Rural Industrialisation: A Prospect

Chandan Sukumar Sengupta

Attaining freedom from the British Rule was a challenging effort in which several leaders got involved directly or indirectly through promoting or propagating various activities. Mahatma Gandhi considered Freedom Struggle and Rural Constructive Programme to be taken up simultaneously to make the Nation fit for the Implementation of a Federal Democratic Home Rule. It will be a type of Nation in which all people willingly entitled to enjoy freedom at their utmost aspiration. People should feel free in adopting and practicing their social as well as economic activities.

Mahatma Gandhi considered Constructive Works as of Prime Importance because of the necessity of that time. Raising the confidence of people, removing the caste and colour discrimination, setting up rural and cottage industries in some of the out pockets, enhancing the faith of people in their industrious nature, nurturing and adopting rural technology base with utmost confidence and courage, preparing oneself for  the forthcoming challenges and making a system of economic practices on the basis of decentralized productivity, enabling people to stick to their resource base, managing production units on the basis of the resource map and finally relying upon the Indigenous Products with utmost courage.  Economic thoughts and postulates of Mahatma Gandhi were well implemented by Dr. J. C. Kumarappa through his series of studies. Gandhi wanted him to study the situation of rural India through a sample study of Matar Block of Khera District. Kumarappa wanted to diversify the plan of Rural Industrialisation through incorporating some other trades by the side of Spinning and Weaving.

Liberal thought of Mahatma moved on toward accepting the dynamic planning of Kumarappa perpetually aimed toward revitalizing the rural industries through adopting a series of training and facilitation programmes duly patronized by some of the industrious followers of Mahatma. Kumarappa received a series of setback in the form of agitation of some other schools of thoughts prevailing in the team of National Planning. Some of the prominent supporters of Large Industries claimed the planning of Gandhi and Kumarappa as a reverse spin of the wheel of progress.  Such agitation reflected only because of the lack of adequate vision of real progress that was designed to accommodate even poorest as well as marginalized villagers in the stream of productivity and working force.  It was even continued to a greater extent without any state support. The need of diversification as well as incorporation of innovation remained in the format of the Rural Industrialisation Plan adopted by Institutions working on the principle of Gandhi and Kumarappa.

            Related to some of the misconception that prevailed in society regarding plan and principle of Gandhi and Kumarappa regarding Rural Industrialisation should be diffused first for creating the suitable ground for implementing postulates of Gandhian Economy (popularly coined as Economy of Permanence). Mahatma was not against Large Industries and Mass Production, but he was against such system that neglects the immediate need of the fellow villagers. Instrumentation of Cottage Industry should be supplemented with creation of a mechanism of repairing such instruments at local level. Instrumentation of Cottage Industry should also move on parallel to the resource base from which the unskilled Artisan aspiring for imparting oneself in the main stream of productivity.  Gandhi was also not against any import, but his emphasis was on creating all possible efforts of manufacturing all such products at any rural out pockets and creating a market network for safeguarding artisans remaining involved in the system.

Present Day Relevance of Economy of Permanence

Rural Work forces at some of the out pockets still remain off the stream of National Productivity because of their poor and Non- Scientific Knowledge Base. They are still staying beyond their own aspiration of getting involved in the productivity system. It simply because of the lack of adequate information related to some of the successful enterprises working with great zeal and enthusiasm in the National Productivity System. It is also because of the lack of vision about the possible return in terms of any suitable multiple of the investment. Some other business houses offer greater return in terms of remuneration to fellow workers by launching their high priced products having reflections of delicacy and royal colour. In the present day situation currency leads and regulates the market, keeping aside the need and aspirations of poor and marginalised workers of rural community.

Confidence Building Measures

The nature and extent of support, not only in the form of technical knowhow but also in the form of assistance to cope up with market, should be considered for making the system implement appropriate for the rural artisans and farmers. More perpetually one can plan to link up the community with the immediate availability of the resource base for ensuring greater chance of success. Proper combination of Resource, Technology and Skills can define the scope of attaining success. Gandhi always worked to search out proper technology, proper mechanism to rely upon, living within minimum, and also moving out of the activities leading toward creation of waste and unrest. Technology to be adopted should be people friendly and easy to handle, even it should be compatible to the type of resource base a community relying upon. All sorts of absurdity should be removed.

            Lack of confidence upon the system and its implements is the immediate set back that often brings the entire chain of productivity under question mark. One rarely prefers to wait up to the moment of the creation of any enhanced demand of the locally developed products. Better one should launch the implements on an experimental basis duly supplemented with a subtle increase in the productivity.

