|7th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)||<< Back to Index|
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DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMMES
APPROACH AND STRATEGY FOR THE SEVENTH PLAN
2.1 Poverty alleviation programmes have to be viewed in the wider perspective of socio-economic transformation in the country. While the present strategy of direct attack on poverty through specific poverty alleviation programmes is justified on account of insufficient percolation of benefits to the poor from overall economic growth, it should be appreciated that the strategy of direct attack on poverty cannot be sustained and would not yield the desired results, if the overall growth of the economy itself is slow and the benefits of such growth are inequitably distributed. For one thing, the resources and the capabilities needed for running such programmes cannot be generated in the system unless the economy itself is buoyant and there is a sustained increase in output. Secondly, the demand for goods and services produced by the poorer household enterprises rises significantly in response to the overall increase in incomes in the country so that the viability of these household enterprises depends critically on the sustained increase in national income. Further, it is necessary to ensure that the pattern of overall economic growth itself is such as to generate adequate incomes for the poorer sections through its greater impact on employment-generation and on the development of the less developed regions. The programmes for poverty alleviation should thus be regarded as supplementing the basic plan for overall economic growth, in terms of generating productive assets and skills as well as incomes for the poor.
2.2 The economic betterment of the poorer sections cannot be achieved without social transformation involving structural changes, educational development, growth in awareness, and change in out-look, motivation and attitudes. The social framework should be such as to provide opportunities for the poorer sections to display initiative and to stand on their legs. Moreover, such a framework can ensure that the benefits of poverty alleviation programmes really reach the poor and are not frittered away through various leakages. Strict enforcement of land reforms and revamping of credit institutions can provide the necessary access to assets and resources for the poor as well as promote a more equitable social structure. Greater participation of the poor through the elected institutions at the grassroots level as well as through their own organisations is another means to achieve social change. Improvement of literacy and education, both through formal and non-formal means, and the imaginative use of various mass media for communicating useful information and knowledge as well as for changing the outlook of the people by instilling in them the egalitarian spirit the urge for and confidence in achieving self-betterment through co-operative endeavour, are essential for speeding up the process of socio-economic transformation.
2.3 Admittedly, there have been various deficiencies in the implementation of the poverty alleviation programmes. However, there has been a distinct improvement in the actual implementation of these programmes over the Sixth Plan. The Approach to the Seventh Plan reiterates the goal of bringing down the percentage of population below the poverty line to less than 10 by 1994-95. Therefore, the special programmes for income generation for the poor through assets endowment and wage employment for them will be continued at an accelerated pace during the Seventh Five Year Plan.
2.4 In view of the deficiencies noticed in the implementation of the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), it has been suggested that greater priority should be assigned to rural employment programmes by shifting resources away from IRDP. The argument is two-fold. First, the household enterprises of the type visualised are inherently uneconomic and are in any case handicapped for lack of necessary infrastructure. Secondly, owing to the illiteracy and weak economic position of the beneficiaries and the existence of a chain of intermediaries, only a small portion of the intended outlay reaches the actual beneficiaries. Employment programmes on the other hand, it is argued, can provide secure wage-income to the poor, through the creation of durable community assets.
2.5 However, the experience of the working of poverty alleviation programmes is by no means uniform in the country. In general, the performance of IRDP has been better in the relatively developed regions which are well provided with infrastructure and where level of awareness among the beneficiaries is high. Even in the less developed areas, performance has been satisfactory wherever special efforts have been made for undertaking the necessary follow-up measures and for greater involvement of people through their representatives.
2.6 As to the economic viability of the household-enterprises, it should be noted that such enterprises are already in existence on a wide scale in the developed as well as the less developed regions. In fact, they are a major source of employment and income for the poor in rural areasnext only to land. But they suffer from various handicaps in regard to the supply of raw materials, access to credit, facilities for marketing, etc. As a result, there is considerable exploitation of these households by the middlemen. Public intervention to provide the necessary services to these already existing enterprises would contribute to a substantial increase in their income. Government-sponsored programmes for the poor, such as dairy and poultry, account for only a small proportion of the total market for such products now, sometimes even less than one per cent.
2.7 The demand for such products, and for a number of other rural crafts, is highly responsive to increase in income and, therefore, there is no reason for pessimism about the prospects for income generation for the poor from such activities so long as overall economic growth is satisfactory. Besides, the possession of productive assets and skills confers other advantages such as economic security, social status and creditworthiness. Such activities are labour-intensive and not land-intensive and, therefore, typically suit the marginal holdings and the landless. Even though the capital-output ratios (investment per unit of output) for some of these activities are higher than that for crop production, they are still very much lower than for many of the small-scale industrial enterprises. In many cases, where traditional skills are available and remain underutilised for want of resources, the capital-output ratio turns out to be much lower than even for crop production. These activities, in general, require government support for resources, training in skills, and marketing.
2.8 IRDP and employment programmes are not mutually exclusive. As it is, most of the IRDP beneficiaries supplement their incomes through wage earning in agriculture as well as from projects under National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) and Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP). These activities supplement one another and together ensure a more stable flow of incomes to the poor throughout the year. The problem of ensuring maximum benefits to the target groups by minimising leakages is common for all the poverty alleviation programmes and indeed for the rural development programmes in general. Apart from the necessary restructuring of the administrative set-up, there is no alternative to raising the awareness of the rural poor and involving representative institutions from below in the formulation as well as implementation of such programmes.
2.9 Cost-effectiveness of the programmes and minimisation of leakages should be the two guiding principles in the implementation of poverty alleviation programmes. Economic viability should be understood primarily in terms of cost effectiveness, i.e., maximum income generation per unit of total expenditure incurred. This is to be distinguished from economic viability defined as level of investment sufficient to enable a family to cross the poverty line. The ability of a poorer household to cross the poverty line depends on its overall income, i.e., income from the poverty alleviation programmes and other wage and non-wage incomes accruing to it.
2.10 Cost-effectiveness or efficiency of programmes depends to a considerable extent, on the nature of activities chosen. In view of the significant regional diversities in the country in regard to resource endowments, availability of infrastructure, administrative arrangements, etc., there need to be sufficient flexibility in the choice of activities in different regions in keeping with the specific circumstances of the area concerned. One should thus expect considerable diversity in the mix of activities from region to region.
2.11 The total impact of the programme depends on the degree to which the different poverty alleviation programmes, including the Minimum Needs Programme (MNP), are integrated with one another and with the overall development of the area. For example, endowment of land under land reform measures can enable a family to grow fodder for the animal given under the IRDP;development of house, sites under MNP can be integrated with the construction of the houses under NREP or RLEGP and vice-versa, and both in turn integrated with the IRDP by developing work sheds and production estates around the housing complex. NREP and RLEGP can also be used extensively for raising productivity in agriculture through construction of field channels for irrigation and for drainage,
2.12 To achieve the above objectives of cost-effectiveness and minimisation of leakages by imparting the necessary flexibility in the choice of activities and by achieving integration in the programmes, a three-pronged strategy is envisaged in the Seventh Plan. (a) Poverty alleviation programmes would be formulated and implemented in a decentralised manner with the participation of people at the grassroots level through village pan-chayats, panchayat samities, zilla parishads, etc. Such an approach will contribute to the selection of project suited to local conditions, and to the integration of poverty alleviation programmes with area development. This framework will also help in the timely provision of services in their appropriate sequence and in ensuring that the benefit of such programmes really reach those for whom they are intended. The Working Group on District Planning constituted by the Planning Commission had recommended a gradual approach towards decentralisation for achieving the objectives of effective implementation of poverty alleviation programmes and balanced regional development. During the Seventh Plan, decentralisation of the planning process and full public participation in development will be pursued on the lines suggested by the Working Group.
(b) The launching of a large number of programmes both through the normal sectoral efforts and other steps designed to cater to target-group households has resulted in a multiplicity of organisations, leading to duplication of management efforts. Further, the delivery system at various levels has proved to be inadequate. The effective implementation of poverty alleviation programmes would call for better planning at the district level involving various disciplines or departments, tighter organisational set-up to ensure optimal use of resources and closer monitoring. A High Level Committee has been set up by the Planning Commission to review the existing administrative arrangements for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation Programmes and to recommend an appropriate structural mechanism to ensure that they are planned in an integrated manner and effectively implemented. Measures will be taken during the Seventh Plan for strengthening, proper training and orientation of the local administrative machinery within the framework of an integrated administrative organisation.
