A two-day long Symposium on Development Management Pathways towards Good Society was organized by Development Management Institute (DMI) hosted at the Rajgir International Convention Centre, Rajgir, Bihar on 13-14 February, 2015. Around 80 participants from different parts of the country working in government, academia, civil society and media joined together to discuss and debate different themes of the Symposium which include innovative pathways to address the triple crises plaguing the present and threatening the future of human societies, viz. (i) widening inequality accompanied by mass poverty, (ii) environmental destruction and (iii) social disintegration. Such pathways are expected to result in a critical mass of independent, decentralised initiatives in support of a social vision of Good Society. The symposium was organised around the three themes, namely, Sustainable Livelihoods, Collectives and Commons, and Leadership and Governance.
Dean, DMI welcomed the delegates by expressing hope and aspirations from this collaborative effort to come up with a common platform for collective action towards pathways to good society.
Director, DMI, stresses the vision and mission of DMI as an academic institution in the form of an empowering educational institution integrating participation, governance and management dimensions to fulfil the vision of sustainable development. He emphasised the need for such collaborative engagements at the local and global level in the context of debates around development and sustainability towards good society.
Chief Guest's Address
Didiji, the chief guest of the symposium, of Swadhyaya, graced the occasion by sharing her experiences of the social regeneration movement, Swadhyaya. She talked about Dadaji's, the founder of Swadhyaya, dream was to build a non- sectarian, socially creative community. She described the germinal idea of Swadhyaya to develop an awareness of the divine presence in every human being, which leads to bhakti (devotion) of doing good for the society to become a social force. The movement act as a network of interacting individuals and communities, both in rural and urban settings.
For bhakti to be a social force and not trapped by empty ritualism, it has to be transformed into action-selfless, righteous action based on devotion. Self-perfection channelled through constructive work towards collective good is seen as krutibhakti (devotional activism) that promotes 'we-ness' of human family under 'the fatherhood of God'. Swadhyaya reinterprets the received wisdom of doctrinal creed and hallowed traditions, which helps people to do better in their occupations, behave better with their families, and feel better about themselves. It is great accommodation of the material with the spiritual and the individual with the social. This cohesion is achieved and its continuity is maintained by relating small concrete programmes to the larger frame of ideas and beliefs that is reflected in each of its activities. These include 'Bhaktipheri' (devotional tour), 'Teerthyatra' (pilgrimage), Loknath Amritalayam (abode of the Lord of the world), Yogeshwar Krishi (divine farming), Shree Darshanam (divine communes), Matsyagandha (floating temples), Vrukshamandir (tree temple), Water Conservation, other initiatives like enriching diets of marginal groups who are victims of chronic malnutrition; improving the quality of village life through better sanitation and better drainage; enlarging the supply of potable water in the villages; raising farm productivity and rural incomes through eco-friendly techniques, vocational training and occupational diversification; facilitating harmony between farmers and farm labourers and so on. A few examples to cite such as health centres in remote areas run by highly skilled swadhyayee medical professionals; voluntarily managed stores in large villages and cities that sell swadhayee villagers' surplus produce, homemade soaps, matchsticks, milk products, candles and other provisions; and centres for dairy products to ensure that the villagers have the first claim over the milk produced in the village.
She, further, spoke about how these centres and activities, which are responses to urgent community needs, when replicated over time and over large areas, they have the potential to become a major programme. Swadhyayees make efforts to conserve what is best in local tradition, though it may not carry the label such as 'sustainable development' or 'greening the earth'. There is 'Tattvajnana Vidyapeeth', a residential school of philosophy and humanities established in 1956 by Dadaji near Mumbai. Swadhyaya has set up several residential higher secondary schools and vocational training centres in Maharashtra and Gujarat. There is also a well-developed and popular seven-year non-degree course at Bhav Nirjhar, a Swadhyaya institution in Ahmedabad. It combines traditional and modern course material as well as vocational training for rural students. The intention is that students will take up their family vocations. It is neither a project of identity articulation nor of resource mobilization. It is a project of inner transformation and redefining human relationships.
