APPROACH TO THE NINTH PLAN (1997-2002)
The following approach has been adopted for the formulation of the Ninth Five-Year Plan :
1.1. Fulfilling the social and human aspirations of the people, meeting their essential requirements, raising income levels and the quality of life constitute the core of developmental effort.
1.2. The savings in the Govt. and public sector have turned negative, considerably eroding their ability to maintain the erstwhile share of public investment. The private sector and the community has to bear the larger burden of economic growth. An environment has to be created which encourages peoples' involvement in the process of nation-building rather than their dependence on the Govt. The State has to play more of a facilitating role and concentrate on protecting the interests of the poor and the underprivileged. Discretionary leeway in governance has to yield sway in favour of transparent policies and autonomous regulatory mechanisms.
1.3. The re-vitalization of rural and urban local bodies and creation of District Planning Committees in the light of the Constitutional amendments, opens new vistas for delivery of essential services and peoples' involvement.
1.4. The structure of GDP has been changing significantly in recent times. The large reduction in the agricultural sector, in percentage terms, has been accompanied by only a marginal reduction in the proportion of people dependent in this sector. Consequently, the disparities between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors in terms of per capita output (and incomes) have widened.
1.5. Growing unemployment has been a major problem in recent years both in rural and urban areas. The generation of gainful employment through increase in production, self-employment in economically-viable activities and wage employment for poorer sections of the community has consistently lagged behind demand for work.
1.6. All the population does not have access to the basic necessities of life-drinking water and health facilities, in particular. Infant mortality is still high and literacy levels, particularly among women and disadvantaged sections, are low. Existing differentials between rural and urban infrastructure facilities, the prevailing average income levels for the bottom deciles of the population and significant regional differences in development make it necessary for the State to take care of the important social needs of the population like health, education, as well as the minimum requirements of the living environment like drinking water and rural roads.
1.7. There has been a marked acceleration in urbanisation. Urban infrastructure, even at a minimum level, requires considerable resources. There is a widening gap between demand and availability of essential services.
2.1. From the State's point of view, provision of basic amenities to the population like drinking water, primary health and education, generating adequate employment, removal of regional / social disparities-especially welfare of disadvantaged section, and strengthening of growth infrastructure would remain the prime objectives for the Ninth Five-Year Plan.
3.1. Role of planning
3.1.1. Long-term conditions of growth are determined by demographic trends, basic resource endowments, entrepreneurial resources and the technology perspective. Macro-economic policies should help to allocate resources largely in line with competitive advantage, stimulate economic growth and raise the living standards of the population. Fiscal and monetary initiatives should aim at providing a better balance between aggregate demand and supply while minimizing the distortionary effects of the tax system.
3.1.2. The trickle-down process by itself, however, may not be sufficient to make a significant dent on the socio-economic problems of the bottom layers of the population. Planning has to play an integrative role in developing a holistic approach to policy formulation in critical and inter-sectoral areas of human and economic development, providing information and monitoring. Except in relation to public sector investment - which is analogous to corporate planning - planning may be indicative. The planning process also has to manage flow of resources across regions for removal of regional disparities, creation of social infrastructure and development of human resources - which market forces have not achieved in adequate measure.
3.2. Agriculture & Allied Activities
3.2.1. The agricultural growth rate has to be much higher to absorb additional labour force or to reduce poverty levels. While agriculture has made substantial progress, there have been large variations in crop production from year to year, mainly due to the vagaries of the monsoons. Crop output has become more sensitive to rainfall in the post-green revolution period, because use of inputs, like fertilizers, is stepped up when soil moisture / ground water table is adequate.
3.2.2. The sensitivity of output to variations in rainfall depends on the nature of technology, inputs used and the level of development in infrastructure facilities, like irrigation. Special efforts are required to identify the basic constraints faced by farmers, intensify measures to improve productivity for specific crops / areas, extend latest technologies and demonstrate their potential to farmers.
3.2.3. Non-availability of irrigation and heavy reliance on uncertain monsoons have made production of all crops, barring a few, virtually stagnant in rain-fed areas. Greater attention and resources need to devoted to watershed development, coupled with scientific management of land for better in situ moisture conservation. Economically-viable improved techniques are required for dry-land farming in rain-fed tracts, to enable farmers to make scientific and optimum use of their land and water resources.