(c) Keeping in view the limited absorptive capacity of the poorest households, the Approach to the Seventh Plan has also emphasised the need for taking up group-oriented activities for beneficiaries, to the extent possible, through the promotion of co-operatives, registered societies, informal groups, etc., so that the economies of scale, inherent in some of these activities, especially in the provision of services, are fully realised while, at the same time, group initiative and effort of the poor are promoted. This is necessary to protect the beneficiaries from the adverse operation of market forces whether on supply of inputs or on the sale of their produce. The mass media will have to be geared forincreasing awareness among the rural poor and for disseminating information, non-formal education and functional skills and knowledge required by them. For purposes of bringing about a greater degree of awareness among, and participation of, beneficiaries, a Central scheme is proposed to be launched for the organisation of the beneficiaries both in terms of group-oriented economic activities and increased conscientisation. Further, voluntary agencies would be increasingly involved in the formulation as well as implementation of poverty alleviation programmes during the Seventh Plan, especially for ensuring greater participation of the people.
INTEGRATED RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (IRDP)
Review of Performance
2.13 The programme of asset-endowment under IRDP was designed to develop self-employment ventures in a variety of activities like seri-culture, animal husbandry and land-based activities in the primary sector; weaving handicrafts, etc., in the secondary sector; and service and business activities in the tertiary sector. With a view to diversifying the occupational structure, it had been stipulated that 33 per cent of the beneficiary coverage should, as far as possible, be in the secondary and tertiary sectors. The assets provided to the selected households were financed through a mix of government subsidies and institutional credit on an average subsidy credit ratio of 1:2. The capital cost of the assets was subsidised to the extent of 25 per cent for small farmers, 33-1/3 per cent for marginal farmers, agricultural labourers and rural artisans and 50 per cent for the scheduled tribes. A family could receive upto Rs. 3,000 by way of subsidy. In drought prone areas, the limit of subsidy ceiling was Rs. 4,000 while for tribal beneficiaries it was Rs. 5,000.
2.14 The key indicators of performance in the Sixth Plan are given in Table 2.1. It would be seen that at the national level the targets have been achieved in respect of all the quantitative parameters set out in the programme guidelines. However, the performance has been uneven as between States.
TABLE 2.1 IRDP Performance in the Sixth Plan
2.15 The Programme Evaluation Organisation of the Planning Commission, RBI, NABARD, Institute of Financial and Management Research, Madras, and a number of other institutions have conducted studies in respect of IRDP. Most of these studies were based on the experience of the first one or two years of the programme, when it had yet to stabilise and when the per household investment levels were very meagre.
2.16 The number of persons who would have crossed the income level of Rs. 3500 according to these studies would not exceed around 40 per cent (PEO 49 per cent), although additional incomes have accrued in the case of 55 to 90 per cent of the beneficiaries, and the relative consumption expenditure of households assisted under these programmes has been found to be generally higher than for comparable non-beneficiary households. The Sixth Plan had assumed an ICOR of 1.5 and resources had been allocated in such a manner as to enable average investment per household of around Rs. 3000. The studies made so far indicate that ICOR assumptions were too optimistic and the investment levels per household were inadequate, in quite a few cases, to generate enough additional income to carry the beneficiaries, particularly those with a large income gap, above the income level of Rs. 3500. Some of the other significant issues brought out by the evaluation studies are as follows:
(i) The financial allocations and physical targets under the Programme were determined on a uniform basis per block, without regard to the incidence of poverty, or even the size of population, which in some cases also, resulted in the selection of ineligible families.
(ii) The extent of wrong identification was quite high at around 15-20 per cent. The main reasons for wrong identification were: (a) reliance on lists of households identified under the SFDA where the identification was based on land holding rather than income; (b) non-involvement of people's institutions in the survey and selection process; (c) better bank-ability of those having an asset base; and (d) collusion between the government functionaries and vested interests in some cases.
(iii) There have also been complaints of outright leakages through corruption and malparactoces which,however, have not been quantified by any of the studies. Some factors which could have promoted this are:
(a) non-involvement and lack of awarness among the beneficiaries: and (b) methodology of adminstration of subsidy; and (c) insufficient investment in terms of project cost norms resulting in purchase of substandard assests.
(iv) The selection of schemes under the Programme has shown an overwhelming bias towards animal husbandry, more particularly milch cattle. While this activity has considerable employment and income generation potential, this was vitiatedly by: (a) the shortage of good quality animals; (b) artificial increase in prices of animals; and (c) absence of linkages and support structures for feed, health cover and marketing. On the other hand, the predominance of this activity can be explained by factors such as the familiarity of the beneficiaries and block functionaries alike, and absence of expertise in projectisation with respect to secondary and tertiary activities.
(v) While the Programme guidelines stipulated that 33 per cent of the beneficiaries should be assisted under the secondary and tertiary sectors, the actual percentage in earlier years was much lower (Table 2.1). Though there has been a distinct improvement in the later years, there has been a tendency even now to concentrate on petty business activities. While these can yield quick returns with relatively low project investment levels, the life of the investment is likely to be short, and in many cases they may not become selfsustaining.
(vi) A disturbing distinction between the so-called production programmes and beneficiary-oriented programmes has been noticed. Even the banks have sometimes referred to IDRP loaning as credit at the expense of priority production sectors, although most of the activities taken up under IRDP would fall within that category.
(vii) A major problem has been found to lie in the absence of backward and forward linkages. It appears that no real steps have been taken to provide institutional support for the supply of raw materials and, more particularly, for marketing, which was an important component of the total Sixth Plan strategy for Rural Development. Back-up support from sectoral departments was also found to be largely missing.
(viii) Inadequacy of banking infrastructure in certain areas, particularly in the North-East, has affected credit flow adversely; shortages of staff, almost everywhere, have resulted in insufficient scrutiny and delayed disposal of loan applications, and absence of supervision and follow-up; insistence on security in spite of instructions to the contrary, has resulted in the exclusion of the poorer among the target group; prescription of unrealistic loan repayment schedules has resulted in non-productive use of assistance; and non-availability of loan passbooks with the beneficiaries has encouraged malpractices and adversely affected repayments.
(ix) Another weakness of the IRDP which has been discovered during the implementation is non-adoption of the cluster or group approach.
(x) An important bottleneck has also been found to lie in administrative weaknesses both in terms of the qualified staff required at the block and district levels and in respect of vertical and horizontal coordination and integration between different departments.
2.17 Although there have been many shortcomings in the Programme, there have been strong positive features also. The evaluation studies have brought out that it has resulted in substantial additional incomes to a large number of beneficiaries and the creation of assets which, in 70-80 per cent cases, were found to be intact. In some cases it has actually resulted in a change in occupational structure. There has been a definite shift in the sectoral coverage pattern also, with the secondary and tertiary sector activities having increased from about 6.44 per cent in 1980-81 to about 46 per cent in 1984-85. The per household investment has gone up from Rs. 1642 in 1980-81 to Rs. 3339 in 1984-85 and there has also been an increase in the credit-subsidy ratio.
Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM)
2.18 With the objective of providing technical skills to rural youths to enable them to take up self-employment in the broad fields of agriculture and allied activities, industries, services, and business activities, the scheme of Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment was started on 15th August, 1979. The Sixth Plan aimed to train 2 lakh rural youths every year at the rate of 40 youths per block per annum. The target-group comprised rural youths between the ages of 18 and 35 from families living below the poverty line. It was also indicated that a minimum of 30 per cent of the trained youths should belong to Scheduled Caste SC and Scheduled Tribe ST communities and a minimum of 31-1.3 per cent of the rural youths trained should be women.
2.19 Against the target of 10.05 lakh youths to be trained during the Sixth Plan, 9.4 lakh youths were actually trained which accounts for 93.3 per cent of the target. Of the 9.4 lakh youths trained, 4.46 lakh youths (49.4 per cent) were self-employed. Member of SC and ST account for 31.5 per cent of the persons trained, while women account for 34.8 per cent of the total number of persons trained.
Development of Woman and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA)
2.20 It was noticed in the first three years of the Plan that the benefits under the IRDP were not flowing to women in adequate measure. Therefore, a programme for Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) was introduced in September, 1982 in 50 districts on a pilot basis with a view to increasing their income and also to provide support services needed to enable them to take up income-generating activities. For this purpose, assistance could be given either to individual woman or to those organised into homogenous groups to take up economically viable activities on a group basis together with the provision of support services and child-care facilities for the women so organised.
