Developmental Planning

P.R. Sarkar
According to PROUT, human society is one and indivisible. Human society is like a garland which is made of different types of flowers, linked by one common thread. The overall beauty of the garland is dependent upon the beauty of each flower. Similarly, every facet of society is linked together. To maintain the unity and solidarity of the social structure, all spheres of social life must be strengthened and developed.

To establish a well-built social order in any country, three factors are essential. First, there must be proper ideological inspiration for individual and collective progress. All-round progress and advancement can be achieved when society is based on universal principles which are given practical shape so that they become a fundamental part of the socio-economic structure of society. The second factor is discipline. Some countries of the world are fast losing their power because there is no discipline in individual or collective life. To build a well-knit social order, discipline is an essential prerequisite. Thirdly, there must be economic stability. The economy of a country must be sound.

A sound economy entails proper plans and programmes. As socio-economic factors vary from place to place, socio-economic potentialities also vary. Factors such as the fertility of the land and the availability of labour may be diametrically opposite in different regions, so there should be separate planning for each region. For example, the northeast and southeast districts of Bihar suffer from the problems of surplus and deficit labour respectively, hence it is foolish to prescribe the same planning for both areas. Experiments in centralized planning tried to solve such problems, but they inevitably failed. The only alternative is to adopt decentralized economic planning.

Decentralized Planning

Proutistic economic planning is based on the ideal of the welfare of all. This guiding ideal will illuminate the path of socio-economic liberation for human beings. Capitalist planning is not based on collective welfare but on individual or group interests. A principal characteristic of capitalist exploitation is that capitalists gain control over the raw materials in a region in the pursuit of profit. This should not be allowed to continue. Rather, available resources must be utilized for the socio-economic development of local people.

In Proutistic economic planning, every section of society will come within the scope of planning. Not only will it be possible to fulfil the economic hopes and aspirations of the local people, but individual, group or party interests will get no scope to control the economy. Through this approach, it is possible to effect the all-round growth of individuals and the collectivity. The formation of such a socio-economic environment will not only fulfil the material needs of human beings, but will also provide a firm foundation for their psychic and spiritual elevation.

Those powers which directly relate to economic decentralization should be in the hands of the states or the concerned lower level bodies. If this is not done, it will not be possible for them to materialize the economic programmes that are vested in them by decentralization. So the first step in decentralized planning is to make an economic plan according to the needs of the lowest level.

Economic plans and programmes should never be imposed from the top. On the contrary, there must be adequate scope for them to emerge from the grass roots. Each and every economic plan should be prepared in the concerned local area. For example, the economic planning for Pundibari in the Coochbehar district of Bengal cannot be formulated sitting at Begunbari in Jalpaiguri district. The developmental plan for Pundibari must be prepared in Pundibari itself on the basis of the intelligence, expertise and resources within the locality. While formulating economic plans and programmes, the hopes and aspirations of the local people must be taken into consideration.

Thus, to develop an area economically, planning must start at the grass roots level – the direction of economic development should be from the bottom to the top, not from the top to the bottom. The latter approach is impractical and a utopian myth.

In drafting the economic plan of a particular region, local engineers, economists, scientists, professionals, technicians, farmers, industrial labourers, intellectuals and other specialists should be consulted, but the responsibility for implementing the economic plan should be in the hands of local moralists. They will have to play the leading role. The duty for materializing each and every item of planning should be vested in those established in morality and spirituality.

Proutistic economic planning will reorganize the structure of the population on a scientific basis from the very outset. A floating population will have to either merge its individual socio-economic interests with the interests of the region or return to its own region. Those who share a similar cultural legacy and uniform socio-economic potential will then be well-established in each region. In every region, socio-economic problems can be solved by the maximum utilization and rational distribution of the resources and potentialities in that region.

Until now, no serious effort has been made by the leaders of India, either in the pre-independence period or in the post- independence period, to bring about the economic development of the country. The post-independence period can be divided into three main phases – the Nehru era, the Gandhi era and the Janata government. All these eras came within the jurisdiction of the Vaeshya Era or capitalist rule, and they all had one thing in common – they had a soft state policy towards the capitalists. The Janata government represented a counter movement within the Vaeshya Era. It was neither an intellectual revolution nor an intellectual counter-evolution, but simply a movement of capitalist mentality. It was a reformist intellectual approach motivated by capitalist interests. To strengthen its position, the government tried to give the capitalists better scope to chew the bones and marrow of the shu´dras, ks´atriyas and vipras. As it was a counter movement, it was short-lived and brought shu´dra revolution nearer, hence there was no economic development during that period. Consequently, there is no alternative for Proutists but to form socio-economic units.

