THE NEW 20 POINT PROGRAMME

Table of Contents

Introduction

Today India ranks among the leading industrial nations of the world. The Five-Year Plans have brought out revolutionary changes in the field of agriculture and industry. There has been steady progress towards self-reliance. Our per capita income is not high but we are in a better position to deal with our problems of power and energy. The Government announced various schemes and programmes for the development of our country: One of them was initiated in 1975 to lighten the hardships of various groups. This was the 20 Point Programme. This Programme was greatly welcomed by our countrymen and we marched ahead to build our nation.

Many of its objectives have been accomplished. Legislation for the abolition of bonded labour was adopted in 1976. Steps were taken to confiscate smugglers’ properties. Lakhs of people of lower and middle-income groups have been exempted from income tax.

The national permit scheme for road transport has been enforced. The target of providing irrigation to five million hectares has been fulfilled. A national scheme for the use of groundwater has been taken up. Super thermal power stations are being established. Even in the other items of the 20 Point Programme of 1975, substantial progress has been made.

The fulfilment of several targets, the changes that subsequently took place in the economic and social life of our people and the new challenges that arose made it necessary to recast and redefine the programme. After careful thought and discussion within Government, a New 20 Point Programme was prepared which the Prime Minister, Shrimati Indira Gandhi, announced to the nation in a broadcast on 14 January 1982.

Here we are giving a brief account of the New 20 Point Programme :

1.Increase Irrigation potential

Develop and disseminate technologies and inputs for dryland agriculture In the Sixth Plan, the strategy for providing irrigation to farmers all over the country has five components, namely:

  • Conservation of rainwater in farm ponds.
  • Utilizing the groundwater potential.
  • Harnessing the surface water resources.
  • Utilizing the surplus water in rivers.
  • Intensifying R. & D efforts particularly in solar desalination.

Farmers will be assisted to undertake effective methods of conserving and utilizing water on a cooperative basis. Institutional devices such as ‘Pani Panchayat’ will have be fostered for stimulating cooperative endeavour on the part of a watershed community. Extensive “Lab to Land” and other demonstration programmes will be organised in all dry farming areas.

Make special efforts to increase the production of pulses and vegetable oil seeds

The Sixth Plan aims at producing 14.5, million tonnes of pulses and 13 million tonnes of oilseeds by 1984-85. Several new programmes have been initiated for helping farmers to achieve these targets. Since a large area under both pulses and oilseeds is unirrigated, it will be essential to insulate farmers from risks through better water conservation and plant protection. The production strategy in every block will include the following approaches:

Introduce pulses and oilseeds in all irrigated co-operations. Improve the productivity of pulses and oilseeds grown under rainfed conditions through steps such as better moisture conservation a more scientific plant population, plant protection and post-harvest technology.

Improve the management of pulses and oilseeds grown in mixed copying systems. Improve the productivity of perennial, oilseeds like neem, Karanja, Mahua, Sal, etc. and Mustard, Safflower, Sesamum, Soybean, Sunflower, Ginger, Castor and Linseed; in addition, enhance the extraction and utilisation of oils extracted from Ricebran, Cottonseeds, Mango Kernel, Maizegerm, etc.

Strengthen and expand coverage of integrated rural development and national rural employment programmes

Under this programme, 15 million families will be assisted in this manner during the Sixth Plan period. A total subsidy of Rs. 1500 crores shared equally between the Centre and the States will supplement credit facilities of Rs. 3000 crores during the Plan period for the beneficiaries under the programme.

Special organisational arrangements are also being made at the district and block levels for the effective implementation of this programme. A high proportion of the beneficiaries under the programme will belong to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Land ceiling legislation relating to private landholdings exists throughout the country. The implementation of these laws will be expedited so that surplus land can be taken over and distributed among landless persons, particularly those belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. As the progress of implementation of these laws has been hampered by complicated legal procedures. State Government have already been advised to restrict the number of appeals and revisions and will have to set time limits for filing of appeals and revision petitions.

