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DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION

  • India accounting for nearly 18 percent of the world population has been experiencing slow but steady demographic transition since the second half of the last century. In recent years, however, the fertility transition in India has accelerated resulting in rapid changes in the age structure of the population.
  • This change creates unique opportunities along with significant challenges both for the economy and society. The age structure change is expected to create demographic dividend initially and ageing of population later.
  • With wide variation in the demographic transition across states in the country, the demographic dividend and ageing is also likely to vary significantly across states in India.

THE CHANGING DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE OF INDIA

The 2011 census result brings out some interesting patterns of change in the distribution of 0-6 age group population in relation to the overall population in the country. The proportion of the population in the age group 0-6 declined from 16 per cent to 13 per cent over period 2001-11, growth rate being negative for the first time.

GROWTH RATE OF 0-6 AGE GROUP POPULATION IN INDIA. 1981-91 TO 2001-11

Year   Annual Growth Rate
(in Per Cent)
1981-91   1.78
1991-01 1 . 54  
2001-11   -3.08
  • One of the important dimensions of demographic change in India is the extreme inter-state variation. Of the total 20 major states, nearly 11 have achieved replacement level fertility while other 4 are around replacement level. On the contrary, there are around six major states far away from replacement level fertility.
  • The fertility variation in the country is astounding. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) varies from 1.7 children per woman in Tamil Nadu to 3.9 children per woman in Bihar in the year 2008. The 2011 census result also provides information on the proportion of population in the 0-6 age group in each state. The variation clearly indicates that the age structure of the Indian population will vastly be different across states.
  • Undoubtedly, India’s age structure is undergoing rapid changes. It will have definite implications for the economy and society. The age structure transition typically has two phases. In the first phase of the transition, there will be a bulge in the working age group popularly known as the demographic dividend stage.
  • The demographic dividend is a shorter duration in the history of any nation. The span of the dividend varies according to the pace of the fertility transition. The second phase of age structure transition occurs with the ageing of the population. The proportion of elderly is likely to go up at this stage.

THE DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDEND IN INDIA | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

  • Demographic dividend refers to a change in the age distribution of population from child ages to adult ages. It leads to larger proportion of population in the working age group compared to younger and old age groups. Apparently, given the diversity in the fertility transition in India, the demographic dividend is likely to continue as it shifts from one state to another based on the pace of demographic changes in the respective states.
  • It is generally argued that the demographic change in India is opening up new economic opportunities. There is generally high optimism both based on the experience of many other countries and from India that demographic changes will take the country to newer economic heights.
  • Along with high optimism, there are also larger concerns on the ability of the nation to take full advantage of the demographic dividend. It is often argued that demographic dividend might turn into a nightmare given the composition of the Indian population in terms of educational level and skill levels.
  • The 2011 census results show that there has been significant inflow of migration to many southern states in India. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are attracting huge inflow of migrants from other states. In these states, the enumerated population has been far higher than the projected population. Perhaps, it points towards a replacement migration taking place into these states.
  • The replacement migration refers to migration occurring as a result of age structure changes. With the demographic and age structure changes, there will be scarcity of labour particularly in the unskilled sector. This labour has to be replaced from other places with abundance of labour due to lack of any significant demographic changes. In the context of Western countries, the replacement migration mainly came from poor developing countries.
  • On the contrary, India is able to take care of the replacement migration from within due to large diversity in the nature of demographic transition. The replacement migration into Kerala is well known and many studies have pointed out large inflow of such migrants from other parts of the country.

DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

  • As already pointed out, the demographic dividend is of a shorter duration for any country and eventually the nation will move into an ageing population. Although not immediate, change in the age structure from young to old are also accompanied by several social changes with considerable implications on any nation.
  • The size of the Indian elderly (60 years and above) is expected to triple in the next four decades from 92 million to 316 million, constituting around 20 percent of the population by the middle of the century.
  • There is no significant empirical evidence to suggest that larger proportion of elderly population would impede the economic progress of a nation. At the same time, there are many social changes expected as a result of ageing population in any nation. The major challenge would be on the care for the elderly. Demographic and economic changes are often accompanied by enhanced migration of people in search of better and quality employment.
  • As a result of this adult migration, the elderly are often left behind. The living arrangement pattern of the elderly are expected to undergo rapid changes during this period. Such changes are already visible in states like Kerala with early demographic transition.
  • Even though the proportion of elderly at the national level has been low, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MOSJE), Government of India deserves recognition for its foresight in drafting a National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) as early as in 1999, when less than 7 percent of the population was aged 60 and above. The action strategies cover important aspects of financial security, health, shelter, education, welfare and protection of life and property.

