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This File was last Updated/Modified: April 04 2014 17:38:20.

Urban Development

Labour and Employment Sector

Unemployment rates for male and female in both rural and urban areas have declined from 1987-88 to1993-94. However, thin sample surveys showed increase in unemployment rates in 1994-95 and 1995-96, which declined in 1997.

Change in real wages in pre reforms (1981-91) period was 4.7 per cent and in the post reform period (1991-99) it was 2.0 per cent. States of Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu recorded higher growth in real wages in post-reform period than in the earlier period. Other States had a positive but lower growth in real wages in recent years.

Un-organised sector of employment is expanding because compared to a labour force growth at 1.5 per cent; the organised sector employment is increasing at less than 1 per cent. The decline has been primarily due to a sharp reduction in the rate of growth of employment in the public sector.

Growth of private sector jobs has accelerated after 1994 and has been much higher than public sector in the recent years.

In organised Sector, Growth of private sector jobs has accelerated after 1994, and has been much higher than in public sector in recent years.

During the Ninth plan period, priority areas in the Labour and Employment Sector are:

  • Review of labour laws and harmonise them with the new economic and social setting;
  • Expand the provision of social security to workers through efforts to create viable, location specific and a self-financing system;
  • Improvement in conditions of workers facing highly adverse work situations -elimination of evils of child labour and bonded labour:
  • Modernization of employment exchanges and job placement services
  • Strengthening of accreditation facilities for vocational training institutes to facilitate investment by private sector in vocational training
  • Extending the ambit of the existing vocational training system to include training in skills required in services sectors
  • Coordination of vocational training imparted by various departments of Government in order to avoid overlapping and to ensure conformity with each other.

To conform to the new economic environment, Ministry of Labour has taken steps to amend or redraft the following laws concerning Labour:

  • Industrial Disputes Act
  • Contract Labour(Regulation and Abolition) Act
  • Payment of Wages Act
  • Workmen’s Compensation Act

The second National Commission on Labour will report by October 2001 on

  • An umbrella legislation for ensuring a minimum level of protection to workers in unorganised sector.
  • Rationalisation of Labour Laws relating to workers in organised sector.

Very few States have created the corpus fund which is prescribed under the Construction Workers’ Welfare Act to provide amenities and support in case of accidents at site.

Inter-State consensus for preparing a Legislation for welfare of agricultural workers has not been possible so far.

Certain State Governments have taken initiatives to provide Social Security to unorganised workers;

  • Kerala
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Madhya Pradesh

Under a National Project, 1.5 lakhs working children are educated in special schools

The scheme for release and rehabilitation of bonded labour has been strengthened by (i) increasing the assistance payable to State Government for rehabilitation of a released Bonded Labour, and (ii) providing for conduct of post-rehabilitation surveys of released Bonded Labour.

National Vocational Training system is being strengthened by:

  • Handing over to local industry the operation of State-owned industrial training institutes- to begin with, six ITI’s have been handed over to local industry.
  • A national vocational training policy is being framed to
    • Assign a due role to State Governments in accreditation of Institutes and award of certificates to candidates
    • Avoid overlapping of functions amongst different vocational training providers.

At present conceptually robust statistics are available on employment situation but with a time lag of 3 to 5 years. During the phase of restructuring of economy it is necessary to have some key indicators of labour statistics which are available (i) without a time lag of more than a few months and (ii) these indicators be representative of all segments of labour force. For this purpose Ministry of Labour should lead the Central Government efforts to reorient the working, in regard to information on working population.

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Environment and Forests

Environment

The 9th Plan for the sector of Environment and Forests was formulated in the spirit of Agenda 21 in recognition of the basic premise that environmental protection and economic development are mutually supportive aspects of the same agenda.

Developmental policies impinge heavily upon the environment requiring intersectoral policy integration and coordination. At present there is no institutionalised policy-integrating and coordinating mechanism, with the result that a compartmental approach to environmental protection continues to be followed with extremely indifferent results.

GNP and national income do not reflect environmental degradation or the consumption of natural resources and are inadequate measures of productivity and social costs when environmental damage occurs. National income accounting without environmental accounting limits the information available to policy makers for gauging the impact of economic activity on the environment. A natural resources budget and a State of the Environment Report needs to be placed before Parliament along with the economic budget each year, as laid down in the Government of India’s policy statement of 1992 on Environment and Development.