Review and enforce effectively minimum wages for agricultural labour

Minimum wages for agricultural workers are fixed both by the Central and the State Governments/Union Territories.

The State Labour Minister’s Conference held in July 1980 recommended that minimum wages should be reviewed and revised if necessary. once in two years or a rise of 50 points in the consumer price index number whichever is earlier. The Conference had also suggested certain specific steps to be taken to improve the enforcement of minimum wages for agricultural workers. The State Government! Union Territories have been requested to take appropriate action on these recommendations.

Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour

Legislation for the abolition of bonded labour was passed in 1976. Efforts were thereafter initiated for identification, freeing and rehabilitation of bonded labour in different States. A centrally sponsored scheme for rehabilitation of the freed bonded labours was started in 1978-79. In January 1980, renewed emphasis was laid on the speedy implementation of the rehabilitation programme and additional provisions were included in the Plan. Of the identified and freed bonded labourers totalling about 1-22 lakhs. about 1-09 lakhs were rehabilitated by the end of 1980-81. Provision for rehabilitating the remaining 13,000 freed bonded labourers has been made in the Annual Plan 1981-82. The provision in the Central Plan is for giving matching grant assistance to the State Governments for implementing the approved schemes.

Accelerate Programmes for the development of Scheduled Castes and Tribes

Article 46 of the Constitution lays down as Directive Principle that “The State shall promote with special care educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and in particular of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustices and all forms of exploitation.”

In March 1980 it was decided to provide Special Central Assistance of Rs. 100 crores during 1980-81 for the development of Scheduled Castes and for formulating special component plans. It was also decided that the major thrust of development would come from the State Plans and targeted (Scheduled Caste families will be assisted to cross over the poverty line The flow from the State Plan to the Scheduled Castes Component Plan during the Sixth Five-Year Plan is estimated to be more than Rs. 4000 crores including the flow from the Backward Classes Sector. In addition, a provision of Rs. 600 crores of Special Central Assistance has been made for the Special Component Plan in the current plan period. In the case of Tribal sub-plans, the coverage of the Scheduled Tribe population is expected to go up from 65 per cent at the end of the Fifth Five-Year Plan to 75 per cent by the end of the Sixth Five-Year Plan.

Supply drinking water to all problem village

Safe drinking water is a basic need. The objective of this item is to ensure safe drinking water to villages suffering from chronic scarcity or those with unsafe sources of water. The latest data received from the State Governments show that as on 1st April, 1980 there are 2-31 lakh villages in the country which need to be provided water supply facilities on a priority basis. During the Sixth Plan effort will be made to cover all the identified problem villages with at least one source of safe potable water available throughout the year. The needs of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes population in the rural areas will be given due priority in the implementation of this programme.

Allot house sites to rural families who are without them and expand programmes for construction assistance to them

To provide relief to the weaker sections of the rural community, a scheme for the provision of house sites to landless agricultural workers was introduced.

The programme received impetus after its incorporation in the earlier 20 Point Programme. Outlays were substantially increased. The Fifth Plan included a provision of Rs. 55 crores for the scheme under the Minimum Needs Programme. It is estimated that the number of eligible families needing sites and housing assistance would be around 14-5 million. Of this 7-7 million families have been provided house sites and 0-56 million have built houses on sites by March 1980. It will be ensured that all the landless families are provided house sites by March 1985 and the programme of construction assistance is expanded.

Improvement of the environment of slums, implement programmes of house building for economically weaker sections, and take measures to arrest the unwarranted increase in land prices

A scheme of Environmental Improvement of Slums was launched in 1972 under the Central Programme of Special Welfare Schemes with 100 per cent Central assistance at the rate of Rs. 120 per slum population to be implemented incites with a population of 3 lakh and above and at least one city in each state where there were no towns of the size.

From the commencement of the Fifth Five-Year Plan, the scheme became part of the Minimum Needs Programme and was transferred to the State Sector. It is visualized that the total slum population by 1980 would be around 37-87 million. Of this, a population of 68 million has been covered under the scheme up to March 1980 and efforts will have to be made to cover the balance of the slum population, estimated at 31-07 million, by 1990.

