|8th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)||<<
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Agricultural and Allied Activities || Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation || Irrigation, Command Area Development and Flood Control || Environment and Forests || Industry and Minerals || Village and Small Industries and Food Processing Industries || Labour and Labour Welfare || Energy || Transport || Communication, Information and Broadcasting || Education, Culture and Sports || Health and Family Welfare || Urban Development || Housing, Water Supply and Sanitation || Social Welfare || Welfare and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes || Special Area Development Programmes || Science and Technology || Plan Implementation and Evaluation
RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION
Minimum Needs Programme
2.17.1 The Minimum Needs Programme was introduced in the Fifth Plan with the objective of providing the rural population, particularly the rural poor, with access to certain items of so ial consumption which form an integral part of the basic needs. It was envisaged that certain national level norms would be fixed with respect to each of these items and that within a specified time frame all areas in the country would achieve these national goals. Initially, there were eight components under the MNP - Elementary Education, Rural Health, Rural Water Supply, Rural Roads, Rural Electrification, Rural Housing, Environmental Improvement of Urban Slums and Nutrition. During the Sixth Plan, Adult Education was added. In the Seventh Plan the list was further expanded with three more components namely Rural Domestic Energy, Rural Sanitation and Public Distribution System. These components form part of the programine:-of individual sectors and the allocations for these are part of the sectoral allocations.
2.17.2 A review of these programmes has been made in the relevant chapters. However, given the need to focus on certain items which affect the quality of life of the poor, the selected components need to be more effectively monitored and implemented. Hence, the rationale for a separate section on the minimum needs to emphasise the importance and significance of these as part of the strategy of poverty alleviation.
2.17.3 A review of the programme reveals that in most cases, the physical and the financial targets have been achieved satisfactorily except in the area of rural sanitation. The details are given in Appendixes 3 and 4. However, the quantitative achievements do not mean much in themselves. The following examples will help clarify this.
a) In the case of elementary education, over 90 per cent of the children were enrolled and had access to a school. However, the literacy rate is about 50 per cent. This is due to the high rate of drop-outs at th£ primary level itself. The aim is eradication. of illiteracy. Hence the achievement should be judged in terms of literacy rates and retention ratios and these have to be monitored.
b) In the case of rural health, there is an extensive network of primary health centres and sub- centres but these have not been operationalised in terms of adequate staff or medicines. In any case, "Health for All' means reduction in both birth and death rates and control of diseases. Hence, the performance with respect to rural health should be judged in terms of a decline in the death rate, the infant mortality rate and the birth rate besides a reduction in morbidity due to illnesses and diseases.
Similarly, under the rural water supply programme the coverage of villages is not enough by itself. It is necessary to ensure that 40 litres of potable water per capita per day is available on a sustained basis and to ensure its quality upgradat'on by making it free from salinity and chemical and bacteriological contamination.
d) In the case of«rural domestic energy, lack of coordination between the fuel wood and' improved chulha/ stoves, sub-components was found to be a major constraint. It is proposed to take up this programme in the IREP blocks where effective coordination and monitoring will be ensured for families below the poverty line in the Eighth Five Year Plan. Further details are given in the section on IREP in this chapter.
e) Electrification of villages may be achieved as per targets, but it is necessary to ensure that beyond the minimum quantum of power needed to meet domestic use and street lighting there is other economic uses of power such as energisation of pump sets, running small units of production etc.
In the Eighth Plan, the emphasis should shift from mere targetting to achieving qualitative results.
