PLANNING COMMISSION

50th Meeting of the National Development Council (NDC)

The Tenth Plan (2002-07) has been approved by the National Development Council (NDC). It envisages an ambitious average growth rate of eight per cent per annum in GDP and doubling the per capita income in ten years. It aims to harness the benefits of growth to improve the quality of life by reduction in poverty ratio to 21 per cent, providing potable water in all villages, enrolling all children in school by 2003, and increasing literacy rate to 75 per cent by 2007. It also aims at creating 50 million jobs during the Tenth Plan and providing shelter to all by the end of the Eleventh Plan. This will require tremendous efforts for resource mobilisation, large investment in infrastructure and social sectors, improved allocative efficiency of resources, eliminating inter-State trade barriers, investor friendly environment, labour law reforms, efficient delivery system, and peoples’ participation.

In a path-breaking development, following the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister, the National Development Council (NDC) has also approved constitution of four empowered sub-committees of the NDC consisting of Union Cabinet Ministers and State Chief Ministers in the areas of governance of reforms, removal of internal trade, creation of an investor-friendly environment, and empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions. These sub-committees have since been set up with the approval of the Prime Minister.

Compendium on "Successful Governance Initiatives and Best Practices–Experiences from Indian States"

To encourage best practices in governance and implementation, and disseminate information relevant to raising standards of implementation across States, the Planning Commission, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has prepared a compendium on "successful governance initiatives & best practices – experiences from Indian States". The compendium has since been released.

State Development Reports

Planning Commission initiated an exercise to prepare State Development reports to provide a qualitative reference document on the development profile and strategies to accelerate the growth rate of the States. Assam State Development Report is first of its kind in the series of State Development Reports. It has been prepared by the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, in cooperation with the State government.

Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP)

The Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, under irrigation sector, is being used as a tool of reform and accordingly the initiative has started receiving response from the States. Four States, viz. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra have already signed the MoU with Government for progressively raising the irrigation water rates. The Government presumes that other States shall also come forward to reform the water rates and to use the funds so raised to maintain the water resource projects.

Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP)

The Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP) scheme was initiated in 2000-01, with the objective of giving a fillip to reforms in the distribution segment. The scheme is now proposed to be modified as the Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (APDRP). Under the modified scheme, there would be an element of incentive linked to achievement of certain reform-based parameters besides provision for investment in the distribution sector.

Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana (Development and Reform Facility)

Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana is a new initiative in the Tenth Plan. The main aim is to tackle the development problems of those areas, which despite existing efforts continue to be characterised by high poverty, low growth and poor governance. The Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana has three components in the current year, namely, (i) Special plan for Bihar; (ii) Special plan for the KBK districts; and (iii) Backward Districts Initiative. Under the Special Plan for Bihar, additionality will be provided for identified thrust areas, such as power, irrigation, roads, horticulture, watershed development and afforestation. Through innovative delivery systems, so that the prevailing bottlenecks in these sectors can be overcome and basic infrastructure for the future development of the State, are provided.

The Special Plan for the KBK districts aims at ameliorating the continuing poverty in these districts through concerted action in identified critical areas, which would ensure drought proofing, livelihood support, better health facilities and assistance to disadvantaged groups. Under the Backward Districts Initiative, 25 districts have been identified for providing assistance in the current year, which is to be used for schemes which fulfil the main objectives of the Development and Reform Facility, to address the problems of low agricultural productivity, unemployment and to fill up critical gaps in physical and social infrastructure.

Vision 2020

The Planning Commission constituted a Committee on Vision 2020 for crystallising the country’s vision for the future, in the year 2020.

India Vision 2020 envisages that by 2020, the people of India will be more in numbers, better educated, healthier and more prosperous than at any time in our long history. India’s per capita income will quadruple by the year 2020, with GDP growing at an annual rate of 9 per cent and population growth slowing down to 1.6 per cent, per annum. It will be people oriented development providing equal opportunities for all and removing the existing inequalities. There will be almost no unemployment, no poor and 100 per cent literacy. India’s claim to the title Silicon valley of Asia will be followed by the diversification from IT to biotechnology, medical sciences and other emerging fields of technology, enhancing India’s international competitiveness and generating large employment opportunities for the educated youth. These developments, coupled with a quantum expansion of vocational training programmes, will ensure jobs for all by the year 2020.

