Gist of Kurukshetra :-January 2021

Perspective of Rural Development

Introduction
A very important facet of rural development has been the Swachh Bharat Mission. This issue looks at how the Swachh Bharat Mission in its second phase will provide impetus to the rural economy through construction of household toilets and need based community sanitary complexes, as well as the infrastructure for solid and liquid waste management. This issue also outlines the many infrastructure schemes for rural India.

Health, education and infrastructure facilities are the cornerstones of social and economic development. Programmes such as Samagra Shiksha and BetiBachaoBetiPadhaohave been playing a major role in ensuring quality education for rural India. Rural entrepreneurial talent and frugal innovations catering to rural markets have the potential to revolutionise the rural ecosystem. The only requirement is some nurturing and handholding. The advent of new reforms in the agricultural sector offers an opportunity to the young innovators living the agricultural challenge to institutionalise local solutions.

Doubling rural incomes is one of the biggest objectives of government policies. This will be possible only if animal husbandry is integrated into agriculture and allied sectors with the salient policies ensuring their effective as well as timely implementation.

  • India is well known globally for its rapidly growing digital prowess, technological capabilities and its innovative spirit. With over 55000+ startups, 400+ incubators and over 34 Unicorns, the country is rightly being perceived as one of the fastest growing Startup nations of the world.
  • India also enjoys a demographic dividend that is the envy of many a country with over 65 percent of its population under 35 yearsover 70 percent of the population of India are in Tier-2, Tier-3, cities and in rural agri dominant India. Over 70 percent of the formal and informal Labour workforce of India is associated with the micro, small and medium enterprises of rural India
  • In USA, startups are creating more new job opportunities per year as compared to the jobs generated by established firms. In Israel, unemployment rate tumbled from 9 percent in 2000s to 5.5 percent in 2010s due to newly established firms growing at 23 percent in that period. In contrast, Japan has lost its significance in the growing global economy due to stagnation in entrepreneurial activity.
  • In 1800s, Prussians came up with the idea of a 'factory model of education'. The factory model of education states that the schools are built to train the future factory workers and that the students should essentially be trained to become efficient factory workers.
  • Inspired by this the Industrial Revolution aimed at "manufacturing" employable workers for the huge pool of opportunities that had opened by the Industrial Revolution. The focus then was to create as many human resources as possible to meet the gap in demand and supply of labour.
  • This model created a huge impact in the way Industrial revolution prospered and was propelled over the years, and thus lead the growth of economies.
  • Today, we are in a world which is ideating and innovating constantly, and this has been the driving force for both economies and countries., This can be seen via the advent of numerous startups and innovators which are driving creation of jobs and up-skilling among the youth. In United States of America, startups are creating pace with rapidly changing trends and digital capabilities of technology.
  • The time thus has come to focus on building sustainable technology driven plans and approaches to drive the Indian economy to leapfrog towards the 5 trillion-dollar economy goal; with the right push towards creating more job creators and better job seekers this can be achieved.

Delivering Quality Education

  • New Education Policy (NEP) 2020: The NEP strives to make us realise the importance of experiential learning through technology driven practical education and also emphasises on the importance of developing relevant skillsets for an agile world that we live in today.
  • The demographic dividend is on our side and we must focus on building experiential model of learning for the school kids.
  • Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) by Atal Innovation mission, NITI Aayog: Atal Tinkering Labs are state of the art labs created in schools where children are introduced to new emerging technology toolkits.
  • These toolkits are miniaturised electronics devices, 3D printers, sensors, Robotics, Arduino kits etc. There is also a year-round teacher training program which is run to equip the school teachers with the right skill set and introduce them to the new technologies.

Developing Youth as Change Makers

  • There has been low penetration of the self-employment and start-up ecosystem in the rural, Tier III and Tier IV cities of the country and an even lower penetration of the understanding of the SDGs.
  • India is a big market and provides a lot of opportunities. We should now focus on providing an institutional based structure to these young innovators and support them.
  • There has to be a focused approach in spreading awareness about the SDGs and showcasing the solutions created by the local youth to the community leaders thus igniting more minds and making them drive the needed change.
  • One such effort is being done by the Atal Innovation Mission of NM Aayog by establishing Atal Community Innovation Centres (ACICs) in the underserved/unserved regions of the country. These ACICs will focus on creating awareness about the SDGs and focus on providing young innovators with an opportunity to grow and make a difference.
  • A similar effort is to be carried out by creating a rural community youth fellowship program focusing on harnessing the talent of a young innovator and creating a viable solution to a local SDG challenge. Such a program would be highly beneficial in a Tier II and III city, rural areas or areas that traditionally do not have a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is also imperative that this fellowship program is strongly supported by a Public Private Partnerships (PPP)

Digital Push and Transformation of the Agrarian Economy

  1. Farm mechanisationand creation of sustainable value chains has been a pain point that not many innovators have been able to solve. The farm to fork model is complex and has challenges that the startups and rural India is still struggling to solve as a whole.
  2. Role of Startups:
    1. The Startups can provide the farmers with quality seeds, technology driven irrigation and precision agriculture mechanisms, water conservation, and demand forecast based market opportunities in the pre-harvesting phase.
    2. They can support the farmers by providing them with technology driven solutions for quick harvesting and with proper storage facilities.
    3. The startups can provide the farmers a direct market linkage or may decide to become the buyer of the farm product.
    4. The startup and the farmers can also enter into an agreement to make a value-added product from the farm product and sell the product in the market together.