2.17.4 Another issue requiring consideration is the existence of considerable inter-state variations with respect to different components. By way of illustration, the following examples will help to clarify the issues.
a) The literacy rate is as high as 90 per cent in Kerala and as low as 38 to 39 per cent in Bihar and Rajasthan, with the Ail India average at 52. With respect to female literacy rate, Kerala has an average rate of 87 per cent with Rajasthan and Bihar of less than 25 per cent. In the first instance, those States which are below the all India average need to be brought up to this average. Thereafter, the focus will have to shift towards bridging the gap between the top ranking States and the rest.
b) While the All India average death rate is 11.9, in States like Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and UP it is above 13.5. The infant mortality rate ranges between 26 in Kerala and 135 in UP. Birth rates are as low as 19.4 per thousand in Goa and as high as 39.2 per thousand in UP.
c) In the case of rural roads, only about 10 per cent of the villages with the population of 1500 and above still remain unconnected, though in Bihar, Mizoram and West Bengal their proportion is 34, 42 and 40 per cent respectively. In the population category of 1000 - 1500, the target of covering 50 per cent of the villages would have been exceeded with the exception of Mizoram covering 44 per cent.
2.17.5 Similarly, with respect to other components, there are certain inter-State variations. Attention needs to be given to the States lagging behind in order that they achieve the national norms, and some mechanism needs to be devised for this. Some additional funds may also need to be provided to the States that have not achieved the national norms. However, the State Governments may have a tendency to withdraw their normal assistance from a sector if it is being funded by additional resources from the Centre. This needs to be guarded against.
2.17.6 The planning and implementation of these programmes should be integrated with other on-going rural development programmes at a decentralised level with the district as" the unit of planning. In addition, some provision should be made for basic village amenities as an integral part of the MNP with a certain amount of 'untied' funds allocated to the local level bodies for the implementation and maintenance of these amentities. These can include street lighting, a primary school building, community centres, hand pumps, fish ponds, social forestry, bio-gas etc. The list can be an exhaustive one with the flexbility of spending funds left to the discretion of the village level organisation.
2.17.7 Provision of energy for subsistance and development in the rural areas have to be closely linked with the programme for rural development. The following section discusses the importance of Rural Energy and the details of the Integrated Rural Energy Programme which was started as a plan scheme in the Seventh plan, and is being intensified and expanded in the Eighth Plan.
Integrated Rural Energy Programme (IREP)
2.18.1 Despite the high priority being given in successive plans to the development of the rural areas, the quality of life in the rural areas continues to be much below the desired levels, with continuing stark disparities between rural and urban living conditions. A major constraint in improving the living conditions in rural areas is the non-availability of energy for meeting subsistance and production needs. Rural areas are often the worst affected due to present all round scarcity of commercial energy, including petroleum products and electricity. While increasing share of plan funds are being invested in the production of commercial energy, the share of the rural areas in the total commercial energy produced in the country has been only of the order of about one-fifth, though the rural areas account for nearly three-fourth of the total population.
2.18.2 Even basic energy needs for the rural people are not being met because of widespread scarcity of commercial energy. Non-commercial energy consisting of fire-wood, cowdung and agricultural wastes continue to provide from 80 to 90% of the total energy consumed in the rural areas for the subsistance activities of cooking and heating. Energy needs for production purposes in rural areas, including agricultural requirements, are met mainly from draught animal energy and human labour, both of which are most inefficiently utilised. A major proportion of the energy used in the rural areas is also secured by individuals at almost zero private cost. Fiscal and administrative measures, as well as controls on energy distribution, have so far made little impact in the rural areas.
2.18.3 While commercial forms of energy such as electricity, kerosene and diesel oil are now making inroads in the rural areas, their consumption is still largely confined to the more affluent households. Though kerosene is used by many low-income rural households for lighting, the majority of the rural households cannot afford to utilise commercial fuels for other end-uses, due to their low purchasing power.
2.18.4 Most of the energy consumed in rural areas do not enter the organised market place and therefore there are no accurate data on patterns of supply and consumption of energy in the rural areas. These patterns also often vary from one agro-climatic region to another. There is, therefore, need to understand the patterns of energy consumption at the micro- level, through decentralized energy planning exercises, in order to provide sustainable and affordable supply of energy sources for meeting the growing energy needs of the rural population. In this context, it may be noted that, while locally available renewable energy sources based on non-conventional technologies will have to play an increasingly important role in the coming years in meeting rural energy needs, the rural population will also have to be provided their due share of commercial energy especially for productive income generating activities, for building rural infrastructure and for the overall economic development and modernisation of the rural areas.