Socio-Economic Units

Socio-economic units should be formed throughout the world on the basis of the same economic problems, uniform economic potentialities, ethnic similarities, common sentimental legacy and similar geographical features. The whole of India and the entire world can be reorganized into socio-economic units based on these factors. These units should not merely be geographical areas but self-sufficient socio-economic groupifications. The fundamental basis of these groupifications is social, cultural and economic, and not religious or linguistic. Socio-economic units will have to adopt economic decentralization so that the local people will be able to obtain all the requirements necessary for their physical, psychic and spiritual progress. This concept is an important aspect of applied PROUT.

Economic planning will aim to make each socio-economic unit self-sufficient. Information should be collected to facilitate the maximum utilization of the local potentialities such as the geographical resources of the area, including the capacity of the rivers, lakes and canals, and the location of the hills and mountains; the location and amount of mineral, forest and aquatic resources; the agricultural and industrial resources, including the possibilities for agro-industries and agrico-industries; the demography, including the labour skills, health and psychology of the people; the agrarian potential, including the distribution of land for collective needs; and communication. Planning for economic self-sufficiency will have to proceed on the basis of implementing the principles of PROUT by making proper use of this data and information.

In India, as a first step, forty-four socio-economic units may be formed. Many socio-economic units may also be formed all over the world. In most cases, each socio-economic unit will correspond to one political unit, but in some cases more than one socio-economic unit may form one political unit. Each socio-economic unit represents a collection of human beings who want to move together, hence all the people in these units should feel that they are brothers and sisters. Such groupifications can never be ultravires to humanity.

Any non-human or human being who wants to break the solidarity of society must be opposed. You will have to fight against such elements. You will have to fight all antisocial and anti-human forces in Asia, Europe, the world and the entire universe, and you must fight as a single entity. Whenever you fight against inhuman forces, all socio-economic units will fight as one. In this fight, you must fight for all the suppressed and oppressed people of the world.

Cultural Expression

Socio-economic units will not only have to fulfil people?s social and economic needs, but also their cultural aspirations. Culture denotes all sorts of human expressions. Culture is the same for all humanity, though there are differences in cultural expression.

The best means of communicating human expressions is through one?s mother tongue, as this is most natural. If people?s natural expression through their mother tongue is suppressed, inferiority complexes will grow in their minds, encouraging a defeatist mentality and ultimately leading to psycho-economic exploitation. Thus, no mother tongue should be suppressed.

The imposition of the Hindi language as the national language of India by a section of Indian leaders is an example of linguistic suppression. Hindi is not the natural language of the people in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and other parts of North India. There are many local languages in these regions which are suppressed and need immediate encouragement. To arouse the cultural legacy of the people in these areas and raise their socio-economic consciousness, they must be made aware of who the exploiters are and the nature of psycho-economic exploitation so that they become imbued with fighting spirit.

All languages must be encouraged, but this does not mean opposing the languages spoken by others. In this context, language in itself is of secondary importance. Of primary importance is the negative cultural and socio-economic consequences of linguistic imperialism.

A language usually changes every 1,000 years and a script every 2,000 years. There was no script in the time of the Vedas. The composition of the Vedas started 15,000 years ago and ended 5,000 years ago, thus the entire composition was done over 10,000 years. Script in India was invented about 5,000 years ago. In those days, people used to write on the skin of sheep. Later they started to write on papyrus, and still later papyrus became paper. Bengali was written with wooden pens and Oriya with iron pens. To prevent the paper from being cut by the iron pens, Oriya letters became round.

The seed of expression of all languages is the same. Geo-racial differences were responsible for the emergence of different races which developed numerous languages. The four races in the world are the Austrics, Negroids, Mongolians and Aryans.

The original home of the Aryans was southern Russia, east of the Ural Mountains, now known as the Caucasus. The Muslim region of the Soviet Union includes Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, etc. Today the Aryans can be divided into three groups – Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean. Nordic Aryans come from Scandinavian countries and they have a reddish white complexion and red or golden hair. Alpine Aryans come from Germany and the surrounding area. They have a white complexion, blackish blue hair and blue eyes. Mediterranean Aryans come from southern Europe and have a fair complexion, black hair and black eyes.