In the keynote address of the symposium, Professor Abhijit Sen, Former Member, Planning Commission and Professor at JNU, New Delhi, said that the event was a great opportunity to take forward the collective effort to engage with the challenges of uncertainty, inequality and injustice while recasting the sustainability issues for the good society. His lecture was focused on the issue of efficiency in the market economy to provide the just society. He distinguished the pathways of good society by first defining the two extremes, one, the State taking everything and individual doing nothing, and the second, the State doing nothing and individual doing everything. Individual get all together to do something however defined, to do something for society.
In terms of pathways, where does our road leads? In the simplest terms, up to a point, market can deliver under certain assumption, like, the private property are well defined, people are hugely selfish, not too many economies of scale, and with no externalities. In these conditions, market delivers efficiently. Externalities are defined as input of someone's production function makes an entry into the consumption function of another. This makes it difficult for the market to work efficiently. He then elaborated the concept of the Just Society, where all of the individual have the means and the motivation to participate. The Just Society will be one in which personal and political freedom will be more securely ensured than it has ever been in the past. Just society is full outcome of individual and society, it cannot come through market. He cited the example of successful cooperative movement, of AMUL, led by Dr. Kurien, as the ability to bring on the scale of activities (the economies of scale) which not only brought market surplus but also transform and society in large.
He spoke about the larger role of state in the society. In this context, he delineated the externality and equalizing effects of growth. Growth might be increasing inequality but it is increasing hope of the individual as well. One of the fallouts of this could be, increase in tax collection by the State, which will give them more money to redistribute. Thus, the higher the growth the higher the distribution. However, the growth story in India has nothing been equalising due to the inefficiency in the system. He emphasized the importance of defining growth and equity to understand the pathways. The divisions do not exist in the efficient world, this world is very inefficient.
Prof. Aditi Thakur (Assistant Prof. DMI) presented a review of Prof. P.V. Indiresan's book Managing Development. Prof. Jaya Indiresan with reference to Prof. Indiresan's book spoke that the reforms and free markets have, by and large, yielded fruits only in developed countries. In developed nations, public goods are already in place, and further growth depends on services, leisure industries, entertainment, travel, fashion, cultural pursuits and the like. All these have high price elasticity; they respond well to market forces. In developing countries, such as India, they have not been equally successful.
The reason is not far to seek: Markets are effective only where prices provide strong signals. They perform well where price elasticity is high, not otherwise. In contrast, what developing countries like India need most are basic amenities such as roads, sanitation, primary education, and basic health services. Such needs are mainly in the nature of public goods. They have little or no price elasticity. Hence, in poor countries, commercial markets do not get strong enough signals for development. Developing countries should, therefore, develop their own development policies; they cannot blindly imitate what rich nations do. In developing countries, such as India, both globalisation and swadeshi should be promoted in such a way that not only does each one grow by itself, but also stimulates the growth of the other. The author offers solution to growth and productivity employment conundrum.
The rapid growth needs:
- Willingness to give up outmoded practices.
- Willingness to try novel ideas.
- Willingness to work.
- And the solution to the productivity-employment conundrum is:
- Maximise productivity of tradables to maximise global competitiveness.
- Minimise productivity of non-tradables to maximise employment.
- Cross-subsidise non-tradables with profits from tradables.
- The two-day symposium was divided into themes which are the key elements in
- conceptualizing the pathways to good society.
Theme 1: Sustainable Livelihoods Promotion
The afternoon session on Sustainable Livelihoods Promotion was moderated by Prof. B. N. Hiremath (DAIICT, Gandhinagar, Gujarat). Prof Hiremath posed some important questions for just society.
- Does food and livelihood security lead to sustainable livelihoods?
- Does sustainable livelihood lead to good quality of life?
- Does good quality of life lead to a Good Society?
- Any inter-linkages among above three?
