|6th Five Year Plan||
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It is now recognised that the pathways of development adopted in the past have resulted in an uneven distribution of the benefits of economic growth as between geographical areas and also between socio-economic groups. It was in realisation of this phenomenon that certain specific target group oriented programmes, such as SFDA arid MFAL were initiated during the Fourth and Fifth Five Year Plan periods. Special programmes for drought-prone, desert and tribal areas were also initiated. But in spite of these programmes, certain geographical areas present some very special ecological and socio-cultural features, which unless specifically taken into account do not permit the present planning process and the schemes developed within it, to be of major assistance to them. The Hill Areas of the country belong to this category.
25.2 The development of the hilly areas in the country, however, cannot be undertaken in isolation from the adjoining plains, with which their economy is closely inter-related. The hilly areas influence to some extent the climate of the plains; they contain the sources, the catchments and the water-sheds of several major river systems which flow to the plains; they abound in forests, plant and mineral wealth as well as hydel energy resources. Our experience of development planning during the last three decades has increasingly underlined the fact that anicss adequate programmes are evolved for the conservation and proper utilisation of the resources of the hill areas, not only the problems of these areas will continue to remain unsolved, but the economy of the plains may also be adversely affected. Symptomatic of this aspect are the rapid siltation of dams, reservoirs, flooding, changes in agro-climatic conditions and pressure on the employment market because of the large-scale migration of people particularly men from hill areas. Development of the resources of the hill areas is hence necessary in order to enable the population living in these areas, who are by and large very poor, to have their share of the benefits accruing from moderp science and technology. But such development, however, has to proceed in a way that the eco-system constituting the hills and the plains, is not irreversibly damaged, but is preserved in a suitable condition for future generations. There is, therefore, a paramount need for conceiving an integrated strategy for the development of the hill areas based on sound principles of ecology and economics. It was in realisation of this need that special hill area development programmes were initiated during the Fifth Plan. During the Sixth Plan also, the hill areas of the country will continue to receive special attention on account of their difficult terrain, agro-climatic conditions, historical lag in economic development, their environmental impact on the plains and above all> their great growth potential.
CATEGORISATION OF HILL AREAS
25.3 The hill areas fall broadly into two categones, namely, (i) those that are co-extensive with the boundaries of the State or the Union Territory and (ii) these which form a part of a State.
25.4 The development of both categories of hill areas requires appropriate programmes of development.
25.5 The hill areas which are self-contained politico-administrative units are being treated as Special Category Slates whose outlays are met, substantially out of Central assistance. These are the States and Union Territories of the North-Eastern Region, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The investments needed for meeting the vast infrastructural gaps in communications, transport, power generation and transmission, for the development of stable and diversified agriculture in place of the extensive practice of jhum-ing, horticulture, plantation crops giving rise to low volume and high-value products and large-scale afforestation with a view to restoring and protecting ecology, are heavy. On the other hand, it would take a considerable time for these areas to build up an adequate resource base. In view of this, the bulk of the outlays are provided out of Central Assistance.
25.6 For the integrated development of the Hill States and Union Territories of the North-Eastern region, the Central Government set up the North Eastern Council in 1971 by an Act of Parliament. The North-Eastern Council started functioning with the commencement of the Fifth Five Year Plan. The Council takes up such schemes as are of common interest to more than one State or Union Territory and to the region as a whole under its development plans. The Council has played an important role in the' development of inter-regional programmes of power generation and transmission, construction of roads, agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries etc. It has been supporting research and experimental projects. A training infrastructure is being built up for manpower development in the region under the auspices of the Council.
Hill Areas in Composite States of. the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan region
25.7 Hill areas forming part of larger composite State occur in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal in^tlie Himalayan and sub-Himalayaii region. Although the primary responsibility for the development of these hill areas is that of the concerned State Governments, the need for Central' assistance has been recognised even as far back as the Second Five Year Plan. Arrangements for providing Central assi-^atlce to the Hill Areas Development Programme have been further systematised since the commencement of the Fifth Five Year Plan. The Special Central Assistance is being allocated among the constituent States, giving equal weightage to the area and population of the hill areas.
