9th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)

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Special Area Programmes

1.1 The objectives of the Ninth Plan have been spelt out in the Approach to the Ninth Five Year Plan document adopted by the National Development Council. "Growth with Social Justice and Equity" is proposed to be achieved with the objectives outlined in the Approach Paper. Some specific areas from within the broad objectives of the Plan as laid down by the NDC have been selected for special focus. For these areas, Special Action Plans (SAPs) have been evolved in order to provide actionable, time-bound targets with adequate resources. Broadly, the SAPs cover specific aspects of social and physical infrastructure, agriculture, information technology and water policy.

1.2 Volume-I of the Ninth Plan document covers not only the macro and economy-wide issues but also reflects on the important general aspects of the sector specific issues, particularly the approaches to policy formulation. The main thematic areas covered in Volume-I, inter alia, include Economic infrastructure, energy, agricultural development and food security, industry and commerce, and the financial sector.

1.3 Volume-II gives perspectives on how the sectoral programmes fit into realisation of planning themes enumerated in Volume-I. The sectoral chapters deal with the trade-off in objectives both for the perspective period and during the Ninth Plan, commonality in approach, policy framework, institutional structure, delivery mechanism, possibility of synergy and convergence and major requirements i.e. labour, input and technology.

1.4 In individual sectoral chapters, policies and programmes during the Eighth Plan period have been reviewed, shortcomings identified and new policy framework suggested to overcome the shortcomings and ensure sustainability of the development process not only in economic terms but also in terms of social and environmental factors. Sectorwise overview is discussed in the succeeding paragraphs:

Agriculture, Food Security and Irrigation

1.5 The Strategy of agricultural development would be centred around achieving the objectives of sustainability of employment generation, food and nutrition security, equity and poverty alleviation. Efforts will be made to achieve a growth rate of 4.5 per cent per annum in agricultural output in order to make a significant impact on overall growth and poverty. Regionally differentiated strategies will be followed to realise the full potential of growth in every region. The emphasis will be on raising the capabilities of small peasants and promoting sustainable agricultural systems, while at the same time conserving and maximising the value from scarce resources, water and land. Infrastructure development will be given the highest importance. Emphasis will be laid on minor irrigation by harnessing ground water resources. Timely and adequate availability of inputs will receive special attention. The regional programmes will be formulated in such a manner as to ensure provision of inputs to the farmer, particularly in the remote, hilly, backward and tribal areas. Agricultural credit is a crucial input and it will receive special attention. The programmes relating to land reforms would be strengthened to raise agricultural growth and help the poor. Efforts will be made to increase public investment during the Plan period. In every district, the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDP) would be used to promote projects which encourage organisations of groups of small farmers, artisans and landless labourers for skill up-gradation, processing, transport infrastructure, quality improvement etc. Support to agricultural research will be enhanced and emphasis will be placed on bio-technology, microbiology, genetic improvement of crops including hybrid technology, genetic up-gradation of animal resources, improvement of fish genetic stock and post-harvest technology, etc. Efforts will be made to accelerate the growth rates of allied sectors such as horticulture, including fruits and vegetables, fisheries, livestock and dairy. Agricultural exports will receive special attention as these have a lot of potential for increasing farm incomes and employment, besides earning foreign exchange. Co-operatives will be strengthened. Greater participation of women in agriculture than at present will be encouraged. Linkages with markets will be strengthened and agro-processing and agro-industries will be encouraged.

1.6 Self-sufficiency in food-grains for the country as a whole does not necessarily imply food and nutrition security for all. Making food available through the PDS at affordable prices has been a key element of our food security system. However, untargeted PDS has resulted in a steady rise of budgetary food subsidy. During the Ninth Plan subsidised food grains is proposed to be targeted only to people below the poverty line so as to ensure that budgetary subsidies reach the needy and become sustainable. In addition to reorienting PDS, food supplementation programmes for the identified vulnerable groups such as women and children (such as ICDS, Mid-day Meal, Vitamins and Iodine deficiency programmes) are proposed to be extended and strengthened.

