Study on Bundelkhand of Planning Commission: Aspects of Economy - Government Programmes For Rural Development/Self Employment

Study on Bundelkhand of Planning Commission: Aspects of Economy - Government Programmes For Rural Development/Self Employment 

Government Programmes For Rural Development/Self Employment

There are various programmes launched by the state government in assistance with the Central Government, bilateral aid and loans from the agencies like World Bank and other financial institutions. The major development programmes for rural development, particularly to generate self employment among youth below poverty line, are :

a) Jawahar Rojgar Yojna
b) Integrated Rural Development Programme(IRDP)
c) Indira Awas Yojna
d) Development of Women and children in Rural Areas (DWCRA)
e) Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM)
f) Drought Prone Area Programme.

Most of these programmes aim at generating opportunities for self employment to rural youth and women, IRDP is credit based programme for the rural unemployed living below poverty line. Similarly DWCRA is specially meant for the group of women willing to generate income on their own after getting trained by the government agencies. Government involves non-government agencies also for trainings of traders under DWCDA programmes. Indira Awas Yojna is for rural housing for those who are living in poverty. (For the details of all these programmes, kindly refer to Chapter-6 )

MP has three mission for rural employment. They are Rajiv Gandhi Mission for Watershed Management; Gramodyog Mission and Fisheries Development Mission.

1 Rajiv Gandhi Mission for Watershed Management

Started in 1994, the Watershed Management Mission, is one of the most ambitious programmes of the government of MP in the recent years. Govt. visualises it as economically most viable in the long run, in comparison to other development programmes. According to Mr S Jain, who has been involved in conceptualising this programme in MP and presently holds the position of Chairman in Pollution Control Board, MP, this programme is
like the universalisation of the work done by noted social worker Mr Anna Hazare in Ralegaon Sidhi in Maharashtra. According to him, there might be practical problems in implementation of the programme, but conceptually it is most profitable in term of employment generation, livelihood security and environmental rehabilitation. The Mission aims at improving land and water resources and thereby productivity of 28 lakh hactares of degraded land in MP. It is a conscious effort to address the problem of employment generation during its development phase and then the problem of livelihood security faced by the people in these areas. It is based on the strategy of people’s participation to aim at livelihood security and environmental rehabilitation.

The mission is generating financial resources from the earlier ongoing programmes of Employment Assurance Scheme/JRY and Drought Prone Areas Programmes. The mission operates through people’s watershed development committees that are elected. Technical and financial support is provided by the government. In each block, a milli-watershed of 5000-10000 hactares is identified. In each milli-watershed there are several micro watersheds which are directly managed by elected watershed development committees.(See table 5.4) Within the micro watersheds, people are further organised into User Groups (land owners), self-help Groups (non-land holding people who come together to get some benefit from the watershed) and Women’s Thrift and Credit Groups for income generation activities. These participatory structures and their vibrancy is critical to the successful implementation of the Mission. Funds are placed directly with watershed committees and it is a significant departure from previous practice. People’s watershed committees now control the funds of the programme.

It is India’s largest watershed development programme. Economic benefits have started flowing in the areas that have been treated. Fodder production has gone up. Employment generation in MP has been estimated as 140 lakh mandays.

A large number of non-government organisations (NGOs) are also operating in the programme along with the government agencies. By May 97, 61 watersheds were being operated by NGOs in MP. In Bundelkhand region also, the efforts are on to find out able NGOs and involve them in watershed management programme. In Tikamgarh it was observed that DWCRA groups and the organised groups of neo- literates, through their respective government departments were getting involved in watershed development programme. NGOs with the capacity to handle the programme on their own are had to locate in Bundelkhand districts. But Nehru Yuva Kendras of all the concerned districts of Bundelkhand are actively involved in this programme, through their Youth groups active in the micro watershed areas. It seems that only the groups, formal and informal, created by the government departments are involved in this programme, in place of NGOs. It has been the major criticism of this programme, that government has not taken efforts to involve and ;identify capable NGOs and is working with only adhoc groups.

Watershed development has importance for the region like that of Bundelkhand, which has traditionally been dependent on rain fed ponds and wells for irrigation as well as drinking water facilities. With the system getting damaged and catchment areas blocked during the past years, it is important that efforts are being taken to develop watershed areas so that earth gets filled with ground water and soil erosion is controlled. This programme has far reaching consequences for Bundelkhand.

2 Rajiv Gandhi Gramyudyog Mission

Rajiv Gandhi Gramyudyog Mission aims at increasing employment in the non-farm sector especially in the areas of sericulture, leather, handicrafts, handlooms and village industries. The mission seeks to protect artisan groups from deskilling by constant efforts at improving their skills levels and through value addition for their products.

Sericulture is a major possibility the river belt villages in district Panna. In district Tikamgarh, leather work and the improvement in it is the possibilities in Block Jatara where the villages around Lidhaura village are engaged in it.

The Handloom sector and the khadi and village industries sector continues to be a major provider of rural non- farm employment. Training for design upgradation has been the focus of activity under mission. A large number of people are engaged in khadi-industry in block Newari and Prithivipur in district Tikamgarh. Tikamgarh has been also identified as one of the craft pockets in MP and a new craft development centre has come up.

3 Rajiv Gandhi Fisheries Development Mission.

This Mission is targeted towards increasing employment opportunities for fishermen as well as for increasing fish production in the state. The mission claims to have made significant improvements in this direction in the last three years.

Panchayats have been given powers of auction for all ponds belonging to them. The mission has also introduced several innovative measures in the sector like duck cum-fish farms, paddy cum fish farms, fisheries development in abandoned mining quarries, development of models fish farming villages etc.Bundelkhand has a caste named Dhimar, widely spread across all the districts in the region, particularly in Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur and Panna and Satna. They are traditional fishermen, whose life has been dependent on the ponds and rivers of the region. Their life is getting badly affected due to depleting condition of traditional ponds and its encroachments. They are devoid of employment in their traditional business. Mission can come forward to help them in their livelihood through innovative techniques in fisheries.

Though, the government has taken numerous efforts in rural development through its various programmes, its fruits are hardly visible in the rural areas. The mechanism of implementation of such programmes has always been found complex and gets circumvented into feudal relations in the society. There is a long way to go in rural development.


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