 

FAMILY PLANNING: THE NEED TO REPOSITION IN CONTEXT OF MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH

  • There is an urgent need for the XII Five Year Plan to further accelerate the stabilization of India’s population by repositioning family planning within the broader framework of reproductive health and primary health care, delaying age at marriage and motherhood, spacing births and expanding options for reproductive health.

THE HISTORY

  • India has a long history of addressing the population question. Beginning with the launch of the largely clinic-based National Family Planning Programme in 1952, the latest National Population Policy (NPP) of 2000 is much more embedded in the framework of women’s empowerment and reproductive rights. An important landmark in the evolution of India’s population policy was the establishment in 1966 of a full fledged Department of Family Planning within the Ministry of Health.
  • However, the global obsession at that time with numbers and targets triggered by the pessimistic forecasts of a ‘population explosion’ by the Club of Rome and others had an adverse impact on India’s family planning programme. The programme became ‘centrally sponsored’, financial incentives were introduced for sterilization acceptors; and sterilization was made target-oriented. The compulsory and coercive nature of the programme during 1975 and 1976 made it highly unpopular.
  • An effort was made to correct the situation in 1977 beginning with the rechristening of the Department of Family Planning as the Department of Family Welfare and advocating voluntary acceptance of contraceptive targets without any coercion. Progress was however slow during the 1980s. The 1990s witnessed several shifts in policy especially after the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) when the focus shifted to a target-free community based approach.
  • India’s NPP 2000 states in no uncertain terms that stabilizing population is not merely a question of making reproductive health services available, accessible and affordable, but also increasing the coverage and outreach of primary and secondary education, extending basic amenities like sanitation, safe drinking water, housing and empowering women with enhanced access to education and employment.  DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA
  • India’s sustained efforts over the years to achieve population stabilization are finally beginning to yield the desired results. Preliminary results from the Census of India 2011 reveal several positive trends in India’s population growth:
  • 2001-2011 is the first decade (with the exception of 1911-1921) when the absolute increase in population over the ten-year period has been less than in the previous decade.
  • The percentage decadal growth during 2001-2011 has recorded the sharpest decline since Independence.
  • The average exponential growth rate for 2001-2011 has declined to 1.64 per cent — down from 1.97 per cent for 1991-2001.
  • Fifteen states and Union Territories have grown by less than 1.5 per cent per annum between 2001-2011 as against only four states during the previous decade.
  • The growth rate of population has fallen significantly, perhaps for the first time, in the eight Empowered Action Group (EAG) states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand) that have traditionally reported higher than average rates of fertility and population growth.
  • The percentage growth rates of the six most populous states – Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh — have all fallen during 2001-2011 compared to 1991-2001.
  • Despite clear evidence that population momentum is the greatest driver of population growth in India, there is continued reliance on the old belief that ‘control’ approaches with targets, incentives, and disincentives work. There are some who disregard the evidence and advocate for strict population control strategies.
  • Some even suggest that India should adopt China’s one-child policy, ignoring the overflowing evidence on the negative consequences that China confronts today. However, things are changing not only because of the focus of major international donors but also because of the domestic climate, where the Government of India recently restarted the National Commission on Population (NCP) after a five year gap, with the specific aim of revisiting and repositioning family planning in India.

CORE INTERVENTIONS | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

Repositioning family planning calls for addressing the three drivers of population growth:

Population momentum: Accounts for approximately two-thirds of the projected population increase. It can be slowed down mainly by delaying age at marriage and childbearing in women. A shocking 47.4% of Indian women aged 20-24 years were married by the age of 18; the proportion was 69% in Bihar and 63.2% in Jharkhand. Early marriage is associated with early and repeated pregnancies, and contributes to maternal and infant morbidity and mortality greatly compromising both women’s and children’s health.

Unmet need is a disconnect between a woman’s desired fertility and her access to family planning services. It is expected to contribute to approximately 20% of projected population growth. It is as high as 22.8% in Bihar and 23.1% in Jharkhand. Interestingly, even though 83% of women with two or more children do not want anymore children, only 48.5% use modern family planning methods. Unmet need can be addressed by increasing the supply of quality family planning services and contraceptives.