2.21 The Sixth Plan outlay for the scheme was Rs. 15.60 crores which was to be shared equally by the Centre and the States. In addition, UNICEF assistance was to be made available to the extent of Rs. 5.40 crores. It was realised that Government effort would require to be supplemented by voluntary agencies also and a scheme of assistance to voluntary agencies under DWCRA was formulated. Besides, need was also felt for the construction of multipurpose community centres for the purpose of imparting training to workers to enable them to take up income generating activities, demonstration of appropriate technology and living quarters for gramsevikas of the area. In all, 3308 Groups covering 52,1.70 Women beneficiaries were actually organised under the Programme in the Sixth Plan.
Measures Proposed in the Seventh Plan
2.22 Many of the shortcomings of the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) outlined above would appear to stem from the fact that a programme of massive dimensions, having a multiplicity of critical parameters and functioning in a highly diverse environment, was launched with what .can be called very little preparation. The Sixth Plan period could thus be called a period of trial in which the Programme has gradually come to be known, understood and even stabilised. The gaps that have been revealed and the weaknesses that have been experienced in the process will be remedied in the Seventh Plan so as to make the IRDP an effective instrument of poverty alleviation.
2.23 The Programme will continue to aim at the poorest among the poor who will be identified by an annual household income of Rs. 4800, which is substantially lower than the cut-off income of around Rs. 6400 at the poverty line level. Towards achieving this end, much greater care will be exercised in the process of selection of beneficiaries. Detailed household surveys, with maximum involvement of the local community, will be carried out with the dual objective of identifying those who, having already received assistance in the Sixth Plan, require supplementary assistance to achieve economic viability and those in the lowest strata of the poverty group, who have not been approached so far. The survey may have to be accompanied by a process of registration of poor families with the objective of identification of target-group households, not only for the IDRP but also for the delivery of an integrated package of benefits under the other programmes connected with poverty alleviation and raising the levels of living of the poor, such as the NREP/ RLEGP and MNP, etc.
2.24 Considering the low absorptive capacity of the poorest among the poor, apart from the emphasis on the group approach indicated eariler, the adoption of the total household approach will be emphasised as a major plank of the Programme. This would mean not only the provision of a total package of benefits and services under different programmes to the identified households but also the provision of assistance under the IRDP in the form of more than one scheme of assests over a period of time, if necessary to different members of the household, so as to gradually create a capacity for productive absorption of credit and generation of self-sustaining income.
2.25 It is important to ensure a balanced sectoral coverage under the Programme. To achieve this objective there would be a renewed emphasis on decentralised planning at the district level with the objective of drawing up project and sub-sectoral profiles based on the local potential and the on-going sectoral plans and programmes which could help to identify the major potential thrust areas in different regions. Such plans at the district level would have to be prepared within the first year of the Seventh Plan. In the process, on-going target group-oriented schemes being implemented by different departments will be rationalised and others capable of such orientation, the Special Rice Programme, Operation Flood II (OF-11), Programmes for Handlooms and Sericulture, etc. would be given a specific direction towards the target group of the IRDP with a view to achieving maximum integration between the individual beneficiary-oriented content of the IRDP, on the one hand, and the infrastructure and service support made available through such programmes, on the other. For example, the benefits intended to be provided to 10 million families under the OF-II could be easily directed first to the IRDP beneficiaries who might have got milch cattle, rather than having an independent selection of farmers who in most cases would be better off and more easily able to fend for themselves.
2.26 Within the above broad framework, due emphasis would be given to augmenting productivity through IRDP by taking up land-based activities like minor irrigation, dry farming, horticulture and even farm forestry. With the emphasis of IRDP on the poorest of the poor, this would imply large scale conjunctive activity with land reforms, i.e., land distribution and grant of ownership rights to sharecroppers and tenants and with programmes like NREP and RLEGP i.e., development of distributed/ distributable lands, etc.
2.27 Concrete steps will be taken to step up activity in the Industries, Services and Business (ISB) sector. Realistic project profiles will be worked out for household enterprises, and wherever possible larger groups enterprises, in areas of traditional skills. These will take into account the need to provide balancing equipment and improvement of existing capital stock along with the provision of working capital to maintain continued income flows and asset development and renewal. In a number of other sectors of the economy like water supply and sanitation and improved agricultural implements, there is considerable scope for developing productive ventures for production, fabrication and service/repair of new technology-based equipments, which will be exploited and developed to the maximum extent as part of secondary and tertiary sector activity under IRDP.
2.28 A major area of weakness under the Programme, i.e., the absence of infrastructural support and backward and forward linkages, will be given special attention. For the most part this will have to come from the sectoral departments in the form of development of appropriate technology, production and supply of good-quality assets and provision of other inputs and services. In order to ensure this an attempt would be made to spell out the provision of such support specifically in the sectoral plans. In addition, to meet the requirements of programme specific and balancing infrastructure at the local level, funds will be provided separately, over and above subsidy funds, as a part of the overall outlays under IRDP. These funds, among other things, would be utilised for developing institutions such as District Supply and Marketing Societies at the district level to take care of raw materials/ input requirements and marketing. It will be emphasised that an infrastructure sub-plan should be prepared as anintegral part of the sub-sectoral district plans mentioned earlier. While doing this, the support likely to be available through the plans of sectoral departments as well as the planned use of the IRDP infrastructure funds would both have to be spelt out.
2.29 The process of skill endowment to members of the target groups would be considered as an integral part of the IRDP. The training of youths under TRYSEM would, therefore, be provided on the basis of actual need and requirement, and there will be no separate targets at a macro-level for TRYSEM. The costs of training in the form of stipends, etc. will be met out of the funds set out for infrastructure, etc. under the IRDP. The Sixth Plan scheme for strengthening of training infrastructure for TRYSEM will be reoriented and replaced by a new scheme to develop Composite Rural Training and Technology Centres (CRTTC) in each district as nodal institutions within a larger system of training and technology dissemination covering the district as a whole. Such centres will be developed around existing ITIs, Polytechnics, etc.
2.30 The technology component of these Centres would be developed by CART acting through State-level Science and Technology Institutions. For purposes of technology development and dissemination, major thrust areas and areas with evident potential for application in the context of small ventures under IRDP and other special programmes of rural development will be identified, and techno-economic profiles based on such technology will be prepared together with appropriate training packages, wherever necessary. The dual objective of this would be to ensure widespread dissemination of technology already developed and to bring home the economic advantages of the same in maximum measure to members of the target group. In identified thrust areas where the state of technology may be in a relatively nascent stage, experimental projects would be taken up by CART through different governmental and non-governmental agencies.
2.31 A major role in the Programme would continue to be played by the banking sector. It is expected that credit to the tune of around Rs. 4000 crores would have to be mobilised from the banking structure. The role of cooperative institutions, which had not been upto the mark in the Sixth Plan, will have to be emphasised, and a reasonable percentage of the total credit would have to be mobilised from these institutions. This would call for strengthening of the cooperative institutions both through the sectoral Plan funds and infrastructure funds available under the IRDP. In certain regions, particularly the north-east, the bank infrastructure will be substantially expanded and strengthened with a view to extending credit in areas hitherto deprived of it. Strict measures will be taken to enforce the instructions by which IRDP loans are exempted from security. Besides, steps will be taken to see that the terms of loan and repayment schedules are rationalised so that the poorest of the poor are able to improve their levels of living from increases in productivity and, if necessary, a moratorium on repayment in certain cases would be considered. Steps will also be taken to ensure the provision of working capital and even a cash credit limit, wherever necessary and feasible. Loan pass books would be issued to all beneficiaries to ensure proper accounting and follow-up.
2.32 The ceilings of subsidy fixed for different categories of beneficiaries in the Sixth Plan would continue. Within these, the average subsidy per household would be stepped up from around Rs. 1000 in the Sixth Plan to around Rs. 1333 to allow for a higher per capita investment level (around Rs. 4000 as compared to Rs 3339 in 1984-85) so as to ensure adequate income returns. The position regarding the average subsidy per household can be reviewed for the last three years of the Plan. The manner of administering the subsidy will be reviewed and rationalised with a view to ensuring that leakages are minimised and the beneficiary, without adding any extra burden, is motivated towards productive utilisation of the loan.