Industry and Minerals

1.7 The thrust of the new industrial policy announced in July 1991 has been on substantial reduction in the scope of industrial licensing, simplification of procedures, rules and regulations, reforms in the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices(MRTP) Act, reduction of areas reserved exclusively for the public sector, disinvestment of equity of selected public sector enterprises (PSEs), raising the limit of foreign equity participation in the domestic industrial undertakings, liberalisation of trade and exchange rate policies, rationalisation of duties, etc. with a view to promoting growth and increasing efficiency and international competitiveness. Steps were also taken to bring public sector enterprises within the ambit of Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), providing a social security net through National Renewal Fund (NRF), industrialisation of backward areas through growth centres scheme, opening up of mining sector to private sector, strengthening of technological capacity etc. Industrial growth rate during the Eighth Plan was, however, lower than that achieved in the Seventh Plan. One of the major constraints faced by the industrial sector is inadequate availability of infrastructural support, which not only affected domestic production but exports as well. However, the industry has responded well to the opening up of the economy and has realised the importance of competitiveness with the result that due emphasis is being given to modernisation, up-gradation, economies of scale, quality, research and development, etc. The rate of foreign direct investment has also started picking up in response to the improved policy environment.

1.8 The Ninth Plan envisages an industrial growth rate of 8.50% per annum and export growth of 11.8% per annum. For achieving this growth, special measures have been suggested to ensure adequate availability and requisite quality of infrastructure and creating conditions conducive for unhindered growth of such industries which can produce products at internationally competitive prices. Internal aberrations in policies are proposed to be removed and special measures envisaged to promote development of industries in backward areas. Special emphasis has been given to the industrial and economic development of the North Eastern Region by evolving a special package which, inter alia, includes changes in the funding pattern of growth centres and integrated infrastructure development centres, extension of transport subsidy scheme, strengthening of institutions concerned with entrepreneurship and human resources development etc., various physical concessions and incentives and specific measures for development of industrial sub-sectors like agriculture, handicrafts, handloom etc. It is also proposed to review the working of BIFR and bring about necessary changes to make it an effective instrument of reviving sick industrial units. The scheme of National Renewal Fund is also proposed to be recast through appropriate modifications to make it more effective and achieve the objectives of providing a social safety net as originally envisaged. The retention price-cum-subsidy scheme for fertilisers and dual pricing scheme for sugar is also proposed to be reviewed and necessary changes will be made with a view to ensuring healthy development of these industries.

1.9 The small scale sector has shown considerable resilience and in-built strength and growth rate of this sector has been about two to three percentage points higher than that of large and medium industries. Due emphasis would be given for making available adequate credit to the sector, and promote production and productivity through technological up-gradation.

1.10 In the unorganised sector, a cluster approach will be adopted for provision of training, up-gradation of skills and improvement in tool kits, equipment and production techniques to increase production, productivity and income levels of artisans, craft-persons, weavers, spinners and workers etc.


1.11 The major thrust of the on-going reform process in the Energy Sector has been to make it commercially viable and also to attract private sector participation. The Ninth Plan lays emphasis on bringing about a commercial outlook among the PSUs, attracting private sector participation in the development of energy sector, encouraging a competitive environment not only between public and private sectors, but between public sector units, need for regulatory agencies for fixation of tariff, conservation of resources, safeguarding the interest of consumers and protecting the environment. Energy-economy interaction, viz. the demand for energy in the economy, the sources from which this demand is met, the changes in the pattern of energy consumption from non-commercial to commercial, changes in the composition of commercial energy use, energy-GDP elasticity along with some policy measures have been discussed. New policies in the Ninth Plan on getting the private sector to invest in the electric power generation, transmission and distribution, in coal mining, in petroleum exploration, production and arranging of supply of liquefied natural gas have been considered. Restructuring of the electricity supply system to make it commercially viable, bankable and professional, rapid increase in oil and coal production by deregulating the industry in a short period of time are some of the aspects which will receive due consideration.


1.12 The country's transport system which comprises of rail, roads, sea port and airports is facing capacity saturation. Inadequacies and imbalances in transport threaten to constrain economic growth and the quality of life in both urban and rural areas. A large number of villages lack reliable all-weather connection with nearby markets and towns. Areas like North East and Jammu and Kashmir have remained physically and emotionally isolated because the transport system has not linked them adequately with the rest of the country. Environment friendly and socially cost-effective means of transport like coastal shipping, inland water transport and non-mechanised transport, etc. also have remained undeveloped. Distortions in the inter modal mix of transport, environment and energy linkages, safety and technology up-gradation have been examined. The diverse issues facing the transport sector require a comprehensive policy package. Strengthening of the Indian railways in its reach and capacity so that it effectively links the distant parts of the country, helps to develop economic potential of the backward areas and carries the bulk of the nation's long or medium haul traffic, is necessary. Similarly road networks need to be expanded and strengthened. There is also a need to modernise our seaports and airports with a view to augmenting their capacity and making them of international standard.