2.18.5 The Integrated Rural Energy Planning Programme (IREP) which was taken up as a plan scheme in the Seventh Plan has been a major effort in this direction for planning for energy for rural development, taking into account the concerns for equity and social justice.
IREP Experience and Eighth Plan directions '
2.19.1 The IREP programme was developed as a plan scheme in the Seventh Plan on the basis of the experience of a pilot Rural Energy Planning Exercise taken up in the Sixth Plan. Under this , pilot projects were set up in a few selected blocks in different parts of the country for developing the methodology for decentralised integrated rural energy planning and for developing institutional arrangements for preparing and implementing integrated rural energy plans and projects, through which the least cost mix' of various energy options, conventional as well as renewable and non-conventional energy, were provided for meeting the energy needs of subsistance and development at "the block level. On the basis of the experience of this exercise, the Integrated Rural Energy Planning (IREP) programme was prepared and taken up as a regular plan scheme in the Seventh plan, with components for developing institutional mechanisms, project preparation and implementation, financial incentives, training, R and D including computer modelling and monitoring.
2.19.2 The implementation of the IREP programme in the Seventh Plan was funded through outlays provided under the Central and State Plans. The Central Plan component was utilised for setting up the institutional mechanisms in the State/UT through funds for professional and support staff in tne IREP cells at the State level and in the selected districts/blocks, as well as for the training. The State component of IREP funds was utilised for project preparation and implementation and financial incentives for the promotion of rural energy technologies, as part of the block level IREP projects.
2.19.3 During the Seventh Plan and subsequent two annual Plans in 1990-91 and 91-92, around 250 blocks have been covered under IREP programme. Block level project documents have been prepared for most of these blocks.The major conclusions drawn on the basis of the IREP programme in the IREP blocks situated in the different agro climatic zones of the country in the Seventh Plan are discussed below.
2.19.4 Wide variations in energy consumption levels were found in different agro climatic zones, ranging from 830 to 2868 Thousand Kilo Calories per capita, per annum, gross energy consumption for cooking (Annexure-I). Annex-ure II gives the average per captia use of noncommercial fuels, i.e., firewood, dung cake and crop residues, in various agro-climatic zones. This also brings out the variation in ust of non-commercial fuels in the different agro climatic zones, thereby further confirming tht need for decentralised energy planning.
2.19.5 It was also found that in all the agrc climatic zones, non-commercial sources of energy contribute more than 90% of total energ) consumed for cooking, except in the case of the Middle Gangetic zone and the zones of Easi Coast Plains and Hills, where it is 78.9% anc 86.8% respectively.
2.19.6 The analysis of block level data from the IREP blocks in different agro-climatic zones further brings out that there is similarity in the amount and type of energy used, particularly for cooking within an agro climatic zone. However, there are significant variations in these two factors - quality and quantity of energy-across the various agro climatic zones (Annex -ure I).
2.19.7 Wide variations have also been observed in the energy consumption levels for agriculture, transport and industrial sectors, which again brings out the necessity of micro-level planning and implementation of rural energy programmes. Animate sources of energy were found to constitute more than 50% of the energy consumed for agriculture activities. This source of energy is used most inefficiently and needs to be substituted with more efficient commercial and renewable energy forms whose mix would have to be area-specific and have to be estimated by decentralised energy planning.
2.19.8 While the above conclusions are based on the planning data for the IREP programme in the Seventh Plan, the implementation experience of this programme in the Seventh Plan has also provided many useful lessons for improving and modifying the programme in the Eighth Plan.
2.19.9 A major implemention problem so far encountered in the implementation of the IREP programme has been the existence of sectoral barriers and lack of coordination between the different concerned energy supply and user departments and agencies at the different levels including the National, State, district and grassroots levels. At the grassroots levtl, in particular, the involvement of potential beneficiaries in the planning and supply of different energy resources and technologies is still very limited and needs to be strengthened through the framework of the IREP programme.
2.19.10 In this context, another limitation in the implementation of this programme so far has been the lack of suitable extension mechanisms at the grassroots level that would create awareness among the people about the programme and would organise and provide technical and financial support in the installation, operation and maintenance of different types of energy devices.