2.33 Due emphasis would continue to be given under the IRDP to direct the maximum quantum of benefits towards women, who admittedly constitute a substantially deprived section of the community. Efforts to be made in this direction through IRDP would be supplemented by continuing the Programme for the Development of Women and Children in the Rural Areas (DWCRA) in the Seventh Plan. Considering that the Sixth Plan experience with this programme was still of a pilot and experimental nature, the Programme would be implemented in 1000 blocks. The objective would be mainly to organise women in socio-economic activity groups with the dual objective of providing self-employment opportunities and social strength to them. In the process voluntary agencies and people's action group would be involved to the maximum extent possible. Efforts will also be made to integrate with the DWCRA other programmes for the development of Women and Children, viz., the ICDS Integrated Child Development Services and other State programmes like SIAD Social Inputs for Area Development, so as to provide a larger and more comprehensive coverage of women and children and to reduce duplication and increase the cost-effectiveness of the total, effort.
2.34 The Special Livestock Production Programme (SLPP), which had continued in the Sixth plan as a separate programme, although financed through IRDP outlays, will be merged with the IRDP under which substantial activity in the milch cattle sector has. in any case been noticed. The pattern of assistance under the SLPP will, wherever feasible be provided under the main IRD Programme. With the merger of this programme with the IRDP and considering ihe normal emphasis on milch cattle that is likely to continue in the IRDP even otherwise, there is likely to be a substantial demand for good quality heifers and other milch animals. Keeping this in view a new breeding programme, the Special Livestock Breeding Programme (SLBP), will replace the SLPP in the Seventh Plan. This would enable the farmers selected for this purpose to contribute to the poverty alleviation programmes by producing good quality animals, and create alternative market channels for animal sales towards the Programme requirements even for target-group cattle-owners.
2.35 Keeping in view the objective of bringing down the poverty ratio to less than 10% by 1994-95, it would be aimed to provide assistance to around 20 million households under the IRDP in the Seventh Plan. Considering that between 50 and 60 per cent of the Sixth Plan beneficiaries may not have actually crossed the poverty line, it is expected that around 50 per cent of the beneficiaries to be assisted in the Seventh Plan will be cases requiring supplementary assistance on an average, at the Subsidy rate of Rs. 500 per household.
2.36 To enable these targets to be achieved, an outlay of Rs. 1328.88 crores has been provided for IRDP and allied programmes in the Seventh Plan in the Central sector to be matched by an equal amount by the States. This outlay would include provision for subsidy for the main programme, funds for infrastructure, training stipends, etc., to the extent of 20 per cent of the subsidy funds; setting up of the CRTTC and the Special Livestock Breeding Programme and certain other programmes like strengthening of Block Administration, Computerised District Rural Information system, strengthening of Extension Training Centres, etc. Of the total outlay, Rs. 1887.05 crores would be available for subsidy and Rs. 471.76 crores for infrastructure, etc. under the IRDP. The remaining amount would be for other schemes mentioned above.
2.37 The outlays under the Programme will be based upon the principle of selectivity geared to actual incidence of poverty in different States. For the first two years 50 per cent of the allocations will be made on the basis of an equal allocation per block as in the Sixth Plan, and the remaining 50 per cent on the basis of incidence of poverty determined by the NSSO survey. From the third year onwards, the allocations would be based entirely on the incidence of poverty.
NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMME (NREP)
Review of Performance
2.38 The NREP was launched in October, 1980 and became a regular Plan programme from April, 1981. The programme was expected to generate additional gainful employment in the rural areas, to the extent of 300-400 million mandays per annum, create durable community assets, and improve nutritional status and living standards of the poor.
2.39 An outlay of Rs. 1620 crores was provided under this Programme, out of which the outlay from 1980-81 onwards (Rs. 1280 crores) was to be shared equally between the Centre and the States. The yearwise performance under the Programme is indicated in Table 2.2.
2.40 A major step was taken in 1983-84 when it was decided to subsidise the cost of the foodgrains to be distributed under this Programme. A subsidy to the extent of 37 Paise to 40 Paise per kg was provided for wheat and rice to be distributed under the Programme. According to the guidelines, foodgrains were to be provided at the rate of 1 kg per man day. The total foodgrains made available each year during 1980-85 and the utilisation are indicated in Table 2.3.
2.41 The creation of durable assets was an important objective of this Programme and, in fact, the real distinguishing feature between the Food for Work Programme and the NREP. With a view to ensuring the durability of assets created, a provision had been made allowing for expenditure on materials to the extent of 40
"For the first six months, the Food for Work Programme was in operation.
per cent of the total project cost (revised to 50 per cent in 1983-84). Table 2.4 shows the different catagories of assets created under this Programme during the Sixth Plan.
2.42 It would be seen from the foregoing review that the employment generation target under the NREP has been consistently achieved. However, it is not known as to how much of this has been directed towards those who are landless and the poorest among the poor. To this extent the programme has apparently lacked a direct focus on the target-group population, for whom it was meant. It has, however, had a substantial impact in terms of stabilisation of wages in the rural areas, containing prices of foodgrains and the creation of a wide variety of community assets which could be expected to help in raising the levels of living of the rural population.
2.43 As regards asset creation under NREP, it would be seen from Table 2.4 that productive works such as soil conservation, social forestry and irrigation had shown a decline between 1980-81 and 1982-83 while there was a sharp increase in building works, and roads continued to have an important place in the Programme.
2.44 As regards specific type of assets reported to have been constructed, the reviews have brought out certain features which would have to be considered for the future:
Measures Proposed in the Seventh Plan
2.45 The National Rural Employment Programme will be continued in the Seventh Plan as an important component of the anti-poverty strategy. As indicated earlier, this will have to be viewed as an integral part of the total package, which would imply that an effort would have to be made to direct and monitor the wage employment opportunities accruing through this Programme to members of the target group including those indentified for assistance under the IRDP. The same principle would apply in the choice of projects which would, therefore, have to take account of labour-intensity of projects, their capacity to provide reasonably long spells of employment during implementation, direction towards poor, long-term income and employment generation potential, capacity to create a base for productive asset endowment and capacity for filling gaps in vital infrastructure. Based on this, priority will be accorded to works for the development of waste lands and marginal lands allotted under land reform measures, renovation of derelict tanks for large scale development of fisheries with the target-group orientation, social forestry including fuel and energy plantations, fodder and pasture development and roadside plantations with maximum involvement of the community/ target-groups in their management coupled with nursery development of target-group land-holders. Development of composite homestead projects for the shelterless in the form of housing complexes-cum-production estates within a larger concept of habitat development, field works in irrigation command areas and micro watersheds, roads according to well-defined techno-economic norms and within planned priorities such as those arising out of the MNP, and need-based construction of buildings which apart from schools, panchayat ghars, etc., would provide vital economic infrastructures like buildings for godowns, banks and workshops/shops for target-group beneficiaries would be chosen.
2.46 The broad objectives of the programme, while remaining the same as in the Sixth Plan, would have to conform to the above priorities.
2.47 The Sixth Plan experience has shown that the distribution of foodgrains has not kept up to the stipulated level of 1 kg. per manday for a variety of reasons relating to problems of storage and movement, quality of food-grains and diversion to the public distribution system, and in some cases because of local preferences for coarse grains. The importance of foodgrain distribution under the Programme cannot be over-emphasised in view of its effects both on stabilization of prices and the improvement of nutritional standards of workers. With the comfortable food stocks, an additional I million tonnes of foodgrains will be provided for the Programme over and above its normal requirements. The quantum of foodgrains distribution per worker per day would also be stepped up. The States will be asked to prepare detailed action plans to ensure that the process of foodgrain distribution is streamlined to achieve the Programme objectives. Where-ever necessary, coarse grains would have to be purchased locally and made available for the Programme. Efforts have been made successfully in some States to distribute other commodities such as sarees as wage payment in kind. Such efforts would be encouraged in other areas also in such manner as to provide encouragement to decentralised production of handloom textiles, etc.
2.48 With a view to overcoming the problems of ad hoc selection of projects and suspicious about the quality of work, detailed guidelines for important sub-sectors figuring under the Programme such as roads, social forestry and housing have already been issued. These will have to be supplemented by the preparation of detailed techno-economic norms at the State level and of technical training manuals for the implementation staff. The provision allowing for spending upto 50 per cent of the allocations on materials would be continued in the interest of ensuring the durability of the assets created. Since the relative costs of labour and materials for different projects would vary, the stipulated ratio would be maintained for the district as a whole which would allow substantial flexibility in the context of decentralised economic planning.