All these efforts stated shall not only be beneficial for the holistic development of the rural economy today but also will have a sustainable future for an AatmaNirbhar Bharat that can serve the world.

  • The Government of India, in February 2020, approved the Phase II of the Swachh Bharat Mission- Grameen (SBM-G) with a total outlay of Rs. 1,40, 881 crores to focus on the solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) and on the sustainability of ODF status.
  • SBM-G in its first phase devoted itself in making India Open Defecation Free. As a result, rural sanitation coverage has increased from 39 percent in 2014 to 100 percent in 2019 with over 10.2 crore toilets built across Indian districts, converting them to ODF. Achieving ODF status was the first great peak conquered, in a series of many more such peaks.
  • India achieved SDG Goal for providing safe sanitation for all 11 years before the targeted year 2030.
  • The success of the programme is attributed to the 4 Ps - political leadership, public financing, partnerships and public participation.
  • The Swachh Bharat Mission in its second phase is committed to achieve Sampoorna Swachhata by transforming the Mission into a Jan andolan.
  • The Phase II will provide impetus to the rural economy through construction of household toilets and need based community sanitary complexes, as well as the infrastructure for solid and liquid waste management such as compost pits, soak pits, waste stabilisation ponds, bio-gas plants, material recovery facilities etc.

Objectives of the SBM Phase II

  1. The key objective of the SBM Phase 11 became to make villages across India ODF Plus villages. An ODF Plus village is defined as a village that sustains its open defecation free (ODF) status and also ensures solid and liquid waste management and Is visually clean. A village is called visually clean if at least 80 percent of its households and all its public places have minimal litter and minimal stagnant water, and the village does not have any plastic waste dump.
  2. To declare a village ODF Plus following checklist Is provided in the guidelines:
    1. All households to have access to a functional toilet facility.
    2. All schools, Anganwadicentres and Panchayat Ghars have access to a functional toilet, with separate toilets for female and male.
    3. Public places to be visually clean.
    4. At least 80 percent households and all public institutions have arrangements for managing biodegradable solid and liquid waste.
    5. The village has a plastic segregation and collection system.
    6. At least five ODF Plus IEC wall paintings per villages on five key themes of ODF sustainability, hand washing with soap, biodegradable waste management through compost pits, grey water management through soak pits and plastic waste management
  3. Components of the SBM Phase II include constructions of individual household latrines, retrofitting of toilets, need based construction of community sanitary complexes, biodegradable waste management, GOBAR-dhan (Galvanising Organic Bio-Agro Resources-dhan), plastic waste management, grey water management andfaecal sludge management.

Guiding Principles for Implementation of SBM Phase II

  1. Ensuring that no one is left behind.
  2. Promotion of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to reduce the generation of waste at source.
  3. Utilisation of Existing SLWM infrastructure wherever possible by rejuvenating, upgrading and putting them in use.
  4. To ensure that every household in the village has access to solid and liquid waste management (SLWM).
  5. Operation and maintenance to be an obligatory component of planning.
  6. Encouragement of technologies with low operation and maintenance costs.
  7. States will have the flexibility in deciding appropriate implementation mechanism and to choose technologies best suited to their conditions.
  8. Clustering of villages for maximum economic efficiency: Wherever necessary and possible, villages from different GPs can be clustered.
  9. Convergence with other schemes: For example, Finance Commission funds for co-financing of assets; JalJeevan Mission for grey water management; MGNREGS for dovetailing of funds and functionaries; and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship for skill development of field functionaries
  10. Creating self-sustainable revenue models/ business models by encouraging private sector to leverage its expertise and resources for meeting the growing demand of SLWM.

Information, Education and Communication (IEC)

  • IEC of the Swachh Bharat Mission campaign had seen thousands of behavior change campaigns, iconic mass media campaigns and participation of millions of students, women, teachers, cadets, celebrities, political leaders, faith leaders and people from all walks of life; making it a true Jan Andolan.
  • 5 percent of the total project expenditure has been provided for IEC and Capacity Building for SBM (G) Phase II. In Phase I, it was 8 percent for the IEC. The States have to put in its share of funds for IEC in the Centre to State ratio of 60:40, except NER/ Special Category States where the sharing ratio is 90:10.
  • Key IEC messages for ODF Plus are: Waste Segregation and Source, Menstrual Waste Management and Hygiene Promotion.

Capacity Building

  • Key Stakeholders include members of Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC), Block Water and Sanitation Committee (BWSC), District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM), Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), Anganwadi, Self Help Groups, CS0s/ NGOs
  • Training workshops, refresher trainings for sensitisation, awareness generation and technical knowhow are important to build the capacity of human resources.
  • Orientation and training may be on various aspects of ODF Plus, including promoting behavioral change through IPC, door to door visits, masonry work, plumbing, and constriction of compost pits, soak pits, sheds, and other SLWM activities.
  • Swachhagrahies are the foot soldiers of the SBM(G) and have proved excellent motivators in bringing behaviour change for construction and usage of toilets.

Role of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs)

  • As per the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, sanitation is included in the 11th Schedule. Therefore, the role of Gram Panchayat (GP) is pivotal in implementing SBM (G).
  • Receiving funds, subject to conformity with State arrangements, and contributing from their own resources for the financing of community toilets and SLWM infrastructure are some of the important roles of the PRIs.
  • With the support from the District, the GPs are expected to engage with business, corporate, social organisations and financial institutions for creation of assets and their operation and maintenance (O&M).
  • The GP is also the custodian of the assets such as community sanitary complexes, drainages and SLWM infrastructure.
  • The monitoring of the Phase II activities are assigned to the Block level and District level PRIs.

