ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Population Front of India s Economic-Development

Population Front of India's Economic Development P H Reddy EVER since India attained independence, the governments both at the centre and in the states have been making strenuous efforts to improve the standard of living of the people. The main mechanism through which this is sought to be achieved is the five-year development plans. Each five-year plan contemplates a long-term perspective, with the period ranging from 15 to 25 years. One of the main objectives of these long-term perspectives, like that of the five-year plans themselves, has been to increase the rate of growth of national income and per capita incomes. The only difference is that the former cover a long period, while the latter cover the medium term of five years. Long- term perspectives bristle with a number of problems. "Perspective plan in general is expected to identify the long-term socioeconomic goals of a society and outline broad strategies for achieving them. The strategies for achieving such long-term goals should be based on not merely the resources available at the time of formulating them but more importantly should take in to account the resources of the future, including new technology and possibilities of mastering it, and more extensive as well as better use of natural and human resources. And such forecasting exercise should encompass economic variables as also social trends" [Thimmaiah, 1987: 1-2]. Occasionally, some academics choose to examine the long-term perspectives and try to identify the factors responsible for the failure to realise them. These academics, more often than not, conclude that population or rather rapid growth of population is the main factor responsible for the failure to attain the long-term perspectives. For example, in an article published recently in this journal, Dandekar [1988: 837-842] examines the long-term perspective in the First Five-Year Plan and gives the impression that rapid population growth was the villain, or worse villain than the national economy which failed to perform up to the expectations, for not doubling per capita incomes between 1950-51 and 1977-78. 1 argue, among other things, that population growth was a lesser evil than the failure of the national economy to perform in our inability to double per capita incomes

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