RURAL LANDLESS EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE PROGRAMME (RLEGP)
Review of Performance
2.49 RLEGP was introduced from 15th August, 1983 with the objective of (a) improving and expanding employment opportunities for the rural landless with a view to providing guarantee of employment to at least one member of every landless household upto 100 days in a year and (b) creating durable assets for strengthening the infrastructure so as to meet the growing requirements of the rural economy. An outlay of Rs. 500 crores to be fully financed by the Central Government was provided under this programme in the Sixth Plan. The implementation of the programme was entrusted to the States/UTs, but they were required to prepare specific projects for approval by a Central Committee. During (1985) the Central Committee approved 320 projects with an estimated cost of Rs. 906.59 crores. The target for employment generation in 1983-84 and 1984-85 was fixed at 360 million mandays against which 260.18 million man-days of employment was actually generated.
2.50 This programme is expected to have resulted in the creation of a large number of durable community assets and economic infrastructure in the rural areas. However, a tendency to concentrate on assets creation on the basis of departmental plans rather than on the basis of the requirements determined locally and of the need to provide the requisite quantum of employment to the landless labourers, has been noticed. Concentration on road projects was also initially observed which was later sought to be restricted to not more than 50 per cent of the total outlays and also confined to the priorities arising out of the Minimum Needs Programme.
Measures Proposed in the Seventh Plan
2.51 Mid-way during the Sixth Plan, the RLEGP was started with the dual objective of expanding employment opportunities in the rural areas and providing sharper focus on the landless labour households which constitute the hard-core of the people below the poverty line. Suggestions have been made that this should be merged with the NREP. However, considering that a substantial part of the RLEGP funds would be committed to the on-going projects and also since it has not been found feasible to introduce a full guarantee of employment even to a limited section, this programme would continue as a separate entity for the time being. In the meanwhile, efforts would also be made to implement a limited guarantee for providing 80 to 100 days employment to the landless labour households through this programme. The issue of merger and a wider guarantee could be considered at the mid-term Plan review stage.
2.52 As in the case of the NREP, wage material cost-ratio will be 50 : 50, which, however, will be maintained on a project by project basis. Experience in the Sixth Plan in certain States has shown that if integrated projects are developed this stipulation would still allow substantial scope for productive works to be planned within a decentralised frame-work at the district level.
2.53 Under both these Programmes, 20 per cent of the resources will be earmarked for social forestry in view of the importance of eco-restoration and providing the benefits in the form of usufruct to the members of the community, particularly the poor. In addition, 10 per cent of the funds would be earmarked for works of direct and, if necessary, individual benefit to the members of scheduled castes. A separate provision within the RLEGP will be made for rural housing with the objective of constructing one million houses in the Seventh Plan. This will be closely integrated with the housing component of the MNP.
2.54 Five per cent of the outlays to be provided for RLEGP and NREP would be available for strengthening the implementation agencies. Further, based on past experience regarding problems of maintenance of assets created under such programmes, the question of providing funds to the extent of 10 per cent of the overall outlays for these programmes for maintenance will be considered. Maintenance under this provision would generally have to relate to sectors for which maintenance funds and systems are ordinarily not available and actual maintenance will have to be carried out on the basis of detailed maintenance plans to be drawn up for each district.
2.55 An outlay of Rs. 1250.81 crores has been provided for NREP in the Central Sector which will be matched equally by the States. The outlay of Rs. 1743.78 crores has been provided for RLEGP to be borne entirely by the Centre. Based on the average wage of Rs. 8.61 per day as in 1984-85 and a wage material cost-ratio of 50:50, a total employment of 1445 million man-days under NREP and 1013 million man-days under RLEGP is likely to be generated during the Seventh Plan at an average rate of around 290 million man-days and 200 million man-days per annum, respectively.
2.56 The formula for allocation of resources among the States, which provided for 25 per cent weightage to the incidence of poverty and 75 per cent weightage to the population of agriculture labourers and marginal farmers in the Sixth Plan will be changed to provide equal weightage to those from 1986-87 onwards, because it has been noticed that the existing formula has tended to benefit, in some cases, States which are more agriculturally advanced.
DROUGHT-PRONE AREA PROGRAMME (DPAP)
Review of the Sixth Plan
2.57 A Rural Works Programmes was started in 1970-71 in areas chronically affected by drought with the principal objective of organising permanent works to obviate scarcity relief and to generate adequate employment through labour-intensive schemes such as major, medium, and minor irrigation works, soil conservation, afforestation, and village and district roads necessary to open up the area for agricultural production. In the Fourth Plan, after the mid-term appraisal, this programme was re-designated as Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) and reoriented as an integrated area development programme with the objective of developing the land, water, livestock and human resources of these areas. The programme has been in operation in 511 blocks of 70 districts in 13 States.
2.58 A Task Force was constituted in 1980 to review the on-going special programme and development schemes taken up under DPAP, to study the existing coverage of the DPAP; to lay down objective criteria for inclusion/ exclusion of areas under the programme; to spell out the main components of the broad strategy of development under the programme and also to identify the linkages between DPAP and other on-going rural development programmes. The Task Force submitted its report in 1982 and made several recommendations for improving the impact and coverage of the DPAP. While implementing the recommendations of the Task Force, some of the States had not agreed to the exclusion of some areas, from 1982-83, from this programme, whereas a few States had even suggested the inclusion of new areas which they considered to be drought-prone.
2.59 An Inter-Departmental Group on DPAP/DDP was set up in 1984 by the Department of Rural Development to examine the representations received from these States for purposes of inclusion/re-inclusion of blocks under these programmes. It is as a result of the recommendations of the Inter-Departmental Group that 120 blocks were added to DPAP, while 16 blocks were deleted from the programme. The net addition has, therefore, been 104 blocks to the existing coverage of 511 blocks (upto 1984-85).
2.60 During the Sixth Plan, the financing pattern was on the basis of equal sharing between the Centre and the States. The funding norm under the DPAP has been at the rate of Rs. 15 lakhs per block per year. The Sixth Plan allocations for DPAP was Rs. 350 crores. As against this, the actual expenditure amounted to Rs, 310 crores.
2.61 The physcial achievement during the Sixth Five Year Plan are as follows:
Measures Proposed in the Seventh Plan
2.62 The strategy adopted in the Sixth Plan for DPAP will continue during the Seventh Plan which would inter-alia include increased stress on activities which can contribute directly to the restoration of the ecological balance and increasing the per capita income through the effective development of land and other natural resources including efficient utilisation of scarce water, conservation of scanty rainfall, and arresting its run-off in drought-prone areas. Accordingly, the Programme, as at present, would continue to be implemented as an integrated area development programme rather than as a programme merely for creating increased employment opportunities. Integrated district plans, taking into account resourcesavailable under sectoral programmes and other special programmes like NREP, RLEGP, and IRDP, will be prepared to achieve the objective of restoration of ecological balance of the area by way of soil and moisture conservation, development and management of irrigation, afforestation, restructuring of cropping pattern, and development of livestock resources.
2.63 For DPAP the existing pattern of assistance and the funding norm per block per year would be continued during the Seventh Plan for which an outlay of Rs. 237 crores as Central share has been provided.
Review of Performance
2.64 Land Reforms have been recognised to constitute a vital element both in terms of the anti-poverty strategy and for modernisation and increased productivity in agriculture. Redistribution of land could provide a permanent asset base for a large number of rural landless poor for taking up land-based and other supplementary activities. Similarly, consolidation of holdings, tenancy regulation and updating of land records, would widen the access of small and marginal land-holders to improved technology and inputs and thereby directly lead to increase in agricultural production.
2.65 A land reforms policy with a five-fold objective was continued in the Sixth Plan. The objective envisaged (i) abolition of intermediary tenures; (ii) tenancy reforms aimed at security of tenure, regulation of rent and conferment of ownership rights on tenants; (iii) ceiling on land-holdings and distribution of surplus land; (iv) consolidation of holdings; and (v) compilation and updating of land records. It was expected that legislative measures to confer onwership rights on tenants would be introduced in all States by 1981-82, that the programme of taking over and distribution of surplus ceiling land would be completed by 1982-83, that compilation updating of land records would be completed in a phased manner by 1985 and that consolidation of holdings would be taken up in all States with the aim of completing it in 10 years with priority being assigned to command areas of irrigation projects. In addition, Land Reforms Amendment Acts were to be brought within the Ninth Schedule, Ceiling Laws were to be automatically enforced in command areas of irrigation systems and the State Governments were expected to take more initiative in the development of Bhoodan lands.
