Academic journal article Journal of Financial Management & Analysis

Translating Mahatma Gandhi Vision : Every Village Has to Become a Self-Sufficient Republic to Reality through Dr. Sir M. Visvesvaraya Scheme of 'Village Industrialization' and 'The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme' : Empirical Research Findings

Academic journal article Journal of Financial Management & Analysis

Translating Mahatma Gandhi Vision : Every Village Has to Become a Self-Sufficient Republic to Reality through Dr. Sir M. Visvesvaraya Scheme of 'Village Industrialization' and 'The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme' : Empirical Research Findings

Article excerpt

Introduction

The rural poor in developing countries (in India, for example), comprise persons without productive assets; labourers largely or wholly dependent on wages with irregular and uncertain employment; marginal farmers without irrigational facilities and other infrastructural facilities; petty artisans; people with poor resources; people born in debt, living in debt; people who are unorganized and without bargaining power; and, people prone to exploitation and dependency. Recently, an alternati ve term for rural poor being used is weaker section.

Development Strategy Distribution : Root cause of Rural Poverty : Non-Diagnosis

According to financial management expert Kumara Swamy views of poverty1:

There may be as many interpretations of the crucial term 'poverty' as there are sociologists, financial economists. Poverty is a catchword and, according to the Kumara Swamy research findings, each letter (POVERTY) has its own significance for policy making and refers to the following:

Poor (have nots) who are forced by economic circumstances to cooperate and help in

Organising middlemen's activities - - being unaware of their selfish motives - - have become

Vulnerable to

Exploitation by the

Rich (haves)

To widen the already widening

Y (income) gap making the poor poorer and the rich richer1.

Substantiating this, one of India's leading industrialists, Arvind N. Mafatlal, with deep commitment combined with realistic programmes and plans towards eradicating extreme poverty from villages, has expressed the view:

By and large, the fruits of this achievement (significant progress in the industrial agricultural and various other fields) have not been shared by the poverty-stricken masses. There has been an increase in the disparity between the affluent and the poor as also between the urban and rural population and this has aggravated the already miserable conditions of the majority of our people... in order to have a correct appraisal of the present malaise and develop an effective remedy for it, we should first of all, locate the cause of the distortion of the development strategy as it has evolved in practice. In particular, it is evident that the benefits of development whatever that has taken place have accrued almost exclusively to the upper strata of our society, i.e., about top 10 per cent of the population. Looking at the same phenomenon from a rational angle, the gains have concentrated in some of the large urban centres and a few dynamic rural areas. Even in these areas there are pockets of poverty. It can safely be said that a large part of the country (India) has remained bereft of the fruits of the economic development2.

Evidently, the root cause of the disease of rural poverty has not been diagnosed by doctors of the economy, and all funding by national and international financial institutions has been watering merely the branches of the plant and not the roots causing the plants to dry up. For example, paddy crop dries up if it does not get water for a day. How is it the trees remain green even in the long period of drought? What is the reason for this? The roots of the tree have gone down to the water level, whereas the roots of the paddy crop remain on the surface - - All efforts are to be geared to water the roots and branches of trees (as they grow from plant stage to small, medium and big tree stage) and strengthen development efforts in order to make the roots of development touch the surface level to reach Rostow's take-offstage.

We should not forget to ponder on the fundamental reason why development planning has discriminated, in practice, against small farmers peasant farmers. It is in this perspective, the following statement renowned agricultural economist-cum- policy formulators Martin [jere ring bell:

the agricultural economist might blame the economic size of the farms; while the national income economist might refer to low savings and low per capita income in the rural areas; the banker might attribute to the low rate of returns on investments; the industrial technologist might draw attention to the out-moded technology; and many other business groups might consider the search for explanation an unnecessary exercise. …

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