Fundamentally, the concept of rural livelihood security focuses on three aspects: capability, equity, and sustainability. He elaborated the concept of Nine-square mandala, namely, from the base and space to orientation, in elucidating the concept of sustainable livelihood security. The four pillars of Gross National Happiness were identified subsequently;
- Sustainable and equitable economic development
- Conservation of the environment
- Preservation and promotion of culture
- Good Governance
Dr. Anil Kumar Joshi (Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO)) called for a balance development approach where ecology can have an equal space at par with economy is our current need. Gross Environment Product (GEP) concept equal economic opportunity for the country. It found that resource depletion is hampering rural livelihood and there is no ecological accounting of the same in annual development index. GEP parallel to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is essential need today so that ecological and economical accounting can be brought in place in the interest of rural people and country's at large. This simply requires ecological growth matrix specially forest, soil, water and air the essential life elements to be measured annually. The state's effort to increase these resources is assessed annually like GDP. Addition and loss of resources due to some development activities be audited for health and safe future so that compensatory measures are also taken in place.
Another key speaker, Mr. C.S. Reddy, founding CEO of APMAS, a national level technical support organization for the SHG movement in India, stressed on the huge potential of savings within the community based micro financing, Self Help Groups (SHGs). SHGs, according to him, should focus on their savings and utilize it for lending purposes rather than depending on external institutions like Banks. Citing an example of Nizamabad district in Andhra Pradesh, SHG members constitute well over one-third of the total customers, and they account for about one-quarter of the total business in rural branches. In some branches, SHG lending has reached three-quarters of total lending. He mentioned few benefits to SHGs members as: Providing platforms for the poor women to discuss and resolve their problems, Helping members manage cash flow deficits (maintaining food intake and overcoming emergencies), leading to improvement in quality and productivity of their only capital/resource-human capital/resource; Helping members avoid money lenders, especially to meet food and health emergencies; Helping members invest in asset creation, diversify their occupations, and improve their risk-bearing capacities; Promoting leadership qualities among their members; Fostering women, even from conservative communities and regions, to interact with outsiders, particularly officials, including men; and Establishing the linkage between banks and marginalized citizens, especially the women. To reduce regional inequalities, he calls for the government and donors to take a proactive role in strengthening the SHG movement in the country.
Shri Narayana Reddy, an Octogenarian Legendary Organic farmer, shared his rich interactions and experiments with the nature. He shared his innovation of an indigenous underground greenhouse which acts as a nursery for his plants, which also includes exotic spices like cardamom and cinnamon. Shri Reddy also talks about the finances of each and every tree which he possesses in his farm. He is ready to transfer his knowledge or wisdom to enthusiastic people through training at his farm. Every 1st Friday, Saturday and Sunday is dedicated for this purpose from his calendar.
The last session on day one dealt with Sustainable Livelihoods - Issues and Alternatives. The session was moderated by Dr. Kirit Shelat (Executive Chairman, NCCSD) and Prof. Pankaj Jain (Founder, Gyan Shala).
Dr. Kirit Shelat advocates about Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), the concept initiated by FAO - The Food and Agriculture Organisation in the Indian context at local level. There are five important reasons that he argues, we need to act together at local level:
1. Climate change has already adverse impact but there are available solutions - what is needed is to translate them at village level.
2. There are already existing programmes - plans - missions but they need to happen at bottom level and hence despite their existence - we need to start for CSA at bottom level
3. Farmers are intelligent and shrewd - know what their problems are. Majority of farmers in India today are literate and capable of accepting new ideas and practices - so is the local level (taluka level) development administration - but they have to be prepared to develop their own production plan and we need to have confidence in them. They are capable of implementing CSA.
4. For environmental concern - in the context of global warming -with increasing emission of GHG and non-willingness of lead players to provide curbs - agriculture offers a way to mitigation. Through its unique photosynthesis process, agriculture absorbs CO2 from atmosphere and releases Oxygen. There is no known technology which can do this. With increased productivity, increase in area under agriculture and multiple cropping, world can reduce CO2. This can simultaneously provide sustainable livelihood and food security to hungry millions.
5. Technologies are available, knowledge exists, plans are prepared -from top to middle level while vacuum at the bottom still remains unaddressed. Only chosen few are benefited while the majority are left out of development process in spite of claiming "all inclusive" approach. This is an identical trend across the entire developing world. Gaps exist in same village with same land and water resources - between one farmer and another farmer. The progressive one makes profit - the average one fails - and some commits suicide or others migrate to urban centres - rest drag on. But at the end result overall productivity and income to farmers suffer.