Research and Development

  • At the Government of India level, a technical committee headed by the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, has been set up to consult for new technologies and innovations in the sector.
  • A Research and Development Advisory Committee under the chairpersonship of Joint / Additional Secretary of the Department works to promote research and development activities for the sanitation.

Monitoring and Evaluation

  • DDWS leads the monitoring and evaluation of the SBM Phase II work in coordination with the States/UTs and Districts. The monitoring and evaluation have two aspects: first is ensuring the status of ODF Plus villages and second is that of created assets and expenditure incurred.
  • Monitoring of both qualitative (outcomes) and quantitative (output) progress.

The Way Forward

  • “Cleanliness campaign is a journey, which will go on continuously.”
  • After ODF, the country is now working on the goal of ODF plus. Now we have to improve the management of waste, be it in a city or a village. We have to speed up the work of making wealth out of waste.
  • The vision of a modern India, free from poverty, rests overwhelmingly on the growth and development of rural India. Challenges are abound on every front—from lack of resources to infrastructural bottlenecks to social constructs.
  • Education for children and skill training for adults is ultimately the only way to help rural Indians escape the poverty trap.
  • Coming to rural women, though there has been enhanced access to education over the years, those who are more educated remain unemployed because of the unavailability of formal jobs and low wages.
  • Retaining children remains a challenge for the schooling system. According to government data, in 2015-16, Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) was 56.2 percent at senior secondary level as compared to 99.2 percent at primary level.
  • The decline in GER is higher for certain socio-economically disadvantaged groups, based on: (i) gender identities (female, transgender persons), (ii) socio-cultural identities (scheduled castes, scheduled tribes), (iii) geographical identities (students from small villages and small towns), (iv) socio-economic identities (migrant communities and low income households), and (v) disabilities.
  • As per the National Sample Survey Report (71' round), more than 12 percent of rural households in India did not have secondary schools within 5 km whereas in urban areas this percentage is less than one percent.
  • According to the 2018-19 all-India survey on higher education (AISHE),GER in higher education in India is 26.3 percent, which is calculated for 18-23 years of age group. GER for male population is 26.3 percent and for females, it is 26.4 percent. For Scheduled Castes, it is 23 percent and for Scheduled Tribes, it is 17.2 percent as compared to the national GER of 26.3 percent.
  • According to the 2018-19 data, 53 percent colleges are located in rural areas while 11.04 percent colleges are exclusively for females. About 70 percent of people in India belong to the rural areas.
  • According to the PLFS Survey, unemployment rate in India was 5.8 percent in 2018-19. It was 5.6 percent among males and 3.5 percent among females in rural areas, while the rates were 7.1 percent among males and 9.9 percent among females in urban areas.

Rooting for Rural Education

Samagra Shiksha Scheme

  • An integrated scheme for school education with effect from 2018-19, which envisages the 'school' as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels and subsumes the three erstwhile centrally sponsored schemes -SarvaShikshaAbhiyan (SSA), RashtriyaMadhyamikShikshaAbhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the scheme.
  • Under the scheme, provision has been made for giving preference to Special Focus Districts (SFDs), Educationally Backward Blocks (EEBs), Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts, and aspirational districts.
  • The scheme provides for infrastructural strengthening of existing government schools based on the gaps determined by Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) and proposals received from respective States/UTs.
  • Various interventions have been targeted to promote education, which include opening of schools in the neighbourhood as defined by the State, provision of free text-books up to Class VIII, uniforms to all girls and SC, ST, BPL boys up to class VIII, provision of gender segregated toilets in all schools, teachers' sensitisationprogrammes to promote girls' participation, construction of residential quarters for teachers in remote/hilly areas/in areas with difficult terrain.
  • In addition, there is a provision for twinning of schools under which well-functioning private or government schools in urban or semi-urban areas are linked with schools located in rural areas for interaction and exchange of experience.
  • Meritorious students belonging to the economically weaker sections can avail the benefit of scholarship under National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme.

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNVs)

  • The main objective is to provide good quality modern education -- including a strong component of inculcation of values, awareness of the environment, adventure activities and physical education — to talented children predominantly from the rural areas without regard to their family's socio-economic condition.
  • The Navodaya Vidyalaya Scheme envisages opening of one JNV in each district of the country.

Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)

  • Introduced in 1997-98 to provide quality school education to Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in remote areas and to bring them at par with the general population.
  • As per Budget announcement 2018-19, every block having 50 percent or more ST population and at least 20,000 ST persons is to have an EMRS by the year 2022.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme

  • Scheme is targeted at young children studying upto Class VIII, it is one of the most successful programmes for keeping young children from disadvantaged sections like poor, dalits, tribals, girls and children of labour work force in schools.
  • Approximately 11.59 crore children in around 11.5 lakh schools benefit daily from MDM.

Targeted intervention for Girls (under Samagra Shiksha)

  • Opening of schools in the neighbourhood as defined by the state.
  • Provision of free text-books and uniforms to girls up to Class VIII.
  • Provision of gender segregated toilets in all schools.
  • Teachers' sensitization programmes to promote girls' participation, provision for self-defense training for the girls from classes VI to XII.

Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalayas

  • KGBVs have been sanctioned in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBS) under SamagraShiksha, which are residential schools from class VI to XII for girls belonging to disadvantaged groups such as SC, ST, OBC, Minority and Below Poverty Line (BPL).
  • Presently, 4881 KGBVs are functional in which 53.42% are girls belonging to SC/ST communities.

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme works to develop an enabling environment for girl child education. It is a tri-ministerial, convergent effort of the Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
  • Specific objectives are:
    • Prevent gender biased sex selective elimination.
    • Ensure survival and protection of the girl child and
    • Ensure education and participation of the girl child through coordinated and convergent efforts.
  • Evaluation of BBBP scheme carried out by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in August 2020 has indicated a positive behavioural change towards the value of girl child.
  • As per Health Management Information System of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, sex ratio at birth has been set as a parameter for monitoring the progress of this scheme. The sex ratio at birth has shown an improvement of 16 points at national level from 918 (2014-15) to 934 (2019-20).

Empowering the Rural Woman

Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme under Ministry of Women and Child Development to empower rural women through community participation to facilitate women centric schemes and provide a foothold for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP)
  • Capacity building of women collectives is envisaged in collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) co-operatives societies/KrishiVigyanKendrasin not more than 50 percent of the MSK blocks in the 115 aspirational districts to address livelihood needs of women, particularly those in remote/ vulnerable areas where women are not in a position to move out individually of their immediate surroundings for formal skill training.

Adult Literacy Programmes

Saakshar Bharat Programme (operational till March 2018)

  • It went beyond the '3' R's (i.e., Reading, Writing and Arithmetic); for it also sought to create awareness of social disparities and a person's deprivation on the means for its amelioration and general well-being.

PadhnaLikhnaAbhiyaan(replacing Saakshar Bharat Programme)

  • It focusses on achieving 100 percent literacy by 2030.
  • Under this scheme, massive literacy projects will be launched in the tribal and forests areas, prisons, slums, etc., with technology as a facilitator.

Skills Training in Higher Education

  • The National Education Policy 2020 envisages that the school curriculum and pedagogy will aim for holistic development of learners by equipping them with key 21st century skills and reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking.
  • The policy emphasizes integration between vocational and academic streams in all schools and higher education institutions in a phased manner.
  • Vocational education will start on school from the 6th grade and will include internship.

Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS)

  • SHREYAS is a programme conceived for students in degree courses, primarily non-technical, with a view to introduce employable skills into their learning.
  • It aims to cover 50 lakh students by 2022 by providing 'on the job work exposure' and stipend.

National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS)

  • Instituted by Board of Apprenticeship Training/Practical Training, Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • It provides skill training to fresh graduates, diploma holders in engineering and technology and Plus 2 vocational pass-outs, which rural youth can take advantage of.

Pradhan MantriKaushal VikasYojana (PMKVY)

  • Implemented by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship with an objective to provide skilling to one crore people under Short Term Training (STY) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) across the country for four years i.e. 2016-2020.
  • Under this scheme, post placement support of 1500/- per month per trainee is applicable for special groups including women for 2-3 months post training.

CONCLUSION

  • The current public expenditure on education in India has been around 4.43 percent of GDP (Analysis of Budgeted Expenditure 2017-18) and around 10 percent of the total government spending (Economic Survey 2017-18).
  • The National Education Policy 2020 states that the Centre and states will work together to increase the public investment in education sector to reach 6 percent of GDP at the earliest. Within this gigantic exercise, we need to especially track the path that rural women and rural youth.
  • Indian Agriculture is characterised by millions of farmers cultivating more than 200 field, horticultural and plantation crops across the country in three distinct seasons ofKharif, Rabi and Zaid (summer) on over 141 million hectares of cultivated land.
  • This generates more than 1000 million Tonnes of farm produce taking together foodgrains, oilseeds, sugarcane, and fibre crops.

Characteristics of the agricultural produce marketing in India:

  • Over the period, the Marketed surplus ratio (MSR)of all the commodities has increased, so much so that in crops like sunflower and safflower the marketed surplus ratio is 100 and cotton and jute close to 100 (GOI, 2019). In other crops also, the MSR has increased substantially during recent years.
  • These produces arrive in huge bulk in the market in a very short span of time, many a time, beyond the absorption capacity of the domestic demand and the management capacity of the existing market infrastructure and the system.
  • The price discovery in the markets of APMCs except for those which are under e-National Agriculture Market (eNAM) has been opaque and heavily monopolistic, in the hands of select aggregators and commission agents.
  • Contract farming in the past on crops like tomato, potato, barley, etc. in Punjab and Rajasthan and elsewhere had mixed response and farmers at large had reservations in entering the contracts.
  • The investment and active private participation have been dismally low due to frequent imposition of the essential commodity act (ECA) limiting the storage. It cut on the larger private investment and proved prohibitive rather than facilitative.

On June, 2020, the Government promulgated three ordinances on farmers' produce trade and commerce; farmer agreement of price assurance and farm services; and essential commodity. Subsequently, the three Bills were passed by the Parliament on 20 September, 2020 to replace the ordinances.

However, a fraction of farmers, farmer bodies and experts started expressing the serious apprehensions about these Bills that these laws will lead to:-

  • Withdrawal of MSP,
  • Deprivation of the farmers from their lands in favour of big private players,
  • Hoarding of essential commodities.

These apprehensions, though imaginative, have somehow percolated deeply in a section of the farmers, the largest being those who have been the biggest beneficiaries of APMC dominated procurements and the price realisation.

