ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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D R Gadgil on Planning at the District Level

There is now very great need and scope for public sector planning in which district level planning must have a very important place. There is not only need but now a much greater possibility of transferring much larger resources to district level planning. Such plans, as D R Gadgil argued and his Wardha Plan demonstrated, have to be prepared with the help of experts and local level representatives and concerned people. The development needs of the vast rural India require this. Social scientists, activists as well as the Planning Commission and the state governments should now start afresh on this vital task.

D R Gadgil on Cooperative Commonwealth

The cooperative system that was put into operation in the country as a result of the recommendations of the Committee of Direction of the Rural Credit Survey in the middle of the 1950s has, after a couple of decades of positive results, run into difficulties and steadily declined. Many administrators and others in discussions blame that committee and D R Gadgil in particular for the scheme where the state was made a partner in the cooperative enterprise, resulting in rigid mechanical procedures, heavy subsidies - overt or implicit - and bureaucratisation on the one hand and politicisation on the other. How objective and fair is this assessment?

Decentralised Statistical System

The Report of the National Statistical Commission is a most welcome effort which seriously proposes to stem the rot that has set in the field of Administrative Statistics that is the basis of most socio-economic statistics in India. It has wisely rejected the Modernisation Project of the Ministry of Statistics and the World Bank. It has outlined what amounts to an independent professional set-up at the highest level to lay down the policy in the field of the Central and State Statistical Systems. It has underlined the need for state governments to treat their administrative data reporting agencies as useful agencies for the purpose, since without this data base the government will be blind about both formulation and monitoring of policy. The missing and inadequately treated individual items should deserve the attention of the National Commission of Statistics (NCS), which should be expeditiously established by the government.

Data on Employment, Unemployment and Education

India had an enviable tradition of routine collection, collation and publication of empirical information. In the last half century we have added to this. But in our enthusiasm to do more and better, the official statistical agencies and their economic and statistical advisors have tended to centralise thinking and designing and processing of the information. This has led to atrophy at the state/regional level. There is, moreover, a tendency for every agency to be asked or expected to do everything. The large-scale surveys conducted at great cost should be fully utilised. This can be done if the task is properly decentralised. Finally, the NSSO must refrain from doing annual surveys in matters in which a quinquennial survey is more than adequate.

Making the Economic Transition Smooth

The disastrous foreign exchange situation at the beginning of the nineties led to the government of the day setting out on the road to liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation. Many of the problems the economy has been facing since have arisen from the unthought-out consequences of this turnaround without putting in place the necessary policies and institutions not only to make the transition smooth but also to provide the instruments for preventing or checking the undesirable consequences of unbridled freedom in the economic field.

Higher Education Plea for Reorganisation

Nilakantha Rath In the 25 years that have elapsed since the 1966 report of the Education Commission of India many of its recommendations have been tried out but the quality of higher education has not registered any improvement. This paper examines the system of education in practice in India and suggests measures towards a reorganisation of undergraduate and post graduate education so as to ensure both responsibility and accountability TWENTY-FIVE years ago, the Education Commission of India began its report by saying "The destiny of India is now being shaped in her class-rooms". This was a time when 70 per cent of India's population was illiterate and two-thirds of the population in the working age-group of 15 to 44 were illiterate. Nearly 65 per cent of the children in the relevant age-group were formally enrolled in lower primary schools, about 25 per cent in the aieher Primary schools and about 13 per cent in the secondary schools. Higher educational institutions, namely, intermediate, diploma and degree colleges as well as universities were a little over 4,000 in number, where nearly 20 lakh students were enrolled in a year. The commission noted that the salaries of teachers not only were low at all levels, but had not registered any increase in real terms since 1950-51. The content of education at every level was considered much lower than what was desirable and there was widespread feeling that it was becoming poorer, particularly at the post- high school levels. This was the state of the 'class-room' where the commission thought the destiny of India was being shaped.

A Lost Opportunity

Nilakantha Rath The finance minister has announced that the government will implement an employment guarantee scheme in the rural areas of eastern India and the dry agricultural regions. This is a welcome decision' more so because it is a shift away from spreading efforts thinly everywhere. But the budgetary heads remain unchanged and the scheme has still to be spelt out. Much more money would be needed to make a reasonable impact in the regions; but there is no indication that this is being seriously pursued. On the whole, there is little indication in the budget that expenditure and orientation-wise there will be any very significant changes over the situation prevailing in

A Budget for Farmers

Nilakantha Rath The impression that this year's central budget is a farmer's budget is factually wrong. If anything, the central sector plan allocations for agriculture, irrigation and rural development are lower in 1988-89 than in 1987-88. The finance minister has made somewhat larger budgetary provisions for improvement of rice production in eastern India, improvement in oilseeds production, help to small and marginal farmers, and on Command Area Development that may help a certain body of farmers in a limited way On all other accounts the real budgetary provision is less than in the past The tax concessions are confined to very limited number of potential beneficiaries. On the contrary, the interest rate policy, which is meant to provide an unsought benefit to a large body of farmers immediately, holds out ominous consequences for financial institutions and, if persisted with, will cost the cultivators dear THE Central Budget for 1988-89, presented by the union finance minister to the parliament on the last day of February, was characterised as an agriculture or rural- oriented budget. The claim can be examined and sustained in terms of (a) the capital outlay on agriculture (including rural development and irrigation and flood control), (b) concessions provided in prices of capital and current inputs in agriculture, and (e) social services provided to the population living in rural areas and dependent on agriculture, It would be instructive to go over these three aspects of the central budget.

Garibi Hatao Can IRDP Do It

'Garibi Hatao': Can IRDP Do It? Nilakantha Rath The problem of rural poverty is old and massive. The earlier hope of its mitigation through the percolation of the fruits of general economic growth failed. More land resources could not be made available to the poor.

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