High desired fertility: This is caused by several factors, including parents giving birth to more children than they actually want to compensate for high rates of infant mortality; the low status of women, the limited voice that women have in family and fertility decisions as well as a strong preference for sons. The mounting pressures of modem society to have a small family combined with a strong preference for sons often leads to female feticide or sex selective abortion. Both high desired fertility and population momentum can be addressed by interventions that stimulate a demand for contraception, such as interventions that promote social norms around small families, delayed age at marriage, and delayed childbirth.

  • Repositioning family planning in the context of maternal and child health can be made possible only when the three drivers of population growth are addressed effectively and an attempt is made to shift (‘reposition’) the discourse from ‘population control’ to ‘population stabilization.’ This can be achieved by focusing on five key focus areas: delaying age at marriage; delaying age at first pregnancy; promoting spacing between births; improving quality of care of family planning and reproductive health (RH) programs; and prevention of sex selection.
  • A critical starting point is to focus on women and children, and to ensure that all children have access to quality health care; and adolescents and women have additional access to quality reproductive health care. A woman’s health directly influences the health and development of her child.
  • A vicious cycle of malnutrition is created if nutrition before and during pregnancy is not taken care of. A stunted child becomes a small mother, a small mother gives birth to a small baby, small babies grow less, and girls who grow less become small mothers, and the vicious cycle continues.
  • At the national level population stabilization should be viewed from the population momentum perspective, looking in particular at delaying the age of marriage and thereby of childbearing. At the state level unmet need and high desired fertility should be addressed through increasing people’s access to quality family planning services as well as by investing in education and health services which would impact social norms and awareness around the benefits of smaller families.
  • And at the community level, individuals, families (including male members), and members of the larger community should engage actively in the enhancement of their health as well as in community monitoring of services, as it is recognized that lack of proper involvement of local communities in the implementation of programs has been identified as a principal reason for the low accountability in the system.

WORK PARTICIPATION | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

The population of India on the basis of their productive work is divided into three groups:

  • Main worker is a person who is engaged in any economically productive work for at least 183 days in a year.
  • Marginal worker who is engaged for less than 183 days.
  • Non worker is one who does not work for earning her/his livelihood at any time during the year.
  • Proportion of workers to the total population is expressed as participation rate. In India, as per Census 2011, 30.5% of people are main workers, 8.7% marginal workers and 60.8% non workers. Thus there is an acute problem of dependency on hand and underemployment and unemployment on the other. Though, considerably larger percentage of non-workers is due to lower labour participation among working-age women and much larger retention of youth in education. Overall, work participation of both females and males is increasing with liberalization and growing opportunities.
  • The most participation rate varies among the States. It ranged from 25% in Kerala to 38% in Arunachal Pradesh. Almost entire Deccan peninsula, north-eastern states have work participation rate higher than national average. In agricultural belt of Northern Plains and Rajasthan, it is lower due to limited work opportunities. There is a similar wide disparity in participation rates of males and females. Generally the main distortion is due to spatial variation in participation rates of women.

OCCUPATIONAL STRUCTURE OF WORKERS (%) AS IN 2001 | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

Occupation Persons Male Female
Cultivators 31.71 31.34 32.50
Agricultural Labourers 26.69 20.82 39.43
Household Industries 4.07 3.02 6.37
Other Industries 37.58 44.72 21.70
Total 100 100 100

CULTURAL ATTRIBUTES OF POPULATION | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

  • Languages – India is a country of several languages and dialects. The languages belong to four major groups: Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Sino-Tibetan and Austro-Asiatic. About three-fifth of the people speak the Indo-Aryan languages i.e. Hindi, Sanskrit, Bangla, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Oriya, Assamese, Kashmiri and Urdu. The four major Dravidian languages are Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. The constitution of India recognizes 22 languages as specified in 8th These include the 14 languages mentioned above and Sindhi, Nepali, Manipuri, Dogri, Konkani, Maithili, Santhali and Bodo. Hindi speakers are most numerous in the country.

