Complete information on Area Development Programmes in India

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An important development that has taken place during the Fifth Plan is the preparation of sub- plans on regional basis. The sub-plan approach en­sures a certain order of normal developmental effort from out of the state plan funds supplemented by special central assistance, conceived as an additive to the state effort.

The focus of attention in the sub- plans is on evolving a pattern and strategies of devel­opment which will take into account the local re­sources and problems of the area. Following is a brief discussion on some of the area development programmes based on the sub-plan approach.

(1) Hill Area Development

The hill areas in India constitute roughly 17 per cent of the country's total land mass and about 11 percent (62.15 million in 1981) of its total popula­tion.

These areas broadly fall into two categories: (1) those that are co-extensive with the boundaries of the State or the Union Territory, and (2) those which form a part of a State. The first category includes the states and union territories of the North-Eastern Region, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. These are termed as 'Special Category States' whose outlays are met, substantially out of Central assist­ance. For the integrated development of the hill states and union territories of the North-Eastern region, the Central Government has set up the North Eastern Council in 1971 by an Act of Parliament.

The Council takes up such schemes as are of com­mon interest to more than one State or Union Terri­tory and to the region as a whole under its develop­ment plans. The Council has played an important role in the development on inter-regional programmes of power generation and transmission, construction of roads, agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries etc. It has been supporting research and experimen­tal projects. A training infrastructure is being built up for manpower development in the region under the auspices of the Council.

Hill areas forming part of larger composite State occur in Assam, Uttaranchal (formerly Uttar Pradesh), and West Bengal in the Himalayan sub- Himalayan region. These incorporate Karbi Anglong and North Cachar districts of Assam (area 15,200 sq.km.), Darjeeling district of West Bengal (area : 2,400 sq. km), and Dehradun, Pauri Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal, Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Almora, Pithoragarh and Nainital districts of Uttaranchal (area :51,100 sq. km). Although the primary responsibility for the development of these hill areas is that of the con­cerned State Government, the need for Central as­sistance has been realized as far back as the Second Five Year Plan.

Arrangements for providing Central assistance to the Hill Areas Development Programme have been further systematized since the commence­ment of the Fifth Five Year Plan.

The Special Cen­tral Assistance is being allocated among the con­stituent States, giving equal weight age to the area and population of the hill areas.

Since the Fifth Plan, the concept of a sub plan has been introduced, in order to ensure complementarily and 1 linkage among the schemes formulated under the various sectors of the State Plan and out of the Centre additive. An­other important hill area extends over the Western Ghats region which incorporates 132 talukas in the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Kerala (area : 134,500 sq. km). Here Central assistance is provided for development programmes in these areas, though the concept of sub-plan has not been introduced. The Tamil Nadu Hill Area is an­other hill area covering a total area of 2,500 sq. km.

The hills pose problems which are peculiar and different from the problems encountered in the plain area. The terrain, besides cultural and socio­economic diversities, calls for formulation of alto­gether different methodologies as also norms and planning standards. The formulation of region spe­cific development strategies for the different hill areas of the country requires as a basic pre-condition detailed information about the social, economic, political and cultural features, resource endowment (both human and physical), development potential and their particular problems.

The guiding principles on which the hill area development programmes should be based are the promotion of secure basic life support system and judicious utilization of land, mineral, water and biotic resources in a total perspective embracing complementarily of interests of the hills and plains. The whole strategy should centre on the active participation of the people, particularly of women in the fulfillment of their basic needs. The people's involvement can be ensured by encouraging the concept of "social fencing" which implies a volun­tary and self imposed discipline in managing soci­ety's resources at a local level.

The hill area programmes place adequate emphasis on exploiting the indigenous resources of the hill through specially designed programmes for the development of horticulture, plantations, agri­culture, animal husbandry, poultry, bee-keeping, forestry, soil conservation and suitable village in­dustries.

The focus is essentially on a package of activities that could be absorbed by the local people and in themselves interact to produce the desired results. Strengthening of the co-operatives or farm­er's service societies has been given great impor­tance. In forestry programme, production forestry such as the plantation programme (for coffee, tea, spices, etc.), agro forestry and social forestry have been emphasized. In the horticultural programme, it is not merely the development of orchards (apple, grapes, banana etc), but tying them up with market­ing that has been emphasized.