2.19.11 The problem ofaffordability among the potential beneficiaries is another major constraint in the implementation of IREP projects. For this purpose, mechanisms are required for mobilising resources not only from the budgetary support provided by the Central and State Plan funds but also through local self government bodies, including panchayats and other people's organisations and through the direct involvement of the people.
2.19.12 People's participation has thus, to be effectively organised not only by the Government machinery but also by the active role in this programme of voluntary organisations, various local non-official groups and bodies including educational institutions, mahila mandals and charitable organisations, who should work in coordination with the panchayats and IREP cells for this purpose.
2.19.13 The involvement of potential beneficiaries will be further ensured by linking IREP with the other existing and new rural development programmes including IRDP, JRY, TRYSEM, and rural housing among others. The active association of women in this programme could be ensured by linking IREP with DWCRA, as well as with the programmes of health and family welfare, ICDS and other women and child welfare schemes. The literacy programme, which has started picking up in many States, would also provide major support in spreading awareness about IREP and its components .
2.19.14 Awareness-building, however, has to be followed by education and training of the potential beneficiaries, as well as of those directly and indirectly involved with the planning' and implementation of the IREP programme. In the Seventh Plan, a major component of training was taken up for training professional IREP staff in the preparation and implementation of IREP programme in the States/UTs.
2.19.15 This training component involved national, regional, and State level academic professional institutions besides technical colleges / Universities which were provided technical and financial support for conducting training courses on various aspects of the IREP programme. The setting up of one national and four Regional training cum R and D centres was also taken up under the programme in the Seventh Plan. The first national level training cum R and D centre [Centre for Integrated Rural Energy Planning (CIREP)] was set up in Bakoli village in Delhi in cooperation with Delhi Administration and with the technical and financial support of the Planning Commission under the centrally sponsored scheme for IREP. The other four regional centres are located in Lucknow (UP), Bangalore (Karnataka), Kheda (Gujarat) and Shillong (Meghalaya). The Delhi and Lucknow centres have already become fully operational and are organising regular training programmes and R and D activities under the IREP programme. The other centres are in the process of being set up and should become fully operational during the Eighth Plan. Besides the national and regional training cum R and D institutions, State level technical back-up units have been set up in selected State level institutions for providing technical support in the planning and implementation for the IREP programme. Also, district level IREP technical back-up units have been set up through ITI/polytechnics in selected IREP blocks to provide technical assistance especially in the selection, operation and maintenance and follow up applied R and D on rural energy technologies in the IREP projects.
2.19.16 While this training programme, taken up in the Seventh Plan, has now become well established, attracting and retaining professional staff in IREP cells at different levels continues to be a major problem. The staff recruited on deputation basis for IREP cells and trained in the training courses or in the training centres often go back to their parent departments and training exercises have to be repeated for the new incumbents. Due to lack of a regular cadre and promotional avenues, qualified professionals are often reluctant to join and continue to work in the IREP programme. The linkage of IREP programme with various Rural Development, Energy and Other related Programmes, as envisaged in the Eighth Plan would alleviate this problem to some extent.
2.19.17 Another institutional problem that needs to be tackled is the functioning of the IREP cells in nodal departments in the State/UTs. The IREP programme is now being implemented through various nodal departments in the State. These departments are burdened with other programmes and often tend to give low priority to the IREP programme. Moreover, the staff allocated to the IREP cells as part of the present centrally sponsored scheme are given several other tasks and do not often find time to concentrate on the implementation of the IREP programme. In many cases, the block staff function from district headquarters resulting in lack of regular grassroots-level interaction between the IREP staff and the potential beneficiaries. Suitable guidelines would have to be formulated and implemented to ensure the effective functioning of IREP cells in coordination with other development programmes.