1.13 Policy options, each backed by adequate investment and complemented by suitable policy changes in other sectors, have been discussed and emerging issues and strategies visualised for development have been elaborated. The pricing policy in future would have to be based on full recovery of cost. Subsidies/concessions will be direct through General Budget or sectoral budget so that the health of the transport enterprises is not impaired. Attempts will be made to mobilise resource from user charges in various ways. Non-tariff measures will also be taken for resource generation. Revenue mobilisation through tariff and non-tariff measures, stress on productivity of human and material assets and cost cutting will be pursued vigorously in the public sector transport enterprises. Measures will be taken for increasing the involvement of private capital in the expansion and strengthening of infrastructure in railways, road, shipping and airports. The private participation can take many forms like full or joint ownership management contract, leasing, concessions like BOT etc.

Communications, Broadcasting and Information Technology

1.14 Information Technology (IT) is fast emerging as the technological infrastructure for global integration and rapid development of all sectors of economy. IT broadly includes all sub-sectors dealing with the generation, transmission and utilisation of information like telecommunications, computers, consumer electronics, media infrastructure etc. Recognising the impressive growth the country has achieved in IT since mid-eighties, its immense potential for future growth and its importance as an agent of transformation of every facet of human life, a high priority has been accorded to the development of this sector. The Ninth Plan would aim to make India a global IT super power and a front runner in the information revolution. To help devise an appropriate policy framework towards achieving this objective, a National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development has been set up with Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission as its Chairperson. Expansion of the telecom network and its transformation into a modern and efficient system would be the two thrust areas during the Ninth Plan. Universal coverage or telephones on demand, universal and easy accessibility, world standard services to consumers at affordable prices, demand based provision of existing value added services and introduction of new services would be the major objectives for the Ninth Plan. To achieve the objective of providing telephones on demand, 237 lakh new telephone connections are envisaged to be provided.

Environment and Forest

1.15 The Agenda 21 of the Rio Summit calls for integration of environmental aspects with development aspirations. One of the objectives of the Ninth Five Year Plan is to ensure environmental sustainability through social mobilisation and participation of people at all levels. It is also based on the belief that the principal task of planning in a federal structure is to evolve a clear vision and commitment to the national objectives and development strategy by both central, State and local governments. Therefore, emphasis is being placed on reorienting the policies rather than on direct intervention so as to send proper signals and induce economic development. The strategy in the Ninth Plan for the environment sector has been drawn up in accordance with the development needs of the nation. The measures required to protect the environment will be taken in such a way as to achieve sustainable development. The strategy recognises the symbiotic relationship between tribals and the forests, and gives a special focus to the scheduled castes, the tribals and the weaker sections living in and around the forests. A number of enabling conditions have already been created for harmonising economic growth and environmental conservation. These include the macroeconomic compatibility, the implementation of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments and the measures being undertaken in the implementing ministries.

Human and Social Development

1.16 Human Development and improvement in the quality of life are the ultimate objectives of planning. This is to be achieved through policies and programmes aimed at promotion of both equity and excellence. Benefits of national economic programmes reach the different segments of the population through different channels and at different rates. Economic growth improves employment opportunities and employment improves income and purchasing power. But the market mechanism may not improve access to available facilities or fully meet the essential needs of the population with inadequate purchasing power. Social sector planning therefore ensures that appropriate policies and programmes are formulated and adequate investment provided by the State so that poor and vulnerable segments of the population can access essential commodities and facilities based on their needs and not on the ability to pay.

1.17 Despite the fact that there has been a decline in the incidence of poverty over the past two decades, millions continue to live below the poverty line, a large proportion of whom reside in rural areas. Therefore, specifically designed anti-poverty programmes for generation of both self-employment and wage-employment will continue in the Ninth Plan. These would, however, be rationalised and re-designed in order to make them more effective as instruments of poverty alleviation. Under the self-employment programme of Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) there would be a progressive shift from the individual beneficiary approach to the group and/or cluster approach. A holistic approach would be adopted with an integration of the existing sub-schemes of Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Supply of Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans (SITRA), and Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY) in the IRDP. Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) will be confined to the creation of rural infrastructure according to the felt needs of the people at the village level through panchayats. However, at the block and district level, the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) would be the single wage-employment programme. Efforts would be made to bring about a greater integration between the poverty alleviation programmes and the various sectoral programmes as well as the area development programmes within the umbrella of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

1.18 In the area of basic minimum services, the Ninth Plan has placed greater emphasis on primary health care, primary education and provision of safe drinking water and shelter.

