scientists 'view the integration inherent in rural development in four


sions : The first is the concept of "overall development

of all" with a focus on specified target groups. This'
means multipurpose and multi-term credit to a family.
The second 'Yhich is an elaboration of the first, wonld
refer to credit being integrated with technical services
so that produciivc deployment of credit leads to' its
prompt repayment out of additional income generated.
That is from whichever primary level institution the
rural producer opts to borrow under the multi-agency

October, 1983.,

system, it should be in a position to tak~ 'a total view

of his requirements ,and to provide integrated service
backe,j' by appropriate higher level institutions. The
third dimension implies the integration of economic
activities inherent in rural development to ensure
balanced growth. This means intensification of the
primary sector programmes .of agriculture and enlarging and strengthening of the secondary sector of village,
cottage and other small scale industries in rural areas
cOlipled with creation of facilities for organised marketing, processing and allied activities in the tertiary sector
to create larger employment opportunities so as to
absorb the increasing number of rural population. The
last dimension is one of so integrating the credit disbursing activities under' the multi-agency approach as
to avoid duplication of efforts in exteil.jing credit or
technicaL-expertise. Based on these lines, integrated
development aims at assisting the rural poor by combining cn,dit and programmes for (i) comprehensive
agriculture, (ii) tiny, village and cottage industries,
(iii) rural services including marketiug, and (iv) infrastructure ror p~oduction.


HIS HERCULEANTASKOF alleviating rural poverty

, cannot be accomplished overnight, through piecenieiaefforts and in isolation of tOlal development of
tural areas. The entire planning exercise is, therefore,
be geared up in favour of (i) optimum
utilization' of the growth potential. of the villages' to
increase income, employment and production;
ensuring a latger than proportionate gain of development to the weaker sections of the population; (iii)


,It is necessary to plan, to direct, to organise.
and to coordinate; but it is even more necessary.
to create conditions in which a spontaneous
growtb from below is poSsible.'
.,....-Jawaharlal Nehru




of the population. The growth',o.,mtre project can provide, blueprints indicating the possiblc locations for
education, health and such o!ber facilities. ,Based
on the principle of "equal accessibility" the growth
centre approach can bring several community facilic
ties like health, education, transport and communication, local administration etc. within easy reach of
the 'entire population.'
These growth centres should necessarily be equip"
ped with all the required facilities which may help
th'e rural population to get their work done in the
area itself rather than visiting cities or towns snch
as (i) a permanent ,training centre to impart practical
training' in the area of agriculture, village industries
'and agro-based Iodustries; (ii) a mobile training.;eum.
demonstration unit to provide on-the-spot training
and repairs; service and maintenance facilities' for
agricul,tural and industrial machineries; (iii) a .. rura!
service society to provide crcdit, inputs of produclion,


'The problem is not merely one of development of rural areas bnt of the development
of 'rural areas but of the development of rural communities to dispel ignorance and'
poverty and assist the. process of creating self-reliant and self-sustaiiiing healthy
.modern little communities,'



fp}filling the minimum needs programme; (iv) aug1]1entingthe duration and productivity of employment
in' their existing occupations inter alia through upgradation of technology, imparting' of skills and setting
up of non-exploitativ~ institutions for credit, marketing
and services; (v) alleviating chronic unemployment
through employment on public works such as National
Rural Employment Programme;
(vi) building up of
a s,oci::L1and economic infrastructure; (vii) r~orienting
existing .instit.utio"nsand organisations in order to protect the interest oB the poor; (viii) building up of
appropriate organisation of the rural poor, especially
to protect them from exploitation; and (ix) promotion of a progressively more egalitarian structure
of ownership of assets.

. "~he,-growtl.1'ce-nt{e~exercise, in the endeavour, can

be' .a"-powerful instrument for as.sisting the policymakers and the. planners in' improving the well-being
KlTRUKSHETRA Gctob"r" 1983

custom hiring of farm equipment and machinerie.f?;'

(iv) a marketing-cum-warehousing
component, that
can provide safe storage and efficient marketing of
farm produce and cottage indus,tries p~oducts; (iv) a
forest .a~d grass 'nursery for p~oviding fruits, fuel;
fodder and forest trees; (vi) a developmental school
based on the 'earning while learning'principle
oriented to develop a cadre of,' self-employed and
dedic-ateri workers in the area of human; animal, planf
and soil health care and (vii) a residential COInpOnent to provide basic housing facilities' for workers
in the project area.
j ..


NTENSIVERESEARCHand investigation would ~

, to be planned in order to (i) identify t~e existing
areas which could' be developed as growth centrel
together with',their associate areas i~terms of
nomic base and a range a/population; '(iii investigate
the suitability of a population range of 10,000 .. to



125,000 in a cluster of 20 villages or so for the purpose

,of viable co=unity;
(iv) study inhibiting social factors and anomalies; (v) determine nOrms of viable
'village communities

in terms of economic

achieving the accclerated growth in the village economy. A resu1t-oriented-action plan would, therefore,
call for initiating following steps:


;and social amenities and effectiveness of community

~institutions like panchayats, cooperatives; and (vi)
I,suggest eventually, as may be necessary, lines of pos,sible change in the structure and base unit of planning and administration.

A detailed study of the villages and households
should be conducted for studying the present state
of economic activities practised by the villagers, its
contribution to the growth of village economy,

,,The major objeclive shoold be to reconstruct and develop the rural economy in su~h
a way that income 1I0wiugfrom the ownership of productive assets, skills and labour
wonld be automatically distributed more equitably.'



three years' implementation

exercise of IRDP is any guide, it definitely calls

for strengthening of district planning m3cchinery as
well as office of DRDA to make it effective enough
to undertake the kind of planning required at the
block level. While the DRDA should draw upon the
expertise, in the meantime, available with technical
for undertaking detailed planning of IRDP, the role
of financing institutions viz., cooperative banks, land
banks, nationalised
banks, regional
rural banks, state financial corporations should not be
confined merely to purvey the credit alone but it should
convert the credi! into supply and services.
The responsibility of the banker has to be extended
to support his lending for production by also lending
to the creation of necessary infrastructure, supply
structure and marketing structure without which credit
for prodnction by itself would be self-defeating. The
National Co=ission
on Agriculture (NCA) has
also very aptly emphasised similar role of credit institutions in the rural sector. No doubt this is ex-,
tremely difficult, but not impossible. Yet whatever
credit institutions can do to suppor! their production,
lending has to be done without waiting for perfect
conditions. The developinental role of banking has
to come into effective play in identifying the items
of support and the methods to exploit !hem. What
the state is already providing \hrough its administrative and organisation can, !o some extent, be augmented and furthered by the private alld pu!;>licsector through credit. In this endeavour, the bank
offices in the ,rural and semi-urban areas have to be
necessarily strengthened in terms of technically trained manpower and !heir mobility in villages has to be


of a group of 15 to 20

villages should be undertaken' by a branch of the

bank in association with DRDA with an ultimate objective of improving the standard of living and quality
of life of the families living below poverty line as also

resource potential which could be exploited by harnessing science and technology, scope for improving
livestock farming, inland fisheries, rural and
cottage industries, trade and other services)
-by in,lroducing proven technology, management
expertise and building socio-economic infrastructure, constraints already existing and those likely to
arise during implementation of rural development
need to be identified, methods and innov,ative approach for overcoming these constraints
should be developed. While effort has to be made
to identify those below poverty line (BPL) , more
importantly below bread line, survey should incorporate plan for optimum utilization of the growth
potential of the entire area to increase income, em-

ployment and production.

Inadequacy of bare
minimum needs in relation to health and medical
facilities, drinking waler, housing, education, supply
of esscntial co=odities
through public distribution
system, transport and co=uiiication
etc. should
be brought out clearly. Scope for revitalising the
existing non-exploitative institutions for credil,
marketing and services should be examined. Possibilities of alleviating chronic unemployment through
employment on public works under National Rural
Employment Programme should be explored.

Integrated Rural Development Programme should
be developed with emphasis on preparing areaspecific credit schemes acceptable by the rural
households. Introduction of innovative schemes
(non-traditional) such as (i) production-cumconsumption-cum-housing credit scheme for the
weakest of the weak and (ti) crop-cum-Iivestock
or livestock farmingcum-rural industries etc. to be developed for optimum utilisation of available resources, assets of the
rur~l household as also expandillg his income base
KURUKSIffiTRA October, 1983



through subsidiary occupations or cottage industries

which can gainfully employ or keep occupied all the
members of the family. Different modes of such
credit schemes should be worked out for different
categories of beneficiaries based on their resoun;es
potential including assets and liabilities.

While schemes to exploit underground water reources should be formulated, schemes should also
be initiated for development of drought-prone areas
'to insulate ihe economy of these areas from the
effects of recurring droughts through diversification of agriculture and promoting afforestation,
pasture development and soil and moisture conservation. . In arid and desert areas, schemes should
be formulated for arresting desertification through
activities which restore ecological balance, stabilise
sand dunes and facilitate soil and water conservatiori. Plantation of shclter belts, adoption of w:<lter
harvesting techniques and development of pastures .
to sustain the livestock economy should receive immediate attention. Schemes to encourage innovative use of land for fodder crops, pastures and fuel
and fodder plantations should be taken up on
priority basis.

.Schemes for setting up agro-based industries/
rural industries, food processing industries to utilise
local resources as also for setting up custom service
units repair workshops should be formulated to
.overcome the difficulties of rural families in meeting
their day-to-day requirements.

Qmintifieation of the requirements of all the
components of the credit schemes for their successful implementation in these villages is absolutely
necessary. As for example, quantity of high yielding seeds/hybrid fertilisers, pesticides, etc. required
fot the crops to be grown under the 'crop loan
schemes; number of electric/diesel pumpsets to

While quantifying the needed inputs and equipment, effort should also be made (0 locate sources
of their availability within a manageable distance.
If need be, schemes to set up such centres for supply of inputs, services, marketing, repair facilities
etc. should be formulated. In fact, implementation
of any scheme should not suffer for want of timely
supply of such prerequisites .

A plan for successful implementation of these
schemes should incorporate the need for training
and technical guidance to be imparted to the beneficiaries for improving their skills 'and upgrading
the quantity and quality of their products which
may fetch higher price. As for example, crop farming, livestock





the knowledge
of. crop production
technology, cattle breeding, fish breeding.etc. In
fact demonstration of proven technology, continu.ous training and technical guidance, should
form a part of such development' programme.
Efforts should also be made to suggest holding of
required training program'mes, demonstrations, discussions with the villagers, exhibitions, farmers' faiTs
etc. Training needs of artisans in their traditional
, as also new industries for improving their skills
should be clearly spelt out. Need for identifying
and training of entrepreneurs for setting up small
scale units, ancillaries, tiny industries in light of
local needs should receive equal attention .

" 8
Past experience has revealed that a large number
of small/marginal farmers, landless labourers,
rural artisans and members belonging (0 the scheduled castes/tribes have to be continuously guided
in respect Of adoption of proven technology which
produces spectacular results. While under the
World. Bank Scheme, the Government has intro-.
duced 'Training. & Visit System' in all. the blocks,
the Gram Vikas' Adhikari (GVA) Or Village

,This Herculean task of alleviating rural poverty cannot be accomplishedovernight,
through piece-mealeffort and iii isolation of total developmentof rural areas.'
be installed under 'minor irrigation scheme', num-

ber of milch animals, poultry birds, sheep, goat,

pigs as also of feeds and fodder required under
'animal husbandry scbemes', number and type of
equipment and raw materials required for specific
types of rural industries under 'credit scheme for
rural industries' should be worked out for the area.
October, 1983

Extension Workers (VEW) in charge of 600 farm

families for a group of 3 to 4 villages' should work
in close liaison with field officer 'of the bank. This
working relationship would help solve the problems
of the farmers ahd artisans and enable them to introduce 'farm plan and farm budgeting' concept
for optimum utilisation of resources and expanding

the income base by resorting to novel credit

schemes viz. 'crop-cum-livestock farming-cum-cottage industries or 'livestock farm'ing-cum-acquaculture-cum-cottage 'industries etc. While the farmcrs
may be, trained at the Krishi Vigyan Kendras or
Farmers' Training Centres in the area of latest
farm technology, th~ rural youths should be trained under TRYSEM for 'improving their knowledge
and skill in specified rural or cottage industries.

Aspects of post-harvest technology including processing, s.torage and m'arketing of crops, fruit,
vegetables, milk, wool, eggs, meat, fish, products
of cottage'industries should be includcd in the plan.
This has been the. weakest chain in whole of the

the Bank, DIC, KVIC and respective board viz.

Coir Board, Handicraft Board, Handloom Board.

Resource potential of the rural areas 'can profitably
be exploited if community assets are created and
well ,managed. The community assets to be created out of bank's loans viz. lift irrigation system
installed on a perennial river, ~ommunity bio-gas
plant, com'munity irrigation well, development of
grassland, forest land and pastur~s for raising fodder, fuel and timber, organised marketing arrangement through promoting milk/egg producers cooperative societies etc. have to be managed by' a
trained and qualified personnel on sound business
and financial principles. When land holding of a

,If. past experience of three years' implementation exercise of IRDP is lillY gnide,
it definitely calls for strengthening of district .planning machinery as well as office
of DRDA to make it enough elfecth'. to undertake this kind o(planuing required at

't .


the hlock level.'





and implementahon of the credit
, schemes meant for rural poor. Institutional structure for u~derHlking these activities should be creat~(( in the area, viz'. c00Pef.ative prqc.c.ssingunits,
, c~operative marketing, society, cold storage, chilI~ling 'plant;' milk collection centres, rural godowns,
'com~unity threshIng yards, market yards, etc.




