ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Boom to Order

lations and domestic radios. The presentation of the estimates of employment potential revives a procedure that was apparently abandoned after the Draft Outline of the Fourth Five-Year Plan (1966-71) was prepar ed. The Draft Outline had estimated the total additional employment potential of the Fourth Plan at 18.5 to 19 million of which 4.5 to 5 million was in agriculture. Subsequently, the Planning Commission appointed in August 1968 a Committee of Experts on Unemployment Estimates to exa mine past estimates of unemployment and, among other things, the norms In use for estimating employment potential. The Draft Fourth Plan (1969-74) referred to the "inherent difficulties in estimating the employment potential of the vast range of projects and programmes" in the absence of comprehensive surveys and referred to the awaited report of the Expert Committee. The Committee's report is yet to be published, but the Memorandum refers to some of its recommendations. While the Committee has categorically stated that "in the nature of our socioeconomic situation, precise estimates of employment and unemployment are not possible", its conclusion about the validity of employment norms are not yet known. The estimates of additional employment presented in the Memorandum are based probably on a rough estimate of the wage component of the outlays on particular projects. The extent to which such additional employment potential is likely to get spread over a large number of seasonally unemployed or underemployed persons is not known and therefore the number ot persons likely to benefit from the proposed programmes cannot really be estimated. The estimates of employment potential in terms of man-days of man-years cannot be converted into, or aggregated with, those referring to the number of jobs or persons likely to be employed. The avoidance of such aggregation in the Memorandum is a welcome improvement over past practice. While the programmes for dry fanning and for dairy development arc relatively minor, the projects for small farmers and the rural works programmc are likely to prove to be the same wine in different bottles. After all, large farm-owners seldom took advantage of employment offered on rural works which are normally viewed as "relief' projects. However, the concept of a rural works programme, initiated rather perfunctorily during the Third Plan and proposed to be an integral part of the Fourth Plan as formulated in 1966 but excluded from the Draft Fourth Plan prepared in 1969, has now been revived for 40 chronically drought-affected districts in seven States: Rajasthan (10), Maharashtra (8), Gujarat (7), Andhra Pradesh (6), Mysore (5), Uttar Pradesh (3) and Haryana (1). The programme is intended to lead to the construction of civil works "of a permanent nature" that would contribute to the mitigation of scarcity conditions in the relevant areas.

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