3.2.4. Irrigation is essential to increase cropping intensity and land productivity. The expansion and improvement of irrigation facilities has to be a key ingredient of agricultural and rural development programmes. A major effort is required to harness irrigation potential through minor irrigation works. Priority has also to be given to speedy completion of ongoing major and medium irrigation schemes and better utilisation of potential created. Urgent attention is required to improve the quality of water management through farmers' participation and equitable water-pricing arrangements, to ensure reliability and adequate maintenance of irrigation systems.
3.2.5. Special attention has to be paid to small lift-irrigation schemes prepared on individual or co-operative basis, improvement and renewal of village tanks and other traditional local irrigation systems under various programmes of rural development and employment guarantee schemes. Use of ground water has to be selectively encouraged through private investment, public tubewells being made over for operation and maintenance to beneficiaries' organisations.
3.2.6. In order to enable farmers to earn higher incomes, a combination of processing and business activity with farming activity is essential. The changes in trade policies have also improved the prospects for traditional exports as well as non-traditional commodities like, flowers, vegetables and fruits, etc. Special efforts are required to build infrastructure and create conditions for the growth of agri-business, together with innovative organisational methods that would allow small farmers to get together and take advantage of economies of scale.
3.2.7. Since a preponderant proportion of landholders is small or marginal, agricultural production systems followed by this segment of the farming community have to be diversified into other allied activities capable of generating higher returns, like animal husbandry, horticulture, sericulture, fisheries, etc.
3.3. Rural development
3.3.1. In a primarily agrarian society, considerations of equity demand greater attention to rural needs (like drinking water, primary health care and education, approach roads, etc.), increasing agricultural productivity and diversification, and expansion of off-farm activities in rural areas. Large scale incidence of poverty, notwithstanding high workers' participation rate (indicative of under-employment) underscores the need for supportive programmes of rural employment.
3.3.2. It is necessary that resources are made available for building up rural infrastructure, which is an essential pre-requisite for more sustained employment and development. There is emergent need for construction of all-weather roads to improve accessibility, minor irrigation works, water harvesting structures, buildings for primary schools and sub-health centres.
3.3.3. In the long-run, agriculture and other land based activities, even with a high rate and possible diversion of growth will not be able to provide employment to all the rural workers at adequate levels of incomes. Technological and organisational changes accompanying agricultural growth are likely to lead first to a decline in employment potential, and thereafter to conversion of a substantial number of those under-employed to open unemployed seeking work elsewhere. It is desirable that the rural economy gets diversified into non-agricultural activities to provide productive employment to the growing labour force and to reduce the wide economic differences between rural and urban areas.
3.3.4. Upgradation of skills and technology of rural workers / artisans needs to be given a special thrust, with the aim of generating wage / self-employment in new areas where demand is expanding. Emphasis on human resource development should also be accompanied by development of infrastructure and forward and backward linkages, to ensure viability of selected activities.
3.3.5. An employment oriented growth strategy will show perceptible results only in the medium and long-term. In the short-term, direct wage employment will have to be provided to the unemployed and under-employed, particularly among the vulnerable sections. Special employment programmes must also contribute to productive capacity of areas / or individuals, through greater integration with sectoral development programmes.
3.4.1. Sustained advance in productivity with technological dynamism, increase in gainful employment, balanced regional growth and achievement of international competitiveness in selected sectors should be the main aims of industrial policy. The long-term objective should be to evolve a technology mix in production that conforms to our resources and needs.
3.4.2. De-regulation of the domestic economic activity has brought about a qualitative change in the outlook for the manufacturing sector in the next phase of development. A shift from the public sector to the private sector is apparent in almost all sectors of the industry, which should augur a massive push for industrialisation and modernisation. The process should be accelerated by disinvestment of the public sector over a wide range of activities.
3.4.3. A liberal policy for entry and expansion of industrial units must also be accompanied by a rational policy for exit of economically-unviable firms, both in the public and private sector. Highly restrictive and time-consuming procedures for exit are one of the underlying factors of the widespread sickness in the industrial sector. A practical industrial exit policy should also protect the legitimate interests of labour, and attempt to minimise the adverse effects of closure through voluntary retirement schemes and re-training of labour force.
