Towards Inclusive Growth - Eastern Mirror
Thursday, July 11, 2024

Towards Inclusive Growth

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jul 10, 2024 11:51 pm

The forthcoming union budget should put emphasis on the rural sector to ensure inclusive growth in the country. At present, due to issues such as global warming and lack of profitability in the agricultural sector, the rural economy is going through a challenging period. Moreover the recent heat wave experienced in the months of April and May, has led to  immense destruction of crops, pushing the rural populace deeper into poverty. In the absence of alternatives, these individuals are now migrating to nearby cities to earn their livelihood. Such distress-earning scenarios can only be prevented with the help of well thought out and implemented policies and programmes. Hence, the upcoming budget should support revitalisation of the rural economy by announcing several measures.

An ailing rural sector will immensely impact the Indian economy as rural India makes up a significant portion of India’s population and thus is a major factor influencing the country’s GDP. This is why former President, late Pranab Mukherjee always advocated for strengthening the rural economy, rather than focusing on stock market growth. On many occasions, the former President discarded the ‘Trickling Effect Theory’ propounded by supporters of neo liberal economic theory. But his views were sidelined when India introduced a new economic policy in 1991, considerably reducing the government’s control over the market. As things stand now, it appears that it is high time for India to revisit the policy to check further downslide of the rural economy.

Thus, the first priority of the new government should be to create ample scope for the rural populace to earn their livelihood. In this regard, it should be noted that despite being a good initiative the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has begun to show its limitations, like many other programmes announced by both the Central and state governments. Many of the programmes are great on paper but in practice can cause more harm than good to the rural economy. To strengthen the rural economy it is crucial is to create permanent employment avenues rather than providing temporary relief. The government should advise beneficiaries of MGNREGA to create permanent assets like big water bodies, roads among others to ensure irrigation facilities as well as accessibility to the market.

Moreover, as the majority of India’s rural populace is engaged in farming, usage of modern technologies to enhance productivity must be encouraged. As a matter of fact, since the much-touted ‘Green Revolution’, no significant efforts have been made to further modernise Indian agriculture. The government could also consider creating a special fund to disburse among farmers interested in using modern technology. Considering the expertise of Indian farmers, such a move will definitely help grow the country more as facilities like soil testing to effective alternatives to chemical framing will become available to them. Innovative, effective and sustainable measures are necessary to catalyse rural economic growth and will help the country towards its goal of becoming a developed nation by 2047.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jul 10, 2024 11:51:55 pm
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