.f~:tndustrial houses,. voluntary. associations and ser"vice organisations should also be associated with
the poverty-alleviation programme. While Bank
;' and Government departments have their built-in
limitations. , these . agencies can help nJodernise
.. rural ,areas by way of .providing drinking water,
primary schoolS,. rural health centres, arterial
, rQads etc. A. coordinated approach 'involving inh dU,striai hOllses voluntary associatiQlls, credit institu',ions, Government departments, panchayat adminis'tration etc. should be evolved in such a way that
all .req~itements .of rural families for socio-econo'IDle develop.\nent inel.uding provision of basic infrastructure are met with within a reasonable period
of time.
. ,' r-


Marketing of products' of rural and cottage mdustries is another aspect of great importance in the
development of rural industries. This problem
, may" have to be overCome by setting up 'Rural
'Marketing & Service Centre', (RMSC), at block
'level. . The RMSC should perform the functions
'of Identifying the beneficiaries of cottage industries
their 'needs 'for training, raw materials, equipm~nt,
. credit, and 'marketing. AlI these should 1>~quanti.fiedand"arranged by the RMSC in close liaIson w'ith

farm family is day-by-day becoming sinaller

fragmented and scattered, there is no alternative
but development of resources on a community
basis and provision of management input.
. 1n

Credit estimates should be reasonably made on
the basis of demand-based' surveys. The villagewise and household wise survey would assist, the
credit agency: (I) to correctly estimate the developmental needs of the rural households. on the basis
of which credit scheme can be formulated and implemented in a given situation; (ii) to identify the
rural households already indebted to the institutional and non-institutional sources of credit, extent to which they are indebted as also whether
any of them is a wilful or genuine defaulter. If a
'few of thein are genuine defaulters, the r'easons
of default can be ascertained and the repayment
period of the defaulted loan can be reasonably,rescheduled taking over-all position of their' asSets
and likdy 'prospects of development for which
credit line can further be opened; (iii) to introduce
crop or cattle or pumpset insurance scheme or
create risk stabilisation fund or development fund,
to mit'igate the adverse effects of natural calamities; (iv) to formulate innQvative schemes viz.
crop-cum-livestock . farming-eum,acquaculture/eottage industries etc. so as to stabilise and guarantee
,minimum amount of income. This requir~s ingennity and visionary. approach of the part of the
, bank and tpe development agencies; (v) scale of
finance, disbursement and repayment' schelllile,
margin, .ic. should be 'realistic and uniform' ..for
the entire 'area; (vi) scheme should be evolved






taking into consideration the availability of infrastructure and aptitude of the beueficiaries to implement them; (vii) to identify the gaps in the infrastructure and' suggest measures to bridge the
same in a reason~ble time; and (viti) credit scheme
to improve the rural communities" rural iifeand
total development of the village with emphasis on
the assistance to the weaker section of the society
should be formulated. Then villagewise credit
schemes with credit outIay and subsidy should be
worked out and the credit plan be implemcnted in
a period of, three years or so.
, 1 ' t~
~ .I'~

The, action plan should have

for reviewing,


....J l.

~ ...



"The Earth has her hill'-sides and her uplands,

Hers the wide plain,
She 'l is the bearer of plants of many uses:
May she stretch out ber hand and bebounti.
ful to us !"


---:-Atharva Veda Xli, i'






schemes from time 'to time so that adequate flexibility is imparted in the schemes. Besides, co-,
" ordinated approach for supervision, follow-up and
recovery of loan should be adopted rather than
leaving the job to the credit agency only. This will
make the beneficiaries aware that all the agencies
including DRDA, block officials, bank, state-owned
district officials have' the right
to supervise ,the end-use of credit and even take
penal action if there is Ill'isutilisation of loans or
wilful default.,

Credit ,camps should be organised

block officials, DRDA authorities
villages to motivate the rural poor
the process of rural development,
their [resource



by the banks,
jointly in the
to participate in
secure loan for

make. them aware'

the difference between subsidy ~nd

terms and pmc,dures like availing
ment of loans, interest rates and
against misappropriate useef


loans, explain
credit, repaycaution them
or 3 wilful



. i.,



(Contd. from' p. 21)

in reso~rce al1ocations under the Five Year Plans
have, been met for the, Minimum Needs Programme
and special employJIlent schemes can not make. much
impression on ruraf poverty when more' and TIJ9re
numbers are.' driven below the poverty line by the_relentIess working of the objective economic factors at
work in the rural econOIuy'. The situaiion is bound'
even' to, further aggravate 'with, the new liberalising
trends in economic policy and management and
reliance on freer play of' market fOIces to' determine



and investment

pattern in the

economy and its growth process. A frontal ~ttack

on rural poverty requires major structural reforms in
'.the economy, a radiCal r~distribution of inc~mes and
'wealth in society arid ~edefinitioll of develop.Jllent
priorities both 'as 'regards mobilisation and deployment of resources 'for development and sharing ef the
"gains of, development. Populist gestures are no' substitute for meaningful action for attack on povertyrural and urL"'an~tobe mounted.




With this issue,' Kurukshetra' is being changed into a monthly, with more
Pages arId lot af new features,

to give




more alld more



KURUKSHETRA' October, 1983

,. "


Time is ripe for fresh


Freelance JournaJist, New Delhi

THIR'~-\-T.HREb -fEARS of p.lanned de~~

lopment, about half of our' populatiOn remams
bolow the poverty line. This does not mean that the
national reconstruction work has had no effect on this
"'problem, nor does it mean that it has been dealt with
adequately and in the proper manner; Economic
justice was given an important place in the First five
year Plan itself; the phenomenon of unequal distribution of the fruits of planning was identified and corrective measures were outlined from the Third Plan
onwards; and pointed attention was focussed on remGval of poverty (Garibi Hatao) one-and-a-half decades
back. The most urgent steps required for improving
the lot of the people were listed in the Twenty-Point
Programme in the late seventies and has been rein- ,



For any welfare



deliver results, it is

necessary that its implementation is in a systematic Gnd

bu~illesslike manner, says the author and makes a plea

for, drawing up the implementation strategy which is
'based on facts as they are or are obtained while imple,l menting various schemes and programmes out ill the
He adds:

"Some of these (development) programmes

are more than 10 years old and it is long enough time

_ -to. appoint a, high level expert committee to go into.

their working and suggest improvements or alternate
I schemes. And further adds that "The argument that
agricultural bad debts are only. a ' small portion of the

total non-transactions
the giver

does not do any good either to

or to the rec.eiver.

.. It

is time

to get

of the old grooves and find new waysfor reaching
'--the goal (of economic betterment, and social equity)".

forced in the new Programme under the same name.

The various projects carried out under the Plans in

the fields of agriculture, industry, the tertiary sector
and social services have increased the national wealth
to a substantial' extent and the per capita income to a
much lesser degree, providing in the process productive
employment, both direct and indirect, for a large number of people. If the investment had been progressively increased in the successive Plans much more
gainful employment would have been generated, but,
unfortunately, that was not the case. The current
Sixth Plan has, of course, stepped up inve.tment con.
siderably, but, as the mid-t~rm appraisal of the Plan
shows, even this is found to be inadequate for achiev-

ing the physical targcts.


While the irrigation, industrial, road transport and

other construction works and expansion of the service

sector in urban areas have provided employment opportunities to. rural labour, the modernisation of agriculture, described as the Green RevolutioTl, has also .giv!cn

KURUKSHETRA October, 1983

them more work and better wages. In fact, in Punjab

and suggest improvements or alternate schemes.. A
there is acute shortage of farm labourers, who have to
commonsense view, meanwhile. would suggest that
be imported from distant Bihar. In other fertile areas
except in cases of destitution where outright doles may
of the country also the local labour is found to be
be granted, in all other economic programmes busiinadequate during busy seasons, and workers from
nesslike procedures should be followed-loans should
other areas, though within the' same State, have to, be
be granted against sufficient personal collateral or
brought in. This. incidentially. proves that rural
group security and should be strictly recovered. The
labour is not immobile and that much fuss need not
argument that agricultural bad, debts are only a small
be made of selecting only local workers for providing
portion of the total loan transactions doesuot do any
employment. But in dry and droughtCprone areas
good eitber to the 'giver' or the receiver.
there is perennial
and underPROVIDING GAtNFULEMPLOYMENTis the only way
employment and, if the rains fail, distress relief measuto remove poverty. Unemployment is acute in
res have to be undertaken.
our country-the
Sixth Plan estimates that, '::'inClud-'__________________________
.k \

,H the investment had been progressively increased in the successivePlans much more
gainful employment would have been generated, but, unfortunately, that was not the
,case. The current Sixth Plan has, of course stepped up investment considerably,
but, as;the mid-term appraisal of the Plan shows, even this is found to be iuadequate
for achieving the physical targets.'


PARTfrom the favourable impact arid mnltiplier

effect of the general development projects on the
rural areas, some special programmes specifically
meant for the weaker sections arid backward areas
have been introduced in recent years. These were
necessitated because of the well-to-do sections and
advanced areas getting' a major portion of the new
wealth' created by virtue of their economic, strength.
The Marginal and Small Farmers Development Agency,
the Drought Prone Areas Programme, tlie Hill Areas
1 Development
Programme, employment-oriented
programmes with changing nomenClature, etc., ,come under
this category. In the new Twenty-Point Programme
also about half of the items pertain to the progress of
the rural people, particularly the poorer, Classes.
Regarding the other programmes, which have laudable
objectives and wbichhave been very carefully prepared, their success largely depends on the sincerity of the
officials implementing them; at the field level and the
cooperation of the beneficiaries. For example, if some
employees of the concerned government department
delivering a subsidy or the public sector bank sanctioning loans at differential rate of ,interest, demand a
cut, the villagers cannot get the full benefit of assistance
nor will they have the capacity to repay the loans.
Apart from this, there has been a growing tendency
among the villagers, which has been fostered by the
rich farmers and irresponsible politicians, of not
promptly repaying even cooperative society loans, not
to speak of government-guaranteed bank loans. It
is worth considering iuthis
context, whether after
assuring a profitable price for the produce, all subsidies
may be eliminated.

Some of these special programmes' are more than

ten years old and it is long enough time to appoint. a
high-level expert, committee to go into their working

October, 1983

ing the backlog, about 46 million persons would need, I

jobs during 1980'85.
The problem is even more '
serious in villages than in urban areas. The number.
of landless workers is increasing at the rate of about 15"
lakhs per year. There is also wide-spread offseason
under-employment in rural areas. With an increase
of 2.45 per cent in population and of 1.9 per cent in
the labour force per annum, the problem is worsening
with each passing day.
Apart from agriculture, which is overburdened with
the population depending on it, animal husbandry and,
handloom industry can provide means of livelihood to'
a large number of rural people. Dairying has received a
boost through the Operation Flood programme, which' ,.
benefits both the rural and urban people, by providing
more income to the farmer and the much-needed milk,
to the latter. It should spread further and dairying'
cooperative shonld be better organised so that the
claim of 'White Revolution' could be justified. There
is still enormous demand for dairy products in the
metropolitan and other cities and, towns. The handloom industry. including Khadi, has been next only to
farrning in providing gainful work to a large number
of rural families. Though an 'inefficient' sector in
modern economy, its human factor haS'been recognised
?y the government and it has been given a high place
m all lhe Plans. - But theinduslry is finding it difficult to face the competition of power looms and mills
and is periodically beset with unsold stocks. The
~a!n governmental support to the handloom industry
IS 10 the shape of rebate on sales wbich is a cumbersome procedure. Since a long time this industry bas
been plead10g for reserving certain varieties of cloth
such as dhoties and bordered sarees for its exclusiv~'
~roduction. This' ~nd of arrangement may help the
, 10dustry stand an Its own feet without permanent
dependence on government subsidy. Khadi uniforms


are being provided tb class IV employees of the government, ',md to'that extent, the industry is benefitted. ,It
is worthwhile to consider whether khadi or handloom
uniforms could, be 'provided to ,all employees' of the
Central and' State' governments' and Panchayati Raj
institutions,'so thai a big market for the industry can
be assured.. This will also reduce the hierarchical
feeling in' the bureaucracy. there arc so many 'allowances, and a dress allowance can be added to them;
or a part of the cost can be rec.overed from the employees. ,


year, and is likely to get Rs. 500 crores in the next

year. Half.of the funds is to be given as wages and
the' rest is to be spent on materials, etc. It aims at
providing employment upto 100 days in a year to one
member of each needy family. It is expected to generate about 60 million mandays of employment each
year. Part of the wages will be paid in the form of
foodgrains. The projects under this scheme are to
be undertaken preferably in backward areas, and they
will be labour-intensive and production-oriented, such
as irrigation, social forestry and ecological development. This scheme can of COursegive much ,relief to
the mral poor, but as in the case of earlier schemes its
- . success will depend on its faithful implementation at
."the State, district and Block levels.

the government has, be~n

various _, employment-oriented, programmes, beginning with the Crash Scheme fOf'Rural
Employment of the early seventies '10 the just-announe- .
In general, some new thinking is required regarding
ed Rural LaiJdless Employment Guarantee Progr~me.
the very concept of employment-orientation. Develop~
This writer had the opportunity of observing the workmentwork, by itself, generates employment. But
ing of the centrally sponsored CSRE from a vantage
modern organised industry is capital-intensive and its
point. Consistent with its objectives, the scheme was
perfectly drawn, therequired funds (Rs. '100 CrDreper - -development eannot provide jobs for' an appreciable
number and so;'labour-intensive occupations have also
year) were provided, the top administrators were dedito be developed for giving work to millions of people,
cated to it and the concerned Ministers were earnest
especially in an over-populated eountry like ours. It
about 'its' success. But, apart from rejuvenating the
does not, however," mean that employment for the sake
old CommunIty Development set-up, it could not
of employment is to be favoured. Stone-breaking and
achieve much in reducing rural poverty, creating durroad
construetion may be all right as a famine-relief.
able assets 'and ensuring their .future maintenance.
B,ut employment can be enduring only if it
It was 'often frustr!'ting to get viable projects and acis
and its product is economically procounts' fdr expenditure from the State governments
avennes of employment are certainly
and to fulfil the conditions for executing works, stieh
should be earefully selected.
as not dngaging contractors, limiting the cost of mateexample,
rials, etc.
provide gainful work to lakhs of people, rectify the
The Food For" Work Programme had also to face
immense denudation of our forests and provide the
m'anyimpediments, including that of the vested intemuch-needed fuel' and timber. '(But it is reported
rests in, the foodgrains trade. The progress of the
that the afforestation seheme is not progressing satisNational Rural Employment Programme is not en'
faetorily; only a small portion of the l!irgeted saplings
couragirig either,: The target of this scheme is to raise
have been used by the' States, with the result the
3,000 poorest families in every Block above the poverty
employment generated is mueh below the target).
line during 'the Sixth Plan period, and to gerierate 850
Similarly, systematic renovation of existing minor irri-

A launching

,There bas been a growing tendency among tbe villagers, whicb has bee~ fostered
by the ~ich fa~ersand
irresponsible politicians, of not promptly repaying even
cooperative socIety loans, not to speak of government-guaranteed bank loans. It
is w~rib considering in this context, whether after assuring a profitable price for the
produce, all subsidies may be eliminated.... , ,



to 900 ,miIlion mandays of additional employment

each year. But it is reported thaj in 1982-83, only
110 ffiillion mandays of employment conld be guarillltCo'
ed till,
the end of December, 1982. Similarly only a
small portion of the foodgrains and funds allotted for
the ,P~ogramme have been utilised by the states.