Easy to Access

Financial Institutions always imply a prolonged processing of any appeal of fund. It should be made flexible in terms of availing ease of access to small and marginalised artisans. There is other side responsible for the complexity of the processing of any appeal of finance. Most of aspirants become defaulter while moving across newly implemented enterprise leading toward a severe loss because of the mismatch of resource, technology and knowledge. It often becomes so worse in some cases that put a crafts person or farmer to a life risk. Situation of farmers in Vidarbha because of indebtedness can be placed as an example.  Some fellow farmers of Nimdih Block of Saraykela District of Jharkhand received Bullocks financed by a Nationalised Bank. Loss of the life of one of the bullock made another one useless, and in a gradual succession the farmer trapped in the clutch of the financial crisis because of the lack of any immediate return in terms of productivity. The marginalised farmer again trapped in the net of turmoil because of the intervention of a private source of finance for clearing the Bank Loan. The Bank was not in a situation to bring the farmer out of the previous indebtedness because of the rigidity of the financial regulations of the Development Initiatives of the government.

Think Globally

While planning for any industrial activity suitable for a specific rural community, one can imply the credibility of the selected products as per the global standards. Standards of such level can bring the entire system to a stream of implements having more focus upon the look and finish of the outcome to be entangled with the market system. Product should say its own purity and perfectness. It should even attend and apprehend the quality consciousness of people willing to rely upon the same. It should not even break the linkages of demand and supply for enhancing the systematized permanence. This kind of market mechanism will undoubtedly increase the market demand of the selected item. If any business house of Europe implies stress upon manufacturing Artificial Fabrics with greater success indicators, the same can be housed in the National Economy with higher index of success supplemented with profit. Productivity should go on parallel to the demand that duly created in market. One should remain stick to the mechanism after considering the global demand.

Focused Action

             All kinds of trade, related to processing or manufacturing of any product duly selected, should be considered for a complete productivity cycle. The process orientation should be designed in such a way that it should sustain up to the advent of the newly launched product for a complete cycle of the productivity stream. Obtaining the market feedback and implementing the populated recommendations in the forthcoming production cycle is another aspect that can be incorporated in the Industrial activity for making it a vibrant one.  Scope of innovation in all sorts of industrious activities and revival of small scale industries will be of no termination. It can be better ascribed as a journey from better to the best.

Further Readings:

1.      An Economic Survey of Matar Taluka; Gujarat Vidhyapeeth; 1952, pages: 155.
2.      Chandler Jr., Alfred D. (1993). The Visible Hand: The Management Revolution in American Business. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674940529.
3.      Christianity: Its Economy and Way of Life; Navajivan, Ahmedabad; 1945, pages: 124.
4.      Clive to Keynes; Navajivan, Ahmedabad; 1947, pages: 44.
5.      Cow in Our Economy; Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Rajghat, Varanasi 221001, 1963, pages: 76
6.      Economy of Permanence Part II; Maganwadi, Wardha; 1948, pages: 87.
7.      Economy of Permanence; Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Rajghat, Varanasi 221001, 1984, pages: 208
8.      Europe Through Gandhian Eyes; Maganwadi, Wardha; 1948, pages: 29
9.      Gandhian Economic Thought; Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Rajghat, Varanasi 221001, 1962, pages: 94
10.  Grinding of Cereals; Maganwadi, Wardha; 1947, pages: 15
11.  Hewitt, T., Johnson, H. and Wield, D. (Eds) (1992) industrialisation and Development, Oxford University Press: Oxford.
12.  Hobsbawm, Eric (1962): The Age of Revolution. Abacus.
13.  Kemp, Tom (1993) Historical Patterns of Industrialisation, Longman: London. ISBN 0-582-09547-6
14.  Kiely, R (1998) industrialisation and Development: A comparative analysis, UCL Press:London.
15.  Kumarappa Dr. J. C. , Economy of Permanence
16.  Landes, David. S. (1969). The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present. Cambridge, New York: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-09418-6.
17.  Lessons from Europe; Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Wardha, 1954, pages: 49
18.  M. K. Gandhi, My Life My Mission, Navjeevan Trust, Ahmedabad
19.  Peace and Prosperity; Maganwadi, Wardha, 1948, pages: 37.
20.  Pomeranz, Ken (2001)The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by (Princeton University Press; New Ed edition, 2001)
21.  Present Economic Situation; Maganwadi, Wardha; 1949, pages: 151.
22.  Public Finance and Our Poverty; Navajivan, Ahmedabad; 1930, pages: 110
23.  Stone Walls and Iron Bars; Maganwadi, Wardha; 1949, pages: 21.
24.  Swadeshi; Sindhu Publication; 1992, pages: 32.
25.  Swaraj for the Masses; Hind Kitab Ltd. Bombay; 1948, pages: 104
26.  The Gandhian Economy and Other Essays; Maganwadi, Wardha; 1949, pages: 120
27.  Tilly, Richard H.: Industrialization as an Historical Process, European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2010, retrieved: 29 February 2011.
28.  Village Industries; Maganwadi, Wardha; 1947, pages: 72.
29.  Why the Village Movement; Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Rajghat, Varanasi 221001,1958, pages: 203.

Compiled by : Chandan Sukumar Sengupta

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