The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020

Problems Addressed:

  • Post 1991 liberalisation, the income gap of the farmers and non-farm worker has been widening reflecting that the benefits of the reforms in farm sector were too little and fragmented and could not boost the income of the farmers.
  • India is likely to produce huge surplus of agricultural commodities in next 10 years (NITI Aayog, 2018), much beyond the absorption capacity of the domestic market.
  • For import substitution of edible oils, fruits and nuts and other agricultural items, we require investment for post-harvest infrastructure, and logistics which has not been coming due to restrictive regulations of the APMCs/ECA.
  • Encouraging the small and marginal farmers (SMF) to diversify towards high-value crops.
  • The agriculture markets are too sparse and fragmented leading to glut and the price crash in some markets while shortage and high prices at major demand centres.
  • The agriculture census 2015-16 has put more than 86 percent farmers under small and marginal category with average holdings of 0.38 ha to about 68.5percent farm households. This means the likely surplus with them for offering to sale is low and much low to approach any APMC mandi individually due to lack of economy of scale.
  • On an average one mandi serve about 472 sq km against the norm of one market yard at about 80 sq km area.

Reforms:

  • The FPTC Act provides for the freedom to sell and buy farm produce at any place in the country, promote e-commerce and allows setting up of an electronic platform.
  • It legalises all the transactions which were earlier put under the regulations and restriction by the APMCs.
  • The direct purchase from the farmers at their farm as provided in the FPTC Act, 2020 will be empowering him to decide the price of his produce.

The need is to establish a robust and accountable market intelligence system packed with technology and well-trained scientific manpower to minimise the chances of any manipulation in prices of the produce. Higher private investment could happen with reforms in agricultural market leading to price assurances and unabated flow of food items from centre of production to major centre of consumptions.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020

  • Themajor apprehension about the Act is that corporates will take away the lands of the farmers forcibly by manipulating the agreement.
  • The APAFS Bill 2020 will facilitate an assured price to the farmers for his produce as mutually agreed between farmers and sponsor before the commencement of production operations, and the technologies, services and inputs on mutually agreed terms and conditions for the production of desired quality produce.
  • The sponsor neither permitted to lease-in the land of the farmers, nor he/she can erect any assets permanent nature on farmers' land or modifying it or acquiring the ownership rights. The farmers will be the sole custodian of all production operations as well.

The contract farming with Nestle, for milk in Punjab's Moga district operating since 1961 could be an example to cite. Over one lakh farmers are associated with the contract. Nestle has been providing the technical guidance, feed, vaccines and veterinary services to milk producers. A high order supply chain has been established based on a pre-announced weekly price based on the fat and solid content in the milk. The assets of the farmers have not been taken by the MNC.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

  • The supply of the commodities enlisted in ECA such as cereals, edible oils and oils can only be regulated under extraordinary circumstances like war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamities.
  • The modifications in ECA will encourage the big investment in creating much needed infrastructure like warehouses, cold storages, pack houses, and logistics.

We must note that the gap between required and existing infrastructure is 70 percent in pack houses, 98 percent in reefer vehicles and 94 percent in ripening chambers. By creating these infrastructures, much needed income to farmers will be augmented to a large extent.

Conclusion

  • The States have to take these proactively and the Centre should provide matching grants, if needed for creating alternative mechanism.
  • The APMCs not only remain functional as a platform for marketing of agricultural produce but will be strengthened and become more transparent due to increased competition which is a pre-requisite for a well-meaning market.
  • While the e-NAM and other initiatives will move on, most likely with the positive impact in long run, the immediate action should be creating the awareness amongst farmers about the positives of the amendments with some live examples and records of advantages based on the real learnings.
  • Panchayati Raj System has existed since ancient times in India. Villages used to have Panchayat (council of persons) who would have both executive and judicial powers and authority to certain disputes in the village. The institution of Panchayat used to represent not only collective will, but also the collective wisdom of the entire rural community.
  • The term ‘Gram Swaraj’ (village self-governance) was the vision of Gandhi ji. Recognising the importance of panchayats, the constitution makers included provision of Panchayat in part IV (Directive Principles of State Policy) of the Indian Constitution.
  • The formal organisation and structure of Panchayati Raj was firstly recommended by Balwant Rai committee (1957). It recommended the establishment of the scheme of ‘democratic decentralisation’ which ultimately came to be known as Panchayati Raj. It recommended a three-tier system at village, block and district level and it also recommended direct election of village level panchayat. On October 2, 1959, Rajasthan (Nagaur district) became the first state to introduce the panchayat system in India.
  • The Panchayati Raj Institutions were constitutionalised by the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992.

Key elements of 73rd Amendment Act of 1992

  • The Article 243G of the Constitution intended to empower the Gram Panchayats (GPs) by enabling the State Governments to devolve powers and authority in respect of all 29 Subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule for local planning and i implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice.

Organisation of Gram Sabhas

  • Creation of a three-tier Panchayati Raj Structure at the District (Vila), Block and Village levels.
  • Minimum age for contesting elections to the PRIs is 21 years.
  • Provision for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats, in proportion to their population, and for women in Panchayats up to one-third seats.
  • State Election Commission to be set up in each State to conduct elections to PRIs.
  • The tenure of PRIs is five years, if dissolved earlier, fresh elections to be held within six months.
  • Creation of a State Finance Commission in each state every five years.