2.66 A scheme for providing financial assistance to assignes of ceiling-surplus land had also been started in 1975-76 for the landless poor, so as to enable them to take to profitable cultivation on the assigned land which is generally of poor quality. As the scheme now stands, financial assistance is provided upto Rs. 2500 per hectare to be given as a grant to the assignee, for various purposes like simple land development, provision of inputs as well as immediate consumption needs. Since the inception of the scheme, Rs. 25.07 crores have been released to the States under this Programme.
2.67 An outlay of Rs. 30 crores was provided for this Scheme in the Central Sector for the period 1980-85 and an equal amount was to be provided as matching outlay by the States. Actual utilisation of funds has, however, been very low, largely because the States have not been providing their matching share, and due to the non-submission of utilisation certificate of allocated resources, the Central releases could not be made. It was also found that there was little or no linkage between this Programme and the IRDP or the NREP/RLEGP, and it functioned in isolation, generally through the Revenue Agencies rather than the DRDA and the Block.
2.68 Ceiling laws are prevalent all over the country except in the north eastern regionNagaland, Megha-laya, Arunachal Pradeshwhere land is generally held by the community, and in the Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Goa, Daman and Diu. In other areas, the ceiling was first imposed on land-holdings in the fifties and sixties. Later, National Guidelines on the subject were framed in 1972. Under the two sets of ceiling laws, 7.2 million acres of land have been declared surplus, 5.6 million acres have been taken possession of, and 4.4 million acres distributed. Thus, 2.8 million acres of land declared surplus have not been distributed so far. Of this, 1.6 million acres are involved in litigation and 0.89 million acres have been reserved for specific public purposes. It would be seen that a very large chunk of surplus distributable land is blocked due to litigation. Jurisdiction of civil courts has been barred in respect of land reforms cases (because of their inclusion in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution). However, the writ jurisdiction of the High Court and Supreme Court remains. Article 323B (42nd Amendment) of the Constitution provides for setting up land tribunals after extinguishing the writ jurisdiction of High Courts. But concerted action in this regard still remains to be taken.
2.69 About 4.2 million acres of land were received in Bhoodan, but so far only about 1.3 million acres have been distributed. The State Governments have not taken any initiative for the development of these lands even where these are in compact blocks. This is an area where a conscious thrust would be necessary. Similarly, there is an area of 16.7 million hectares of culturable wasteland in the country, the development and utilisation of which is not being monitored. Some States have been distributing wastelands, but the total picture is not clear. There is thus an urgent need to bring both these categories of land into a comprehensive redistributive land reforms policy with appropriate measures for enforcement and monitoring.
2.70 Fifteen out of the 22 States in the country have enacted laws on consolidation of land-holdings. Upto the year 1979-80, the consolidated area in the country was 46.2 million hectares. Consolidation has been completed in Punjab and Haryana and is nearing completion in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Karnataka. Madhya Pradesh and Orissa have also started consolidation operations. The total area consolidated during the Sixth Plan was 5.6 million hectares. Thus, the total area consolidated so far is 51.8 million hectares, which is only 33 per cent of the total cropped area in the country. It is evident that efforts in this direction would have to be considerably stepped up.
Measures Proposed in the Seventh Plan
2.71 Land reforms in the Seventh Plan would be looked upon as an intrinsic part of the anti-poverty strategy.
2.72 Whenever laws have not been enacted by the States for securing the rights of tenants and regulation of rent, the State Governments will take appropriate steps to enact such laws during the Seventh Plan. In order to expedite the process, attempts will also be made to organise quick surveys for recording/registration of tenants with maximum involvement of the local community and people's institutions. Such action may be necessary even in those States where tenancy, although abolished, may have re-emerged informally for a variety of reasons. Tribals and scheduled castes will be protected from alienation of their lands not only to non-tribals, but to the big land-owners among them, through appropriate legislation.
2.73 The full potential of land redistribution has not been realised both in terms of covering the entire surplus that may be available and taking possession of and distribution of that already identified. Legal and administrative bottlenecks have no large gaps between declaration of surplus land, taking actual possession of the land and its distribution. Appropriate measures will have to be taken to reduce the gap. Reassessment of ceiling surplus land will have to be done by the states,especially in the command areas and other newly irrigated areas.
2.74 To ensure the best use of surplus land that cannot be distributed because it is unfit for cultivation, the State Governments would have to take possession in order to avoid encroachment and to ensure their development in a planned manner.2.75 The scheme for financial assistance to the assignees of ceiling surplus land would be continued during the Seventh Plan. Since land as an endowed asset is only the first stage of productive self-employment for a large section of the poverty group, close linkages will have to be forged with IRDP and other rural development programmes so that assignees of ceiling and other lands are given priority in identification and their performance monitored separately.
2.76 Consolidation operations have not made much headway in many States. Consolidation of land-holdings is especially important in the States of the eastern region where the Special Programme for Rice Production would be taken up. Some of the factors working against consolidation are: (a) fear of displacement among tenants and share-croppers; (b) advantage of having land in fragmented parcels in the event of floods and other natural calamities; and (c) apprehensions that the bigger farmers would get a better deal. These factors would have to be borne in mind while considering a policy for consolidation in the Seventh Plan. As far as possible, the holdings of small and marginal farmers need to be consolidated in such a way that they form contiguous blocks of land so that the exploitation of groundwater for them as well as provision of various agricultural services and inputs becomes economical.
2.77 Land records form the base for all land reform measures and therefore regular periodical updating of land records is essential in all States. This will necessarily have to include scientific surveys of unmeasured lands and recording of the rights of tenants and share-croppers which have remained unrecorded up till now. A Centrally Sponsored Scheme is proposed to be implemented during the Seventh Plan on the basis of matching contributions by the States and Centre, for updating of land records. The States would also be assisted in strengthening the revenue machinery at the grassroot level as well as at the supervisory levels. Training programmes for revenue functionaries and survey and settlement staff would be conducted to improve their efficiency as well as to bring about attitudinal changes.
2.78 A sum of Rs. 36.71 crores has been provided in the Centre for the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of financial assistance to assignees of ceiling surplus land, strengthening of revenue machinery and updating of land records. For the programmes in the States a sum of Rs. 353.88 crores and for the Union Territories Rs. 5.24 crores have been provided.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND PANCHAYATI RAJ
Review of Performance
2.79 The Community Development Programme had provided an elaborate delivery mechanism in the form ofdevelopment Blocks and the village level extension agency. However, over the years, this mechanism had suffered considerable erosion and gradual disintegration. With the launching of the IRDP in the Sixth Plan efforts were made to restore, to a substantial extent, the mechanism provided under the Community Development Programme. As a result the position improved but the total delivery system has still not been able to attain its effectiveness as originally envisaged. The position varies in different States, but an almost uniform feature is the gradual erosion of the control of BDO over the extension team at the block and village levels. Simultaneously, a multiplicity of functionaries has emerged at this level for implementation of a large number of programmes aimed at the same people for raising their standard of living.
2.80 Similarly although Panchayati Raj institutions, in one form or another exist in most States, they have for a variety of reasons not been actively and effectively involved in the implementation of rural development programmes except in a few States. On the other hand it has been seen that wherever this has happened the quality of programme implementation has been decidedly better.
2.81 In terms of instruments of planning Community Development and Panchayati Raj institutions have been reduced to an extremely peripheral status with the budget provision in many cases being limited to maintenance of staff while in other cases there is duplication and repetition of a large number of small schemes which are being simultaneously executed on a much larger scale through sectoral and special programmes, e.g. those relating to health, sanitation, road-building, panchayat ghars, etc.
Measures Proposed in the Seventh Plan
2.82 With the launching of large-scale multi-sectoral, country-wide programmes of rural development aiming both at individual households and at the creation of assets in the rural areas the original concept of Community Development could be said to have been substantially restored. This would be further strengthened by the measures already taken or proposed to be taken to strengthen and rationalise the administration and delivery mechanism. For purposes of the Seventh Plan, Community Development and Panchayati Raj would have to be viewed in this context and would have to break free from the conventional methodology of including a large number of small schemes through minimal budget provisions. What goes by the name of Community Development in the documents would have to be viewed now more in the nature of a scheme for village development which would imply the planning and implementation of a number of residual activities at the village level which do not get covered in the normal sectoral plans and special programmes e.g. village paths, drainage and sanitation. This in turn would have to be done on the basis of local, decentralised planning at the village and block levels for which block funds, both in the nature of outright and incentive grants, would have to be placed at the disposal of Panchayati Ftaj and Community Development bodies rather than by forming sectoral plans for the villages at the State and National levels. This would imply a considerable degree of rationalisation in the drawing up of plans for Community Development and Panchayati Raj and substantial autonomy in their implementation.