(The facilities that would be provided are water supply, stormwater drainage, paving of streets, street lighting and provision of community latrines. Areas inhabited by Scheduled Castes are to be given due priority. So also the residential areas of scavengers.

The Sixth Plan envisages direct public section assistance for housing the economically weaker sections of the population. The strategy here is to provide sites and services’ schemes with enough funds for a minimum structure.

Maximise power generation, improve the functioning of electricity authorities and electrify all villages

The Sixth Plan envisages a generation target of 19 billion units by the end of the Sixth Five Year Plan comprising: Utility 183 billion units Non-utility Total 8 billion units 191 billion units During 1980-81 a generation of 118-5 billion units was achieved. During 1981-82, the generation target of 130 billion units is expected to be achieved. It will be necessary to increase significantly the utilisation of existing capacity and timely completion of planned additional capacity, so as to achieve the Plan target and augment the availability of power.

Pursue vigorously programmes of afforestation, social and farm forestry and the development of biogas and other alternative energy sources The forest area of our country is about 22-8 per cent of the total land area, as against an optimum of 33 per cent prescribed by the National Forest Policy. The existing inadequate forest area is used to meet fully the needs of the country.

To induce all States to take up Social Forestry Programme, two Centrally Sponsored Schemes were introduced during the Fifth Five Year Plan, viz.,

(i) Mixed Plantations on common lands, and (ii) Reforestation on degraded forests, and raising of shelterbelts.

The centrally Sponsored Social Forestry Schemes were transferred to the State Sector from 1979-80. However, a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme known as “Social Forestry including Rural Fuelwood Plantations” has been undertaken in 100 districts in the Sixth Five Year Plan (1980-85) at a total cost of Rs. 100 crores.

In Indian, about 30 to 40 crore tonnes of animal dung is available as a base for biogas production. In addition, large quantities of plant residues and other organic wastes could also be mixed with the animal excreta for biogas production. It is estimated that if all these materials are utilised, about 7000 crore cubic metres of methane gas, equivalent to about 16 crore tonnes of fuelwood, could be produced.

Realising the urgency and need for conservation of energy. a National Biogas Development Project has been launched under the Sixth Plan, in which ten lakhs of family size biogas plants and 100 community biogas plants were contemplated. The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation has initiated a programme for 4 lakh family size biogas plants within the plan outlay of Rs. 50 crores.

Promote family planning on a voluntary basis as a people’s movement

The population of India has doubled itself since independence, from 34-2 crores in 1947 to 68.4 crores in 1981. It is obvious that a further increase in population at the present rapid rate will nullify all the gains of our development effort. At the current growth rate, the population will cross the 100 crore mark by A, D. 2000 The Sixth Plan document has laid down the goal of reducing the birth rate to 21 the death rate to 9 and the infant mortality rate below 50. This target will require that the percentage of couples practising family planning should go up from 22.5 per cent to 36-5 per cent by 1984-85.

Family planning is essentially a people’s movement. The people now realise the benefits of a small family. The Government’s role is to educate them in the methods of contraception so that they are motivated to accept, on their own any one of them.

Substantially augmenting universal primary health care facilities, and control of leprosy, T. B. and blindness

We have adopted the goal of Health For all by A D 2000 which implies that every citizen should have a reasonable opportunity of maintaining himself in good health. An integrated approach to the health problem through preventive, pro-motive and curative measures along with effective linkages with other programmes like safe drinking water supply, improvement in sanitation. nutrition, education, has, therefore, been adopted under the Sixth Plan. The rural health infrastructure is being. strengthened and remodelled.

By 1979 80, the country had 1-4 lakh Health Guides and 50,000 sub-centres, 5400 Primary Health Centres and 340 rural hospitals (Community Health Centres). The programme in the Sixth Plan is to add another 4 lakh Health Guides, 174 rural hospitals (CHCs). 40,000 sub-centres and 1600 PHCS/Subsidiary Health Centres. These form part of the minimum needs programme for which provisions have been made in the Central/State Plans.