The new and bigger Central scheme for guaranteeing

employment to the landless workers has been~,allotted'
Rs. 100 crores for the remaining part of the current

gation works can provide work to a large number of

rural people and also increase agricultural production.
In such projects it will' be better to associate contrac:
tors than t.o depend solely on officials, so that 'the targets eanbe achieved and the contraetors can be penalised for failures. Special conditions, such as engag"ing local labour at prescribed rates of wages, ean be
imposed and officials may exercise strict supervision
on .them.


KURUKSHETRA October, 1983


cannot provide work for all, if 'our population
grows at the present rate. The family planning campaign has not made much headway in rural areas and
it should be intensified. In China, which is also overpopulated, the communist government is taking penal
action on all those contravening the small-family (onechild) norm. This is not to suggest that we should
also adopt compulsive methods, but just to remind all
political parties and social service organisations of the
urgent task of motivating our people, especially the
rural masses, to limit the size of their families.




If all the rural people are literate there would not

be much difficulty in convincing them of the need
for family planning. Literacy wil! also ena12lethem to
use modern methods' and implements in ,cultivation
and allied activities. It can help them to get the
full benefits of the' existing legisl.ation, such as Tenancy Act, Minimum Wages Act, Debt Relief Act, etc.
It will be of great use to them in other fields like the
cooperative movement, health and hygiene, savings
and investment, and so on. Social education, which
is vaster than literacy, has been a part of Community
Development Programme from the beginning. But it
has not made much progress so far. It is worthwhile
to establish' regular folk schools for adult education
as some Scandimavian countries have successfully

~_.----~---~-'So long as millions live iD~'hunger and ignorance, I hold eveI')' man a traitor, who, hav~
iog been educated at their expense, pays DOt

the least heed to them'.




place. The collective farm experiment in one such
State ended in failure. Even now more than one-fifth
of rural households in the country own no land. _
land reforms has
been relegated to the background in recent years.
This is because there is no organised' pressure for it
from below. All parties, including the leftist ones,'
are otherwise too busy to org3I)ise the ~asants for
getting their legitimate rights through peaceful means.
It is a sad commentary on these parties and trade
unions, that the Conference of Labour Ministers some-time back had to decide to appoint government officials
in order to organise the landless labourers, so that they
could derive the benefits of the existing legislation.


,The number of landless workers is increasing at the rate of about 15 lakhs per year.
There is also widespread offseason:underemployment in raral areas. ll.With an increase of 2.45 per cent in popuJati~n and of 1.9 per cent in the labour force per
annmn, the problem is worsening witheacb passing day.'

All other measures 'for removing rural poverty are
just cosmetic remedies as compared to the basic remedy of agrarian reforms. Of course, intermediary
systems like the zamindari were abolished soon after
Independence, laws for a fair share of the produce
ahd fixity of' tenure to the tenants, for the minimum
wages to the farm labourers, for abolition of bonded
labour and for the fixation of ceilings on land ownership have been enacted.
Some State Govermnents
have also provided debt relief to the rural poor. But
in spite of a1l'these;very large land holdings are still
there; only a negligible part' of surplus lands has been
secured and distributed among th~ peasants. and the
~, labourers are not able to get the prescribed minimum
wages; groups of bonded labour are stili being identified.' The Scheduled Castes, people, who, are also
landle'ss labourers,.,are subjected to atrocities by the_
landlords in many, areas. In some States where leftist
governments have implemented land' reforms effecti-_
"ely; resale of lands by the erstwhile-tenants. thus
remarking them back to poverty,
has been' taking

KURUKIlHETRA October; 1983;

There are two ways of ~olving the inequity in land

ownership. One way is to expropriate large holdings'
and force the peasants into coll~ctive farms, The
other, and better way, is to pay fair compensation to
the landholders, to distribute the lands among the
landless and to help them form cooperatives for getting
credit and oth.f'r facilities. In the countri~ where the
coercive method was used, agriculture continues to be
the Acl)illes tendoll for decades 'andi they have: to impprt foodgrains from ot,her countries. In China,
under the new dispensation, the communes' are being
dismantled and a new 'Responsibility System' which
gives peasants more scope for private cultivation and
other activities, is being introduCed. Demnark, on the
other hand, solved the land ownership problem long
ago by the government bnying the s,!!rplus lands at
fair value; distributing the lands among the peasants
and'recovering the cost from .them in instalments.
The strong and all-embracing cooperative system of
(Con/d. on page.47)


Mass awareness will

help alleviate poverty

Professor, Indian Institute of Mass Couununication, New Delhi



HE PERSISTENCEOF widespread rural poverty is

the major minus point in the record of India's
planned development over the last three decades.

I. :





"The pefs;stence

In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha

on April, 18, 1983, the Minister of Food and Civil
Supplies, Shri Bhagwat Jha Azad, stated that 48.18
per ,cent of the country's population were' below the
-- 'poverty line. Since per capita incomes are higher in
'cities and towns than in villages, t.his means that the
majority of the rural population live below the poverty




oidespreadrural poverty is the. -, ., The ,persistence of rural poverty has much to do

with the poverty of rural communication. Of the many
mai'" minus point in the record of India's pl;mned
streams of cOmDluuication which have the potential
developmentfor the last three decades, says the authpr
for being, utilised for the prQmotion of development,
and ,flsserts "The persistence of rural poverty has much
the rural poor have adequate access ouly to two,
to do with the poverty of rural communication", and
namely religion and the traditional
modes of
laments 'that of the many streams of communication
communication. They have very limited access to the
which hav~ the 'potential of being utilised to promote
other possible streams of development communication,
. d' I'
t th
namely,: (\) political participation; (2) formal edururaI
eve opmen
,e rura poor, as emequate
cation ;(3) official extension agencies of inter-personal
access i only to few....
communication; (4) non-official agencies of inter-per'
sonal communication inc!uding social welfare organisations' ; and (5) the modern mass media of newsBut adds: "To, achieve any worth whilepub!icpartipapers, l{i"lio, Film and Television.
cipation and involvement need to have radical redrafting of the pattern 'of our media use, putting greater
-: ..
emp1ul'Sis on folk media and local'resources whose
utilisation till date is ';'s litti~ as negligible. The present policy of top-down and centralised communica-'
tion must' be replaced by communication among and
from the people at the bottom, decentralised and


rural communication

is to make a

significant contribution to development... , . "


Let us mst survey the Q.osition of the latter

ccimmqnication streams.


by Ihe urban population of

PIndia is much more active than by the rural population. Political parties compete with each other in
organising,' seCuring benefits for, and thereby winning
the support at election time of workers and white-collar
employees in the organised sector such as railwaymen,

KURUKSf!gTRA, October, 1983

textile workers, bank and life insurance employees, and

non-gazetted staff of the Central and State Governments. In between elections, urban interest groups
articulate themselves politically in adequate measure
through the press and through their. sympathisers in
Parliament and the State legislatures.
The political process would have been vigorously at
work in the rural areas also if the scheme of Pancha!
yati Raj, drawn up in the mid-fifties, had been imple~
mented. It envisaged regular elections to village pane
chayats, panchayat samitis at the level of the develop.:
ment block, and to Zila Parishads at the district level.
All these ,three tiers of rural self-government were to be
given adequate powers and financial resources to make
a reality of "planning from below" to meet locally-felt
needs. But the scheme has been implemented in very
'few States, and even there without a firm division of
powers and responsibilities as between the State Gov,
emment and the local self-government bodies. As a
rule, State Governments have been reluctant to prace
lise themselves lhe devolution of powers which they
commend to the Centre.
The result is that the villager is approached only
once in five years-nnless there are mid-term elections
to the State Assembly or to Parliament-to
vote for
one political parly or the other on the basis of electi~n
manifestoes which deal with ideology and broad policies rather than area-specific programmes at the district
level and below.

ligures relating to which are'uninfiated and reliablerose at a higher rate, nearly nine-fold, from 360,000
in,1951 to 3,130,000 in 1980. The elitist bias in
edueational development can be .inferred from these
figures. 'Edueationa]' growth has taken place maiilly
in the urban centres, whereas nearly four-fifths of the
country's population of 684, million (1981' Census)
live in villages.
There are two major reasons for the poor level of
enrolment, and the high drop-out rate, in rural schools.
One is th~t the content of formal education is unrelated
to the rural environment. The second is the enforcement of an urban pattern of school hours and vacations
which fail to 'take into ~ccount' the need ,for the participation of children and adolescents in farm work or
other family occupation at least part of the time, and
full-time during certain seasons.
The load of book learning is so heavy 'that, even in
the cities, school children need the help of . a hired
tutor, or of their parents in copying with their lessons
which are often in difiicult language and contain much
information non-essential for a school child. This
rules out the progress of cbildren from a depressed
economic and social background heyond the primary
or secondary stage of education.
. The result of the neglect of education in rural India
where the great majority of Indians live is that the
literacy rate moved up from 16.7 per cent in 1951 to
only 36.2 per cent in 1981. The absolute numbers of

'The persistence of rural poverty has moch to do with the poverty of rural
The only way to make the political process serve the ,.
needs of rural development seems to be, 'as suggested'
at a seminar in Hyderabad' last August, to include in
the Constitution a Fourth List of subjects to be admi- ~.
nistered by Panchayati Raj institutions. This will
entail amendment of the Constitution so as to give a
statutory place to these institutions and to 'iilake--the
holding of elections to these bodies obligatory as in the
case of elections to State legislatures and to Parliament:
EDUCATION is at once a product
and a
stimulant of development. Its groWth'is impressive
at first sight. It has fitted thousands of Indian doctors,
engineers and scientists to work at responsible aud
highly remunerative levels in industrially advanced 'or
oil-rich countries, It is a question, however, ,vhetlier
such a brain drain shonld not be regarded as a sign
of imitative and undesirable, rather than 'indigenous
and developmentally re~evant, educational growth.


In absolute terms, school enrolment went' up-at

least on paper-by nearly four times from 23.5 million
in 1951 to 90 million in 1980. College entolmentKURUKSHETRA

Octoher, 1983

the non-hte,rate among the growing population have
.,gone up from 372 million in 1971 to 440 million in
1981. ,


The literacy tate of 29.45 per cent at the 1971

Census comprised an, urban' literacy rate of 52.4 per
cent and. rural literacy rate of only 23.7 per cent (corresponding figures for the 1981 Census are not yet
available): Superimposed on this urban-rural divide
is the disparity between the overall male literacy rate
of 46.7 per cent and tJ1~female liieracy rate of 24.9
per cent in the total literacy rate of 36.2 per cent in
1981. .

Efforts at non-formal or social education have there.

fore to be directe-j specially towards the rural populatIOn, and to women in particular.,

EXTENSION AGENCIES,. which are most wide

spread in: the fields of agricultnre and health, are
a major channel of inter-personal and


in rural India.

They have done good work over the three decades

since the<early, fifties when village level workers , men


and women, were trained and' inducted as part of the

community development programme, It is no discouragement of the extegsion WOrKerSbut merely the
recognition of social and economic realities to acknowledge that information and, ,ervices related to 'rural
development' have benefited the land-owning minority
of rural families much more than the majarity comprising landless agricultural labourers and artisans.