The other important contribution was by Pankaj Jain, who cited examples of three sectors in the context of Social Entrepreneurship with a long record. These are: Microfinance (Grameen Bank, BRAC and ASA in Bangladesh; Share, SKS, Basix, Bandhan in India), Cooperatives (Dairy Amul), (Sugar- Warnagar), Education Missionary (Hindu, Christian, Islamic), Aided Schools, Professional NGOs (Eklavya, Pratham, Nandi, Gyan Shala). The lessons he draws from the social entrepreneurship are: Support for Technology innovator-surplus generator by providing support and Social Entrepreneurs by promoting, supporting and investing.
Dr. Raghu (Academic counsellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) MBA programme) spoke about the relevance of sanitation in rural livelihood. He demonstrated his work through a case study, conducted in Sholapur district, Maharashtra. He showed the impact analysis of the sanitation programme in rural livelihood and addressed various problems associated with the programme. He concluded that availability of toilets at the houses/schools are the primary necessity for maintaining sanitation. He further added that through a suitable system for treating the solid and liquid waste, it will enhance livelihood opportunities. He told that the SHG groups can take up solid waste collection from households by charging a fee. Segregation of solid waste and its treatment for conversion to manure will add value to the running system.
Gobinda Ballava Dalai, the founder of the Initiative Youth United for Value based Action (YUVA), Currently Senior Program Manager, MANTRA in Gram-Vikas- Responsible for scaling up MANTRA in the state of Odisha. He talked about community action for inclusive water and sanitation programme for the rural people. He shared a gram-vikas experience in which he claimed to achieve complete inclusive growth through community action. He suggested that an inclusive development program depends on an enabling environment. Because such environment promotes easy access to investment, infrastructure, technology and availability of trained human resources as well as business development services. He showed different water and sanitation models, used by various institutions and suggested that MANTRA (Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas) of the Gram Vikas NGO, practice was most effective way through which rural communities can be involved in the sustainable and affordable development of their own village infrastructure and housing.
S Rajeshwaran (IIM, Bangalore) and Prof. Gopal Naik (IIM, Bangalore) did panel data econometrics to understand the key determinant of skim milk price. Using secondary panel time-series data along a few other important supply side variables in a demand-led growth situation reveals the causal role and significant of price of domestic milk powder on the price of milk, directly in the short-term directly and indirectly in the long-term. The long-term effect observed can be explained by total milk produced which is a function of productive number of animals and productivity. The paper substantiate this argument by analysing secondary panel time-series data from 2009 to 2014 on price levels of milk and SMP using the Error Correction Model (ECM). On policy implication, the Government could facilitate production of buffer stock of SMP during high milk production months and utilise the stored SMP in the subsequent lean season for fresh milk production, while controlling its export and import. As a result, the Government would continue playing a pro-active role in ensuring that a country remains self-sufficient in milk requirement, moderate the rise in price of milk and facilitate livelihood and nutrition to millions of rural households spread across the country.
The next presenter, Sachin Kumar (Department of Geography, Government College, Chowari, Chamba, HP), develops a framework for scaling up green livelihood initiatives (GLIs) by contextualising in the triad of ecology, economy and equity. While reviewing the scaling up framework, the few number of case studies of livelihood initiatives from India had come up as shortcomings. For this, they designed a multiple case study, which covers six regional physiographies, 89 organisations, 129 participants, 15 focused group discussions, 31 in-depth interviews and 17 field visits. A national consultation in Hyderabad was set up to share the experiences of regional consultations and provide a platform for dialogue between academicians, livelihood practitioners and policy makers on key challenges and enabling factors.
The cultural event organised jointly by Department of Art, Culture and Youth, Government of Bihar, Sangeet Natak Akademi and Bihar Lalit Kala Akademi opened on evening with the rendition of 'Bihar Rajyageet' (state song) followed by 'Bihar Gaurav Gaan'. It enthralled the audiences with the rich cultural heritage of Bihar.