TABLE OF DIFFERENT LANGUAGE SPEAKERS IN INDIA

Hindi 39.85%
Bengali 8.22%
Telugu 7.80%
Marathi 7.38%
·. Tamil 6.26%
Urdu 5.13%
Gujarati 4.81%
Kannada 3.87%
Malayalam 3.59%
Oriya 3.32%
Punjabi 2.76%
Assamese 1.55%
Sindhi 0.25%
Nepali 0.25%
Konkani 0.21%
Manipuri 0.15%
. Sanskrit 0.01%

 

  • Religion – India is a secular country and is home to a number of religious communities. There are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Zoroastrians among others. Numerically Hindus (82%) outnumber other communities, followed by Muslims about (11%) and Christians (about 2.35%). Zoroastrians are the smallest group, concentrated mainly in Maharashtra. Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh account for more than 60% of the Christian population. Sikhs are concentrated chiefly in Punjab. Buddhists in Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh. The largest concentration of Jains is in Maharashtra (29%), followed by Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
  • If we analyse Indian Population as per castes then schedule castes and scheduled tribes also need to be accounted which together constitute 24.56% of the population. Scheduled castes constitute 16.48% and scheduled tribes constitute 8.08%. Scheduled castes are most numerous in UP, followed by West Bengal and Bihar. There are no scheduled castes in Nagaland, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. They form the largest proportion in the total population in Punjab (28.31%) followed by Himachal Pradesh and west Bengal. Among Union Territories Delhi has the largest percentage of SC- 19.05%.
  • Scheduled tribes form the largest proportion of the total population in Mizoram (94.75%) and Lakshadweep (93.15%), followed by Nagaland (87.70%) and Meghalaya (85.53%). There are no ST’s in Delhi, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir. They are most numerous in Chhattisgarh.
  • Racial groups- Anthropologists divide Indians into Six racial groups:
  • Negritos: They are believed to be the oldest inhabitants and are now almost extinct. They are found only in small numbers in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Proto-Australoids: This group includes most of the tribal people of central and southern India.
  • Mongoloids: They inhabit the mountainous zone in the North-Eastern India.
  • Mediterranean: This group is subdivided into Palaeo-Mediterranean, inhabiting the Southern parts of India including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and true Mediterranean or European type inhabiting the northern and western parts such as Punjab, Rajasthan and UP. Palaeo-­Mediterranean is also known as Dravidian.
  • Western Brachycephals: This group includes the people of west Bengal, Orissa, Gujarat, and parts of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • Nordics or Indo-Aryans: These people settled in parts of Northern India such as Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and adjoining areas of Rajasthan and upper Gangetic plains.

MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDG) | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

There are 60 indicators that have been placed in the global development agenda. For each goal, there are certain targets and for each target there are certain indicators. The base year of MDGs was 1990 and the final year is 2015. MDG have become the most widely used yardstick of development effort by the government, donors and non­governmental organizations and extensively used in assessing the progress at national and sub-national level. The set of eight MDGs are given in table

List of Eight Millennium Development Goals

  • Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
  • Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
  • Goal 5: Improve maternal health
  • Goal 6: Combat HIV/AID, malaria and other diseases
  • Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

POPULATION GROWTH AND THE MDGS | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

Population growth is the resultant of both natural increase and net-migration. Natural increase is the net of birth rate over death rate while net-migration is the excess of in-migration over out migration. Population growth has direct impact on seven of the eight MDGs. At the micro level, rapid population growth creates a demographic-poverty trap. Large families tend to be poorer, suffer disproportionately from illness, makes less use of health services. Smaller families invest more in each child’s nutrition and health. At the macro level, the amount of resources, personnel and the infrastructure required to meet the MDGs will be substantially higher with higher population growth.

POPULATION GROWTH AND ERADICATION OF EXTREME POVERTY AND HUNGER

  • Goal one of MDGs aims at eradication of poverty and hunger between 1990 and 2015. While poverty is measured with respect to consumption / income, hunger is measured by reduction of underweight children under-five years of age and population below minimum level of dietary consumption. Higher population growth adversely affects the reduction of poverty and hunger in the population, both at micro and macro level. DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA
  • At the micro level, large families tend to be poorer and it creates demographic-poverty trap. At the macro level, the higher rate of population growth means that in order to reduce poverty, the economies must not only grow at a sustained higher pace but generate new jobs and income earning opportunities at an accelerated rate. Similarly, poverty and under nutrition are intimately related. A higher proportion of children belonging to poorer and large households are undernourished.
  • The population growth in last decade, the crude birth rate, the poverty estimates and the trends in under-nutrition among states of India reflect a similar pattern. The estimates show that the states with higher population growth rate, for example Bihar, tend to have higher percentage of population below poverty line and higher under-nutrition than states like Kerala which have lower population growth rates.
  • The same trend can be seen in the smaller states, for example while comparing the figures for Meghalaya and Goa. The high growth rates in Union Territories are largely due to migration and the estimates of poverty and nutrition are not available. Studies have documented that the progress towards the MDGs have been slower than the required rate in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, experiencing higher population growth (Ram, Mohanty and Ram 2009).

