You dont need a Nobel Prize winner to tell you what to do to abolish poverty and raise living standards!
UPA government led by Manmohan Singh might be better than the NDA government led by Vajpayee. But the over all economic development was initiated by the NDA and it is the same road the UPA is also trailing. We mean the road infrastructure, National Highways Authority was the first big infrastructure project that triggered the visible changes in the physical landscape in the eyes of the common man. So too our nuclear programme, Vajpayee regime exploded the nuclear bomb and also initiated the nuclear power agreement.
What is worrying the common man is the question of how the future developments in the nuclear power fields would evolve. Whether India would pursue its foreign policy of peace and non-aligned movement so that the Third World countries, also Russia would be poised towards a peace-dictated direction or India would be more drawn towards a unilateral USA superpower syndrome.
Also our own economic development. Our economy is different from all major economies, US-Russian, European and Chinese.
We have to have a vibrant parliamentary democratic culture in the states and at Centre and our economic development has to be broad-based, social justice based and also our agriculture must be focused on food self sufficiency.
Now environmental issues and the climate change issues are in the forefront, India has to play a more pro-active role in environment-friendly development paradigm.
Our farmers. farming system, our rural areas must have some development model, some business model that is benign as well as market friendly.
There is a youth population. There is a technology revolution, IT and Internet revolution and our urban areas are fast growing and drawing people from the rural areas.
So, we have to use the new technologies to solve peoples problems. In buying and selling.
The 11th Plan foresees an additional work force of 65 million joining the army of unemployed. Arjun Sengupta, the chairman of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised sector says this. He says the “appropriate recommendations are to provide technical, marketing and credit support to these enterprises “A Nation Fund for this purpose is promised in the common minimum programme of the UPA. The commission assessed the number of unorganised non-farm enterprises at 58 million in 2007.A huge world of its own, unnoticed and unrecognised by the governments in the states and in Delhi!
This sector alone contributes as much as 31.5 percent to the national GDP, according to Dr.Sengupta.
Micro enterprises are the new definition for the old tiny enterprises. Any enterprise worth Rs.25 lakh investment or Rs.10 lakh in plant and machinery is a micro enterprise! Even with this definition, Dr.Sengupta notes that bank credit to these enterprises was not even 3 per cent of the bank credit!
This is against the RBI rule that priority sector lending must be getting 60 per cent of the total credit to small enterprises. Now there is a decline to bank credit to small scale enterprises, from 40 per cent to now 34 per cent in 2004-05.
What is more galling, says Dr.Sengupta ,is the fact the micro enterprises with just Rs.5 lakh investment is more vulnerable and left in the lurch. This segment gets just 2.2 per cent of bank credit only.
Even more shockingly, these units, about 2.4 million among the 58 million of the total got or availed of only 4.2 per cent of institutional loans. This, in spite of the fact that PSBs are now spread out in all corners of the country with 75,000 bank branches.
The story as it unfolds is a depressing one and tests one’s nerves!
So, let us for a change look at what can be done. Much can be done. The SHG concept has worked well and we can replicate this concept in expanding credit to the small borrowers.
As it is only 27 per cent of our population has access to formal credit. This after four decades of nationalisation of banks!
Another idea is the co-operatives, the co-operatives can change to some extent the tiny nature of the units and their survival and marketing their products.
May be the retail revolution can take care to some extent the needs of these tiny units turning out a wide variety of things.