1.19 Over the last five decades a massive health care infrastructure has been built up in urban and rural areas. National programmes to combat major health problems have been evolved and implemented through this infrastructure. These have resulted in a steep fall in mortality. However there has not been any reduction in the communicable diseases and nutrition related morbidity. There has been a progressive increase in the non-communicable disease burden, occupational and environmental health related problems . Focus during the Ninth Plan will be to provide integrated preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative services for communicable, non-communicable and nutrition related health problems, through appropriate strengthening of the existing health care institutions and ensuring that they are optimally utilised. Efforts will be made to achieve substantial reduction in morbidity and mortality rates by taking advantage of the ongoing demographic transition and progressive increase in the population in the 15-59 age group.

1.20 Over the last five decades there has been a steep decline in severe grades of under-nutrition and related health problem. Currently major nutritional problems of public health importance are (a) chronic energy deficiency (CED) especially in pregnant women and pre-school children; (b) obesity and consequent increase in non-communicable diseases especially among urban affluent segments of population; (c) micro-nutrient deficiencies of iron, iodine and vitamin A and associated health hazards. During the Ninth Plan, efforts will be made to achieve substantial reduction in CED and its health consequences through universalisation of ICDS, screening of pregnant and lactating women, growth monitoring and better targeting of food supplements to those with CED, close monitoring of persons receiving food supplements; close inter-sectoral co-ordination to ensure early detection and management of health problem leading to or associated with under-nutrition. Prevention, early detection and effective management of micro-nutrient deficiencies and associated health hazards will receive due attention.

1.21 The technological advances and improved quality and coverage of health care resulted in a rapid fall in Crude Death Rate (CDR) from 25.1 in 1951 to 9.8 in 1991. In contrast, the reduction in Crude Birth Rate (CBR) has been less steep, declining from 40.8 in 1951 to 29.5 in 1991. As a result, the annual exponential population growth rate has been over 2% in the last three decades. During the Eighth Plan period the decline in CBR has been steeper than that in the (CDR) and consequently, the annual population growth rate has been around 1.9% during 1991-95. Reduction in the population growth rate has been recognised as one of the priority objectives during the Ninth Plan period. This will be achieved by meeting all the felt-needs for contraception; and reducing the infant and maternal morbidity and mortality so that there is a reduction in the desired level of fertility. The efforts will be made to minimise the existing disparities between states by providing resources to fill the crucial gaps in infrastructure and manpower and improving the operational efficiency of health system; improving the access and quality of reproductive and child health services to enable the increasingly aware and literate families to attain their reproductive goals in harmony with the national goals and accelerating the rate of reduction in population growth rate to achieve rapid population stabilisation.

1.22 Manpower development to provide adequate labour force of appropriate skills and quality to different sectors essential for rapid socio-economic development and elimination of the mismatch between skills required and skills available has been a major focus of human resource development activities during the last fifty years. Employment generation in all the productive sectors is one of the basic objectives. In this context, providing enabling environment for self employment has received special attention both in urban and rural areas. Objective is also to eliminate bonded labour, employment of children and women in hazardous industries, and minimise occupational health hazards. During the Ninth Plan period, elimination of such undesirable practices as child labour, bonded labour, ensuring workers' safety and social security, looking after labour welfare and providing of the necessary support measures for sorting out problem relating to employment of both men and women workers in different sectors will receive priority attention. It is also envisaged that the employment exchanges will be reoriented so that they become the source of labour related information, employment opportunities and provide counselling and guidance to employment seekers.

1.23 The Ninth Plan treats Education as the most crucial investment in human development with objective of eradicating illiteracy by 2005. Special Action Plan has identified the expansion and improvement of social infrastructure in education as a critical area. An overriding priority will be given for providing access to schooling to children in the age group 6-11 years. A special thrust will be on girls' education by providing free education up to college level including professional courses. Vocational education at the secondary and under-graduate levels will be expanded and restructured so as to have strong linkages with industry and improve employability. The intake capacity of the IITs, other reputed engineering institutions and IIMs will be doubled, particularly in high demand areas like software engineering and information technology. PRIs will be empowered to serve as the nucleus in programme implementation. Non-governmental organisations will be encouraged to supplement the governmental efforts, private sector will also be facilitated to grow particularly in higher and technical education. Care will, however, be taken to ensure that the country does not lag behind in terms of creative artists and scientists. Accordingly, education in basic sciences and areas of fundamental research will be promoted and strengthened.