Inequalities between different age groups, sexes, income groups, communities and regions, will come down dramatically. India 2020 must be one, in which all levels and sections of the population and all parts of the country march forward together towards a more secure and prosperous future. However, Environmental issues will remain a serious concern, requiring strict enforcement of standards, use of water harvesting techniques and renewable energy sources like biomass, and massive afforestation.

By the year 2020, India will be much more integrated with the global economy and become a major player in terms of trade, technology and investment. Rising levels of education, employment and income will help stabilise India’s internal security and social environment. A united and prosperous India will be far less vulnerable to external security threats. A more prosperous India in the year 2020 will be characterised by a better educated electorate and a more transparent, accountable, efficient and decentralised Government.

MAJOR RURAL POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMMES

Due to the various initiatives taken by the Government, the percentage of population living Below Poverty Line (BPL) has been significantly reduced from 37.30 in 1993-94 to 27.09 in 1999-2000 in rural areas.

The major self-employment and wage employment programmes for alleviation of poverty have been reformulated during this period.

The Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) was launched in April, 1999, following the restructuring of the erstwhile Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) and its allied programmes along with Million Wells Scheme (MWS). The objective of the SGSY is to bring the assisted poor families (Swarozgaris) above the poverty line by organising them into Self Help Groups (SHGs) through the process of social mobilisation, their training and capacity building and provision of income generating assets through a mix of Bank credit and Government subsidy. The SGSY has been conceived as a process-oriented programme for the poor with group formation as the focus. There are four stages in this process - social mobilisation and formation of groups (initial phase), generation of savings and internal lending amongst the members of the group on their own, augmented by revolving fund grants (second phase), obtaining micro finance (third phase) and setting up of micro enterprises (fourth phase).

The Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) announced by the Prime Minister on August 15, 2001, was launched in September, 2001. The schemes of Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY) and Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) have been merged under this programme w.e.f. April 1, 2002. The primary objective of the scheme is to provide additional wage employment in all rural areas and thereby provide food security and improve nutritional levels. The secondary objective is the creation of durable community, social and economic assets and infrastructural development in rural areas. The SGRY is open to all rural poor who are in need of wage employment and desire to do manual and unskilled work in and around the village/habitat. The programme is self-targeting in nature. The programme is implemented through the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), which empowers the rural poor in getting the benefits of the programme.

Rural Housing – Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY)

The composite multi pronged strategy for housing has been operationalised w.e.f. 1999-2000. The Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) is the major scheme for construction of houses to be given to the poor, free of cost. It has an additional component, namely, conversion of unserviceable kutcha houses to semi pucca houses. Further, a credit-cum-subsidy scheme for rural housing was launched from April 1, 1999 targeting rural families having annual income up to Rs.32,000. The equity support by the Ministry of Rural Development (MORD) to Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) has been also been increased to improve the outreach of housing finance in rural areas.

In addition, the innovative stream for rural housing and habitat development and Rural Building Centres (RBCs) was introduced to encourage innovative, cost effective and environment friendly solutions in building/housing sectors in rural areas. Samagra Awaas Yojana, a comprehensive housing scheme, was also launched in 1999-2000, on pilot project basis in one block in each of 25 districts of 24 States and in one Union Territory with a view to ensuring integrated provision of shelter, sanitation and drinking water. A National Mission for Rural Housing and Habitat has also been set up to address the critical issues of ‘housing gap’ and induction of science and technology inputs into the housing/construction sector in rural areas.

Development of degraded and wastelands

The restoration of degraded and wasteland has been accorded a very high priority by the Planning Commission. Specific programmes that address issues of development of degraded land and enhance the carrying capacity of land, have been strengthened and provided increased allocation in the last five years. Special focus on these areas has been given in the Tenth Five Year Plan. The allocation for area development programmes, viz. Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and Integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP) were increased considerably during the Ninth Plan period. The guidelines for implementation of the schemes have been revised to internalize issues of equity and social inclusion. Elaborate monitoring mechanism has been put in place to ensure that projects are completed on time and with in the approved cost. Post projects arrangements for long-term sustainability of the watershed projects have also been emphasised.

Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRI)

The Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRI) were conferred a Constitutional status by the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1993. The Constitution enjoins the State governments to empower Panchayats by devolving functions, finances and administrative control over the government functionaries of departments which fall with in the purview of PRIs. The last Five Year Plan has seen a greater empowerment of the PRIs in many States. However, in many other States the process of strengthening Panchayats needs greater impetus. The Government of India has taken steps to enable Panchayats to emerge as institutions of self-governance. Instructions have been issued to the States to bestow powers and responsibilities on the Panchayats in consonance with the Constitutional Amendment Act.

The Government has also attempted to promote a greater role for Gram Sabhas to further transparency and accountability in functioning of the Panchayats. The year 1999-2000 was declared as the year of Gram Sabha by the Government. Many national level conventions were also held to discuss the issue of deepening grass root democracy. The Government of India has also decided to set up an empowered committee of the National Development Council (NDC) to look into the issue of empowerment of Panchayats.

Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY)

Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) was launched in the Annual Plan 2000-2001 in all the States and the UTs in order to achieve the objective of sustainable human development at the village level.

PMGY envisaged allocation of Additional Central Assistance (ACA) to the States and UTs for selected basic minimum services in order to focus on certain priority areas of the Government. The PMGY programme strives to mobilise efforts and resources only for selected basic services. The programme initially had five components, viz., primary health, primary education, rural shelter, rural drinking water and nutrition. Rural electrification was added as an additional component (sixth) to the programme in the Annual Plan 2001-02. The programme complements the efforts of the States and UTs to ensure access of the rural population to the basic services thereby improving the level of human development in the country.

State Human Development Reports

Since July, 1999, Planning Commission has been executing a small UNDP project on capacity building for preparation of State Human Development Reports (SDRs). The project aims at providing technical and professional assistance to the State governments, which embark on the preparation of their State HDRs. With the assistance offered through the project, a number of State governments have benefited in their endeavour to prepare their SHDRs. The State governments of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Sikkim have already prepared and launched their Reports. The State governments, which are at present preparing these reports, are Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh.

Environment and Forests Sector

In the environment sector, India hosted the Eighth Conference of Parties (COP-8) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at New Delhi in October-November, 2002, through which the international community recognised India as a leader working with a defined mandate and commitment in mitigating adverse effects of climate change and also became aware of India’s capabilities in the fields of environment management and technology in industry, power, renewable energy, agriculture and forestry sectors. In Delhi, CNG was introduced as a fuel for public transport buses and diesel was phased out in 2002. Consequently the levels of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM), SO2, etc. have been considerably reduced.

In respect of conservation of rivers and lakes, the following programmes/measures have been undertaken:

Ganga Action Plan Phase –I (GAP-I)

The first river action plan taken up under the National River Conservation Directorate was the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase I. This scheme was closed w.e.f. April 1, 2000. The objective of the GAP Phase-I was to improve the water quality of the river Ganga as per the following standards:

Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) - 3mg/l (maximum)

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) - 5mg/l (minimum)

Total Coliform Count - 10,000MPN per 100ml

Faecal Coliform Count - 2,500 MPN per 100 ml

Pollution abatement works under this plan have been taken up in 25 class I towns (population above one lakh in 1985) of which six are in U.P. four in Bihar and 15 in West Bengal. The action plan primarily addressed itself to the interception and diversion for treatment of 873 million litres per day (mld) of municipal sewage. To accomplish the task, 261 schemes of pollution abatement concerning municipal activities were sanctioned under the GAP. These include 88 schemes of interception and diversion, 35 of sewage treatment plants, 43 of low cost toilets, 28 of electric crematoria, 35 of river front development and another 32 of miscellaneous category. Of these, 258 schemes have been completed.

A sewage treatment capacity of 835 mld has been created and an amount of about Rs. 452 crore has been spent on the GAP Phase I. The entire funding has been provided by the Central Government. About 35 per cent of the present pollution load of Ganga has been tackled under this phase and the river water quality has shown improvement over the pre-GAP period.

National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)

The National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) was launched in 1995 to cover 23 major rivers in 10 States of the country. Ganga Action Plan, Phase II was merged with NRCP in 1996. NRCP at present includes works in 155 towns along 29 polluted stretches of rivers spread over 17 States including Andhra Pradesh. Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttranchal and West Bengal.

