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Reform process bypassed rural folks

india Updated: Oct 29, 2006 00:12 IST

THE APPROACH Paper for the Eleventh Five-Year Plan is focusing on the ‘inclusive’ nature of economic growth for the first time, says former Planning Commission member Prof S R Hashim.

“The government, at the end of the Tenth Five-Year Plan, realised that a majority of the Indian population was deprived of the benefits accruing from the economic reform process,” he said.

Hashim said that the economic reform process had been unable to bring tangible benefits to the rural population, which prompted the Planning Commission to recommend the ‘inclusive’ nature of economic growth, especially when the government is projecting a growth prospect of  8 per cent during the 11th Plan period.

Dr Jagdish Singh, lecturer and Head of the Department of Economics at Harishchandra PG College, in his paper on ‘Agricultural Development and Agricultural Reforms in UP’, says that agriculture forms the backbone of the economy of Uttar Pradesh. This is in the context of the 11th Plan, with a fairly strong emphasis on augmenting rural income.

The agricultural sector in the State contributed 32 per cent of the GDP at fixed prices in 2002-03 (based on 1993-94 prices). However, the agricultural sector has not received as much attention as other sectors, such as services and manufacturing, in the State.

He said UP’s agricultural economy suffers from a mismatch between “food crops” and “cash crops”. Moreover, there is a low yield per hectare for wheat, besides volatility in production and wide disparities in crop production, when compared on a regional basis. Another paper ‘Impact of population and economic development on Kaval towns in UP’, authored by Dr Jitendra Kumar Singh of the Department of Economics, Jagatpur Post Graduate College, Varanasi, said that rising population  needed to be addressed in Uttar Pradesh. The population in the State is increasing at a faster rate than agricultural and industrial production. Consequently, the rate of rise in per capita income is very low and availability of goods and services for consumption is inadequate.

The “population bomb” is also indirectly contributing to social and political strife, such as human rights abuses, communal clashes and caste conflicts. There were other issues, such as unabated rural-urban migration, leading to unchecked growth of population in the urban areas having a direct impact on overstrained food supply chain, sanitation, housing and drinking water services, he added.