3.4.4. The modern small-scale sector has shown significant growth in output, employment and even exports. The major problem with this sector has been the lack of adequate modernisation and technological upgradation, which would be necessary to assist them to compete effectively with the larger industrial units.
3.4.5. Small investment has not always implied high employment per unit of capital and many small scale industries have become capital intensive. Benefits of State intervention have largely been cornered by relatively modern, less labour-intensive industries. The employment criterion should also be necessary for achievement of socio-economic objectives.
3.4.6. Special attention has to be paid to the unregistered sector in view of its potential for employment. There is need for emphasis on the promotion of service industry, with suitable programmes for training and upgradation of skills. Programmes for development of Khadi and Village Industries, Handlooms, Sericulture and Handicrafts can be integrated with rural development / poverty alleviation programmes.
3.5.1. Agriculture and industrial development will need to be supported by improvement of infrastructure, particularly energy and transport. Rapid economic growth will be possible only if the prevailing infrastructure constraints can be redressed effectively. It is imperative that development policy in these sectors address itself to modernisation and expansion of supply.
3.5.2. In the energy sector, effort has to be made to eliminate power shortages and achieving higher efficiency norms. An effective system of minimisation of waste, including transmission and distribution losses, and a more rational system of pricing should be evolved. In transport sector, a larger road / rail network is necessary for opening up the rural hinterland and better integration of the rural and urban economy. Strengthening and improvement of the condition of existing roads / bridges is also a major area of concern. Communication / information services need to be upgraded to modern standards of convenience and availability.
3.5.3. The dominant share of investment in infrastructure has hitherto come from the public sector, which is becoming increasingly inadequate in the face of public dis-saving and enhanced capital requirements. Private initiative must be encouraged to participate in creating infrastructure like power, communication services, roads, bridges, minor irrigation, social housing, industrial estates, etc.
3.6. Urban development
3.6.1. Urbanisation is a natural consequence of economic change. The growing contribution of urbanisation to national income is overshadowed by the deterioration in the quality of life and the widening gap between demand and supply of essential services. The worst sufferers are the poor, who have little access to basic services, like drinking water and sanitation. The informal sector, which accounts for a major share of total employment in large cities, also has high incidence of marginal and low income employment. The problems of urban housing have aggravated, resulting in proliferation of slums / squatter settlements.
3.6.2. Public investment in urban infrastructure is limited by resource constraints of urban local bodies. Apart from rational devolution of tax proceeds, user charges for services need to be rationalised for feasible cost-recovery. Private capital and institutional finance will have to be dovetailed for development of urban infrastructure and housing. Innovative funding patterns and role of private capital in specific areas need to be explored.
3.6.3. Accelerating urban unemployment postulates the need for larger investment in social infrastructure and human resources development to upgrade informal sector occupations and integrate them with the urban economy. Programmes to deal with urban poverty should emphasise both employment generation and provision of basic services to the poor.
3.6.4. Growing pressure on civic infrastructure in larger cities also calls for measures aimed at reducing the migration of rural poor. Concerted efforts should be made to channelise private industrial investment in the vicinity of small and medium towns. A well co-ordinated strategy is required for promoting development of small and medium towns.
3.6.5. Rural-urban cohesion in the management of growth is also necessary to achieve composite development of human settlements while stimulating economic growth. Spatial development plans can provide a framework for identification of nucleii of development and lower order centres, depending on their infrastructure level and growth potential.
3.7.1. An accelerated expansion of employment opportunities is necessary both for poverty alleviation and effective utilisation of human resources for economic and social development of the country. During past years, the backlog of unemployment has been rising because the labour force has been growing at a faster rate than the growth of employment. Relatively higher growth rate of economic growth, together with a pattern of sectoral growth yielding a higher aggregate employment elasticity will be necessary.
