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

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POLITICS-To the People, Unwillingly

gramme and the national rural employment programme were merged in 1989, now constitutes the government's one major welfare programme as far as the rural poor are concerned. A sum of Rs 2,100 crore has been set aside for the Yojana for 1991-92. This, as it turns out, is exactly what the programme had been allocated for 1990-91. In other words, this programme has been denied any share in the 11 per cent increase in the Plan outlay in 1991-92 which the finance minister takes credit for. It is a matter of simple calculation that in view of the rather sharp rise in prices of almost everything the unchanged allocation for the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana must mean lesser employment generation in terms of persondays in the coming financial year even at the same money wage rates (meaning reduced real wages). But that is not how the government's arithmetic works. So what if the financial allocation has not been raised, 1,020 million persondays of employment, it has been decreed, will be generated in 1991-92 compared to a mere 856.54 million persondays in 1990-91. A quick check of the latest budget papers and those of last year will show that in respect of other 'anti-poverty' programmes, such as the integrated rural development programme and schemes for employment generation in the urban areas, as well the financial allocations for 1991-92 have been kept unchanged or have even been reduced, but in every case the figures of the benefits expected to flow to the poor have been generously inflated. But one must not be too harsh: after all, how else can the finance minister claim that the government is ensuring that the process of so-called macro-economic adjustment undertaken by it "does not place a burden on the poor"?

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