Theme 2: Promotion of Collectives and Commons
The second day of the symposium started with the theme of Promotion of Collectives and Commons, moderated by Prof. Sanjiv Phansalkar and Shri Narendranath.
Dr. Augustus Shemphang Suiting advocated the concept of collective marketing as a social enterprise. He stated that individual producers are not able to meet the high costs of transportation and ware housing which has resulted inefficient business transaction. Mostly it has been observed that the individual rural producers of goods and services gets a very low price for their good and services. He added that collective marketing will strengthen producers in various ways i.e. providing easy and cheap credit facility, timely procurement of the produce, discount in bulk buying and selling of the products directly to the processing units etc.
GV Krishna Gopal (Executive Director, ALC India) shared his experiences on the development of women's collective enterprises. He stressed on enabling the marginalized by provision of professional services to individuals and collectives/organizations/ institutions, to enable equitable and sustainable economic development for vulnerable women. He said that it is of high importance to ensure that the marginalized are recognized as active contributors to growing economy and enable equitable share of wealth gets generated and distributed in favour of them.
The other key presenter, Dr. Sudarshan Naidu (Assistant Professor of Marketing at Shiv Nadar University, Greater NOIDA) proposed the collectivization solution for smallholder agriculture through a case study of Gambhira village. He told that due to collectivization action of farmers group, Gambhira farmers are effectively managing 526 acres of land and sharing the risk, returns and profits among 291 group members. This was possible only after the creation of society named "Mahisagar Bhatha Samudhayik Sahakari Kheti Mandali Limited" on 14th October, 1953. Society divided all members' farmers in various groups and individual groups were responsible for the crop production of the allotted land. He shared the fact that due to this activity, income and status of individual family has been improved.
The penultimate session was Lessons from Experiences on Collectives and Commons, moderated by Ms. Anita Ratnam and Shri Amitava Ghosh (Founder of KALAMANDIR - CCAF, Jamshedpur Area, India). The session was proceeded by Mr R.K. Anil, where he shared his experiences of three large projects related to rural livelihoods' promotion in the tribal areas of Adilabad district, Telangana. He put forth numerous questions for the discussion for fixing the problems that will crop up in implementation of livelihood promotion programs at the planning stage starting from different incentives, which are useful to retain effective human resources (HR) etc. He further debated about the need to incorporate a learning process approach in implementing livelihood promotion and applicability of universally applicable HR principles i.e. motivation, leadership, work design and job satisfaction etc. in this domain. He explored above areas by demonstrating his work in various sections at various place.
Dr. C. S. Shylanjan (Department of Economics, IBS Hyderabad) emphasized on sustainable livelihood issues and challenges related with protected areas i.e. institutional failures, market failures, price instabilities for different products in protected areas. Further, he stated environmental income and forest development model for valuation. He strongly recommended that we can achieve development pathway only through livelihood pathways in protected areas.
The paper by Sonakshi Anand and Manish Maskara dealt with the multidimensional issues that concern the livelihoods of a section of the human workforce in India who depend on waste as an economic resource. Drawing in from the case of contract Pourakarmikas (Pourakarmikas is a term used in Kannada which means Municipal Conservancy workers) employed under Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP), it is highlighted that such issues are embedded in the larger institutional framework of the local geography that govern their livelihood wherein multiple stakeholders in the entire chain of waste management have conflicting interests. By adopting the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) for the contract Pourakarmikas, emphasis is laid on the critical nature of political capital that they possess out of the other forms of capital, which makes it crucial for exploring the lens of political economy. The paper though does not provide any solutions to address the issues concerning the livelihoods but it does inform the readers about the possible pathway and potential challenges that could be faced in the same. The paper indicates the vital role of political economy in ensuring sustainable livelihoods. Thus, it becomes all the more crucial to navigate through the interests of the multiple interest groups so as to ensure the sustainability of livelihoods of the poor.