A programme for control of leprosy is being implemented as a centrally sponsored scheme funded by the Centre on a 10 per cent basis. The object of the programme is to detect at least 90 per cent of the cases and arrest the disease in at least 40 per cent of cases. It has been decided to draw up and implement an intensive programme for the eradication of this disease before the end of this century.

Under the current programme of control of preventable blindness on account of disease, nutritional deficiency and cataract, the target in the Sixth Plan is to bring down the incidence of blindness from 1.40 per cent in the base year too I per cent by the end of 1984-85.

Accelerate programme of welfare for women and children and nutrition programmes for pregnant women nursing mothers and children, specially in tribal hill and backward areas

The Sixth Plan for the first time includes a separate chapter on Women and Development Programmes for the social and economic upliftment of women will receive greater attention. A legal sanction, as well as public opinion, will be mobilized against evil practices like dowry In addition, priority attention will be given to expanding facilities for the improvement of education, health and nutrition for both women and children.)

Universal elementary education.

Spread universal elementary education for the age group 6-14 with special emphasis on girls, and simultaneously involve students and voluntary agencies in programmes for the removal of adult illiteracy Elementary Education Article 45 of the Constitution promise free and compulsory education for all children in the age group 6-14 years of 1960. We have not been able to fulfil this long-standing objective despite concerted efforts By 1990 all the 16-3 crore children estimated in the age group 6-14 will have to be enrolled in elementary schools, either in the formal or non-formal system of education.

At present 9 crore children are attending schools. In the next 10 years, 7 crores additional children will have to be brought to schools. This will mostly benefit the socially and economically backwards classes and girls. Out of seven crore children who will be enrolled during the next ten years, 2-5 crores will be boys and 4.5 crores, girls. The emphasis will be on enrolling children of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and landless labour, especially girls. Appropriate incentives such as free books and stationery, uniforms, attendance, scholarships, etc. will be given to the children of the weaker sections, particularly girls.

The number of illiterates remains high. This has harmful effects particularly in the productive age group of 15 to 35.(Non-formal education for adults, particularly in the productive age group, has been included as part of the Minimum Needs Programme of the Sixth Plan. The Sixth Plan document states that the entire illiterate population of the age-group 15-35 would be covered under the literacy programmes by 1990. As such, programmes of adult education initiated in the previous Plans would be made more effective and extended in cooperation with other development activities and the employment agencies.

Expanding Public Distribution System

Expand the public distribution system through more fair price shops, including mobile shops in far-flung areas, shops to cater to industrial workers, students’ hostels and make available to student text-books and exercise books on a priority basis and to promote a strong consumer protection movement-Considerable stress has continued to be lain on the expansion of the public distribution system to make essential consumer goods available at reasonable prices to all, particularly the vulnerable sections. At present. food grains, levy sugar, kerosene, edible oils, soft coke and controlled cloth are being distributed through fair price shops. In certain States, the public distribution system also covers certain other commodities such as pules, vanaspati, mustard oils, soaps. etc.

At present, there are about 2-98 lakhs fair price shops in the country. These are proposed to be increased to 3-5 lakhs by March 1983. Attention would also be given to catering for the requirements of industrial workers. The programmes envisage mobile fair price shops, e. g. in areas where rural works are in progress. Preference will be given to cooperatives, at both retail and higher levels. An enlarged role is envisaged for national cooperative organisations in the consumer business,

The public distribution system will also be extended further to cater for the needs of the student community. Procedures for the issue of permits to hostel students for essential commodities will be streamlined.

The Ministry of Education at present allots paper to the States for the printing of textbooks and manufacture of exercise books. The supply of paper to the States will be increased keeping in view the increase in the enrollment in future and the present practice of supply of exercise books at controlled prices will be continued.