Out of 754 schemes of pollution abatement sanctioned under this action plan so far, 351 schemes have been completed. About 2,455 million litres per day (mld) of sewage is targeted to be intercepted, diverted and treated. Out of the approved cost of Rs. 3,438 crore, the projects worth Rs. 2,395 crore have been sanctioned. The funds released by Government till December, 2002, are to the tune of Rs. 1,160 crore.

NRCP was approved on 50:50 cost sharing basis between Centre and the State Governments in 1995. The funding pattern was changed to 100 per cent by Centre in the beginning of the IX Plan. However, effective April 1, 2001, the cost of all new works approved is being shared between Centre and States on 70:30 basis. The major works under NRCP include: Yamuna Action Plan, Gomti Action Plan, Damodar Action Plan, Musi River Conservation Project etc.

National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP)

The National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) was initiated in 1994 for cleaning important urban lakes with high levels of silting and pollution. Initially, ten lakes were identified for coverage – Ooty, Kodaikanal, Powai, Dal, Sukhna, Sagar, Nainital, Udaipur, Rabindra Sagar and Hussain Sagar. It was approved in 1997 as a 100 per cent Centrally-sponsored scheme, but the funding pattern was revised to 70:30 between Centre and State w.e.f January, 2002.

The allocation for NLCP during the IX Plan was Rs. 25 crore, out of which Rs. 10.20 crore was spent. A provision of Rs. 220 crore has been made for the X plan. The major ongoing and approved works include conservation of lakes, namely, Powai (Maharashtra), Ooty (Tamilnadu), Kodaikanal (Tamilnadu) , Mansagar (Rajasthan), Nainital Lakes (Uttranchal), Bangalore lakes (Karnataka) etc. In view of the several competing proposals being received from the various State governments for other polluted lakes, it has been decided to take up such lakes depending on pollution status and availability of funds.

In respect of the forests sector, two task forces were formed during the relevant period, which deliberated upon the topics allocated and submitted their reports.

Task Force on Conservation and Sustainable use of Medicinal Plants

The Task Force was constituted on June 14, 1999, with representatives of all related fields. The brief of the Task Force was to deliberate and suggest appropriate measure to take up assessment and conservation including sustainable use of the medicinal plant resources of the country. The report of the Task Force was released on February 29, 2002. The report has been circulated to the related departments of the Government for follow up action.

Task Force on Development of Agro-forestry

The Task Force was constituted on September 16, 1999, with the aim to provide policy directives, legal support, equitable marketing systems to agro-forestry for sustainable agriculture, diversified production, thriving of forest based industries along with improving bio-drainage of the land and rural economy. The Task force had 17 members. It was renamed as the Task Force on Greening India, subsequently. The report of the Task Force was released on July 2, 2001. The report has been made available to the concerned agencies for follow up action.

National Mission on Bamboo Technology and Trade Development

Considering the vast scope for expanding bamboo in the areas outside forest, its enduring versatility as a highly renewable resource and tolerance of diverse soil and moisture regimes, its ability to survive in degraded areas as a means of conserving soil and moisture, it has been proposed to launch a National Mission on Bamboo Technology and Trade Development for taking up several initiatives with the objectives of using bamboo as a means to reclaim degraded land, conserve soil, improve environment, aiming at raising of the forest cover to 25 per cent by 2007 and 33 per cent by 2012, organising harvesting of bamboo from gregarious flowering areas, expanding area under bamboo plantation by 6M ha. in the Tenth and Eleventh Plan, improving yield, stabilising the existing bamboo plantation and promoting plantations of quality species needed by the Industry, diversification, modernisation and expansion of the bamboo based industries and handicrafts.

The Bamboo Mission Programme will enable about 5 million families of artisans and farmers to cross the poverty line.

National Mission on Bio-diesel

Plant species like ‘Jatropha curcas’ have been found to be quite useful for blending of seed oil in diesel, apart from being suitable for reforestation of degraded forestlands of arid regions. The potential of this species in bringing about economic development of communities involved in JFM and agro-forestry in degraded lands, besides fulfilling greening commitments of the country has been realized by the Planning Commission and it is proposed to launch a National Mission on Bio-diesel from the year 2003-04.

The National mission envisages plantation of ‘Jatropha curcas’ as a component of agro-forestry/ JFM programmes under Greening India campaign and promote use of seeds of this species for blending with diesel. It is expected that with the integration of the available technology in rural areas for processing of seeds and blending of the oil products in the petro-fuels, there will be a positive impact on the rural economy as well as national initiatives for environmental conservation.