Composition of Panchayats

  • PRIs were established as a three-tier structure based on direct elections at all the three tiers -village (gram panchayat), intermediate (panchayat samiti) and district (ZilaParishad).
  • The functions which could be devolved to PRIs include preparing plans for economic development and social justice.

Three-tier Structure of Panchayati Raj

Gram Panchayat

  • The civic functions relating to sanitation, cleaning of public roads, minor irrigation, public toilets and lavatories, primary health care, vaccination, the supply of drinking water, constructing public wells, rural electrification, social health and primary and adult education, etc. are obligatory functions of village panchayats.
  • Functions like preparation of annual development plan of panchayat area, annual budget, relief in natural calamities, removal of encroachment on public lands and implementation and monitoring of poverty alleviation programmes were expected to be performed by panchayats.

Panchayat Samiti

  • It provides a link between Gram Panchayat and ZilaParishad.
  • In Panchayat Samiti, some members are directly elected. Sarpanchs of Gram Panchayats are ex-officio members of Panchayat Samiti.

ZilaParishad

  • Chairpersons of Panchayat Samitis are ex-officio members of ZilaParishads.
  • Members of Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and Councils belonging to the districts are also nominated members of ZilaParishads.
  • It prepares district plans and integrates Samiti plans into district plans for submission to the State Government.

Devolution of Funds, Function and Functionaries to PRIs

  • Devolution has two main aspects: the operational core that includes funds, function, functionaries, and the support system that includes capacity building of PRIs, operationalising constitutional mechanisms and introducing systems of transparency and accountability.
  • Another critical aspect of legislation following the 73rd amendment was insertion of a clause under the article 280 (3) (bb) of the constitution that the Union Finance Commission would recommend measures to supplementing the resources of the Panchayats in the state on the basis of the recommendation of Finance Commission of the State.

Rising Financial Devolution to PRIs

  • For the period FY 2020-21, the Fifteenth Finance Commission has awarded a grant of Rs. 60,750 crores, for Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) in 28 states which has been the highest annual Finance Commission allocation for the RLBs so far.

Conclusion

  • On April, 24 (National Panchayati Raj Day), 2020, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had launched a unified e-GramSwaraj Portal and mobile application.
  • The e-GramSwaraj helps prepare and execute Gram Panchayat Development Plans. The portal will ensure real the monitoring and accountability. The portal is a major step towards digitization down to the Gram Panchayat level.
  • TheSwamitya scheme which is launched in pilot mode in six states helps to map rural inhabited lands using drones and latest survey methods. The scheme will ensure streamlined planning, revenue collection and provide clarity over property rights in rural areas.
  • Agriculture in India, since independence, is considered as the backbone of Indian economy and farming community is its spinal cord. More than 60-65 percent of the population is dependent on the agriculture and its allied sectors.
  • Animal husbandry has been the most important integral part of Indian agriculture system since ancient time. It provides livelihood to two-third of the rural population, especially the landless and marginal farmers. It acts as an insurance against natural calamities and crop failure.
  • The population explosion not only reduced the farm land availability but also has become less profitable for the farmers in India. Under this situation, livestock sector is showing huge potential for growth, investment, income and sustainability.

Statistics:

  1. Agriculture contributes 17 percent to India's total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of which 27 percent comes from animal husbandry.
  2. Dairy, poultry and aquaculture contributes 4.4 percent to the nation's GDP, which symbolises the importance of the sectors
  3. It provides employment opportunities to over 16 million people across the country.
  4. As per the 20th Livestock census, India is
    • first in the total buffalo population in the world.
    • second in the population of goats and poultry market.
    • third in population of sheep
  5. The total Livestock population shows an increase of 4.6 per cent over the Livestock census 2012.
  6. Livestock contributed 16 percent to the income of small farm households as against an average of 14 percent for all rural households.

Challenges in Livestock Sector

  • Large population of low-producing cattle.
  • Availability of pedigreed Bulls of indigenous cow.
  • Infertility in Bovines.
  • Inadequate coverage of artificial insemination services along with qualified technical man Power, particularly in rural and hilly areas.
  • Chronic shortage of feed along with quality of fodder.
  • Escalating price of feed ingredient like maize.
  • Diversion of animal feed and fodder ingredients for industrial and human use.
  • Inadequate disease control programmes including deficiency of vaccines of major diseases like FMD, Brucellosis, etc.
  • Inadequate availability of credit.
  • Poor access to organised market.
  • Limited animal insurance coverage.

Future Roadmap

  • Enhancing the unit production of milk, meat and egg with better feeding, breeding and management practices.
  • Artificial insemination using semen from pedigreed bulls.
  • Diagnosis of sub-clinical forms of diseases particularly sub-clinical mastitis to reduce the unit cost of animal production and health.
  • Integrated farming system along with implementation of biotechnology and its tool in animal production system.
  • Effective and regular health coverage including timely vaccination.
  • Extensive establishment of Biogas units and commercialisation of organic farming
  • Establishment of cooperative units and ease in marketing and getting proper value of animal products.
  • Encouraging the rearing of indigenous cow.
  • Bridging the gap between the farmers and the market; farmers and the government; and farmers-market and the government and private-cooperate involvement.
  • Fast, ease and prompt financial assistance from cooperative society/ banks to livestock farmers.
  • Attraction of rural youth and women in animal husbandry enterprises.
  • Strengthening of veterinary and para-veterinary infrastructure.