Poverty is indeed the central problem fae iug

us imd it is the way in which we set out to
tackle it that we as a nation-will be judged.
It is a long and arduous battle that


ExtenSion workers are required to have some minimum levels of 'formal educatian, This rules aut the
deployment of young men and women from the' paorest
and most exploited layers of the rural populatian to
wark among their kith and kiu, employing their own
diale,ct and idiom. Take for example Hindi, which is
often described as the mast wiaely spoken langnage of
India. It is not really one langnage except in its literacy usage. Hindi as actually spoken in rural .India
is many dialects and langnages, such as Garhwali,
Haryanvi, Rajasthani and Braj Bhasha.
'On a visit to Rajasthan with a study team on family
platming communicatian. this author noticed that a
large percentage of the female extension workers
known as Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives were drawn
fram far-away Kerala. These 'youiig women knew
Hindi but not the distinctive local variant, which is
Rajasthani. They could !!lake themselves understaod,
but cauld nat follow what the local women said.
A more fundamental difficulty is that extension
workers are drawn mainly from the lower niiddle class.
Their aspiration is to. move up and away from their ~
class and their rural or small-tawn background., They''''

. to' wage. It. calls" for clarity of purpose; for

for unit}", It demands of us'
all the per5e,"'crencc,' the discipline, the hard .
.work ,of .",'hich we are capable. Slowly and
~. steadily,. we .,shall be building a new and
progressive nation in whichev'en the p'oorest
- in our country will
able to enjoy a minimuin
. ,level of living. There will be fuller:employment more widespread' facilities of education
and health, greater opportunities for youth
. and less inequalities of income and wealth.'




securing the benefits intended far them. But social

'welfare organisations, trade union organisers and other
social activities are-with a few creditable exceptionsverY"m~ch more visible and active in urban centres
thim in villages.'
,.,--,~ J'


. There has been no. greater challenge and opportunity

inret'ent' years to. thase: engaged in constructive rural
work than the National Adult Education.' Programme
which was launched in J 977-78. It was aimed at promating not only literacy. but alSo.productive skills and

,The o-"Iyway to make tb'- political process seive the needs of rural development
" seelDSto be ... , to include in the Constitution il' Fourtb List of subjects to be ad.
ministered by Pancbayati Raj institutions. This will entail amendment of theConstitution so as'to give a statutory place to these institUtions and to make tbe holding of
elections to~these bodies obligatory as in the case or' election!, to State legislatures
and to Parliament."
aspire to. be like, and relate to., the elite rather than
go. to the law..,,;t-casle and poorest people in their rural
ghettoes, to bring them the message of their legal rights
or of the benefits they can' avail themselves of under
development prajects like those far Marginal Fanners
and Agricultural Labour (MFAL), National Rural
Emplayment Programme or the consumptian
which the rural branches af nationalised banks are
supposed to advance to poar families.


like organisatians d~v?te'd
to. social welfare, Risan Sabhas and assoclaltons
af agn,cultural warkbrs or artisans c~n do ,a great deal
to make the rural poor aware of development schemes
relevant to. tlieir needs and to ,remove the obstacles of
red-tape and carruption' which prevent' them froin


the consciausness af the citizens' rights 'and dutieS. The

failure 'of NAEP speaks far the low level ,of invalvement of aur non-palitical. sacial organisatians
-. - ,- as well
as of politically-led mass arganisations. with the day"
to:day needs and problems of the rural population. 1






,1. urban based. '

, The clientele of the Press are necessarily concentrated in'the urban centres where literacy a~d purchasing pawer are' the highest: Hawever, the majar
India,n newspapers. evince considerable interest in the
problems of farmers, agricultural warkers., artisans;
tribal groups and other sections of -the rural papulatian,

October, , 1983

Fisheries are being encouraged not only to provide regular

livelihood to the weaker sections of the society but also
earn valuable foreign exchange.

Food for work programme help~d in creating lot of

employment in the rural areas.

of rural

Women's trammg in crafts like stitching and Treml>roidery not only enables them to add to their - fami.
lies income but is also useful in their househol.rj 'vork.


and healthcare facilities are reaching

more and more villages every year.

oy transistor has helped the people in the remotest

ge to cross the in one big jump.

Rural electrification has been given high priority in the

Sixth Plan.

Poultry can be raised even in your

courtyard and it will yield extra income
that will stand your family in good stead.
r Command Area Development Programme no~ only the irrigation facilities are
that result in increased production but good.amount of employment too is
d in the rural areas.
'c:....',., ....

Food for work programme, now amalgamated into IRp

programme not only helped in creating employment III
rural areas but also. helped in creating durable assets
like roads, schools, wells etc.

Tubewells and better quality of seeds accompanied by

other modern inputs have helped in increasing the
production of foodgrains.
Dryland farming has immense potential to increase the
production of the country.
techniques are being popularised to get the most from the
arid land.


~ ...


Provision of credit is being made more and more sim

so~that the rural poor have no difficulty in availing th
selves of it as and when nccded.

Abolition of bonded labour system has brought a ne

ray of hope in their lives.

Social forestry not only helps in keeping the

mental balance even but also helps in keeping the

Rajasthani shoe-craft is a beautiful work of art. They

are the craze of the sophisticated buyers in big cities.

Gobar gas is now an accepted part of life in villages and

is used not .only in cooking b~t also in lighting the homes.

IRDP has pioneered an era

of better life fOf the tribals
Jiving in the remote areas.

Under IRDP, various nationalised

banks are helping
the poor farmers by giving them loans to buy milch animals
and thus add to their income.

Community TV sets have brought a sea-change in the quality

of rural life as far as their exposure to new ideas is concerned.

eo.mmending this, the. 8ecomi,Press .Commission says

in,its, r.eport!(1982) _:r ... 1Jii~'-1 ~~~".~:..~) ~~.~!'
~~t'i.. e...

11... ,,:,.it:JI:,.;-


.;! ,_1'"

"Though judged by readership 'or' by 10wnersbip,

it is not necessary for most 'of "our newspapers
to highlight the issues of "poverty, the Press u has
made a major contribution l1y reminding readers
those who Iiyebelow ihe poverty line and ~ving
the ruling middle and upper' chisses a'Jeelirig or
guilt. ' Many newspapers have from time to thne
. drawn atteIition to 'such matters concerning, the


Again, a fiim made in one lla~t of rurai india camo!.

evoke.,audience identification in another region, . I
onne met a group of extension workers engaged in feriIij~r ,pi(}m(}tic)ll'in Andhra Pradesh. I aSked ,them
wliether they' had audio-visual vails for screening films
on. fertilizer use to villagers with little or no acness'to
d I.
"illerna hO,uses, Yes, they said, but the films were
iri~de in l~ations in Maharashtra ana therefore did not
cll2k' With
Andhra Pradesh _ audiences,
antf Andhra Pra'desh are not widely separated ,parts of
the Inaian Union but are adjacent states.





',Th~te ar~~hl;;;~;j~; r_~~fo;.ti,e'poor

level ot:~olmeot, and the high deop-ontJ
rate, in rural schools. One is that the content ,ofrorma! edncation is unrelated to the
rural; enviroRDIent, ,The second is tbe enfor~einent of an urban pattern of school
hours and vacations which fail to take into aC<:f)!JIlt
the need for the participation of
," childeenand adolescents in farm work or otber, f!l!Dilyoccupation at least part of the
time, and full-time during, certain seasons.' .'
weaker ~ections 0t.s?Ci<;ty as th:'v~o~-enfor~":ment
of ,minimum wages and the failure to revise them
to keep"pace withthefall in the purchasing power
of ihe 'rupee; 'the persisience of, bOnded 'labour
de'spite ItS aboli~i~ by, l~~'or}ts~.ergence
~; a
new guise as contract labOur; the generation of
black 'money and its use, Jrequently entailing' the
involvement 'of corrupt officials arid politicians,
, ' ',.
. .., "
The Press can coniribute furthei, io'",s9c,ial tre.,t,tef;
ment along these lines, through the two-step flow 01
wormation from the newspaper-readinli litetate' 10 the
noil-literaie' .throu&h social activities" and' . extension
workers. ' 'I'


'c: The language of the commentaries in the documentaries is often not followed by villagers, because they
.ar~ d~bbed in' the corree( literary form of the major
languages of India as spoken by the urban educated.
Vill?gers, on the other hand, usc the locally prevalent
'dialectiU 'variant of an Indian language.
, ..""
,"Radio. and Television are not constrained by. the
,lj!eraey billTier., And their growth has been funded
,by"the Government in the name of social education.
Inoprinciple they can and should be utilised to reach
,the, f)Jfal masses directly rather than through the twostep flow as in the case of the privately owned Press.

, Yet the electronic media do not in fact reach the

',~a~,s.~,'diteCtly.' 1be reason is that widespread sOCial
" The 10,500 ci,,!,ina.houses in are reconsljrnption of radio and television programmes has
quired under a law, to show oue or two short educa;
o';i'"belm;;'ade an integral part of the plans for investtional films along with each screening of a feat\!Cefilm.
ment' in fu,; expansion and slrengthening of radio and
'rhe,~ire"t" majority of featurem;,.. 'offer iriVial enter;
t.V;':~ta~i,:nS and transmitters. They market their
tafumenYand are made tOa f"nIlUI,,'of melodrama; sex~
entertaimncnt and information to those who can afford
Violenc~;aiid'clowning. The,shalt fiims'are sUpPosed,ti;buy
're~eiving' sets. Urban dwellers and the
i,,'hJ{orm arid 'educate .. But~the"doi:ument8.n~Ji'own the bulk of radio receivers in the country.
.J ,.
rics, arid ,the newsreels supp)led by.the Filriis, DIVISIon
d.:rll~,s,ignals of All India Radio's transmitters' now
i(j'jhe '~Qm:ineibial Ih'eatrical' circllit are"lriaCIe"n;ostly
cover almost the entire area and population, or.,the
iIi urban locations. The same short fiImS are used by
country. But the actual access to radio is far less than
audio-visual vans of tne Centiill':iii(j' Siiiie governmen~ -its
techiiical reach, The spectacle of the farmer carfor free screening in viIlages;.thoiigh'few"oni1eiii'bliv~>'l'JIJ(~r~ij;g'~
s~t 'te' his field-what has been called the
~.,._ .-"i:b 1:"~c" mu-,:t lew. baA: (""'.I '$fl1l:1 of ~'- ,_J __. ,~, . _
... _."

relevance III rural,~fe~~i '7t~l" ~b .1~i1 9d ._~~~iq; ('.':IT ~~~~.~~~~J,r~vp.~u.tlOn-Js.

areas like PU~jab
. .
and Haryana.where there has been a,Green Rcvolutlon.
A documentary ,on,family'.plannmg"for~mstan~,l",,,
c.. ,'.,..
shows a father of six childreJl smoKing ,a'cigaielte.,whil~;, L:.; For widening the access to radio, provision of the
the kids pester him for school fees and pocket money. ,,<tofacility of community listening wasdntroduced on the
When such a film is, screened in,a,village,.the.audiel!<:e._
basis ,of, a Central, subsidy. However, fo~0w.rng the
is. lik~y t() regard the father not. as the hllrassed' head
~!;'75a:Jelections WhIChfor the first tIme b!,?ught
o~an unduly large f,unily but a~ a rather lucky urbanite;
int~ p0'Y.~r i'1 m~!1YStates political parties other th3:!'
draped in several, yards, QfI,white ~Iothing,' whQ. ca.n
!J:\\', COJl!l!J"ssWhlC1jr,uled at the Centre, there was an
a1fprp cigarettes in,contrast:,ui the beec(i.or.cheroot'.of
~~sertf~'!. ,?f S:a!es'.autonomy
fo~ ,!eed Ips<;d loca!
,,", :.'11.,
B!~!!'1iml., ThIS 1e9. to the SC!applOg of a mYllber of






I ..




.. ;r(~~.



_..:..~ .



. ,~'l'



' ..'








OctOber; 11983


, Centrally spoilsored Plan schemes. t'he baby of community listening was thrown out with the batbwater.

for'attanging wide lis'tetiing'and promoting j two-Way

communication between radio and tbe .audienCli.'LOcal
stations with their reqnirement of 10calIy recruited'., fI
will serve to bridge the 'cultural distance which now
separates the radio programmer, typically an urbanite,
from the rural audience.
, ,,'

Since then, the provision of community listening to

radio 'has been a responsibility of the State 'Governments which hlivediffered in their 'perception of its
'usefulness and importance in their scheme of priorities.
In the result, there have !lever been mgre than 90,000'Yet,
I;' 1983, district-level sound broadcasting recOmlnunity listening sets as against the 576,000 villages
exp~rimet\t to be tried out jn a few" districts
in which the bulk of India's, population live. More thlig
du~n~l;he Sixth Five Year Plan (1980-;-85).",
half of the sets are liable to be out of commission' at
,!,The 'Verghese Group--its 1978 Report commended
any given time.
", _ . _ .. --_wcpriority'forthe
densification'of radio listening before
The number of radio sets'in schools and'collegeS-isl '(>'''.undertaking the expansion of television. This was in
even less, and educational. broadcasting is' meagre.";!"'" the light' of the resource constraiIit and the need to
This may not be a cause for regret, considering that the ,in democratise commlinication,within the country at the
introduction of multiple shifts in rural schools, which .,,,j least cost.: ,But'in fact the television network is being
will permit flexible hours of schooling' for the children n., "'expanded for the benefit of !the upper crust of Indian
of labouring rural households, ought to be the firSt ""'.,SOciely even while radio remains beyond the rural compriority. This calls for the'Bhearing.
of 'more teachers who will teach children face to face,
,I" The higher costs, of programme production and of
rather than.for more curriculum-oriented or general
~ei:eiver sets required that,' even more than in ,the case.
enrichment br<Yo!dcaststo reinforce the learning, of th~
. of ,radiO. telt!vision should be organised as a medium
fortunate who are .already attending school. .
'of s~cial education through large-scale sOCialconsump-


Radio ha~ been

operated primarily for ufb~
ners, most of tbem literate and readers of newspapers,
for whom it is a carrier of entertainment-mainly
music~and of spot news and of sports coverage. Its
role in promoting ~onomicgrowth or social cbaDge is
marginal, but significant enough where tbere has been
an imaginative use of the medium by programmers
inbued with social commitment.
IS tbe popularisation of high-yielding ..
A, varieties Of'rice
seed through rural broadcasts in

the Tanjore district of South India where; in 'the 1960's,

farmers took to wbat they called 'radio' rice'. Or tbe
Zona: Dab programme of tbe Srinagar station -which
encourages the ventilation of citizens' grievances about
the'state of public roads, street lighting or other civic
amenities. The programme brings such grievances to the
attention of the concerned authorities and fesnlts eitber
in remedial action or explanation of 'the constraints'
which must make the remedy wait:
'" '" p

This 'haS not been the case: f'.
p, J
'.', The only occasion, on wbich' the gover~l!1ent concerned itself with providing rural access to television
in many parts of India was the Satellite Instructional
Television Experiment which was conducted for a year
frbniAugus1'1975. - ,,'
, ...
" Di;e~t r~~epti~~ ~~t;were installed in 2 330 ~illa~
backward districts of 'siXStates to recelve programmes in four languages: Oriya for Orissa; Hindi for .the
Slates of Bihar, Rajasthan and Madbya PradeSh;
Telugu for Andhra Pradesh and Kannada for Kama~"i'"










SITE (JtiIised ATS-6, which was made avail~bleand

put'into 'geOstationary"orbit by the National Aeronautics and 'Space Administration of the U.S.A. The
Ind{in::Space Research Organisation (ISRO) wa.d\ispimsible' for 'alI tecbnical' operations of the groUnd
segment iiitiuding the maini~liance of the direct recept{on 'sets' many of which Were run on batteries hi' uil:


. ./ ~..~.