Kunal Kamal Kumar and Sushanta Kumar Mishra (T A Pai Management Institute, Manipal) deconstructed the role of News media in shaping people's preferences and policy outcomes. The paper present the case of Prabhat Khabar (PK), a Hindi daily that fought hard to bring the news media from the clutches of the rich and powerful, unexpectedly succeeding in the process. PK's fight for creating an institution of free press that was devoted to fighting inequalities was possible through the simultaneous creation as well as destruction of institutions; the creation of the institution of free press was possible only through destruction of the institution of government control over the press.
Mr. Amitava Ghosh shared his experience with rural tourism at village Amadubi, Panijaya, block-Dhalbhumgarh, distt- East Singhbhum, Jharkhand. He talked about different set of baskets of livelihood, living tradition of Amadubi and suggested innumerable ways through which the host community can use tourism as a tool for community development. He revealed both the faces (supply side as well as demand side) of the rural tourism and advocated appropriate business plan for its promotion.
Theme 3: Leadership and Governance
The last session was focused on the theme of Leadership and Governance. The session was moderated by Dr. RK Srivastava and Dr. Nalini Ranganathan. S K Acharya, Professor & Former Head, Department of Agricultural Extension Faculty of Agriculture, presented a paper entitled, 'Social Metabolism: The Entropy and Osmosis in Evolving Farm Economy of India'. Social Metabolism envisage a natural connectivity amongst physical, biological and social systems and their under lying cybernetics. The paper examined the collision and collusion between imposed technologies vis-a-vis extraneous knowledge vs. intrinsic vis-a-vis in situ knowledge.
The rejection of innovation, prescribed by experts, has got a reverse osmosis impact in the entire technology socialization process. Generally the rejected and discontinued technology has been branded as laggard but the logic behind rejections not esteemed properly. The farming system performance cannot be conceived as an indoor, interactive drama, rather it is a splendid disposition of social metabolism, where in the flow in and flow out of energy can be audited and monitored for sustainable farming performance of both the farmer and the manager or the both encapsulated in a single entity. The factors like cropping intensity, size of holding, education, motivation, access to information, the socialization level of technology have been found generating reticulate impact on the social osmosis through the intervening characters like, adoption, rejection and discontinuance, on and over a spectrum of prescribed innovation.
Dr. Jaya Kritika Ojha, sharing experiences from the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, talked about empowering women for leadership. Her paper explores the idea of (a) inducing more power into a system by means of empowering a women group through imparting individual capacity building training, (b) and, by imparting power in a system, a more rational and constructive system development is possible. Jaya attempted to explore how women empowerment could be reconfigured in our social system to create opportunities among them.
The paper examines and analyses the role of capacity building training in empowering women artisans. Further, it suggests the strategies to develop comprehensive model for capacity building of women associated with embroidery works, focusing the themes such as leadership, decision-making, negotiation, community participation, and access to resources and information. The paper finds that women's capacity enhancement programs provide a platform to women to realize their own calibre, potential and dimensions. It opens up possibilities for women, especially those who are deprived of opportunities and space, to learn different skills for betterment of their lives. It concludes that the capacity enhancement through training can make a person deliver with motivation, conviction and high degree of confidence. Empowerment brings a decisive, considerable and visible change in the thought, quality and approach for improving own lives, families and community. A singular effort for betterment in this way accelerates a series of change among the primary and expansive stakeholders. Capacity-building training programs would help women artisans to combat the exploitation they face at home, work, and in community, to reduce disparities, improving social conditions and gender sensitivity. It will help in creating a society based on equality, equity, and freedom.
Mr. Shoumen Biswas from UNDP, Mr. Arun Nathan and Mr. Shiju from TERI University, also shared their views and contributed to the theme of Leadership and Governance.
Ms. Sakshi Saurabh presented the review of a resource book titled "Resource Book for Livelihood Promotion" published by BASIX.
