During the last four decades of planning, the Indian Economy has witnessed a number of changes and the Indian economy stands on a different footing today. However, it is a sorry state of affairs that some of the major basic problems are no less serious today than what they were thirty years back. It may appear paradoxical but it is true that in spite of planned efforts to eradicate the problems of poverty has been increasing in India.
Nearly 50% of our population has been living below the poverty line continuously over a long period. Hence urgent action is necessary to devise an immediate plan of action to remove poverty. The strategy for removal of poverty is not enough. On the basis of past experience and difficulties uncounted in implementations of programmes appropriate steps should betaken to find out suitable alternatives for reducing poverty and inequality.
The major objective of planning should be elimination of poverty instead of giving emphasis on increase in national income.
In order to meet the problem of poverty various measures are to be taken. They are discussed below:
1) Poverty and unemployment are interred related. Therefore, adequate employment opportunities should be created in rural areas particularly in agricultural sector. In order to eliminate agricultural unemployment it is necessary to improve agriculture in the country. Good seeds, good tools, good manure must be arranged for it if the production is to be increased. The major cause of agricultural unemployment in India is the dependence of cultivation upon the rains. Thus, there should be a proper and good arrangement of irrigation through minor and major projects.
2) If conditions for marketing agricultural produce do not favor the cultivator, the increase in production will not alleviate the problem of agricultural unemployment. The organisation of the agricultural market will increase the income of the cultivator as well as improve the situation with regard to unemployment.
3) The total impact of land reform on rural formation has been for less then had been hoped for. Effort should be made to remove the loop holes in land legislations in order to make land reform more meaningful and effective additional lands should be redistributed among landless laborers, the marginal sub marginal farmers, so that they will be able to earn more. Effort should be made to provide the landless laborers with maximum of land by making barren land fertile.
4) Animal husbandry and cattle breeding have great potential, not only in unemployment but also in overcoming malnutrition. The government should extent special encouragement for animal husbandry, poultry and fish farming. Necessary training for poultry and diary farming should be imparted.
5) An improvement in agriculture, not supplemented by any other corrective measure cannot provide employment to the increasing population. Besides the farmer should also get some work during that period of the year when he is not engaged in cultivation. Some of subsidiary industry, such cottage industry like furniture making, weaving, spinning, match, barked and ropes etc, can help to a considerable extent in removing unemployment.
6) In spite of the promise of industrial decentralisation which never seems to arrive. There are some areas of small industries which could, in fact, he located in rural areas. A major element in creating employment in rural areas must mean a removal of some small industrial estates into purely rural areas. They will carry their power allocations with them and could then be an element in small scale industrialisation in rural areas.
However, this by itself will not be adequate to foster rural industrialisation in a dynamic sense. What is required is a new concept of modernisation combining Indian Traditional rural artisan skills with power availability and with an appropriate technology. A substantial portion of value added can appear from units set up efficiently in areas where artisans can greatly increase their output by modernisation of their technology.
7) There is the need to strengthen all the poverty alleviation programmes, particularly IRDP. All the organisation deficiencies in an execution of the programme such as the shortage of technical and expert staff, delays in release of funds and inadequacies in funds, lack of proper co ordination should be removed. It is essential to see that the target groups are not wrongly selected to ensure leakage of benefits to the non poor. Other drawbacks in the programme implementation such as right and non-co-operative attitudes of the officials, corrupt practices in sanctioning of loans should also be taken into consideration.
Efforts are to be made to remove the deficiencies in the implementation of TRYSEM programme such as poor infrastructural support to enable the trainees to follow the pursuits, lack of co-ordination among DIC, banks and Training Institute and lack of follow up to the trained. Govt instead of sticking to only few traditional crafts, new vocations conducive for income generating activities should be selected in order to make TRYSEM and DWCRA programmes more effective.
Adequate care is to be taken that while implementing JRY. The ingredient are not missed in it on the whole, for smooth implementation of various programmes the entire administrative set up should be properly co ordinate.
8) The personal disabilities of a person include illness, physical handicap, old age etc and for this the methods suggested are specialised health services, adequate wage provision to maintain health, other social security schemes and new vocational opportunities.
9) The recent increase in population and pressure exercised on the limited resources of the country has brought to the forefront the urgency of the problem of family planning and population control. Thus, family planning or family welfare programmes should be effectively implemented. Adequate awareness about small family norm has to be created among the people and steps should be taken to make it a people programme.
10) There is lack of political and social awakening among the rural people. The programme of poverty alleviation is not so simple as to be successfully solved by the Government, thus there is a great need for political and social awakening. People should be made aware of various programme and benefits of these programmes, so that people at the lowest rung of Rural Society may make substantial progress in making their lives more economically productive.
Eradication of poverty needs a multiplied strategy. But as things stand the most important, indeed the central one, has to be the creation of massive wage employment opportunities both on private and public accounts in rural areas. Then other programmes will provide opportunities for the able and the enterprising. It is time resources organisation and skill is directed to this end, if poverty is to be tackled in the decade to come.