'A more fundamental difficulty ;;; tbai'extensi~I1';';;'~

ale dra;;o mainly from tbe
-lower Jniddle claSs. Their aspiratloil-is to oiov~ I1P aDd away from their class and
, .
their inial or smalI-town background. They aspire to be Ilke, aDd relate to,' ,the
~Iite ratber tban go to the loweSt-caste aDd poorest, people In tIleir ruraI ghettoes,
to bring tbem tbe message l!f their legal rights or .of,.;the beRellts they, can avail
themselves of under development projects ..... '


Such ~rogrammes which contribute to development

must necessarily be localised and area-specific. This
requires a decentralised broadcasting system with
'stations at district level whose managers should be
responsible not only for progr~mme origination but alsO





. .





electiiiied villages.. Doord;rrshan was 'responsible "fot

l.l There' was a morning tnirtsihission' {6r
schoo1'<;bildren,'ana programmes of entertainment and
soci,il. educatioh on development tbemes '.for ,the '-gene'
ral public in the evening.
'. '
the software.

.KURUKSHBTRA 'October) 1983

While the experiment was' an unqualified Success

in terms of hardware and technical operations, SITE
was only a qualified success as an exercise' in social
education for the rural population., There were only
three base "production centres-.,.at Delhi, Cuttack and
prepare . programmes .for far-flnng
villages with varied agro-economic and coltural backgrounds.

the programme.
help ..

. .The custodianof the set should be better remunerated and made respensible also for andience management. Where an existing school building or Panchayai' Ghar (office of the elected village council) is not
s~itable, a new and simple structure should be erected.
'.There is little point in setting up a community viewill facility "If. electricity mains where pewer supply'
is'erratic. in such places, and in non-electrified villages, there is need to revive the 'SITE practice of
installing, battery-operated receivers. It is' also necessary,:to experiment with solar cell operation of community viewing sets, which will obviate'the expense of
periodic visits by maintenance crew for recharging the
batteries. '

I. Like Indian documentary

films on development;'
~ themes which are made for all of India and are
addressed to no group of Indians in particular, and
which therefore fail to create interest and motivation,
SITE, programmes-except
for, some made in the local,
dialect at Pij--could neither employ local speech nor
depict the local agro-economic and human landscape.




'The pr~vision .of commm'lityli~t~g

to radio'~ JJeki. a respobs'~iIity ~fthe State
. Goveroments which have their perception of its nsefobless .and importance
in their scheme of priorities; In the result, there have never~eeo more than 90,000 .
. commuoity.listeoing1sets as against the 576,000 villages in which the hulk of India's.
, popnlation live" More than half of the sets are Ii8Jileto he o~t"of."IlIInnissi~nat any
'.'" I~~~-l"

, I

"' ,

H ,j

t, , .~~

A tiered seating arrangement would


\r .. ,.'



'" -




~.. 'h

, ",

.. ,..

- The need for. the employment of local. speech is

brought out by a research project spensored by.ISRO.
It entailed holistic studies by athropelogists. in seven
viIIages :one each in the six -;'lustersserVed. by' the
satellite and, ,in addition, a village served by !Pc.; Pij.

", The r~pense to these challenges will be a measure

0Ltp~ earnestness of the Indian authorities who are
applying public funds to develop television for the 'professed purpcse of promoting social education.
"",', 'f

1:' 'bRTY:ONE

. terrestrial transmitter whic,h was operated by ISRO to,

telecast some locally made programmes as well as those
receivea via' the -satellite. The report on' the research
finaings says: "
,. "
' ,

TVITRANSM;UE'as are now in position

But they are served hy productiort faci-.
lities at ouly eleve;; places. This is 'at the heart of the
prob,eD:l;.of Indian television: ,It is 'Dot-in a' positioo"
"The linguistic profile of these villages shows a
to, produce and telecast programmes of local appeal
". higher useof dialects than the standard language
an,dcomprehension in a country where a dozen' major
of the r~gion~" None of the languages speken in
langu'ages .are .speken, each by tens 'of millions, besides
the villages were ;usea on 1V except in Dadus~,
hundreds of dialects. "The establishment of a hUndred
(in the Pij area) where Charautari was utilised
an~ more transmitters 'to relay the Delhi station's pro... 'to some extent. If, the, programmes wene entergrinnmes,. which has been launched asa "crash' plan,
, ..taining enough in .terms of SOllgs, and, dances;
will,,<:mlybenefit. the elite ontside Delhi by providing
',:'", language ,did fiot become a barrier: Due to this
them entertainment.
It will make no contribution to
";'~Ireason, recreational programmes of other clusters'
rural development.
were viewed with'enthusiasm in an the', villages.
The Hindi common news.was,alm08t.ine1lective~.
_ .At.theend.of
1981', there were 3,800 commnnity
in all the villages."
" h:"
lc",'" 1"'JU,~c~r~eir~rs.(as. ~inst
3,801 at,the end of 1980) to
, , .~"
... ~. ,,.; .,' ,~ ~n~b!e ,1V",VIewmgby~those who cannot afford to buy
Vlewmg. of
therr own, sets.. IndlVldually' owned' sets nnmbered
TV has presented 'problems whiqh ne~,~ttentiOll;,;'"':,.ahq;'t
1?7 lakhs (as against 15 lakhs at the close of
In most places, community viewing is in open air with I 1980). ,The number of individually owned sets today
.all the hazards of' wind and rain. There is need to
is likely to be well above 20 lakhs, with no increase in
provide covered accommodation. , , -- _.
...the number of community viewing sets.




. ',




. Secondly, children who account for about a third of

the audience sit right in front of the set. When ,a
programme,is not of interest to them, they begin :,to
chalier and it becomes difficult
for the adults to ,.foU.;w,_




Ku:R UKSFlETRA October,' 1,983

"Iridian ,televsion is,financed by the taxpayer.

indirect. taxes accounting for the bulk of Central
nue. ,everyqne who buys, a matchbox or buys a
"[Kerosene is paying for Doordarshan. Yet it is


used as a medium ofcntertainment for the urban wellto-do rather than for adult literacy, proJl1otion of productive skills and conscientisation anlong the rural
















My gr~test "worry

is the ign~raDce and

'" : 'poverty of 'the" masses of India, the way in

For the middle and upper class families who are the
main conSumers of Indian television, a TV seC ~s a
wholesale purcha~e of movie entertainment. It works
out cheaper, since anything costs less in bulk than in
retail. Moreover, it avoids the inconvenience of travel
to ciilerua houses and queuing up for tickets.


~ which theybave been n.eglected by the classes,

especially the neglect of the Harijan by the


-Mahatma Gandhi


Programme's relevant to the common peope will get

made only whe'n there is a large audience consisting of
common, people. Such an audience will be highly
diversined in terms of languageS and life styles.

rituai iuicle;uiliness, including the notion, of untouchabiIltytdespit~ 'the conferment of equal civic rights'on
all'citii.ens by the Iridian Constitution and the enactThe present clientele of Doordarshan.form a fairly
.'ment "of 'laws' making the practice of untouchability a
homogeneous group t.hrou~ the C?untry.. They. ca?,
punishableliffence; and (iii) unawareness of the moral
follow progranunes ~lth~r 1TI, Engbsh or I~ ~ndlor
religio11S,-andthe prevalence of preboth, . The present national program~e. IS Inte~ded, ,,' judices' and' derogatory 'stereoty~s;' resulting in th~
for thIS homogenous upper crust of IndIan sqclety., '1 separation of members of different'religious commUTIlThey want entert~inment: m~vies,.cricket. tes~s, Whne,,'" ties 'by-waI1s'oUgnorance, and sometimes in outbreaks
bledon or Amencan ChampIOnshIp tennIs, unported
of violent conflict.
social comedy like Lucy Series, athletic . games
,-._~-..,..-As against thesenegative'featiires; ther~ are elements
on the occasion' of the Ninth Asiad, or spectacular
0& tn;diti~ns and beliefs which call be highlighted
political games like the Non-aligned Summit. Such
. drav,;n on topromoie socilil harmony ~d proare the progranunes that Doordarshan has been serving
For eiWfple, there ate numeroUs instanci:l; ,in
and is equipped to deliver.
IiidianMYth~fogy 'and 'epics to illustrate the ideas, of
This pattern of TV content will continue unless there
orotherhooo. of man arid the superiority of inner worth ''-/
over acCident cifbiith or riches.

is a conscious policy decision to place mdian televi ,efT

sion at the, service of the commo!! people and not oDly
The vast and widely knoWn body of verses and sayth,r thin u~r
c';llSt of Indian society.
ings ~f the egalitarian saints of the Bhakti and Sufi
school,; provide a wealth of material which the comELIGIOUSCOMMUNICATION
is a stream that conti~'
nues to flow deep and wide in rural India. It
nmnicator engaged iiI lliJiioU-~nilding tasks can draw
saintS rlenoUncea' the hierarchical
diffeowes"nothing to the five year planS, government patro'. i'l'_'...
", ,:",~.
. '\"
rences of caste, and .affirmed the oneness of the human
nage or the mass media, It continues to be the source
-~.), ,f.~,'\., :':' -- .-,""" ~
.,.' .
raee"despite different religious labels,
of ethical values as well as, unfortunately, of some
socially detrhnental customs and attitudes not in-Some 'secularists .wonld' like to see the declining
trinsic to religion but so closely associated with I-elihold of religion~withurbanisation
and industrialisagioils tradition as to be regarded as part of religion.
tioit~ecIiiie futther.' But we will have to wait a vet:y
long tinle' indeed 'if' we expect Hindu.Muslimconflict
Follo.;1ng are some examples of the negative into end only with the eclipse of bOth the religions .
fluence of religious tradition. (i) the presistence of





."0 __ '"





'Like mdian documentary films on development themes which are made for 'all of '
India and are addressed to no group of Indians in particular. and whieh tl!erefore fail
rto create interest and motivation, siTE prograDmies~xCept [til
loCal dialect at Pij--couldneither employ loCa:ispeech' nrir depict the ioeal ailto..
economic and human land~pe.'
; '."~.W. ,''''







prayers and benedictions for a large number of children; specially sons, whiCh had their origin at a time
when brawn was inore important than brain arid when
famine' and disease 'resnlted in high 'mortality rates:'
(ii) the persistence of caste'prejudice
and 'ideas 'oc



~. '~.,_'r,

Giv~n tbe p,!werful hold of religion on the masses,

sec~lilfi~ts ;i-ic:ifild
"not bene~tral towards or iguore religion pui,should aciively invoke the b~st teachings~f
each "refigion
pr~mote. the copcept .of ihe brot)t~r"
hOOd' hi' man."TIiey should, continuously counter the




exploitation of religion for poliiical or ~ectarian pur-.


India to the purposeful utilisation of traditional folk

media is as little as to the !J:lodef!!mass media.

Superstitious beliefs which are unrelated to the

essence of religion and are inimical to physical and
social health must be exposed and fought.

The employment of folk medi~ for effectively conveying modern messages, in a language and style that
.will be locally comprehended and liked, will be possible
only if resident, rather than visiting, practioners of
the traditional media are utilised. For this it will be
necessary that extension personnel of the development
departments should locate, communicate with, persuade
and motivate resident practitioners of thll traditional
media in each group of villages to perform frequently
in each cluster of villages, and at nominal remuneration. This will require a high degree of motivation On
the part of extension personnel, and th~ ability on their
part to get the village composer-singer or other artist

also continue to be vibrantly alive in
rural India.
Folk forms like the ballad, drama, dance and stylised narration can be utilised to promote awareness of
and participation in rural economic development and
social change.
The union Government formed a small Song and
Drama unit in 1954 as part of All India Radio. The

'Considering tbat tbe number of villagesin.India is nearly 600,000, it is clear tbat tbe
exposure of tbe rural population of India to the purposeful utilisation of traditional
folk media is as little as to tbe modern mass media.'
unit was sepa.rated in 1960 and established as the Song
and Drama DivisiOn:I! presents prograinmes of songs,
dance and drama, puppetry and stylised narration,
both through its 41 departmental troups and through
about 400 private parties which are screened and regis'
These programmes are designed to promote national
Unity and social harmony aud to increase the awareness of and participation in programmes of social re. form and econontic development. Notwithstanding
the increase, over the years, in the number of field
ofiicesand in the personnel strength of the Song and
Drama Division the number of programmes presented
by it stood at only 21,138 during 1977. Not all of
even this small number of programmes ar~ presented
in typical small villages or in the depressed localities
of urban centres where first and second-generation
ntigfants from rural areas live.