Only about 1% of the total plan outlay of the state and central governments, is allocated to the Environment and Forestry Sector and even this low level is not being fully utilized. The level of external assistance has also declined due to non-formulation of projects.

Industries, thermal power stations, vehicles and biomass burning continue to be the main sources of air pollution in urban areas. The ambient air quality has deteriorated all over the country, especially in urban and semi-urban areas.

Some important initiatives taken for tackling the problem of vehicular pollution during the 9th Plan include phasing out of grossly polluting vehicles, improvement of fuel quality (unleaded petrol and reduction of sulfur in diesel) and tightening of vehicular emission norms (India 2000 and modified India 2000). These initiatives have resulted in the improvement of air quality in Delhi and lead concentration in outdoor air has been successfully brought down through introduction of unleaded petrol but the menace of hydrocarbons has grown. However, greater policy coordination is required.

It is estimated that indoor air pollution (due to burning of unprocessed cooking fuels in homes) in India’s rural areas is responsible for at least 5 lakh premature deaths annually, mostly of women, and children under 5. This accounts for 6% - 9% of the total national burden measured in terms of Disease Adjusted Life Years.

Organic and bacterial contamination continues to be the critical pollutant in Indian aquatic resources. In more than 1/3 of the samples analysed, the BOD levels are excessively higher than the prescribed level of 3 mg/litre. Similarly, total coliforms also exceed the prescribed norms of 500 MPN/100 ml in more than 50% of the samples analysed.

Water pollution is caused by industrial discharge, agricultural run-off and domestic sewage. About 75% of the wastewater produced is from the domestic sector. Sewage treatment facilities are inadequate or non-existent in most cities and almost absent in rural India. Only 25% of Class I cities have some wastewater collection, treatment and disposal facilities, less than 10% of the 241 smaller towns have wastewater collection systems. Not more than 20% of all the wastewater generated in Class-I cities and 2% of all wastewater generated in Class-II towns is treated.

In the 9th Plan, the Ganga Action Plan – Phase II has been converted from 50:50 sharing CSS into a 100% CSS. In spite of this, assets created are not being adequately utilized because of lack of operation and maintenance funds by the State Governments. A solution to the problem of Operation and Maintenance of assets under various National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD) programmes needs to be urgently found.

Innovative methods such as oxidation pond technology, bioremedial measures need to be replicated all over the country for sewage treatment especially coliform level, which cannot be treated by other sewage treatment plants.

Monitoring of polluting industries in most states is inadequate. An important lacuna discovered in an evaluation of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) was that the chairman and member secretary were not technically competent to manage pollution control problems. Circumstances warrant appointment of technically qualified people to ensure effective working of SPCBs.

Handling and safe disposal of hazardous wastes are emerging as a problem area. Progress in identification of sites for safe disposal of hazardous wastes is poor. Of the 76 identified hazardous waste disposal sites, only 12 have been notified by the States/Uts. Health hazards are also created through indiscriminate disposal of bio-medical wastes.

India is one of the 12 mega biodiversity countries of the world and harbours more than 48,000 recorded flora and 81,000 fauna (including insects). Habitat loss and conversion, unsustainable legal and illegal harvesting and the introduction of exotics are some of the main threats to biodiversity. Current in situ and ex situ conservation efforts are based on a combination of ecosystem based schemes and a focus on apex key species. There is a need to identify the keystone and umbrella species. Conserving such species ensures protection of all related species as well.

Forest and Wildlife

Remote sensing data on forests shows that since 1983 the depletion in the dense forest cover has been controlled. The improved scenario could be because of the general ban on green felling, liberalized wood imports (touching 2 billion US $), the successes of farm forestry and participatory policies introduced in many states. The success of JFM in a large number of ecologically varied villages is gradually changing the attitude of even conservative forest officers who are increasingly more willing to work with the people. The areas needing greater attention seem to be:

Increasing productivity, reducing demand and supply imbalances, increasing export and reducing import of timber and pulpwood.

Recognising symbiotic relationship between forest-dwellers and forests, implementing poverty alleviation schemes, generating gainful employment and empowerment of tribals and women.

Links between forestry with pastures and watershed development are poorly understood.

Integrated land use planning is not being attempted, and common lands adjacent to forests get a low priority after 1991.

Focus on farm forestry has been surprisingly diluted since 1991 despite its enormous potential, especially in agriculturally backward areas. There are better social returns in promoting agroforestry models in the rainfed or semi-arid regions, which contain most of India’s marginal lands. Similarly tree plantation on marginal and waste lands belonging to the poor is not encouraged.