Health

In the Health Sector, the most important initiative has been initiated in July, 2002, to operationalise the PM’s announcement to provide food grains to pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls. The project has been taken up in two of the backward districts in some of the major States and most populous districts. In the current financial year an allocation of Rs.133.33 crore has been made for the budget.

Family Welfare

Centre has been taking over the funding of all the 1.34 lakh ANMs in sub centres to facilitate filling gaps in the critical posts and improving coverage and quality of FW services.

With States taking over the funding of the staff in PPC and RFWC, adjusting these persons against existing vacancy will improve functional status of the PHC and CHC. As these persons are adjusted against vacant posts these States may not face any major financial hardship.

Nutrition

Adequate attention is being given for:

  • Focusing the attention on the need for changed strategies for combating under-nutrition;
  • Prevention of under nutrition through nutrition education;
  • improving infant and child feeding practices;
  • appropriate intra familial distribution of food;
  • Achieving significant reduction in the current high under -nutrition rates through universal screening of persons belonging to vulnerable groups to identify undernourished persons; Identification of under-nourished infants, children, and targeting food supplementation to them; Fulfilling the PMs announcement on August 15, 2001, of providing foodgrains to undernourished adolescent and pregnant and lactating women by providing ACA to the States for this purpose; and
  • Operatinalisation of the convergence between nutrition, health, and family welfare services at Centre, State and field levels.

Urban Development Sector

In the aforesaid sector, the following priority areas have been identified in the Tenth Plan and major initiatives as given below have been set in motion:

    • Focus on urban reform agenda;
    • Reduction of urban poverty ratio by five percentage points by 2007;
    • Focus on provision of basic civic amenities in the urban areas; and
    • Decentralization and empowerment of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as envisaged in the 74th Constitutional Amendment.

Urban Reform Incentive Fund (URIF):

The new initiative with an allocation of Rs.500 crore for reform-linked incentive to State Governments was proposed by the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech 2002. The HUD Division formalised this initiative and in consultation with the Ministry of UD&PA, the guidelines were finalised. The allocation of funds to the State governments under URIF is made as additional Central assistance to annual plans of States based on the share of each State in the total urban population of the country. The process of release of funds is initiated by the States individually entering into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Ministry addressing the Reform in the following areas:

    • Repeal of the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act;
    • Rationalization of stamp duty in phases to bring it down to no more than 5 per cent by end of Tenth Plan period;
    • Reform of Rent Control Laws to remove rent control at lease prospectively;
    • Introduction of computerized process of registration;
    • Reform of Property Tax so that it may become a major source of urban local bodies, and arrangements for its effective implementation with collection efficiency of 85 per cent by the end of Tenth Plan period;

    • Levy of reasonable user charges, with full cost of O&M being collected by end of Tenth Plan period; and
    • Introduction of double entry system of accounting.

Study on Problems of Slums in Delhi

The Committee to study the problems of slums in Delhi was constituted by the Planning Commission under the Chairmanship of Shri Charti Lal Goel. The Committee brought out its report in June, 2002. The report suggested both short and long term programmes, which involve a number of agencies, and most importantly, pinpoints the decisions which need to be taken with regard to land, financing of housing, project co-ordination and the time horizon within which these are to be achieved. The clear objective should be that the targeted clusters should no longer share slum characteristics.

The other important recommendations of the Committee are, a sane land policy, decision on in-situ upgradation, creation of structures such as social housing corporation and slum board, credit support, and coordinated action by all civic agencies. The Committee also recommended for conducting a comprehensive survey, a bigger role for DDA, reasonable limits to the growth of the present Delhi, integration of Delhi & NCR plans, protection of public and cleared lands, law enforcement, land acquisition for relocation, obtaining external assistance and credibility of resettlement programmes etc.

Eradication of Manual Scavenging

As desired by the Prime Minister’s Office, Planning Commission had prepared ‘The National Action Plan for Total Eradication of Manual Scavenging by 2007’. In this action plan, the manner for achieving convergence of the legal, financial, technical provision of the programme with support from Non-Government organisations, for total conversion of dry latrines and economic rehabilitation of manual scavengers, has been worked out. The Action Plan is currently under consideration by the Government of India.

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