There are sintilar song-and.Qrama units in

States which attempt (0 use the folk' media. The
number of programmes conducted by them each year is
not 'known, but it is doubtful if it would be mOre than
four times the performance level ()f the Union Government's Song and Drama Division. Considering that
the number of villages in India is nearly 600,000, it
is clear that. the exposure of th~ rural population of
(Conld. from page 39)

that is also a model for others. In Sweden one cannot

buy agricnlturalland nnless one is qualified to do farming and actually cultivates the land. This piece for information was given to this writer by a Swedish sociologist who used to periodically visit a West' Bengal
'Block for studying social change there. It is worth
consideriilg sintilar systems for reducihg the inequality
in land ownership and abolishing absente~ landlordism
KURVKS!:!;ETRA 0ct01.Jllr,1983.

to internalise the !!J,essageand give it creative expreSsion.

The other and perha~ more realistic way is, ins.tead of attempting to have live performances frequently
in each of India's villages, to utilise locally popnlar
traditional forms of communication through the modern
mass media. Traditional media being highly specific
to each cnltural region even within linguistic zones,
and development information itse! h~ving to be areaspecific, the mass media programmes using traditional
forms would have to be made and delivered on a decentralised basis. But that. is not the pattern on
Whichthe governmental mass media h~ve developed.
TOthe conclusion that the pov0.'NEIS
erty of rural communication will persist unless the

Governmeni re-examines and radically alters its communication policy. The policy at present is of topdown and centralised communication. It mUStbe replaced by communication among and from the people
at the bottom, decentralised and participatory, if rural
communication is to make a significant contribution to
development-understood not in terI1lsof cement, concrete and' steel structures but of improvement in the
material well-being and quality of life, of
the rural
iIi our country. The latter evil, namely, absentee land- lordism, has become worse in recent times by the intrusion of black money in buying up lands.
- In land reforms or other measures, the criterion for
their evaluation is whether they have contributed .10
the . actual remov!u of the age-old and phenoni~nal .
rural poverty. If not, it is time for getting 'out of the
old grooves ,!nd finding new ways for reaching the

Organising .rural poor

is the only answer


Executive Trnstee, Asian Institute for Rural Development,

NSPITE OF SUBSTANTIAL GAINS in agricultunil' prO-:

. duction resulting from
yielding crop varieties, and despite the efforts made
over the years to revive village and cottage indlli.tries
through new techniques both in termS of prodnction
and marketing, the problem of rural poverty still.
remains with us. The increasing dimension of poverty and the appalling magnitude it is assuming day by
day are the very imti.thesis of the desired goal
of achieving at least a gradual decline in poverty and
its ultimate eradication. If after 32 years of planned
development, rural poverty is ouly spiralling and
not declining, there must be serious lacunae in not
oilly iruplementing tbe programmes for the ameliora"
lion of the conditions of the rural poor 'but also in
comprehending the depth, the needs and the tasks
required for tackling the poverty syudrome. Any
attack on rural poverty must obviously be multi"
pronged and well coordinated taking into consideration all factors contributing to the success of the
effort. One of the most important among such fa"".
tors, is the beneficiary himself whose sense of' in.
volvement in his own iruprovement, . whose response
to the development initiatives, and whose personal
predilections go a long way in making or marring th~
success of anti-poverty programmes.
Touching briefly on the causes of rural poverty, it
can generally be stated that fatalistic attitude tollie,
becoming an easy prey to exploitation by local powergroups, gross socio-economic inequalities, indulgence
in vices by heads of families in lower socio-econonnc
strata, population growth, lack of sense of the concept of deferred gratification (saving), and the con.tinning social stigmas such as untouchability and unapproachability have been the root-causes of poverty.
Whether in planning anli~poverty programmes, .all

, The author is of the opinion that "increase in dimension of poverty and the appalling magnitude it is
assuming day by day are the very antithesis of the desi'
red goal of achieving at least a gradual decline in poverty
and its ultimate eradication'.', and asserts : "If after

32 years of planned development, rural poverty is only

spiral/ing and not declining, there must be serious
lacunae in not only implementing the programmes for
the amelioration of the conditions of the rural poor
but also in comprehending the depth, the needs and
the tasks requiredfor tackling the poverty syndrome."
And suggests : "Any programme or. a concerted.
effort at a.lleviating rural poverty must obviously be
multi-pronged and well coordinated taking into consideration all factors contributing to the success of the
effort. One of the most important among such factors
is the beneficiary himself whose sense of involvement
in his own improvement,

whose response to the deve-

lopmentinitiatives and whose personal predilections

go a long way in making or marring the success of any




KURUKSHETRA October, . 1983

these factors were fully taken into account. or some

of them were ignored deliberately or otherwise is .a
matter for serious consideration. Because, generally
slips or lacunae in implementation arise from improper assessment of the various causes of poverty. Another aspect to be considered is the human dimension
of poverty. Absolute poverty is a condition of life
in which the quality of life is very low. This kind
of poverty is very much below the average level
which' itself' is nof static but keep~ on changing on
, account of the rise in the numbers of the people,
rise in .prices, non-availability of essential com'modilies etc. People in absolute poverty suffer from
deplorable conditions of life, absence of minimum
diet, severe malnutrition and ill-health. All those below .the poverty line can be described as those
sUffering from absolute poverty. They suffer from
tOtal lack of any resource base, gross under-employment,. woeful inability to avail opportunities even
when they are there, low productivity and complete
wck of bargaining power. AlI these disabilities combined with sociological factors, have given the poor
everywhere, rural .areas, very low status.
Naturally, the attitude of the poor towards life itself

the connected spheres, a considerable amolint of

leakage has been occurring; (iii) The ignorance of
the availability of the. benefits and at times, wrong
notions, ,fears, etc., about the benefits themselves
h~ve resulted in the poor not taking advantage of the
schemes; and (iv) The power groups and vested interests are actiVe in preventing the benefits from
reachiIig the. poor. All these drawbacks have reswted. in preventing the poor from gaining compl<1e
and exclusive the benefits.
lies to. a great
. extenf in organising the rural poor. The Working Group on Block Level Planning. headed by .Prof.
M. L. DantwaIa (Published by .the Planning . CommiSSIon, .1978) said in its report that building up
of appropriate organisations 'of the poor to. protect
them from exploitation should be one of the objectives of block level planning. The logic behind this
is.that the poor .individually are no match to the power
and influence wielded by the traditional exploiting
sections such as landlords, bureaucrats, traders and
intermediaries. If the poor were organised, they
wowd acquire a new strength which would act as
the countervailing power against the exploiters.

.'The increasing dimension of poverty and the .appalling magnitude it is assuming

day by day are the very anti-thesis of the desired goal of achievingat least a gradual
decline in poverty and its ultimate eradication.'
'is .full of despair. Added to all this is the condescending attitude of the official implementers of the programntes, which makes the poor feel small and
humble. Obviously efforts have not been made in
adequate measure to make the' poor people feel that
they are also human beings and that. they have a
right to improve. their standards of living, -Awareness
has not .been created in them that the anti-poverty
programmes are meant for them and that they showd
demand and avail the opportUnities provided .for
In this context, the question of organising the
rural poor assumes vital importance because unless
and until they are organised and enthused to have a
sense of total involvement in the programmes m'eant
for them, all efforts will go waste. Whether the
benefits under the anti-poverty programmes have been
percolating' at least partially to those suffering from
absolute. poverty has been doubtful It is a very
crucial factor contributing to the peripheral impact
of the programmes. Studies have revealed that there
have been quite a few drawbacks in implementation.
These include : (i) Among the beneficiaries are
found persons who really are not supposed to take
ad"antage of the schemes; as a reswt,the
deserving have been deprived; (ii) Owing to prevalenceof. graf:t and similar unhealthy practices in all

There are many categories of rural 'workers including rural artisans. But a vast majority belong
to the category of landless agricultural labourers,
and small and marginal farmers. For the purpose
here, it is desirable to limit ourselves to this majority
of category. Landless agricultural labourers comprise three types : they are bonded labourers, attached labourers and casual agricultural labourers. The
small and marginal farmers suffer from disabilities
like low acreage of land, lack of irrigation facilities
and lack of resources for improving the land. Compared to the organisation of industrial labour in urbari
areas, it is indeed very difficult to organise the rural
workers, specially the agricultural workers on the
same pattern. The organisational aspects of agricwtural labourers need to be considered in relation to
the structure of the agriculture sector. It is a very
wide sector in the sense of generating large employment and output. It also has several sub-sectors.
Agriculture covers plantations, animal husbandry,
horticwture and crop cultivation farms. By and large,
workers in plantations are already well organised.
In the case of animal husbandry,
in large dairy
farms, work and wages are generally regulated. But
in the' case of other farms, the situation is different
and efforts need to be made to organise the animal
husbandry workers. In respect of horticultural farms,

specially those like mulberry and sugarcane,

are paid according to government regulations.


where action is called' for is

the sphere of private
crop cultivation farms. Here also, in the case of
large farms, the workers are employed on a regular
basis and they have employment throughout the
year. The largest area where there is dire need for
organisation, where they are well organised, it has
farms. The labourers in this category are not tied to
any particular employee. The work is only seasonal.
This poses a problem in organising them. It is not
as if no attempts have been made to organise them.
Quite a few organisations have emerged at the national,
state and local levels. ' But they have touched only
the, periphery. The Rural Labour Enquiry has estimated that only about one per cent of the agricultural
labour is covered by trade union activity. Even
here, whatever proportion of agricultural labour is
organised, it is not uniformly spread all over the
country. The success of such organisations is confined only to a few pockets like Kerala, Punjab, and
Haryana. In many parts of the country even their
existence is not noticeable. In the case of peasant
organisations, where they are well organised, it has
been observed that benefits have reached only the
non-poor large farmers and not the small and marginal farmers.




to organise the rural poor into separate associations. They were based on rather wrong as-


sumption that there were


common interests among

the various groups of the rural poor. The assumption was wrong because the economic forces at the root
of poverty are the same. They relate to the universally low levels of income. Therefore, in view of
the common interests that are involved, it appears
rational to encourage the different sections of the
poor to organise themselves into a single organisation
instead of separate
, organisations. Such an effort has

identifiable statlis. The only 'conufion factor that

could be a binding force is the economic hardship
which the. poor suffer uniformly. But this in itself
cannot be an adequate binding force for organising
the poor. As in the case of efforts at unionisation in
other sectors, here also there is need for exogenous
forces' to enter the arena and prOVide prOps (0 ,the
poor to organise themselves.
The question is who should constitute these exc/1;enousforces. Historically, our country has a long
record of .voluntary action by several ,social ,and
soda-economic organisations which are generally reo:
ferred to as non-governmental organisations. It is
estirliated that in India today the number of NGOs or
voluntary. agencies qceeds six thousand. They fall.
into many categories such as the Christian missions"
the. Ramakrishna Mission, Inner Wheel, Jaycees,:
Rotary, Lions and Youth Gubs, cooperative societies,
and several other autonomous institutions. Each of,
these may be working for a specific purpose not totally encompassing the problems of the. rural poor. For
organising the rural poor, the kind of voluntary organisations most essential would be those which do.
not owe their origin to any Governmental motivation
but which originate and develop through dedicated
efforts and' vision of persons committed to the emancipation of.the poor in rural areas. As the emancipation
of the poor is their sale aim, such organisations are
willing to educate the poor and create awareness,
about the opportunities available for improvement ')
whether 'the opportunities are created by Govermnent
or by' others. It is noW admitted even in official circles that Government alone cannot do everything.
The ultimate objective of all rural development programmes is to eliminate rural poverty and unemployment. This is an enormous task implying and involving structural' changes in the rural economy providiog for equal distribution of productive assets and
skills to the rural populace. If people's participation
in this task and in the success of the programmes

'The attitude of the poor towards life itself is full of despair. Addedto all !his is the
condescendingattitude of the official implementersof the programme, w~lch makes
the poor feel small and humble. Obviouslyefforts have not been made m adeqnate
measure to make the poor Ilooplefeel that they are also human beings and that they
have a right to improve their standards of living.'
Kerala. Obviously, orgamsmg
ed d.
rural poor is a complex and difficult task. It IS eaSIer
said than done. The reason is that there are ~evera1
constraints such as their scattered nature, thel[ own
persona! and sentimental affiliations ~ landed .~nd
other interest' groups, lack of coheSIVenessansmg
out of their diverse cultures, castes and customs, lack
of even, elements of mental preparedness and strength
to stand up against injustice and absence of any

is desired, it is very essential that a major role is

assigned to the voluntary organisations of the type
just mentioned. Their involvement in rural development is of paramount importance, The factors which
inhibit their association with Government's antipoverty programmes should be identified and conditions which enable them to participate fully in the
developmental' effort should 'be created.
(COn/d. on p. 56)'