3.7.2. There is considerable scope for raising employment in agriculture in those regions of the country that have so far lagged behind in agriculture development. A faster growth of employment in these areas will also have a positive effect on the wage rate and incomes of the rural workers. High growth of value-added agri-business, animal husbandry, fisheries, horticulture and aquaculture offer scope for employment expansion in the future. Regeneration of natural resources such as land and forests can generate large volumes of employment, and also benefit disadvantaged sections of society, like women and tribals, in particular.
3.7.3. Rural industrial activities now comprise textile and agro-based activities with forward and backward linkages with agriculture, as well as others producing commodities of local consumption, like construction materials, etc. Considerable expansion of such activities, with employment potential for rural workers, is possible.
3.7.4. While the employment potential of output growth in the organised sector has stagnated, the small-scale / unorganised sector has provided increased employment in manufacturing in recent years. The expansion of this sector can raise employment elasticity and growth significantly. Increased investment in construction of roads and housing would meet the objectives of short-term employment, as well as provision of shelter.
3.7.5. The services sector has been growing at a relatively faster rate but employment growth has been sluggish. The sector affords significant potential for employment generation in both urban and rural areas.
3.7.6. Near-full employment can, however, only be achieved over time. Special programmes of supplementary short term employment for the under-employed / unemployed, particularly among the weak and the vulnerable, would continue to be necessary - and should be extended to provide a measure of guarantee of work as a safety net for the poor, especially where seasonal migration is endemic. A single-window system may be established for all direct employment generation programmes, without creating new infrastructure, so that a holistic approach becomes possible.
3.8. Drinking water and Sanitation
3.8.1. Safe drinking water supply and basic sanitation are vital human needs of health and efficiency. Disease, particularly of children, and drudgery of women is directly attributable to lack of these vital essentials.
3.8.2. It has not been possible to provide sustainable sources of clean drinking water to people particularly in rural areas. Highest priority has to be given to coverage of no-source habitations and provide them with sustainable supply of drinking water by the end of the century. Poorly served habitations / habitations where water supply has depleted because of receding ground water should also be provided with stipulated requirements. Special and urgent measures are required to tackle quality problems. Measures for conservation of water and recharge of aquifers should also be implemented on a large scale to provide sustained supply of water.
3.8.3. Keeping in view the high costs of providing water supply in larger cities and towns, the private sector's participation should be mobilised for construction and maintenance of drinking water projects. Local bodies should levy appropriate user charges for drinking water and sanitation facilities, so that they are self-sustaining at least, in operation and maintenance.
3.8.4. Greater attention should be paid to sanitation, both in urban and rural areas. Along with scientific planning of solid and liquid waste disposal systems for bigger urban agglomerations, greater awareness and education of sanitation practices should be brought about in the rural areas.
3.9.1. Education is an investment in the process of development. The intensity of problems of development and population growth corresponds to the lack of education and the educational deprivation of women. It is necessary to achieve universal primary education through full-time formal schools or part-time non-formal schools. Special programmes will be necessary for tribal and working children, in particular girls.
3.9.2. There is continuing need to establish meaningful linkages between the world of learning and the world of work. Vocational education preparing students for wage / self employment should become a desirable alternative to higher education for the majority of school-leavers, by offering suitable courses at the 10+2 stage, vocational training institutions and non-formal courses.
3.9.3. An integrated approach is required for the growth of higher education, to provide equitable and cost-effective expansion, strengthening of facilities and promotion of excellence.
3.9.4. The quality of technical education needs to be improved through modernisation and upgradation of infrastructure and strengthening industry-institution relationships.
3.10.1. Relentless growth of population has eroded the gains of prosperity. Efforts to spread family limitation practices need to be intensified with renewed vigor, keeping in view the social, behavioral and economic factors which impact on birth rates.
3.10.2. The major share of public investment should be directed to health care services. Health care facilities should now reach the entire population by placing greater emphasis and reliance on community-based systems. Along with adequate diffusion of medical education facilities to provide graduate medical doctors for manning curative services, training of medical professionals willing to work in rural areas, through innovative medical schooling systems, requires specific attention.
3.10.3. The efficiency of health care systems at the grass-root level is a major cause of concern. Greater emphasis is necessary on health education and sanitation, since these factors are responsible for higher morbidity in urban slums and rural areas.