2.83 In addition, the States would be called upon to activate Panchayati Raj institutions, particularly at the village and block levels, with a view to ensuring their active involvement in the planning and implementation of the special programmes of rural development, particularly those concerned with poverty alleviation and the provision of minimum needs.
Special Employment Programme
2.84 In addition to the Central programmes, some of the State Governments have introduced their own special employment programmes in the rural sector. These are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. The Seventh Plan outlay for these schemes is Rs. 509.24 crores.
Monitoring and Evaluation
2.85 In the Sixth Plan, the Monitoring process had been confined, more or less, to watching the physical and financial progress in terms of money spent and physical coverage achieved, together with some analysis of per household investment levels, unit cost of wage employment, etc. Evaluation studies, on the other hand, were postfacto in nature and were not of much help in applying correctives on a continuous basis.
2.86 The whole machinery and system for monitoring and concurrent evaluation will be strengthened in the Seventh Plan. A Central Scheme will be started for the establishment of a Computerised District Rural Information System (DRIS) in each district with the ultimate objective of providing a data base for planning, selection of beneficiaries and schemes and monitoring their performance. In addition, steps will be taken to strenghthen the data collection and monitoring machinery at the block and district levels. A system of concurrent evaluation covering 72 blocks in 36 districts with a beneficiary sample of around 1500 per month, will also be launched for continuous follow-up and application of correctives.
Strengthening of Administration
2.87 As already indicated, a High Level Committee has been set up to review the Administrative Arrangements for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation Programmes with a view to developing appropriate structural mechanisms to ensure that they are planned and implemented in an effective and integrated manner. In the meanwhile, the scheme for Strengthening of Block Level Machinary, the objective of which was to restore the full complement of the administrative staff according to the schematic pattern of the community development programme, will be continued. Within this, steps would be taken to strengthen and upgrade the position of the BDO, rationalise and increase the strength of the workers at the village level and provide facilities for the implementing and supervisory staff for easy movement so that their efticieny is increased.
2.88 It has been observed over the years that the emphasis that had been given to the training of the administrative and extension staff during the community development days has been gradually reduced both because of the disintegration of the programme itself and due to paucity of resources with the State Governments. Steps will be taken to strengthen the training institutions at different levels. A scheme of European Economic Community (EEC) assistance for this purpose will be continued and will be further supplemented by a Central Scheme to provide 100 per cent assistance for non-recurring expenditure and 50 per cent assistance for recurring expenditure involved in the setting up and strengthening of institutes of rural development and extension training centres in the States. The National Institute of Rural Development will also be strengthened and will be expected to play an active role in the coordination of training arrangement for different levels of rural Development functionaries in the States.
2.89 A communications strategy involving Doordar-shan, Akashvani, and DAVP will be developed for creating awareness among the beneficiaries and the people at large about the anti-poverty and the Minimum Needs Programmes, through the dissemination of relevant information and knowledge and through the educational programmes devised for this purpose.
Integrated Rural Energy Planning Programme
2.90 The pattern of rural energy consumption is dominated by non-commercial energy source such as firewood, agricultural waste and cowdung which form 90 per cent of the total energy consumed in the rural areas. These non-commerical energy sources also comprise of about half of the total energy consumed in the country. The continued and widespread use of non-commercial energy sources has resuffeld in large-scale destruction of the environment at very high social cost.
2.91 The Sixth Plan had proposed an Integrated Rural Energy Planning Programme, on a pilot basis, which would provide a mix of energy options for meeting the diverse energy needs of rural areas on an areawise basis, in most cost-effective manner. To implement this recommendation, the Planning Commission set up a Rural Energy Planning Exercise. Under this exercise Integrated Rural Energy Pilot Programmes were initiated since 1981 in selected States to develop the design and approach of planning and implementing area-based block-level integrated rural energy projects.
Review of IREPP in the Sixth Plan
2.92 The Programme was started initially in four States in 1981, and subsequently extended to five more States by 1984-85. It was developed in three phases in each State. Phase-l involved setting up of a Working Group to prepare an Approach Paper on the Rural Energy Problem in the State. Phase-ll involved selection of pilot blocks and districts for preparation of IREP Projects for these blocks. During Phase-lll, implementation of the IREP projects was taken up. By the end of the Sixth Plan period, 20 block-level IREP projects were in different stages of implementation in the selected States,
2.93 In each of the pilot projects a block-level integrated energy plan was prepared, based on which the mix of the different energy options was promoted, depending on the resource endowments and the availability of various commercial and non-commercial energy sources in that block. The main items that were promoted included windmills, solar cooking, and heating systems, biomass, improved chulahs, improved bullock carts, improved kerosene stoves, improved equipment including pump-sets for better utilisation of electricity, better designed diesel pumpsets and pressure cookers. A total expenditure of Rs. 4.13 crores was incurred on the programme during the Sixth Plan period, relating to staff, preparation of project reports, incentives and subsidies, extension, demonstration, grants to R&D and other institutions and industries.
2.94 The thrust of the programme during the Sixth Plan was to develop the design of block-level IREP projects and to evolve an institutional mechanism at the State, district, block and village levels to plan and implement these IREP projects. For this purpose State cells for coordinating the programme with the different departments, and project cells at the district level for implementing the programmes, were set up. The nodal department for the programme varied from State to State. Similarly, the implementation at district level was done either directly by the District Magistrate or througn the Zila Parishad, DRDS, etc. In view of the interdepartmental nature of the programme, many problems of coordination had to be tackled. On the basis of the Sixth Plan experience a standard institutional mechanism for planning and implementation of the programme at the State/ District levels is to be developed.
2.95 The mix of the different energy resources and technologies to meet different types of energy demand varied from project to project, depending on the specific situation and resource endowments in the block. Subsidies were often provided for different energy technologies over and above the standard subsidies being provided through on-going Central and State Schemes. These subsidies had to be changed a few times, depending on the response of the beneficiaries and the field performance of the technologies. The purpose of these enhanced subsidies was to break initial barriers in specific areas in the adoption of new technologies which were found to be technically and economically desirable.
2.96 Financial incentives were combined with extension and demonstration as part of a comprehensive approach to change the existing energy pattern to a desired pattern, as determined by the block level energy plan. This approach was found to be successful in most of the projects, and as a result subsidy could be reduced and eventually removed for certain new technologies. However, a mechanism needs to be developed so that subsidies for the IREP blocks can be based on a set of norms and specific guidelines, instead of being fixed on ad hoc basis.
2.97 Another lesson learnt from the exercise during the Sixth Plan was the urgent need to develop expertise in the States and districts to prepare and implement integrated area-based rural energy plans. Expertise for preparing such plans was usually not available in the existing departments and projects tended to be taken up on an ad hoc basis. However, as a result of the combined efforts of the Planning Commission and the State Governments, model project documents have been prepared for several selected blocks which would be utilised as the basis for replicating the programme in other blocks.
2.98 Professional staff were usually reluctant to work in the rural areas because of lack of facilities and unattractive salary structure vis-a-vis alternative opportunities in the urban areas; so posts took a long time to get filled up. This points to the need for providing suitable incentives to young professionals to work in energy programmes for rural areas. Also, training and orientation courses provided to the staff on an experimental basis need to be replaced by regular training programmes and proper training facilities.
2.99 Another significant lesson learnt was the importance of closely involving the rural community from the earliest stages of planning of this programme. Local institutions such as village Panchyat, primary and secondary schools, colleges, technical institutions, industries and financial institutions including local banks have also to be closely involved to make the programme a success. For this purpose District Working Groups have to be formed with the participation of the above institutions.
2.100 The Sixth Plan experience also brought out the urgent need for setting up an effective monitoring system for this programme at the National and State levels, so that policy guidelines and direction could be provided to the IREP projects regarding the various techno-economic aspects of the programme, especially on investments for supply of energy sources to rural areas, on a regular and continuing basis.
Integrated Rural Energy Planning Programme
2.101 On the basis of experience of the pilot IREP Programme during the Sixth Plan in the selected States, the Programme would be fully activised in all the States and Union Territories during the Seventh Plan. In the Seventh Plan effort would be made to develop the institutional mechanism in all the States/UTs for planning and implementing such integrated projects in selected blocks in each State.