Rural' ~industtialisation"
willngQi along'way"
Faculty .Member, Institute of Public Enterprise, .Hyderabad


thei:.,author.l.~isanguished-to note tlzaf.-.there~/1Gs

an i"!1creasein' the "number and proportion"of the people
living below the poverty line. "The neaitype of poverty",
says .the author, "has been growing.,in fl~ral. India ~
in .the recent years .. "Accordinglto this, poverty is no.
longer associated with. tlle"economic ' the colonial era but rather. is theproduc.
tion of planned agrarian ,change of rural ,development, ,
in independent ,India. ,.The gap:between the fast grow. ,.
ingnvealth ..vf thefew and the cO)ltinuingpoverty of the
manY'Jhas beendvidening and creating"new' ~ social"-.a
tensions"and rural India.""
He'" suggests : '.'Rural industrialisation "can solve
. the problen-z of rural poverty to a great extent as it
helps; evolving system in which there- would be
greater possibility of equitable' distribution .of income
sociei/.justice. E~;idently the
main.4hrust -' of rural industrialisation is llOt to do
th(rigs'Jfor the rural people but to organise'.them to; do
thi!,gSfor themselves."
KU,RUKSHl;.TRA 'October;>1983


J. __.- - ..





T liE

OF POVERTY has assumed
.dimensions in India. Studies conducted on this
problem suggest thai there has. been an increase in the
number and proportion of the people living below the
poverty line. A riew type of poverty has been grow.
ing in rural India'in the 'recent years. According to
this, poverty is no longer associated with economic
stagnation inherited from the colonial era, but rather
is ihe prodnct of 'planned' 'agrarian change of rural
development in independent'India.
The gap between"
the' vast growing 'wealth of the few and the' continuing ..
poverty of the' many"has 'been widening and crcating
new sociallensions' and 'conflicts' in rural 'India,

The National'Sample Survey'of hou.ehold <Xlnsumer

expenditure revealed that nearly 50 per cent of our
population' ..are 'living '~low :'the" poverty line. The;
incidence of poverty ~is. greater; in rural .areas CCID--'
pared ,to ,the'urban'areas:In 1977-78, 50 per cent
, of the, rural jropulation weie' ,living below,.thejroverty'
line:.o.The,extent\ of poverty. varies'" from' state. to
state .. The 'FuraVpopulation'living .below the 'Poverty"
linec waso'.the .'Io\vest cin Punjab 'and Haryana where.
it was.1.1.87.and 23.25 percent respectively while it was
as 'high!as 68:97,perCeril'iil Orissa and 64.28 percent
in Tripura ..i.In othet.iwords, the bottom 30 percent
of the'rural jropulati6n in',1977-78 accounted for only
15 vercent of the consnmption ,expenditure while the
top 30 percent accounted for 51.9 percent of household
expenditure. j"Further;1 it has been' estimated lbat
around'28 'percent'of .the'rural'populationsulIers
clminiC -nutritional "inadequacy. It is evident from
these".facts. that a' large' proportion of India's rural
popUlation IS' living in' conditions' of acute poverty.
As per. the, Sixth Plan' Document, 'Poverty line'.is
the mid.point of lbe ,montbly .per .capita expenditure
class having. a, daily ,calorie. intake .of 2400 'per. person


in rural areas and 2100 in urban areas. In 1979-80

prices, the mid-points are Rs, 76 in rural areas and
Rs. 88 in urban areas ..
plan period

INDIAbeginning from the

fprmulatcd special program-,
mes for accelerating development of the ruial areas.
These' special programmes, called Small Fanners
Development Agency (SFDA) and Marginal Farmers
and Agricultural Labourers (MFAL) besides Drought
Prone Areas Pmgramme
(in chronically drought
affected areas of the district) were implemented initially on a pilot basis since 1969-70.

The experience gained from the' above rural development programmes has shown that a sectoral app.
roach is not adequate for overall development of au
area nor for the percolation of the benefits equitably
among the local population particularly of the weaker
scotions of the rural areas. As such the Government

larger incomes and mOre employment. The strategy

proposed is a selective approach and involves identjfication of a target group of. those below the poverty'
line .comprising 600 families in each block. Following the identification of the beneficiary families, up'propriate programmes are formulated keeping in view
the potential of the chosen allocations in respect of
those families and funding for those allocation with
financial support from financing institutions. Inevitably, this is followed by a careful overseeing of the
implementation of the programmes to ensure the desired results of higher incomes and more employment..
The programme of integrated rural development is
expected to cover 30 per cent of the target gronp
from among SC/STs who own little or negligible assets.
. An important distinction of IRDP is that while the
DPAp was essentially area/infrastructnral
development programme and SFDA, MFAL were primarily

'A new type of poverty has been growing in rural India in the recent years. Accord. ing to this, poverty is no longer associated with economic stagnation inherited from
the colonial era bnt rather is the product of "planned" agrarian change of rural
development in independent India. The gap between the vast .growing wealth of the
few and the continuing poverty of the many has been wideningand creating new social
tensions and conOicts in rural India.'
of India formulated another programme called. the
Integrated Rural Development Programme . (IRDP)
.in 1978-79 for intensification of the existing developmental effort, With the result that today the programmes .under the earlier schemes got merged with
the IRDP which was introduced in all the 5011 blocks
in the conntry sinc~ April 1980.

involves a multi-pronged attack on the problems
of rural development. 'Integration' here covers four
of sectoral program. mes, spatial integration, integration of social and' economic processes and, above all, the policies with a
view to achieving a better fit between growth, removal
of poverty and employment generation. More specifically, it involves a sharp' focus on target groups
comprising small and J;IIarginal farmers; agricultural
labourers and rural artisans and extremely specific
planning in the rural areas.
The IRDP aims at increasing production and productivity in agriculture and allied sectors and developing rcsoilrces and generate iricomes of the vulnerable
sections of the rural population on all me blocks of the
The programme is mainly oriented to augment the family incomes of those below the poverty
line through reduction of the incidence of chronic
unemployment and underemployment in the' rural'
areas. The' twin objectives of lRDP, therefore, are

programmes for small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers, the IRDP covers' all classes of '-1
people including non-agricultural labourers and rural
artisans who (lre below the poverty line. The significant characteristic of IRDP, as in the earlier program- .
mes, is the mobilisation of institutional credit for individual economic programmes resulting in larger income
accruals thus enabling the individuals to cross the
poverty line. Realising the complexity and magnitude
of the problem and the urgency to solve it, government
has launched different programmes mentioned above
to frontally attack the problem of poverty.
The strategies for taclding rural poverty enunciated
by the government from time to time have been partially successful in achievmg their objectives.

owEvER, THROUGHTHE experience gained with

. these programmes, it was found that the benefits
of various developmental strategies Were not commensurate with the investments made so far and were
mainly taken away by relatively rich families bypassing the people living below the poverty line. In practice
the diffe~ent development schemes meant for ameliorating the conditions of the rural poor operating in the
country, though vary in concept and content, were
reduced' to mere subsidy-giving programmes shorn of
any planned approach to the betterment of the rural
poor as an inbuiIt process in the development of the
area and its resources. Even the newly introduced
IRDP,. which is said to be comprehensive and aims
KURUKSHETRA Octo1<er,1983

: at making a frontal attack on rural poverty cannot

eradicate this problem during the plan period alone and
a large majority of the people the poverty line
have to wait for future plans for their upliftment, and
meanwhile their ranks may be swelling.
The studies conducted on the evaluation of IRDP
havc revealed certain basic weaknesses. The primary
criticism of the programme relates to the concept
itself which is devoid of any new element. It is termed as a 'modified. management exercise' which does
not provide ani new approach to tackle the problem.
An important drawback of the IRD programme is
that it docs' not initiate any integration of different
, sectors-agriculture, industry and tertiary~relevant to
the rural areas. The integration emphasised has been
mainly the coordination of' different government
agencies. Even this integration is not forthcoming.
As'it has been rightly pointed out, 'what is wailting at
the moment is not' money or technology, but administrative coordination and intelligent utilisation of
sources for producing best results.' The departmental
empires will have to be ~haken'.


It has been observed from the experiences of senior

administrators that there was always pressure from
the telatively rich and influential pwple in the rural
sector to corner the benefits of the' programme to
themselves. Further, an-ather evaluation study reveals
, that some developmental schemes have not been suc-'
cessful in the past because investment in such schemes
had heen undertaken in isolated manner without creating the supporting infrastructure for their success. If
IRDP is to achievc its ohjectives, it must be a genuinely integrated programme linking investment activities
for the target group with the investment being made
iri a number of other sectors simultaneously through
state's plan in the rural areas. Integrated rural development can take place only through such inter'and
intra-sectoral linkages and coordination in'the decisionmaking process.

between them' and allows' the rural economy self-sustaining with improved position of savings and investment. In other words, it would result in higher productivity of abundant local resources. Rural development through planned rural industrialization is advocated on more than one-grounds: (i) rural industries
are suitable to ,rural areas as thcy are raw materialhased; Oi), uplifting rural economy is possible by
establishing small scale industries, as they create
employment opportunities to the over-populated
rural areas and help solving the problem of disguised
unemployment and underemployment; (iii) the locally
availahle resources-human and natural--can be utilised for the improvement in the income levels of the
village economy; (iv) income generation through rural
industries would improve the purchasing power of
rural masses thereby creating potential for demandbased industries and increasing the standard of living;
(v) migration of rural population to urban centres can
be prevented by setting up of industries in rural areas;
(vi) rural industries would achieve balanced growth
,by coordinating agriculture and industry; and (vii)
decentralisation and dispersal of industries would be
achieved to a great extent through the establishment
of small sc'ale industries in rural areas.
oTIe' of the importarit ~rerC{juisites'for solving
the problem of rural poverty in our country is proper
integration" and coordination" between agriculture and
industry' which "ensuresintensive and extensive development of agriculture thereby crea,ting additional employment for the" niral population. Such integration and
coordination' between two sectors is only possible
through rural industrialisation by setting up of agrobased industries in rural areas.

implies growth of
industries in rural areas through inter-dependence
of agriculture and industry. In brief, it is a process
of balanced growth of industry and agriculture in which
-t1ieoutput ofagriciIltiJre serves as an, input of industry

'The integrated rural development concept involves a multi-pronged attack on the'

problemsof rural development. "Integration' here coversfour principaldimensionsintegration of secloral programmes, spatial integration, integration of social and
economicprocessesand above all, tbe policieswith a ,viewto achievinga better fit between growth, removal of'poverty and employment,generation.'
In order to achievc a modicum of results in the
, IRD programme, there is need to shift emphasis on
promoting rural industrialisation through agro"based


is an urgent need of the
hour as it provides equihbrium for the structural
economy of the country which would in turn 'help the
development of both agriculture and industry. It
'makes them useful with the process of coordination

- KURUKSHETRA October, 1983

." ~
and vice-versa. . Thus, integratcd rural industrialisation through agro-based industries is a dynamic, interdepending and ,self-generating process. The unique
features of agro-based ,industries in, planned industriali~
zation of the rural areas are analyso<!below.

The distinctive 'feature of agro-based industries is

" that they woUld establish a vital link between agriculture and industry and yields quick returns. Well
thought-out plan of integration' and development of

_,agriculture, and' industry' would, tesult'hi "econonlic

.j development'l)f the rural areas,
,,' Another important Jeature of the agro~based industries 'is that they' integrate agriculture with industry
-which' a prerequisite' for the' prosperity' of 'rural ,areaS,
. 'Diverting' some 'people from'villages and sending them
, to.industrial 'cities would not solve "the fundamental
" problems ; increasing pressure ofpopuJation on agri'cultural sector; inadequate' employment opportunities
, in niral' areas; and ineqUitable distribuiion of indus'triill ine-omo'and'weillth:"The correct strategy of rural
'- development,' therefore, should try to integrate agriculture 'with indiistry' by locating agro-based industries
.-'in rur~l'areas.

, , 1'! Rliral''j EmploymenU;Orie .of theimp<'>rtant

:f. fiildlngs 'is.'thai' agro'baserl'industties
, avenues' of"employment at relatively 'sma1l"qipital
w cost. ,I They 'provide" seasonal' ~mployment' to' the
agricultural"laboureis during the non-agricultural
seasons, II is observed that the .provision of
employment opportunities ,by, agro-based industries
, is twofold i.e., they not ouly create, employment
opportunities. in the agricultural
,units (direct
,employment') but also create considerable ,em',
"ployment opportuoities in .agriculture and tertiary
sectors, , The additional employment in the. farm'
sector is essentially a result of cultivation of agro. industrial crops, consequent ,on the setting up of


;"In practice the'different'developmental schemes"meant for::ameliorating the condi, , tions of the rural poor operating in ,the COnlltry,though,;vary'in concept,and content,
were reduced to'mere subsidy-giving progr~mme.,shorn of_any~plannedapproach to
" the betterment of the rural poor as an inhuilt.process,in'.the development oUhe ,area
.. ~n~' its' resources. 'Even the' newly"introdnced, mDP, .""bich'it ,saidito, he'compre" hensive and aims at making a frontal attack on rural poverty cannot ,eradicate. this
prllblem during the 'plan 'period.alone. "


The significant contribution' ofagrofbased. industries

is ';in tbel'direction' of providing-newkavenucs' of"em'ployment; with a 'relatively' small) capital 'and serving
"as a ':means ,f.;:>rproviding, more ',employment "oppbrtu". iJities to' the labour'during the'offoseasons" According
to the' Food ,and' Agriculture" Organisation I (iFAO),
.,r the agro-indnstrie". 'providc'!at .lCasvtwo-thirds' of, the
"employment in thedevcloping'countties.
,A featnre to
be noted about these .industties-is<thaLtheyate lIabour, intcns,ivc and he.we conspicuous propel)~ity for ~inimum capital deploymontand, maximum relurns ,com,pared "with seycral non-agro-based industries.

d Flirthcr,"agto-bilsed 'jndu'stries' operatc 'as a.catalytiC

\ 'agent for the' development 'of ,"'infrastructurc ,ow!tich
bridges the gap between rural and urban areas. They
will be looked upon primarily as an. agency to' pave
thc way for oecupa~ional',siiifts' ~nd .for creating -new.
social order. An'othet 'noteworthy 'aspect;of'agroobased industrial dcvelop~ent is capijalformation ..~'A.gro-'
based industries require only small 'saVings-",ithiri' the
family group and the establishment"and 'growth, of
these industries 'set' in motion "the process"af '.capital
(.formation, in.Jhe ,developing countries like India. As
80. per ..cent of the .people. in India live villages 'and
practically lack the means of chmmeUsing their savings,
,.the., right: solution .th" probl"lll is to ,induce
agro-based,)ndustries in the rur~J. sector.
";The signiiicance' of :agro'bas'e<j-'.industries'for'planned
"ihdustrialisation~of rural 'areas,:rrlay !becanalysed'witb,
'.'the folloWing findings 'ofdhe" research' :stlldy done "by

,agr6-based . in,ciu~tries,;"The study revealed that'

agro:-based industries could solve" to some extent,
,, the problem! of disguised unemployment in agric~j-,
, tural sector..
. .