Concluding Remarks

  • Doubling of farmers' income can only be possible if animal husbandry is integrated into agriculture and allied sectors with salient polices and their effective as well as timed implementation.
  • In Colonial India, most public health efforts were directed towards British residents and Indians who worked for them. Indians were also kept away from medical education and serving as mainstream doctors.
  • India's traditional medical practices like Ayurveda and Unani with services of Vaidya and hakims were neglected for an exceptionally long time and suffered due to lack of funds and were constantly projected as inferior by western medicine practitioners.
  • Despite years of reform and efforts, in 1983, the Government of India's first National Health Policy acknowledged that the efforts to expand western healthcare services had benefited only the upper- class people and failed to serve the urban poor or those in rural India.
  • The policy recommended a decentralised health care system, encouraged community participation, and invited private sector participation.It is with this background that the National Rural Health Mission was launched in 2005.
  • Because health care is a state responsibility, the central government can play a supplementary role only. It was a bottom-up approach where the onus and focus of health care delivery was on the villages and went up till the district level.
  • The idea was to communitise, i.e., devolve funds, functions, and functionaries to local community organisations and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). In 2013, NRHM became a sub-mission under the over-arching National Health Mission with the addition of National Urban Health Mission (NUMH) as the other sub-mission of the programme.

Coverage and Access for Rural Healthcare

  • Rural healthcare delivers services through a three-tier system of sub-centers (SC), primary health care centers (PHC) and community health centers (CHC). Between 2005 and 2019, there was an increase of 7.8 percent in the number of SCs, 7 percent in PHCs and 59.4 percent in CHCs.
  • Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) is a grassroot level health worker who is selected from a village to serve that village. The ASHA works as a liaison between the local rural community and the public health system. As of March 30, 2019, there were 9.29 lakh ASHAs in the country, which is 34,175 more than the required numbers.

Some Programmes for Rural Health Care

  • Janani Suraksha Yojanais a cash incentive programme designed to encourage women to use formal healthcare services for institutional deliveries. The objective is to reduce neonatal and maternal mortality among poor, pregnant women, especially those in rural India.
  • Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram was launched in 2011 to eliminate the out-of-pocket expenditure for both pregnant mothers and sick infants upon accessing institutional health care. This programme provides free drugs, consumables, free diagnostic, free blood and free diet for 3 days during normal delivery and 7 days for caesarian section deliveries. This initiative also covers all ante-natal and post-natal emergencies.
  • Pradhan MantriSurakshitMatritvaAbhiyan (PMSMA) was a similar programme launched in 2016 to provide quality antenatal care, free of cost and universally to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month in their 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy, that can be availed at all government facilities.
  • Laqshya or the Labour Room and Quality Improvement initiative was launched in 2017 to as a focused and targeted approach to strengthen key processes related to the labour rooms and maternity operation theatres.
  • Special Newborn Care Units (SNCUs) were established at district levels and sub-district level hospitals with an annual load of more than 3000 to provide care for sick newborns who did not need assisted ventilation or major surgeries.
  • Rashtriya Kishore SwasthyaKaryakram targets adolescents between the age of 10 to 19 years. The aim is to provide adolescent-friendly health care services to improve nutrition, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, prevent injuries and violence, substance abuse and non-communicable diseases.
  • RashtriyaBalSwasthyaKaryakram screens children under the age of 18 for four birth deficiencies - Defects at birth, Diseases, Deficiencies and Development Delays including Disabilities.
  • The rural health care system also has family welfare initiatives that deliver family planning management services, education and use of contraceptives, menstrual hygiene schemes, sterilisation services and awareness campaigns through public programmes.
  • Anemia is a cause of concern among rural Indian population. Anemia Mukt Bharat targets new borns and infants, school age children, adolescent boys and girls, women of reproductive age, pregnant and lactating women. It uses 6 interventions provision of folic acid supplements, deworming, year-round behaviour change initiatives, communication campaigns, text alerts, mandatory provision of folic acid fortified foods in public health programmes and addressing non-nutritional causes of anemia in endemic pockets like malaria and fluorosis.

While the efforts of JSY and other schemes improved the number of institutional deliveries from 38.7 percent to 78.9 percent in the 10 years from 2005 to 2015, the maternal and newborn mortality rates were not affected significantly. The rural focus of the programme has gaps that must be bridged.

To begin with, focus on incentivising medical staff to serve the rural community is a starting point to ensure all programmes are efficiently delivered. As we move towards gaining from our demographic dividend in the next 20-30years, we must ensure quality and timely delivery of services across the country.

  • Rural development means sustained improvement in the well-being of rural people and a strategy designed to improve the economic and social life of a group of people thus the rural poor. Infrastructure is the backbone of any country. It plays a very important role in supporting nation's economic growth.
  • Rural infrastructure is crucial for agriculture, agro-industries and poverty alleviation in the rural areas. The development of rural areas is slow due to improper and inadequate provisions of infrastructure as compared to urban areas.
  • The government's effort is to reduce poverty and increase the quality of life of the rural poor by introducing rural infrastructure comprising transport including rural roads bridges; water and sanitation which includes irrigation (dams, channels, embankments, etc.), waste management, water supply etc.; communication including telecommunication and telecom services; and social and commercial infrastructure viz. housing, education, sports, hospitals, tourism and post-harvest storage infrastructure for agriculture.