2.102 The IREP Programme in the Seventh Plan would consist of the following component
(i) Developing institutional mechanism in the States/ UTs (ii) Training (iii) Project preparation (iv) Project implementation (v) Provision of financial incentives (vi) Monitoring
2.103 These components would be funded through Central and States financial outlays for IREPP. The Central Financial component would be utilised for setting up institutional mechanism through funds for staff support and their training, and monitoring of the Programme. The State financial component would be utilised for project preparation; project implementation which would include demonstration and extension programmes; grants to local institutions and industries; and for provision of financial incentives to users and manufacturers for IREP projects.
2.104 For the preparation of block-level IREP projects, different energy options would consist of the on-going schemes of Central and State Governments, including those involving conventional sources of energy such as rural electrification, supply of petroleum products, oil, fuelwood and soft coke, as well as new and renewable sources of energy. Rural energy resources and technologies not covered by any on-going Central and State schemes would, however, be promoted in the IREP blocks through appropriate subsidies and incentives.
2.105 Brief details on the different components of the programme during the Seventh Plan are given in the following paragraphs.
2.106 (i) Institutional mechanism in the States/UTs. State cells consisting of professional economists and engineers and other supporting staff would be created in a suitable nodal department at the State level, such as the Planning department, for coordinating and directing the programme in the State. District cells would be set up under DM/CDO to plan and implement the IREP block-level projects. An outlay of Rs. 3.50 crores has been provided for this component.
2.107 (ii) TrainingA major training programme will be developed for motivating and training professionals to work on the planning and implementation of the IREP Programme at the State, district, block and village levels. For this purpose regular orientation and refresher courses will be organised for field and project staff. A National Training Centre will also be set up for the IREP Programme. An outlay of Rs. 1.50 crores has been earmarked in the Seventh Plan for this purpose, and for tranining programmes.
2.108 (iii) Project preparationNecessary expertise would be created and guidance provided to prepare area-based (block-level) integrated rural energy plans for this programme. Technical assistance would be provided by the Planning Commission to the States in preparing such documents. An outlay of Rs. 0.50 crore has been provided as Central support for this component which would be utilised for carrying out surveys, compiling data, preparing project reports, etc.
2.109 (iv) Implementation of the projectsImplementation would consist of demonstration programmes on new energy technologies, extension through involvement of voluntary organisations, non-official and official institutions and participation of local institutions including banks, R & D institutions, industries, etc. Funds for this purpose would be provided from the State Plan for IREPP.
2.110 (v) Incentives and subsidies for IREP Programme.Incentives and subsidies would be provided from the State Plan to supplement, if necessary existing subsidies on on-going programmes and for the items not covered by any on-going programmes. State-level mechanisms would be set up to periodically reviewthe subsidy pattern for different sources of energy in each block-level IREP project. This component will also be funded from State plan funds for IREPP.
2.111 (vi) MonitoringBased on the Sixth Plan experience, a computerised monitoring system would be set up in the Planning Commission to monitor the physical and financial progress of the IREP projects and status of the programme in the States. Subsequent policy guidelines and directions would be provided for optimising investments in the Rural Energy sector by the Centre and States. An outlay of Rs. 0.41 crore has been provided for this purpose.
2.112 During the Sixth Plan, 20 IREP projects were set up. In the Seventh Plan period, the number of projects would be progressively increased every year so that by the end of the Seventh Plan period at least 100 block-level IREP projects would be set up. More projects would be funded in those States where the programme is picking up and in the hill States and backward areas. Since the programme is still in the initial stages, it will be developed through the Seventh Plan period by the Planning Commission, after which it will be transferred to an operating department as a regular programme.
2.113 OutlaysAn amount of Rs. 41.85 crores has been provided for the IREP programme in the States/UTs in the Seventh Plan. This is substantial step-up over the Sixth Plan outlay of Rs. 4.13 crores which was provided for a pilot exercise in eight States. The Central Sector provision for IREP programme is Rs. 5.91 crores, which would be utilised for staff support to the States; for training and orientation programmes including a training centre;and for monitoring, setting up computer information system and documentation.
INVOLVEMENT OF VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
2.114 There is a good deal of voluntary effort in India, especially in the field of social welfare. The tendency so far has been to equate the work of voluntary agencies with only welfare activities and charity work. Involvement of other agencies in the non-government sector, such as trade unions, cooperatives and Panchayati Raj bodies, has tended to blur the identity of those which can be strictly defined as voluntary organisations. There has been inadequate recognition of their role in accelerating the process of social and economic development. These agencies have been known to play an important role by providing a basis for innovation with new models and approaches, ensuring feedback and securing the involvement of families living below the poverty line. Therefore, during the Seventh Plan, serious efforts will be made to involve voluntary agencies in various development programmes, particularly in the planning and implementation of programmes of rural development. Voluntary agencies have developed expertise and competence in many non-traditional areas to plan their own schemes instead of expecting Government to do so. More specifically, the role of voluntary agencies in the implementation of development programme is:
2.115 Voluntary agencies are essentially non-profit and non-partisan organisations. The criteria for identifying voluntary agencies for enlisting help in relation to the rural development programmes can be as follows:
2.116 In order to assist and support voluntary agencies in the implementation of anti-poverty and Minimum Needs Programme, there is need for a consolidated approach in the field of social welfare and social services, that is, for conventional voluntary agencies, there is already the Central Social Welfare Board with their State branches. For integrated rural development and allied services covered by the anti-poverty and Minimum Needs Programme in the Seventh Plan period there is need to enlarge the function and scope of People's Action for Development (India): PADI.
2.117 The accent in the Seventh Plan will be to professionalise volunteerism, to introduce professional competence (delinked from degrees) and managerial expertise in keeping with the resources and capabilities of voluntary agencies to be in a position to meet the basic requirements of government in terms of accountability. Voluntary agencies, however, will need to give greater attention to mobilise locally available human and financial resources, identify people in the poorer and vulnerable occupations like farmers, rural artisans, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, agricultural labourers, girijans and bonded labourers, upgrade their skills and give them the tools to make them economically self-sufficient as well as productive.
2.118 There has to be mutual trust and understanding between government and voluntary agencies at the village level. If at the higher levels there is general indifference to voluntary agencies, at the village level there is often open hostility. For want of an established forum where voluntary agencies could be given an opportunity to explain their position and defend themselves or bring field problems to the notice of the State Governments, the situation that now prevails is not conducive to full participation of voluntary agencies.
2.119 The need to establish a regular forum was felt during the Sixth Plan period when the late Prime Minister in October 1982 wrote to all the Chief Ministers that Consultative Groups of voluntary agencies must be established at the State level. It is hoped that during the Seventh Plan period such Consultative Groups will be established in all States and given operational responsibilities. It is proposed that at the Central level, voluntary effort in the rural development sector with its allied services is promoted on a much larger scale with greater responsibilities through PADI and such other bodies as may be established. The State level Consultative Groups recommended by the late Prime Minister headed by either the Chief Secretary or the Development Commissioner should be registered under the Societies Registration Act as People Action for Development (PAD).
2.120 For voluntary effort to succeed, guidelines will be formulated to minimise delays and harassment by frequent reference of project proposals to various government (Central and State) departments/agencies. PAD should prepare a panel of experts available in the voluntary sector in different States/districts who are prepared to assist on a professional and consultancy basis in the planning and implementation of anti-poverty and minimum needs programmes through voluntary agencies. There are officials in the Central and State Governments who are keen to offer their services and experience to upgrade professionalism in the voluntary sector. Suitable steps will be taken to facilitate this. Professional and consultancy services to voluntary agencies could also include those by retired personnel and ex-servicemen.
2.121 The programmes and areas in which the participation of voluntary agencies can be of great help for better implementation of anti-poverty and minimum needs programmes are:
2.122 The human resource available in the training infrastructure of voluntary agencies need to be mobilised and used more effectively at the village level in the Seventh Plan period. The non-formal and informal skills, methods and approaches of building confidence among the rural poor to undertake responsibilities of planning and implementing programmes on their own that training institutions in the voluntary sector have developed, needs to be considered for replication on a larger scale.
2.123 There is need for voluntary agencies to decide on a code of conduct to be applicable to those agencies receiving government funds.
2.124 It is proposed that about Rs. 100-150 crores of Plan expenditure in the Central and State sectors on the programmes listed above may be earmarked for use in active collaboration with voluntary agencies. This involvement could take many forms. In certain cases a'program-me or some of its components could be implemented directly by the voluntary agency in a specified area. In certain others they could participate in the process of planning, mobilisation, monitoring and evaluation and be assisted by suitable grants-in-aid. These and other modalities of involvement would vary from case to case but the intention is to ensure that the financial target given above is realised on a national scale.
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