Planning Commission constituted a Task Force on "Greening India through agroforestry and Joint Forest Management". The Task Force recommended implementation of agroforestry and Joint Forest Management. Over an area of 43 million ha, policy and legal support to remove all constraints in greening programme and financial support through the "Green India Fund".

Issues relating to productivity, access and marketing of NTFP are neglected. Local value added activities, such as processing, based on NTFPs should be encouraged. The nationalization of major Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) has increased the exploitation of the poor. Government should give up its monopoly on NTFPs and set up promotional Marketing Boards as distinct from commercial Corporations.

Poor understanding of the social implication of technology; one should consider changing forest technology by shifting attention from timber to floor management and production of more gatherable biomass.

Continuing subsidies on government supply of wood and bamboo to industries, act as a disincentive to industry to pay a remunerative price to farmers.

The current import policy of government must review its decision to allow cheap and duty free import of pulp and timber. It has adverse impact on agroforestry development.

The Protected Area (PA) network has increased to over 15 m.ha. consisting of 83 National Parks and 447 Sanctuaries. However, the status of these PAs is somewhat unsatisfactory vis--vis biodiversity conservation and most of them lack management plans. The conservation policy needs to be re-examined.

Eco-development Projects (EDP) underline the involvement of local people in the management of PAs. However, they are unlikely to succeed unless JFM and EDP go hand in hand in a complementary sense for wildlife protection.

Report of the task force on conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants (set up by Planning Commission) recommend establishment of "Vanaspati Vans" for increasing production, processing and export of herbal products to earn Rs. 10,000 crores per year. The recommendations have to be appropriately incorporated in policies and programmes.

Bamboo, the wonder grass, due to its rapid growth and multipurpose uses has emerged both environment and people friendly. Bamboo panel products have gained popularity as alternate to wood. Bamboo export should be encouraged by shifting it from negative to positive list specially when gregarious flowering is expected from 2006 onward.

On the whole, performance in forestry has been satisfactory, but the states have not been able to realize the full potential of this sector, particularly the poverty alleviation focus of the 1988 Indian Forest Policy. The strategy of the Forestry Sector should be two pronged – one, producing market oriented products on farms and two, protecting forests for environmental benefits and for sustaining the livelihood of the forest dwellers.

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Tourism

  • Despite tourism having emerged as the world’s largest industry and the fastest growing sector of the world economy, the sector has failed to receive due importance on India’s development agenda.
  • Employing only 2.4% of the total Indian workforce, the vast potential of tourism as an instrument of employment generation and poverty alleviation has tended to remain largely unutilized.
  • Of the 625 million world tourist arrivals in 1998, India received a meagre 2.36 million or 0.38% of the total world tourist arrivals and only 0.62% of world tourist receipts.
  • Despite having a tiny share of world tourist arrivals, tourism in India has emerged the second largest foreign exchange earner for the country, recording an estimated earnings of Rs. 12604 crore in 1998-99.
  • The mainstay of tourism in India continues to be domestic tourism and an estimated 17.54 crores domestic tourists were recorded in 1999.
  • The major limitations cited for low performance of tourism development in India are lack of professionalism, unhygienic conditions, poor infrastructure, lack of easily accessible information, lack of safety, poor visitor experience, restrictive air transport policy, inadequate facilitation services, multiplicity of taxes and the low priority accorded to tourism.
  • The corrective measures proposed for development of tourism include augmentation of international air seat capacity, introduction of visa-less/visa-on-arrival facility for tourists from selected countries, rationalization/reduction of taxes and impetus to rural tourism by linking village tourism with restoration of heritage priorities.
  • Tourism development should be based on perspective plans which must incorporate environmental impact studies, carrying capacity studies, instruments of spatial and land use planning, instruments of architectural controls, strategy for preparing the local community to safeguard its cultural identity and awareness programmes for local participation and local commitment to the project.
  • Projects in the nature of providing glimpse of the rural ambience need to be formulated, preferably in consultation with locals and the NGOs. Bank finances at attractive terms and conditions should be provided for promoting such projects and local participation encouraged.
  • It would be advantageous to close down Govt. of India tourism offices located overseas and make publicity increasingly through the Internet and the electronic media.
  • In order to take advantage of the liberalized economic regime and the developments taking place around the world, a new National Tourism Policy is under consideration of the Government