The Symposium also shared write ups by the leading scholar and practitioner Marc Saxer on The Economy of Tomorrow How to produce socially just, sustainable and green dynamic growth for a Good Society. The author envisions The Economy of Tomorrow (EoT) in the backdrop of current economic scenario. The collapse of Lehman Brothers, a sprawling global bank, in September 2008 almost brought down the world's financial system. It took huge taxpayer-financed bail-outs to shore up the industry. This macroeconomic shocks by the financial crisis took most academics and decision-makers by surprise. Much of the early analyses concentrated on the "greed is good" incentive structures and "Jenga leverage towers" of casino capitalism. However, the crisis was by no means an accident but rooted in the inherent instability of financial capitalism. Its failure to generate aggregate demand created global and domestic imbalances, which in turn are the turf for bursting bubbles. But the crisis goes well beyond the economy. It is increasingly understood as a multidimensional economic, ecological, political and metaphysical crisis.
The paper advocates of translating the development model into a tool for political communication. In order to level the political playing field, this rainbow coalition needs to promote a suggestive and potent discourse. Vice versa, the normative vision gives orientation for state and private policy-makers and facilitates the development of coherent policies. Along those communicative axes, it takes only four steps for policy instruments understood only by experts to be argumentatively linked to a normative vision which is emotionally tangible for the layman. The Economy of Tomorrow project does not only search for answers for the challenges of today but aims to prepare the discursive ground for the political struggles over the Economy of Tomorrow. Hence, the technical EoT development model needs to be transformed into a tool for political communication.
The symposium ended with the Valedictory Address by Prof. Jaya Indiresan. Her deliberation on Development Management Pathways towards Good Society covered a large variety of domains ranging from agriculture to urban livelihoods. Quoting Prof. Indiresan, she mentioned that he strongly believed that Development needs to be looked at in a holistic manner. She argued that under the name of Rural Development providing minimal services, be it a one teacher school, one sub- centre visited by a doctor once a week, a six foot road, etc. will not transform the lives of the rural people, as this does not generate enough employment to make the villages prosperous. She further argued that a small village with a population of less than 5000 cannot sustain the modern urban amenities to make the villages attractive. A minimum population of at least hundred thousand is essential for providing the basic urban amenities which will attract employers and create enough jobs to contain the rural population from migrating to the cities in search of jobs and livelihood. Challenge could be to create this viable population size and the solution is to promote the cluster approach. Link a group of villages with good four lane roads with rapid transport system and sow a good seed which will be a nucleus around which several initiatives will automatically spring up. All this requires meticulous planning, coordination and cooperation from several stake holders and large investors.
She continued with an example of the ripple effect in society. CAP Foundation and Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) have set up several Employability Training Centres all over the country and in several developing countries to the west and east of India. Along with this they setup schools for migrant children, preschools for 3-6 year olds, nutrition projects, children immunization, kept record of their growth charts, got them all birth certificates and so on meeting all their needs. After pre-school, got admission for them in the local schools. Formed school councils with Head Masters, teachers, parents, student representatives, elders from the community and sensitised the children to child rights, social issues like child marriage, corporal punishment, gender discrimination etc. Prepared them to complete school, where required through open school exams. Started vocational schools for those who could not go for higher education. The vocational schools were linked to learning for livelihood by associating with corporates who provided the jobs. Used the youth of the community to sensitise their peers on health issues like HIV etc. For Women CAP set up SHGs and gave them training in entrepreneur skills, managing their finances, utilising Bank facilities etc. Thus, the whole community got developed in different sectors like education, training, employment, health, etc., creating a ripple effect, one initiative leading to the other. To sustain this initiative after project withdrawal, formation of community groups had been done like Kishori groups for the youth. This is a small experimental project, worth emulating on a larger scale as an integrated model of total community development, catering to most of the needs as delineated in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
To become aware of certain policies and principles that will pull us out of this silo mentality of looking at developmental issues in an isolated fashion and take us on the path of integrated development, need is to practice the 4 C formula. Consciousness, concern, commitment and competences are required to bring about the desired change. Let us become conscious of the desired change, get concerned, have the commitment and hope we have the competence to reach our goal.
Mr. Anup Mukherjee, Chairman, DMI, in summing up the whole event projected the need for a continuous, collective and self-reflexive engagement with the issues of inequality, social disintegration and environmental destruction in order to aim for trajectories of change for sustainable future for people and good society.