In some of these hill areas there is an element of tribal population also and practices like Jhum cultivation are prevalent. In this context, special programmes have been devised to prevent Jhum cultivation and to rehabilitate the Jhumiyas in settled agri-cultivation. Programmes have been initiated for developing plantations of coffee, and rubber etc (cash crop plantations) and rehabilitating the Jhumias in such plantation agriculture, making them progres­sively owners of the plantation estate.

Animal husbandry programmes need to be appraised keeping in view the stock of animals and availability and status of pastures and forests. The programme needs scientific breeding approach, strong protective and curative animal health cover, and processing and marketing the produce.

The hill areas are particularly suited to indus­tries which require pollution free atmospheres, cold climate based on high skills and high value additions like electronic, watch making, optical glass, collaps­ible furniture, medicines and drugs etc Cottage dustiest like carpet manufacture and handlooms also suitable activities. Along with this tourism one of the most important industries and it should properly develop.

The Hill areas, particularly, the Himalaya region is rich in genetic material of medicinal a food plants, fruits, including citrus and a wide ran) of other economic plants, orchids and other flower some rare wild life still occurs in these areas. Would be important to have an integrated strategy for the preservation of the valuable flora and fauna through a chain of biosphere reserves, national pair and gene-sanctuaries.

For the scientific planning of the hill areas vital information on resources e.g. occurrence oil minerals, soil characteristics, vegetation types Audi characteristics, estimation of the volume of surface and sub-surface flow in watersheds, etc., is required.1 Such information also needs to be constantly up-B dated. Remote-sensing techniques and air-photo in perpetration combined with ground truth studies hold great possibilities for this purpose.

A perspective plan spelling out the long-term and short-term de­velopments in the area should be drawn up. Plans should also be drawn up for the regional, sub- f regional, taluka (block) and settlement levels. While the use of legal and executive powers provide neces­sary protection to the environment should be made I effective, far more reliance should be placed on I people's action to achieve the desired results.

The need for increasing public awareness about the environmental issues and to stimulate public partici­pation in activities for environmental protection has to be emphasized.

The concept of eco-development needs to be built into the programmes selected for implementation. Keeping constant need for eco- preservation in view, it is necessary that economic projects located in these areas build into their cost, the cost of eco-restoration. For example, a paper project should include the cost of a forestation and its economic viability determined accordingly.

To summarise, new approaches will have to be introduced for meeting the basic needs of hill people comprising water, food, work, fodder, feed, fuel and fertilizer. Water will have to be harvested in small ponds and reservoirs on a watershed basis and stored for use during winter and spring.

Since the land in the hills is best used for perennial crops, it will be advisable to store the needed food grains in small storage structures at numerous points so that food availability attains the requisite degree of vi­ability for persuading farmers to abandon jhuming and adopting cultivation of annual crops in steep slopes.

(2) Tribal Area Development

According to the 1991 Census tribal's have a population of 67.75 million (about 8.08 per cot of the total population of India). It consists of 365 tribes grouped under 58 tribal communities.

These tribal's constitute 94.75 per cent of the total population of Mizoram followed by Lakshadweep (93.15 percent), Nagaland (87.70 per cent), Maghalays (85.33 per cent), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (78.99 per cent) and Arunachal Pradesh (63.66 per cent). Besides there are nine states (Maniput, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Orissa, Gujarat, Assam, Rajasthan and Maharashtra) and two union territories (Daman and Diu and Andaman-Nicobar islands) wherein the percentage of tribal population to the state's total population is above the national average (8.08 per cent).

There are 19 districts (Dhar, Mandla in Madhya Pradesh; Surguja and Bastar in Chhattisgarh; Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj and Koraput in Orissa; Lahul and Spiti and Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh Dungarpur and Banswara in Rajasthan; Ranchi in Jharkhand; Valsad in Gujarat; Kameng, Lohit and Tirap in Arunachal Pradesh; Mikir Hills and North Cachar Hills in Assam and Manipur North in Manipur) in the country wherein the tribal population is more than 50 per cent of the total population. Similarly there are 332 talukas/ tahsils in the country in which Scheduled Tribes are in absolute majority.