2. Ocpupational Structure, . Consequent ' on, the,

selling .up, of ,agro-based _industrial units" in .or
. near the, rural areas,. the. occupational npattern
,. of rural, population,o has undergone ,significant
changes over. a period of .lime . These industries
auc to thcir ,location in the ,ruml areas creaied
:additional employment.opportunities -to ru;al' populatIOn ,and changed their occupations . Even though
they are located ,.in nearby ur-ban, areas, they,
brought about changes in the occupational pattern
of rural population by attracting unskilled labourers
.from the villages.._ Such changes in the occupatio~ naL,patternoare.found,'maximum
in the case of
,l"agricultural ..workerslbecause~ of, the low wage-levels
,,,in."agsiculture ",compared '-with industries, Agro," based,.irrdustriesehave ,.not. only .resulted in the shift
of. oGcnpationofrom,agriculture to non-agricultural
sector but also led to the ,multiple occupations, I.e.
the workers engage in more than one occupation,
" byitakiug.up!agrocbased industrial: occupation in th
non,:agdcultu~al' season besides' theirorigina,l, agdc'U~
.. turak'OccupatlOn,
)IThus -there;. has'~been a .rgradu
decline in dependence on agdcultural occupation' as
,the .only means areas which
,can, be.-taken ,on. a,;sign of .increasing prosperity.

,3, .-Rural Wages",'Agrd-based"'irrdustries,: as'nstated

eariier,; employ ~ a 1Jjaige~ number ..of ~'in;skiiled

'"workers 'drawn ,from"farrn'

sector-resulting irirthe



reduction of the suppiy ot workers to farm sector.

'Such' inobility of agDcultural' workers from sector"
.to agrO-based industries,' otherwise called non-farin
sector, resulted in the increase in productivity
and also wages in the farm sector. The causes lead
to the increase in rural wages, consequertt upon thc
setting up of agro-based industries, are both direct.
and indirect. .Besides the direct. causes of mobility
of wO[.kersfrom farm_~ectorsto agro-based industries,',
more employment opportunities, ensuring fuller
. utilisation of existing rural labour , were also created
because of the changes in the cropping. pattern in'
favour of the crops linked to agro-based industries
requiring a large number of man-days of labour.
Thus, agro-bascd inclustries inqeased the wage
levels of workers in rural areas.
4. Rural Incomes.-Agro-lJascd 'industries brought
about" a pcrceptible change in the income levels ofrural population. There was a sig!1ificantincrease in
the per capita .income.of the households of agricultural workers and workers employed in agro-based
industries. This inaplies that the standard of living of
the landless and near-landle);s workers improved
which is attributable to !he increased wages and
cmployment. As a result, there were changes in the
consumption patter!! bettering the lifc condition of
. thc rural popula.tion. The iJ:lc.reasein !he: income wa, {
essentially due to the setting up of agro.based industries which lead to high rate of wages iu the
agricultural sector coupled with additional employment.
5. Capital Formation.-Another
important finding of agro-industrial development is capital formation. These industries have a little access to institutional finance and hence majority of the units covered by the study were started with small savings within the family groups and from investments which
would not have normally streamlined into productive

pteneurship, the roie of which is pivotai inoveraH







KURUKSHETRA October, 1983



.. 1.' '-;/ . ,..

I: ;.;j



.struciUre which bridges the ,gap between rural and",

urban areas. These industries paved the way" for "
occupational shifts and for creating new social ord~r.ff'
\"hich formed the basis for creation. of necessary/1
socio-cultural and psychological foundations, for:.
modern industrial soc,iety. The basic infrastructu-li
fa( facilities such as c1ectricity, water, ..communication and rural roads, etc., were provided at a .rela-.,I I
tively faster rate following the development of the:1
agro-based industrial complexes in rural areas.. " -, ,

8. Industrial Dispersal.-The
study also substantiated the fact that balanced regional development
can be met by evolving a planned indus.trialisation
through agro-based industries as they have greater
location flexibilities. These industries may be
considered as main instruments .for decentralisect rural indusirialisation. The big cities of India
as we all know, are at prcsent facing the ecological
problems of urbanisation and industrialisation, and
therefote, lndustrial dispersal has become an econOmlc necessity. With frequent shortage of .electricity, water, skilled labour, housing, transport etc., in
urban areas, agro-based irrJustries are forced' to look
for an alternative location in rural areas, and thus
have become prime m'overs for industrial dispersaL.


industries nOd'
T cultivation ofagro-basedagro-based
industrial crops deve- "



lop and change the structure of agricultural output in " '.

the villages. The growth in the indnstrial and agricul- ",I
tural sectors of the rural areas gives inapetus to . tIie' d
teritiary sector

viz" banking,




tion, hotel business etc. The development of tertiary"

sector provides further employment opportunities for
rural population. Further, agro-based industrial'
development accentuate~ the developme~t of r~ds ~d

'An important drawback of the (IRD) programme is that it does not initiate any inte- '
gration of differentsectors~agricnlture, industry and tertiary-relevant to the rural "
areas. The integration emphasised has been mainly tbe coordination of different
government agencies. Even 'ihisintegration is not forthcoming.'
activities. Thus the establishment and growth of
agro-based industries set in motion the process of
capital formation in the rural areas.
.1' .' I
6. Entrepreneurship.-Agro-based
indnstries' pro- I'
mote. rural and indigenous cntrepr~neurship. Iri
fact, paucity of entrepreneurial talents, particularly .
in rural areas, is one of the basic handicaps of indus-'
trialisation of rural areas in developing countries; It
is observed that agro-based industries acted as j1;ood
nurseries for the growth of rural indigenous entr-e-

",_ '1.11

of t~e rU:li! are~s:'!, .. ~ ~ .t .0.:. ,.:')
7, Infrastructure.-,-Agro-based
industries operate.
as .catalytic , agents for the development of infra- t

'I ",,',



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co~uuicat;~ri facilities in the countryside. Th~ ."

development' of roads is neccessitated by the need' to,'
transport~agricultural ,raw materials from villages to".,,the agro-based industries on the one hand, and to pro_ "I
vide agricultural inputs to the agriculturists in viIIage~",.'
on the other.

Moreover, the means of transport under,:",

J ilr

goes a considerable change. It has been, fo~

\~~t' ,,j,
farmers have been increasingly replacing bullock cart~ od
with tractor-trailers for transporting agricUltural outputs. Because of the improvement i!! transpon and
5S, ..

ooihIDUnicatloli;'iherural people wilfhave an Increased access to the growing towns. Establishment of

agio-bilsed industries is mainly based on the availiibiIity.o( raw milterial. As such, agro-based industries
ought to be set'up in rural areas where raw material
is available in 'plenty. Since the rural folk form a,
major chuilk of our population, the employment opportunities provided by the agro-based industries are
also equally large in proportion. This helps in uplifting the' rural economy. , In essence, setting up of
agrd-baSed industries in rural areas generates income
thereby improving the economic condition of the
people which in turn' creates potential demand for
goods and',serVices. This demand can be classified
into three. categories :

. it;, 'th~ demand

for non-food goods and services,

which would, increase as rural income increases ;

(ii)' the demand for inputs and services for agriculture including tools and equipment, ,repair services, transport, processing and supporting infrastructure and works etc., which
would .increase with agricultural develop, ment; arid
,(iii) the demand for manufactured goods.
, Some research'sttidies On household expenditure revealed that sigruficant portion of the income was spent
on ,non-food items. The increase in demand for non~
food items stems. from both 'backward' and, 'forward'
linkages with agriculture. The former includes demand'
for tools'and equipment repairs and supply services,
buildings, and, other works; the latter includes processing, transport and marketing of output. Besides the
markets generated by agricultural development, exter



\ .,",~

, ~.

' .

it may be stated that planned

rural industrialisation through agro-based industries creates nucleus of structural change and modernisation in the ~ural areas, giving them, the capacity to
diversity into industrial. activities in, accordance with
their own needs, ,capacities andr~~ouices; rather ffian
remain as the hinterland' of an industrial seCtor'built
near the big cities. Further, it transforms the disorgauised and improverished village economy into ,viable
production units capable of organising themselves' to
improve t~.eir limite<!-:JaIl!!,control thei~ . resources,
apply improved technology and increase agrictiltural
production to meet the growing needs of the rural
population. Above all" rur~J industrialisation can
solve the problem of rural poverty to a great extent as
it helps evolving a social system in which there would
be greater possibility of equitable distribution on income and maximum pOssible sOCialjustice. Evidently,
the main thrust of rural industrialisation is not to do
things of the rural people but- toorgauise them to do
things for themselX!es.
r '


(Con/d. from Page' 50)

add the task of organising ,the rural poor to their
other functions. Orgauising the rural poor alone cannot itself be a function because the success of the
task depends on the rapport which the voluntary Orgauisations have with the rural and the confidence
and credibility which they are able to create in the
rural people. This, they can achieve ouly when
thrOliih other modes of social and economic upliftrnent
tasks," they creaih: a considerable degree of satisfaction in the people that their interestS are being looked
after. OVer the .'years, voluntary orgauisations have
been contributing their mite for helping the poor to
help themselves. But this is by and large outside
the orbit of 'GoVernment programmes. Ii there is 'to
be any' rneimingful'participation' by !he people in

nal markets for manufactured goods and' handicrafts

from rural a~eas could also be a source of employment.
Adequate rural infrastructure proyides manufacturers
a re~dy access .to, the rural labour market, materials and services. (This indicates that agricultural development cannot be, looked in' isolation as it requires continuous improvement of infrastructure. Moreover, it is a positive impetqs to the
dev.elopment of agro-based industries which form' the
natural nodal points for the expansion of manufaCturing activity). Owing to forward and backward Ji!1kages,it is important to consider the interaction between
rural development and the growth and role of rural
towns,the latter ,beingthe consequence of development
of agro-based industries in rural areas.

rural areas, what is imvo'rtant is that the work of

voluntary organisations must be recogijised and their
role appreCiated by the -Governm~~ There has to
be a 'cooperative attitude"towards each other between
the Governmental agencies and vollll)tary organisations: The' local governInental minions at village or
tehsi! level should be s,trict1ypreveiited from taking
up condescending attitude towa(d~ voluntary agencies
or suspecting them jf they try to organise the rural
poor. On the other hand; .they should take the
NGOs into confidence and try to implement the antipoverty programme with their help instead. of creating hurdles or pockets of vested interests. Then alone
can the peoples' participation, and success of any' programme of alleviation of rural poverty be ensured.

. ~l;

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We can be j~sj}y';~r,~';l~)?!:~,),
: Extension of ir;.rigoationfa,,:il~t!~s:1-"
the encouraging,achievements
f~, I~tegrated Rural
evelopme~~;,i ~,: t'
of the Revised 20'Point "c,
: Rehabilitation of bonded lab()ul'lJ;.
Programme-:::thebh.leprint for
I Welfare of Scheduled Castes and :/. :"
progr~ssimdprosperity for the, " , Scheduled Tribes;
, ~\,.
masses.;rhe prograritrites in ~':
!,!, Drinking 'water lacir.tie~ in ,probJ~m' :
which we attained 100per cent
I - :free plantahon; and
(or nore)of the target set out
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",,1,,Integra,te"d .Child Development, Servi,ce '".,
for' ,1982,83irl(~hid~;
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The administrative machinery, both at the Centre and "

:has .been, geared fpr achieving r'esu1ts'at
,1:~ftqo' thefieldlevel:',""
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With detennination and hard work, we can achieve ..
,t~w. ,.J

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HerelS.a,selectiou of.books. authentic,

,.:~,\~'.".<;,::attractlVe iHldlow pnced
,; ',;;.ou the Father of the Natiou,


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.;GANDHI':':"ttie Maker 'of New India'

davp 82/579



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'India lives in her villages ... When

I succeed in ridding the ,villages of
. their poverty, I have won Swaraj'
-2lfahatlna Gandhi

-..=- .'

Regd. No D(DN)/39

(Licensed under U (DN) -54 to post without prepayment

at Civil Lin'es Post Office, Delhi).

, Since Independence, espedally in the last few years, our efforts

have been directed towards raising crores of people above the
poverty line but crores still remain below it. Our problems have
not ended.. So our efforts have to be intensified for the success of
the 20-Point Programme and the Plan. As I said before, this is not
jusi the concern of a few people or of the Government alone. It is
everybody's concern !lnd a responsibility for which we have to
mobilize all citizens.: ~We must make ita mass<movement. The
country's work will go ahead only when everyone considers it his
I\own resj)onsibilitYJ
-Indira Gandhi


Prime Minister of India



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