1.24 To ensure the well-being of the disadvantaged sections of the society, there has been a definite shift in the approach from `welfare' to `development' and to `empowerment' over the last four and a half developmental decades. In line with this new approach, all the welfare and developmental measures have been directed towards empowering the Socially Disadvantaged Groups, such as women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Minorities, as the agents of social and economic change and development. While in the case of women, efforts are now being made to make them economically independent and self-reliant through various employment and income-generating activities, the main thrust in respect of children is to ensure their survival, protection and development with a special focus on the girl child and the adolescent girl. In the field of social welfare, the special focus will be now on empowering the persons with disabilities; reforming the deviants like juvenile delinquents/vagrants, alcoholics and drug addicts; and caring for other disadvantaged, viz. street children, older persons and destitutes. The main strength of these efforts is derived from various legislations enacted for protecting the interests of these groups. Towards empowering the Socially Disadvantaged Groups, a three-pronged strategy of Social Empowerment, Economic Empowerment and Social Justice, will be adopted in the Ninth Plan.

Housing, Urban Development and Water Supply

1.25 The key urban concern is the growing gap between demand and supply of basic services. While there has been a steady growth in the housing stock, infrastructure and basic services, the gaps between demand and supply have been growing even in terms of conservative norms. This gap has a deteriorating impact on the urban environment, inadequacy of urban planning, urban poverty and degradation. With a view to achieving the goal of `Health for all', the Government is committed to provide drinking water to every settlement in the rural and urban areas within next five years. It has also been decided to ensure that sanitation facilities are improved and expanded rapidly. A new National Housing and Habitat Policy has been evolved which aims at providing `Housing for All'. Towards this end the Government will facilitate construction of 20 lakh additional housing units annually in urban and rural areas. To achieve these objectives Special Action Plans have been prepared.

1.26 The rural hinterland has played a critical role in sustaining urbanisation. This is reflected in the indicators of sources of primary inputs, competitively priced labour for urban economic activities, primary funds as reflected in comparative urban and rural credit-deposit ratios and market for urban pockets. But the unending migration of the rural poor to the urban areas may have a destabilising effect of urbanisation and its sustainability. Income and employment opportunities will have to rise in rural areas through both the farm and non-farm sectors. The rural - urban continuum would be strengthened so that the gaps between rural and urban life styles are reduced. Effective urban strategies and programmes cannot be developed in isolation of those living in rural areas. The Ninth Plan will take cognisance of this ground realities, particularly in respect of the three critical components viz. drinking water, sanitation and housing.

Science and Technology

1.27 The Science and Technology policy and approach for the Ninth Plan reflects the reality of the present day world in which nations progress along their own chosen path but in a much more closely inter-connected and inter-dependent manner. Science and Technology continues to remain the main focal point for exploring new horizons and new vistas, economic prosperity and meeting the economic, industrial, trade and societal challenges. Policy initiatives have been suggested to ensure the benefits emerging from the S and T reach all sections of the community including the weaker sections of the society. Since a strong science base is a pre-requisite for achieving technological competitiveness, efforts will be continued to build and maintain the same. Scientists with exceptional capabilities would be nurtured and supported fully by offering them within the country facilities comparable with international standards, by creating more centres of excellence in institutions of higher learning for supply of future S and T manpower and by utilising the existing infrastructure in terms of facilities and manpower more efficiently. Research programmes, particularly in some of the chosen fields of agriculture, export and industry would be taken up on in a mission mode through appropriate restructuring and reorientation of many of the scientific institutions and laboratories. The emphasis will be on clean and eco-friendly technologies. The major focus of the S and T programmes will be to encourage and strengthen interaction among R and D institutions and the users. Development of core strength and concentration on areas where competitive strength can be built so that the technological competitiveness can be converted into commercial strength are envisaged. In the light of the international control regime, greater awareness would be created among the scientists and technologists regarding the patents and IPR related issues for protecting the interest of the country. Science and technology activities in the States and UTs would be geared up to take up location specific R and D programmes for S and T inputs in the key sectors of the socio-economic development through promotion of joint innovative programmes with industry and NGOs.

1.28 The importance of developing S and T in a major way has been recognised since independence. The whole hearted support provided to science and technology since then has resulted in many accomplishments in a wide variety of disciplines. Support to basic research has been receiving a rather high priority during the earlier plans. Though this may continue to a considerable extent, a proper balance would be maintained between fundamental research and applied research in scientific fields. Recent developments have brought home the need to accord high priority to technology related areas, particularly the process technologies, which may be characterised as core technologies, which need to be strengthened with particular emphasis on ensuring partnership with the concerned socio-economic activities and industry wherever possible. In this process the Indian industry and the users of technology have a crucial role to play in generation of technology in order to sustain a competitive technological edge.

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