POPULATION GROWTH AND UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION

Goal 2 of MDGs is to achieve the universal primary education and is measured by the net enrolment ratio in primary school, the proportion of pupils reaching last grade of primary and the literacy rate of 15-24 years old (youth literacy rate). While many states have made commendable progress in primary enrolment in last decades, the school dropout rates and the quality of schooling is a concern. About 42% young people aged 15-24 years in Bihar are non-literate or literate without formal schooling compared to 31% in Jharkhand, 29% in Rajasthan, 16% in Andhra Pradesh, 7% in Maharashtra and 4% in Tamil Nadu.

REGIONAL DISPARITY IN DEVELOPMENT | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

  • There is marked regional disparity in the level of development within the country. For instance, per capita income ranges from Rs.6328 in Bihar to Rs.35,705 in Delhi in 1999-2000. Thus, the ratio between states with the lowest and highest income is 1:5.6. Only in 14 out of 29 states and union territories per capita income is above Rs.15,000 per annum. Similarly, proportion of population below poverty line ranges from 3.48 per cent in Jammu and Kashmir to 47.15 per cent in Orissa in 1999-2000.
  • Ratio between lowest and highest values is thus 1:13.5. Urbanisation is another indicator of development. Proportion of urban population among states varies from 5.50 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh to 49.77 per cent in Goa. Again the magnitude of difference is 1:9. Still more than one-third of the total population above 6 years of age is illiterate.
  • Situation is worse in female literacy. Slightly more than half (54.2%) of them were literate in 2001. This proportion ranges from 33.6 per cent in Bihar to 87.9 per cent in Kerala. Human Development Index already discussed earlier is as low as 0.367 for Bihar and as high as 0.638 for Kerala among major states of the country.

Regional disparity can be summarized as follows:

  • Coastal areas are comparatively more developed than the interior.
  • Diffusion of development in areas of commercial agriculture, such as in Punjab and Kerala is more whereas rural-urban disparity is less.
  • Tribal areas are still relatively less developed.
  • Areas suffering from physical constraints like dry climate, difficult terrain and frequent flood or those deprived of advanced technology due to isolation have remained backward.
  • The problems and issues of regional development were not considered so markedly in the early stages of planning as today. Regional development policies during fifties and sixties encouraged sectoral development in an effort to gain maximum returns from investment. The regional segregation of national plans was not attempted except the recognition of resource planning in some problem regions like the Damodar valley. Large industrial nodes which were developed as the centripetal points during the Second Five Year Plan increased interregional differences in economic growth.
  • Thus, the first two plans created more regional imbalances though there was an increase in the output of goods and services. The government however began some programmes for development of backward regions during the period. Efforts were made to narrow down regional disparities in mid-sixties, which showed some positive trend. The subsequent years, however, recorded a trend in the opposite direction. This resulted in decline in industrial growth, that affected the backward areas more, and the green revolution remained confined only to the irrigated areas of the country. A tendency of slight reduction in regional disparity was observed during the eighties when overall growth picked up. Green revolution spread to other regions during this period.
  • The new economic policy associated with liberalization, privatization and globalization is attracting faster development in more advantageous areas and thereby increasing regional disparity. The foreign investment is showing a locational bias in favour of coastal states and the National Capital Region. Emergence of the Panchayati Raj, however, is expected to stimulate development on micro-level which is expected to reduce the regional disparity.