Their maximum clustering is found in the north- eastern hills, the Meghalaya-Karbi-Anglong plateau, the Chota Nagpur plateau, eastern margins of the Aravallis and Vindhyas, Western Ghats and high Himalayan valleys. These are hilly, forested and semi-arid areas generally backward in terms of social and economic development.

The tribal areas present a considerable degree of environmental bio-diversity and, therefore, their development needs and problems are of differing order and character and call for micro-level focus and planning. The tribal area development pro­gramme has been conceived as an integrated pro'" grammar for areas with 50 per cent or more tribal concentration.

The emphasis is on the preparation of a sub plan for such areas whose long-term objectives are: (i) to narrow the gap between the levels of development of tribal and other areas, and (ii) to improve the quality of life of the tribal communities. The sub-plan areas have been identified in 19 states and 2 union territories. Extensive areas covered by this programme are in Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh), Orissa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Padesh, Bihar (Jharkhand), and Rajasthan.

The resources for the tribal sub-plan mainly come from the state plan funds, investment from Central minis­tries, special Central assistance and institutional finance.

In the formulation of the sub-plan, special effort is being taken to design the programmes such that they are specially suited to the communities living in these areas and are intended to tackle the problems faced by them.

The criteria are that they should benefit the common man, particularly the weakest groups, and should be quick yielding and easily assailable by the average tribal. Special problems like the problem of shifting cultivation, bonded labour and land alienation and programmes relating to credit and marketing, forestry and road are given great importance.

For tribal sub-plan the tribal areas have been divided into three-tier developmental structure at micro, meso and macro levels. A tribal development block has been identified as "micro area". The meso area" comprises of a group of tribal development blocks. Generally it is co-terminous with a Taluk, sub division or tahsil.

The next higher unit of devel­opment administration is the "macro area" which includes the entire area of tribal concentration in a particular state. However, there may be more than one macro region for tribal development where more than one distinct tribal region is found.

The first step of the tribal sub-plan is to identify tribal devel­opment blocks, within the state where tribal popula­tion is in majority, followed by the formulation of integrated tribal development projects, earmarking of funds from the central and state plans and creation of appropriate administrative structure and adoption of appropriate personnel policies.

The programme content of the tribal sub- plans would require increasing the productivity levels of agriculture and horticulture, animal hus­bandry, forestry, small and village industries and marketing.

These would need to be linked with improved post-harvest technology. Another impor­tant aspect is the transfer of technology which would involve gradual introduction of the improved tech­niques of agriculture, horticulture and animal hus­bandry, etc without causing damage to the economic base of the tribals. Education should be considered as the key to the development of human resource in the tribal areas. Besides, the tribal should make adequate provision for basic amenities like safe drinking water, adequate shelter, health care and proper level of nourishment.

Their special health problems like sickle cell anaemia, goitre, leprosy and other endemic ailments need adequate attention. Special Central Assistance (SCA) is given to states/ union territories as a part of Tribal Sub-Plan strat­egy. During 1997-98 the entire budget provision of Rs. 330 crore was released.

For the tribal's outside the sub-plan area and pockets of concentration integrated schemes of infrastructural development like school, PHCs, etc. and of family-benefit have been taken up. These programmes have been made part of general rural development programmes.

Formulations of project reports and programmes for the primitive tribes need special attention. A separate organizational structure should be created with careful selection of personnel to deal with their problems sympathetically. Arrangements for moni­toring and concurrent evaluation should be strength­ened. No uniform policy of tribal cultural and eco­nomic development can be followed or advised. This is a need of simultaneous process of develop­ment in the field of culture, economy and political awakening.

In the tribal sub-plan it has been visualized that the plan effort of all organizations will get integrated and one developmental programme will emerge. However, this is not happening because of a number of difficulties. The tribal sub-plan has tended to become yet another centrally sponsored scheme, hanging loose from the state level pro­grammes. A number of problems of adjustments have cropped up which need immediate attention otherwise the process of alienation and rootless will reshaped the tribes and tribal ethos.

There is need to put more emphasis on the process of cadence, particularly the participatory developm programmes and constructive political awake:' which will finally and resolutely lead to development and integration of tribal's and tribal areas w the main stream of the country.


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