3.10.4. Due to paucity of resources, existing State-owned medical care institutions are inadequately maintained and services provided are also deficient. There is a strong case for restricting free medical services to poorer sections only and requiring the better-off sections to pay for the services utilized by them.
3.11.1. Housing is a major economic sector, because of its potential for employment generation and the fact that ownership of housing is an important element in the mobilization of domestic savings. The magnitude of the housing problem has, however, grown in recent years due to exponentially increasing land and construction costs. While housing is essentially a private activity, State intervention is necessary to meet the housing requirements of the vulnerable sections as well as create an enabling environment for providing shelter to all on a self-sustaining basis.
3.11.2. The approach to housing development should emphasise removal of legal constraints to supply of land as well as rental housing activity in order to clear existing backlog and meet incremental housing needs. Self-housing as well as shelter upgradation should be stimulated by increase in credit for housing and basic services as well as innovative extension of the credit network. Subsidised plots and use of low cost materials and building technologies may be promoted to provide affordable housing to poorer segments of the population. Special assistance / subsidy may be extended to especially disadvantaged groups, for in situ upgradation and house construction at new sites. Construction of housing for the poorest sections should remain an important component of wage-employment generation programmes in the rural areas.
3.12. Poverty alleviation and Social justice
3.12.1. Adequate food security and developmental programmes, which generate adequate employment, are among the main components of the strategy to take care of the poor. In the interests of social justice, programmes for social security and social / economic uplift of weaker sections should also find due place in the IX Plan, along with measures for providing greater access to public services and resources.
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
3.12.2. Economic growth must be widely distributed across regions and sections of the population. The backward regions and disadvantaged sections of society, if not protected fully, are likely to be left behind in the natural process of growth. A very large number of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes continue to be socially and economically backward and are languishing at the bottom of the economic pyramid. The dwindling resource base, restrictions on access to forest produce and lack of opportunity for wage employment has caused hardship to the tribal people. Most of the SC / ST do not own productive assets and suffer from long periods of unemployment and under-employment.
3.12.3. Intensification of effort to bridge the gap in the levels of development of the scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and backward classes is required, so that these disadvantaged sections of the population are brought on par with rest of society in all spheres of national endeavour.
3.12.4. While scheduled castes and scheduled tribes lag behind the rest of the population in most social and economic development indicators, and their development needs are common in several areas, the scheduled castes suffer not only from economic backwardness as well as social disabilities. Elimination of exploitation and removal of all forms of oppression must receive high priority.
3.12.5. The problems of the scheduled tribes arise from geographical isolation characterised by a low level of techno-economic development and wide variation between the different areas and different tribal groups. Problems of access to programmes and services have to be identified and removed. Protection / restoration of rights to natural usufruct and preservation of socio-cultural values should also be ensured through decentralised, participatory planning.
Women, Children and other vulnerable groups
3.12.6. Specific measures are also necessary to ensure that women are enabled to function as equal partners and participants in development and there is greater societal awareness of their contribution to national well-being. Care has also to be taken that vulnerable groups, including children, destitute and the disabled are not excluded from the fruits of development.
3.13.1. For sustainable use of natural resources, comprehensive strategies are required for the conservation of forest resources, regeneration of wastelands and degraded areas, protection of natural eco-systems, ecological restoration and control of environmental pollution. Local bodies and institutions should be assigned greater role in the exploitation of natural resources and management of the environment. Management policies should also delineate the rights of weaker sections, such as tribals, nomads and women, in terms of access and control over natural resources.
3.14. People's involvement
3.14.1. Better targeting of social uplift programmes can be achieved through decentralised planning and implementation. People's initiative and participation must become a key element in the process of development. The focus of attention should be on developing multiple institutional options for delivery of services. The Govt. should facilitate the process of peoples' involvement, by creating the institutional infrastructure to get them involved in social tasks and social mobilisation. Steps must be initiated to strengthen local institutions, re-orientation and integration of local development activities under the charge of local bodies, and helping the co-operatives to support local economic activities. District / sub-district bodies should be provided greater autonomy and freedom of action through normative devolution of financial assistance.
Contents Provided, Updated & Maintained By
M.P. State Planning Commission (SPC) , Vindhyachal Bhawan , Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India