Roads in Rural India

It was the first time since independence, on 25 December 2000, the Government of India had launched the Pradhan MantriGrameenSadakYojana (PMGSY) with the aim to provide all weather access to eligible unconnected habitations. It is a 100 percent centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) which cover only rural areas, and urban roads are excluded from the preview of this programme.

  • PMGSY-I: Under PMGSY-I, the aim of the scheme was to provide access to the eligible unconnected habitations in the rural areas with a population of 500 persons and above (census 2001) in plain areas. In respect of Special Category States i.e., hilly and desert areas; the tribal areas, the objective is to connect eligible unconnected habitations with a population of 250 persons and above. For most intensive integrated action plan (IAP), blocks asidentified by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the unconnected habitations with population 100 and above are eligible to be covered under PMGSY-I.
  • PMGSY-II: PMGSY-II aims to cover up-gradation of existing selected rural roads based on their economic potential and their role in facilitating the growth of rural market centres and rural hubs. Growth centres/rural hubs would provide markets, banking and other service facilities, enabling creation of self-employment and livelihood opportunities on an ongoing basis.
  • PMGSY-III: The Phase-III envisages consolation of the existing rural road network by upgradation of existing through routes and major rural links that connects habitations to Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), higher secondary schools, and hospitals. This not only helps the farm production, but also yields many direct and indirect benefits such as minimising the spoilage of perishable goods like fresh fruits and vegetables and ensures adequate remunerative prices for them.

Affordable and easy access to high schools and higher secondary schools is the need of the hour. Education leads to multiple opportunities. Affordable and easily accessible health facilities is also the prime focus of the government for which road connectivity plays an important role. All-weather roads have shown a very positive correlation to improvement in health indicators.

Energy

DeendayalUpadhyaya Gram JyotiYojana (DDUGJY) launched in 2015 with two components:

  • To separate agriculture and non-agriculture feeders facilitating judicious rostering of supply to agricultural and non-agricultural consumers in rural areas.
  • Strengthening and augmentation of sub transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas, including metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers end.

Pradhan MantriUjjwalaYojana (PMUY)

  • The scheme is providing clean cooking fuel to poor households, especially in the rural areas to provide deposit free LPG connections to the women of poor households.
  • The scheme increases the usage of LPG and helped in reducing health disorders, air pollution and deforestation. Use of fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow-dung, firewood etc. has serious implications on the health of the rural women and children.
  • Under PMUY, cash assistance upto Rs.1600 is provided for releasing deposit free LPG connection.

Pradhan MantriSahajBijliHarGharYojana (Saubhagya)

  • Under Saubhagya, free electricity connections to all households (both APL and poor families) in rural areas and poor families in urban areas will be provided.
  • Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been designated as nodal agency.
  • Provide Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) based standalone systemfor un-electrified households located in remote and inaccessible villages/habitations, where grid extension is not feasible or cost effective.

PM-KUSUM

  • To provide 20 lakh farmers for setting up stand-alone solar pumps.
  • To enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their fallow/ barren lands and to sell it to the grid would be operationalised.
  • The scheme has the objective of increasing farmers° income, providing reliable source for irrigation and de-dieselise the farm sector, removing farmers' dependence on diesel and kerosene and linking pump sets to solar energy.

Social and Commercial Infrastructure

Pradhan MantriAwaasYojana (Gramin)

  • To provide pucca houses to all rural homeless and those households living in kutcha and dilapidated houses.
  • The Government of India has also aimed at providing a dignified life to the beneficiaries by providing basic amenities.
  • The introduction of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in the programme has improved the financial inclusion in rural areas.
  • Due to pucca house that can withstand all weather conditions, a considerable reduction in open defecation post-PMAY-G, usage of the toilet and floor cleaners, etc., have led to clean and hygienic conditions.
  • There has been an improvement in the schooling of children of the households post-PMAY-G period in terms of both enrolment and performance at school owing to pucca house.

However, there is also a need for further strengthening of monitoring mechanism in order to make the scheme more efficient in terms of maintaining quality, saving time and resources, and at the same time, ensuring both tangible and intangible benefits to the beneficiaries.

Water and Sanitation

Jal Jeevan Mission (HarGhar Jal)

  • It aims to provide safe and adequate piped water supply to all households by 2024.
  • The programme also implements source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation, rain water harvesting.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission will be based on a community approach to water and will include extensive Information, Education and communication as a key component of the mission.

Swachha Bharat Mission (Grameen)

  • Under the mission SBMG, all villages, Gram Panchayats, Districts, States and Union Territories in India declared themselves "open-defecation free" (ODF) by 2nd October 2019.
  • To ensure that the open defecation free behaviours are sustained, the Mission is moving towards the next Phase-II of SBMGe., ODF-Plus. It will reinforce ODF behaviours and focus on providing interventions for the safe management of solid and liquid waste in villages.

Communication

  • The government's vision is that all public in at Gram Panchayat level such as Anganwadis, health and wellness centres, government schools, PDS outlets, post offices and police stations will be provided with digital connectivity.
  • BharatNet: BharatNet is the world's largest rural broadband network project which is to provide broadband connectivity to all the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) across India.
  • Mapping of India's genetic landscape is critical for next generation medicine, agriculture and for bio-diversity management. To support this development, the government initiated national level Science Schemes, to create a comprehensive database

Conclusion

  • The infrastructure schemes for the rural areas have improved the lives of the rural people in different ways and helped in reducing the poverty.
  • Infrastructure has brought social and economic change among the rural households and empowered them to live their lives with dignity and safety with improved living standards.

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