25.8 Since the Fifth Plan, the concept of a sub-plan has been introduced, in order to ensure complementarity and linkages among the schemes formulated under the various sectors of the State Plan and out of the Central additive. A statement showing the Area, Population and DistrictsjTalukas covered under the Hill Areas Programme is given below:
Western Ghats and other Hill Areas
25.9 The Western Ghats region consists of a contiguous area of 132 talukas in the States of Maha-rashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Goa. The total area is 134.5 thousand Sq. Kms. and the population in this area is 26.49 millions. Central assistance is provided for development programmes in these areas, though the concept of a sub-plan has not been introduced. The other hill areas include Tamil Nadu Hill Areas (in addition to the Western Ghats areas) with an area of 2.5 thousand Sq. Kms. and population of 4.94 lakhs.
NEW THRUSTS AND FUTURE DIRECTION
25.10 The experience gained from the working or the sub-Plan suggests the need for greater horizontal integration among the various elements of a development programme. Mere regionalisation of the area budget alone will not help. Equally there is a need tor a balance in emphasis between beneficiary-oriented and infrastructural development programmes, keeping in view the vital importance of ecological restoration and conservation. Better water and land-use and control of soil erosion through watershed management, afforestation, silvi-pasture development and replacement of annual crops with perennial shrubs and trees and plantation crops in steep slopes and development of other high value-low volume crops linked with processing and marketing ai'e some of the methods of promoting sustainable development. Rural and small industries and electronic and precision instruments industries will also be promoted.
Land Use Pattern
25.11 The current land-use pattern either in the form of jhuming in the eastern Himalayan region or in the form of indiscriminate deforestation for a variety oi purposes in the Western region is leading to eco-catastrophies of various kinds. It is widely accepted that in the hills and in undulating terrain, it would be wise to grow perennial plants and to promote scientific animal husbandry. Hor;iculture, particularly apple cultivation, has received widespread interest not only in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh Hills but also in Arunachal Pradesh and parts of eastern Himalayan region. This has to be supported by appropriate steps in post-harvest technology and marketing. Shortage of packing material in Himachal Pradesh is leading to deforestation of valuable timber trees. Transport of produce in the north-eastern region is another bottleneck. The emphasis, therefore, has to be on high valuelow volume crops and products. In some parts of the hills, out-migration of men has taken place, making it necessary to introduce agricultural implements and muchinery which could be handled by women.
25.12 The damage that soil erosion causes to the hill areas, including its impact on irrigation projects is well known. In this context, it is necessary to evolve ;in integrated strategy in the hill areas of mini-watershed management. Besides the technology as applied to these areas in fields like road construction, power, irrigation and industrial projects would need constant review to avoid unfavourable consequences like land slides and erosion.
25.13 Forestry is essential not only for eco-preser-vation but also for fuel, human and animal nutrition, limber and raw-material tor industry. It also provides wind barrier to agriculture and shade for plantations of coffee, tea, spices, etc. Preventing further deforestation and promoting extensive planting of these are both necessary. Afforestation of catchment areas is of very high priority for preventing soil erosion as well as regulating water supply. Suitable agro-forestry techniques would be fostered in such areas.
25.14 In spite of the opportunities offered by favourable climate, the economic potential offered for dairying, sheep and other animal husbandry in the hill areas has not been fully tapped. In many hill regions the problem, is of overgrazing due to uncontrolled animal population and poor management. The scientific management of these lands can increase the yield of fodder and support effectively a large animal population. The animal husbandry programme will need a strong preventive and curative animal health programme, together with processing and marketing oT the produce.
Conservation and Environment
25.15 The hill areas, particularly, the Himalayan region is rich in genetic material of medicinal and food plants, fruits, including citrus and a wide range of other economic plants, orchids and other flowers. Some rare wild life still occurs in these areas. It would be important to have an integrated strategy for the preservation of the valuable flora and fauna through a chain of biosphere reserves, national parks and gene-sanctuaries.
25.16 For the scientific planning of the hill areas in the country, vital information on resources e.g., occurrence of minerals, soil characteristics, vegetational types and characteristics, estimation of the volume of surface and sub-surface flow in watersheds, etc., is required. Such information also needs to be constantly updated. Remote-sensing techniques and air-photo interpretation combined with ground truth studies hold great possibilities for this purpose. A perspective plan spelling out the long-term and short-term develop ments in the area will be drawn up. Plans will be drawn up for the regional, sub-regional, taluka (block) and settlement levels.
