Local economic development is not just about development of basic needs of individuals but about people working together to achieve sustainable economic growth and improved lives. Employment and income are needed to prosper.This implies creation of more employment in the Gram Panchayats, promotion of entrepreneurship and addition of further opportunities for economic growth.
For local economic development potential from natural resources may be assessed by:
These inputs can result in enhanced farm income and generation of employment.To institutionalize this growth farmer producer organizations (FPO) and labour banks.may be promoted.
‘Amul’ is the world’s largest FPO. It made India the largest producer of milk in the world. ‘Amul’ is also the world’s leader in milk processing technology and marketing. It originated from the villages. Why are we not able to replicate it in other sectors and areas?
Several other measures may be considered for local economic development:
Building of self help group of poor men and women in neighbourhood may be a good starting point for all these activities. This will create an enabling environment for thrift and credit, micro finance, opening of bank accounts, linkages with banks etc. Thus financing a micro enterprise will become easier within a short span of time.
The activities mentioned above conform to the subjects of the Panchayats as per the 11th Schedule of the 73rd amendment of the Constitution of India -Small scale industries, including food processing industries, Khadi, village and cottage industries, Technical training and vocational education, Minor forest produce, Fisheries, Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry, Agriculture, including agricultural extension. Above all, one of the objectives laid out in the 73rd amendment to the constitution is local economic development!
For local economic development Gram Panchayats can work to:
||Micro, small and medium enterprises within the panchayat area
|Enterprise opportunities in the village|
|Employment opportunities for different categories and degrees of disabilities|
|IDENTIFY AND TRACK||Potential candidates to set up enterprises.|
|Skills of interested candidates .|
|FACILITATE||Prevention of child labour and create awareness on prevention of child labour|
|Jobs under MGNREGS.|
|Availability of facilities at MGNREGS worksite.|
|Prevention of manual scavenging|
|Rehabilitation of and cash assistance for manual scavengers through the social welfare department|
|Entrepreneurial development training|
|Handholding support for new enterprises|
|Job creation through convergence of ongoing schemes and sponsorships.|
|MAINTAIN||Database on labour and employment|
|Categorization of disabled based on nature and degree of disability.|
|CREATE||Awareness on equal wages for men and women for equal work|
|IEC material on labour legislations, rights and entitlements.|
|Village-level child protection committees and promote child protection services.|
If these are our goals, what are the specific things we should plan to achieve and by when? Can our Gram Panchayat plan for the following?
|Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana (DAY)-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) and other government schemes for enterprise development|
|Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)|
|Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY)|
|The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013|
|State-sponsored schemes, other department schemes, youth welfare schemes|
SHGs, local professionals, social workers, successful Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) entrepreneurs, successful local entrepreneurs,Anganwadi workers, literacy activists, teachers, NRLM CRPs, MGNREGS mates,youth organizations, Rural Development Department, Department of Social Justice.
How can a Gram panchayat plan for local economic development
Let us go through a case study from a state;
PSC Bank Limited is a small cooperative bank catering to the needs of about 5000 households in a Panchayat. The bank routinely lends money to farmers for the cultivation of paddy, coconut, banana, vegetables, animal husbandry,poultry etc. It also has programmes for drip irrigation, irrigation wells, cattle sheds, bio gas tanks .
The bank also facilitates a mechanized labour bank involved in agriculture operations such as all paddy operations, coconut harvesting, vegetable cultivation and animal husbandry.
But maintaining the momentum became a tough task because of the fluctuations of the market. Initially a place was set up for the farmers to sell their items during specific hours and days. This was later converted in to a modern super market where farmers need not be present to sell. Whatever they brought in- even in small quantities - the supermarket purchased it and displayed it aesthetically for sale. The gap in local produce was filled from externally brought produce to ensure the customer did not experience difficulty. Local credit cards were issued to the member farmers so that their consumption is fully met. The very fact that materials were produced locally attracted external buyers also.
Now the supermarket is selling produce worth Rs 5 lakhs per day, one fourth locally produced materials and all 5000 families have a regular and stable income. New value addition facilities are steadily coming up! Their social security is also taken care of by the Bank.
Sustainable Development Goal 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Now look at the goals and targets set by your Gram Panchayat – you are contributing to the Global goal and targets to promote sustainable economic growth, productive employment and decent work for all!
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