Liberalise Investment Procedures

Liberalise investment procedures and streamline industrial policies to ensure the timely completion of projects. Give handicrafts, land looms small and village industries all facilities to grow and up to date their technology-In order that the targets and objectives envisaged in the Sixth Plan are realised, a number of steps have already been taken to liberalize investment policies and streamline industrial policies during the last two years. The time frame for the issue of licences has been substantially reduced. In order to ensure the speedy establishment of 100 per cent export-oriented units, a special board has been set up to accord single-point clearance to these units in regard to industrial licencing, foreign collaboration, import of capital goods and raw materials, etc.

In order to boost the development of small-scale industries and ensure their rapid growth, limits of investment prescribed for these industries have been enhanced. The facility for automatic expansion of capacity to the extent of 5 per cent per annum or 25 per cent in a five-year period has been extended to all industries included in Appendix-I of the Industrial Policy Statement.

The research and development work that is being carried out by the various all-India boards and organisations will be directed towards evolving appropriate technology, reducing drudgery without affecting employment, and improving the earnings of artisans. Emphasis will be given to the achievement of the production and employment targets for the village and small industries set in the Sixth Plan for 1984 85, especially in sericulture, carpet weaving, etc.

Strict Action Against Sumgglers

Continue strict action against smugglers, hoarders and tax evaders and check black money-The Government will intensify its action against anti-social elements like speculators, harder, black marketers as well as smugglers. The administration of various administrative as well as legislative measures such as the Essential Commodities Act, the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Essential Supplies Act, etc, will be tightened. Tax administration will be tightened to curb tax avoidance and tax evasion and the use of unaccounted funds.

During 1981, the Income Tax Department took several steps to counter tax evasion in the country like (i) intensification of search operations, (ii) stepping up of survey operations, (iii) strengthening of the direct tax laws through the incorporation of appropriate provisions, etc. The floating of special bearer bonds to mop up black money has been another successful administrative measure. This scheme has mopped up Rs. 960 crores of black money.

Soon after the present Government took office in 1980. An Action Plan was formulated in the context of the 20 Point Programme which, inter alia, called for pursuing anti-smuggling and anti-tax-evasion measures with added vigour.

Improve the Working of Public Enterprises

Improve the working of public enterprises by increasing efficiency, capacity utilisation and generation of internal resources Public sector enterprises have multiple goals such as the achievement of national self-reliance import substitution, reduction of regional and social imbalances stability of prices, etc.

There is a need for substantial improvement in the working of the Central and State public sector undertaking particularly Railways, Posts and Telegraphs, Electricity Boards and Transport Corporations. The prospects of rapid growth are critically dependent on the ability of public undertakings to generate resources.

There is a need to improve management practices so as to impart a greater concern for optimal utilization of capacity and higher levels of efficiency. Modern techniques of project monitoring and construction management will be introduced to avoid slippages in time schedules and cost escalation. Delegation of authority will be promoted. Greater involvement of workers will be fostered.

1982 has been designated as the Productivity Year’. Every unit of production should identify and remove the constraints responsible for the prevailing gap between potential and actual utilization.

Conclusion

The new 20 Point Programme is a dynamic programme. In the words of Mrs Indira Gandhi, “This agenda for the nation has been dovetailed into the overall plan of development. It pinpoints areas of special thrust which will show immediate tangible results for various segments.” However, this should not be presumed that it will bring miracles in a day. Broadcasting to the Nation about the 20 Point Programme our Prime Minister Mrs Gandhi said, “When the 20 Point Programme was first announced in 1975, I had cautioned you not to expect miracles. Then, as now, there is only one magic that can remove poverty-and that is hard work, helped by a clear sense of purpose and discipline. On a steep road, there is no time or place for pause. Our national motto is ‘Satyameva Jayate’-Truth alone Wins. In our daily lives, we should adopt an additional motto: * Satyameva Jayate’. Dedication to truth and toil is the bedrock of respect progress and prosperity.”

“Our economy is on the move. It is in our hands to maintain the improvement to lighten the burdens of our millions. This programme is for each one of you, and for this nation which is ours to serve, to cherish and to build.”

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