25.17 While the use of legal and executive powers to provide necessary protection to the environment should be made effective, far more reliance should be placed on people's action to achieve the desired results. The need for increasing public awareness about the environmental issues and to stimulate public participation in activities for environmental protection has been emphasised- in the Chapter on "Development and the Environment". The measures indicated for the above purpose would be vigorously implemented in the Hffl areas.
25.18 The concept of eco-development needs to be built into the programmes selected for implementation. Keeping constant need for eco-preservation in view, it is necessary that economic projects located in these areas build into their cost, the cost of eco-restoration. A paper project, for example, should include the cost of afforestation and its economic viability determined accordingly.
25.19 During the Sixth Plan, an integrated strategy, as outlined above, will be pursued. The planning process so far developed for the hill areas would be reviewed both in its operational mechanics and content. The programmes of ecological conservation in some areas would require a regional approach and coordinated action by several states. The Western Ghats region and the Himalayan region, both cut across several states. For these regions, appropriate implementation mechanisms would be devised for ensuring a regional overview and action at the national level,
25.20 To summarise, new approaches will have to be introduced for meeting the basic needs of hill people comprising water, food, work, fodder, feed, fuel and fertiliser. Water will have to be harvested in small ponds and reservoirs on a watershed basis and stored for use during winter and spring. Since land in the hills is best used for perennial crops, it will be advisable to store the needed food-grains in small storage structures at numerous points so that food availability attains the requisite degree of viability for persuading fanners to abandon jhumming and adopting cultivation of annual crops in steep slopes. "Store water and food wherever possible" has to be a major motto of the IRD programme in hill areas. Work will have to be provided under NREP and development projects in the fields of forestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, horticulture, agro-forestry and cottage industries. Since, women do most of the jobs in hills, they will have to be given opportunities for upgrading they skills in Krishi and Van-Viyyan Kendras. The District Manpower Planning and Employment Generation Councils will have to prepare detailed blue-prints and action plans for this purpose. Fodder and Teed plants will have to be grown extensively under the social forestry and agro-forestry programmes. Until adequate fodder and feed become locally available, it will be necessary to establish "Fodder and Feed Banks" at suitable places involving the supply of enriched cellulosic wastes and straw. Arrangements for fuel-svpply will have to be made under the village woodlots programme. Quick growing fuel trees will have to be cultivated under the social forestry programme. The Inter-University Eco-development camps to be organised with the help of the staff and students of universities and the Eco-development forces consisting of ex-servicemen will have to play a leading role in spearheading the afforestation movement. This programme will have to be monitored and scientifically supported by the Himalayan Research net-work to be constituted with the involvement of all the 12 universities in the Himalayas. A similar programme will have to be organised for the Western Ghats region
25.21 The current practice of maintaining a large number or unproductive cattle just for the purpose of getting manure should be rendered unnecessary by providing the needed nutrients to crops through biological and mineral fertilisers. Cultivation of legumes both for fodder and grain purposes together with suitable rhizohal cultures will have to be taken up on a large scale in forest canopies.
25.22 If a new movement for the promotion of scientific land and water use and human resource development in the hills is launched during this Plan, the extensive damage now taking place in the hills to basic life support systems, both because of the greed of the rich and the genuine needs of the poor for fuel, fodder, feed and fertiliser can be arrested. Success in protecting the hill eco-systems will determine the future fate of agriculture in the adjoining plains.
25.23 The Plan of the North-Eastern Council is fully funded by the Central Government. The programmes are implemented through the constituent units or Central organisations. The NEC's five year plan 1974 79 was of Rs. 90 crores and actual expenditure was Rs. 86.67 crores. The outlay provided in the Sixth Five Year Plan for NEC's programmes is Rs. 340 crores.
25.24 The provision for Special Central Assistance for hill areas in composite states of the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan region and the Western Ghats and other Hill areas was Rs. 170 crores in the Fifth Plan, the actual expenditure during 197479 being Rs. 162.65 crores. In the Sixth Plan, the provision has been raised to Rs. 560 crores.
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