2.19.18 However, despite the problems and constraints discussed above, a sound base for the implementation of the programme has now been created. The demonstration and extension efforts have resulted in awareness at all levels in the Goverenment and non-goverenmental set-up about the widespread interest which has been generated among the rural people especially in IREP blocks on various alternative and existing energy sources and their effcient utilization for meeting their needs. With these positive acheivements the IREP is now ready after some reorientation and modification to become a major operational programme in the Eighth Plan.
2.19.19 The areas that call for emphasis in the Eighth Plan on the basis of experience so far, include increasing attention and linkages with the agricultural and rural development programmes, increasing focus on the environment problems and promoting large scale people's participation by ensuring involvement of the beneficiaries at all stages in the preparation and implementation of the programme.
IREP in Eighth Plan
2.20.1 Based on the experience so far and ir keeping with the broad objectives of the Eight! Plan, the Integrated Rural Energy Programme will focus on the following two major areas:
(a) Provision of energy for meeting the basic needs of cooking, heating and lighting, especially for the weaker section, by utilising locally available energy resources to the extent possible;
(b) Provision of energy as the critical input in the economic development of the rural areas which would result in the creation of employment, increasing productivity and income, and accelerating the process of decentralised development. In this category will be included energy for sustainable agricultural production, as well as promoting sustainable rural development activities.
2.20.2 This programme has now sufficient experience in micro-level energy planning for meeting subsistence and production needs. But the extension and intensification of the programme has to be carried out by effective linkage of the programme and its implementation, with the State and District planning setup on the one hand and with the agricultural and rural development programmes on the other hand. The IREP in the Eighth Plan has also to ensure sustainabilility of energy supply to the rural areas in view of the growing gap between energy demand and supply and the grave damage that is being done to the eco-system because of steady depletion of the biomass cover. The environmental aspect has, therefore, to be be suitably incorporated in the micro and macro level rural energy planning framework.
2.20.3 The expansion of the programme, however, would be taken up in a phased manner so that its growth is in step with the development of local capabilities, awareness building, readiness of the community to actively participate in the programme and the availability of institutional mechanisms to provide for the regular flow of energy resources and technologies, including their installation and maintenence for the sustainable agricultural and rural development.
2.20.4 In keeping with the above directions, the IREP in the Eighth Plan will have the following major features :-
2.21.1 A provision of Rs. 500.00 crores has been made for the minimum domestic energy needs of the economically weaker sections in the IREP blocks. A separate provision ofRs. 250.00 crore has been made for development of capabilities for the planning and implementation :)f Integrated Rural Energy Programme in States / UTs, which will consist of institutional mechanisms in the Centre and State, including the setting up of IREP cells at the State and district / block levels, training programmes, technical back-up units, national and regional training cum R and D centres, research and development activities, demonstration and extension among other activities.
2.22.1 The Eighth Plan outlay for rural development is as follows:
(e) Setting up and strengthening of the mechanisms and coordination arrangements that would effectively link micro-level planning for rural energy with national and State level planning and programme for energy and economic development so as to ensure regular and planned flow of energy inputs and especially of the commercial energy sources for meeting to the extent possible, the requirement of various end uses in the IREP projects.
This includes the outlays for IRDP, JRY, DPAP, DDP, Land Reforms , Community Development and Panchayats , Rural Energy and other miscellaneous rural development programmes including some new schemes.
Integrated Rural Development Programme Performance In The Seventh Five Year Plan And 1990-91
* Net Subsidy credit Ratio.
PERCENTAGE OF SECTORAL EXPENDITURE UNDER JRY( 1989-90)
PERCENTAGE OF SECTORAL EXPENDITURE UNDER JRY(1990-91)
Physical progress under Minimum Needs Programme (MNP)
Outlay and Expenditure on Minimum Needs Programme (MNP) by components during Seventh Plan period
Average Gross Per Capita Consumption In Cooking Sector In Various Agro Climatic Zones.
SOURCE: IREP Report Planning Commission
Annexure - II
Average Per Capita Use Of Non Commercial Fuels In Various Agro Climatic Zones
Source: IREP Report Planning Commission
%AGE PER CAPfTA ENERGY CONSUMPTION IN VARIOUS AGRO-CLIMATIC ZONES
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