PROGRAMMES TO REDUCE REGIONAL DISPARITIES | DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

The Programmes designed to reduce regional disparities can be classed into two groups:

  • Integrated area approach and local planning; and
  • Spatial integration in sectoral plans.
  • Integrated Area Approach and Local Planning: One of the important measures for reducing regional disparities in India relates to the preparation of integrated plans for selected areas and to the formulation of district plans. Among them, integrated plans for hill areas, drought-prone areas, tribal areas, and areas with concentration of marginal and small farmers are worth mentioning.
  • Hill Area Development Programme: The special hill area development programmes were started in hilly areas of Uttaranchal, Assam Hill Areas, Darjeeling district in West Bengal and Nilgiri district in Tamil Nadu. The programmes provided special emphasis on exploiting local resources of the hill areas through the development programmes of horticulture, plantation agriculture, animal husbandry, poultry, beekeeping, forestry, soil conservation and suitable village industries.
  • Tribal Areas Development Programmes: The programme has been conceived for areas with 50 per cent or more tribal concentration. The main long-term objectives of the sub-plan are to narrow the gap between levels of development of tribal and other people and to improve the quality of life of the tribal communities. The areas taken under this programme lie in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. Most of the grants to this programme are provided from the state plan funds added with a special allocation from the central sector.
  • The programmes are framed to benefit the common man, particularly the weakest group and it should be quick yielding and easily accessible to the average tribal. It deals with the special problems of the area such as shifting cultivation, bonded labour, land alienation and programmes related with credit and marketing forestry and road.
  • Drought Prone Area Programmes: The main objectives of the programme were to provide employment to the rural poor in drought prone areas with inadequate natural resources and creating productive assets to mitigate the effects of droughts. The programme was curative in terms of advance planning to introduce work under scarcity relief operations and preventive in the sense that developmental works will increase the productivity of land and labour. The emphasis concentrated on integrated development of the area related to irrigation projects, land development programmes, afforestation, grassland development, rural electrification and programmes of infrastructural development. Central assistance is conceived as an additive to the normal state effort in this programme.
  • Metropolitan Regional Planning: Large urban centres were treated as industrial growth poles. As a result large-scale movement of labour from rural to urban areas accompanied urban-based large-scale industrialization. Such influx of migrants created several problems particularly in the capital and port cities. Therefore, urban master plans were prepared to reduce the problems of rapid urbanization. For Delhi, Master Plan was prepared in 1955. It was proposed to develop ring towns at Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Ballabhgarh, Gurgaon and Loni to deflect the growing population of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and other metropolitan cities followed Delhi.
  • Spatial Integration in Sectoral Plans: Several programmes, specially designed to promote balanced regional development, were integrated within sectoral programmes during different plans.  DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA
  • Community Development Programme: This programme was launched in the first plan. The country was divided into development blocks. Through the National Extension Service it was sought to extend supplies of inputs, services, finance and technical know-how to the ruralities. This has been called as multipurpose approach based on the principles of all-round development. But this approach with its multi sectoral components, struggling with resource constraint could not make much headway.
  • Industrial Location and Regional Development: These programmes aimed at decentralized industrialisation. These programmes encouraged industrial development in backward regions by providing concessional finance, creation of industrial estates, establishment of public sector industrial undertakings and preferential licensing. Infrastructural facilities were provided to locate industries in industrial estates. In the first stage, the estates were located near urban centres, but later on they were located in rural areas also. These industrial estates developed rapidly during the sixties but could not fulfil the purpose of balanced development.
  • Intensive Agricultural Development Programme: This was adopted in the third plan period. The essence of this policy was to select a few districts where the prospects of agricultural development were bright. The districts selected had assured water supply by irrigation. In these districts the farmers were provided with full package services — under Green Revolution — improved seeds, fertilizers, plant protection and short-term credit. Due to high cost of inputs and high risk involved, this programme was restricted within certain section of farmers in limited areas. Recently through bringing Green Revolution to Eastern States, National Food Security Missions, etc. programmes agricultural development throughout the whole country is being sought.
  • The outcome of India’s planned development is a mixed bag. On the success side, the country can take pride in achieving self-sufficiency in food, the expanding, diversifying and dispersing of its industrial base, containing the inflation rate, a high rate of capital formation internally, and reducing poverty ratio as well as regional disparity. On the reverse side, rate of increase of income has been lower than the target, agricultural performance has been weaker and its industrial advancement lags far behind. The country could not achieve the objective of ‘growth with equity’. Sustained efforts are still needed to reduce the visible disparities amongst states, between rural and urban areas and between males and females.

Recently there are some significant initiatives by the Government on regional disparities and development front:

  • Establishment of a separate Department of North-East Region (DONER) in Union Ministry with a separate Minister.
  • Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas.
  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs was established in 1999 for planning and coordination of tribal development. It’s a sectoral initiative. DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE AND AGEING IN INDIA

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