The Mongolians have yellowish skin and little hair on their bodies. They can be divided into five groups – the Nipponese, who have big faces and big bodies; the Chinese, who have flat noses and slanting eyes; the Malays, who have small bodies and flat noses; the Indo-Burmese, who have flat noses and comparatively big bodies; and the Indo-Tibetans, who have flat noses and are good-looking.

The Austrics have medium-sized bodies and mud black skin, while the Negroids have black skin, kinky hair and are often quite tall.

Geo-racial conditions produce changes in the vocal cords and other centres or plexi, and consequently the entire pronunciation and other items of language change. Thus, while no language should be suppressed and cultural expression must always be encouraged, language alone is not a sound basis upon which to demarcate socio-economic units or build an integrated society.

Socio-Economic Development

To ensure socio-economic development, several additional points will also have be considered in the course of economic planning. For example, people who have to travel to other regions to find employment face various difficulties. Often they have to travel long distances, involving considerable expenditure, and there is the unnecessary burden of maintaining two establishments. Generally, it is preferable if people do not leave their own area to find employment. There is enough scope for creating full employment in every socio-economic unit.

The drainage of money from one region to another must also be checked, otherwise the per capita income in a socio-economic unit cannot increase. Every socio-economic unit should demand the cent per cent utilization of state or central revenue raised in its area till the per capita income is on par with the most developed area in the country. Stopping the drainage of money from a socio-economic unit is the most practical and courageous approach to uprooting exploitation. However, the present leaders will never dare adopt this approach.

To fulfil the mutual needs among socio-economic units, the barter system should be encouraged. For undeveloped and developing countries, the export system may encourage unfair competition, drain scarce resources and lead to exploitation.

PROUT advocates the abolition of income tax. In India today if income tax is abolished and excise duty on excisable commodities is increased by only ten percent, there will be no loss of government revenue. When there is no income tax, nobody will try to accumulate black money. All money will be white money. As a result there will be economic solidarity, an increase in trade and commerce, more investment, more employment and an improvement in the position of foreign exchange. Intellectuals should demand the abolition of income tax.

In addition, there should be free education for all students up to the highest degree, guaranteed employment for all youth, irrigation facilities for all farmers, and cheap rations for all labourers – that is, rations which are cheaper than the present ration rate for all essential commodities such as rice, pulse, flour, sugar and cooking oil.

PROUT’s fundamental policy is that it is against small states because they become taxing and burdensome to the citizens, but in certain circumstances the formation of small states may be justified. For example, a state in a federal system which is not self-sufficient urgently needs developmental programmes, and to materialize these, it may demand a separate allocation of funds in the federal budget. If any state finds that obstacles are being created from some quarter in materializing its developmental programmes, it will have no other alternative but to demand the formation of a separate state.

The sizes of PROUT’s socio-economic units are ever expanding. Smaller units will merge together to form bigger ones. A day may come when all of Southeast Asia will become one unit. The following factors provide the basis for socio-economic units to merge together – economic parity, cultural mixing, communication facilities and administrative efficiency.

Lastly, geo-psychological characteristics should also be considered in socio-economic planning. For example, in India people living in east wet areas tend to be weak and lethargic, while those living in west dry areas tend to be strong and active. This may be called the “East Wet Theory”. Such characteristics are not caused by individual strengths or weaknesses but are the result of geo-psychological factors. The Punjabis live in a dry western region and are physically strong and hard working. The Assamese live in a wet eastern region and are physically weak and lethargic. Such factors should be given due consideration when formulating socio-economic plans.

The applied side of PROUT is based on universal sentiments and not geo-political patriotism, as are other theories and philosophies.

While such theories encourage enmity and rivalry, PROUT?s socio-economic units will all work together and cooperate with each other.

Some Examples

Finally, let us discuss a few examples of how decentralized planning can benefit particular industries. First, take the jute industry. In Bengal, many jute factories were closed after the British left India. This was a disaster for jute farmers as they were then at the mercy of middlemen because they had to sell their jute crops immediately. The main problem of the jute industry at that time was to eliminate these middlemen. To salvage the jute industry today, jute growers should establish producers cooperatives to manufacture and supply jute thread from raw jute. Spinning mills should purchase jute thread directly from the jute producers and manufacture items such as bags, coarse cloth, jackets and coats for consumers cooperatives.

Tobacco is grown in the north of India, processed in the south, and then taken back to the north and sold. Farmers in the north should have the facilities to convert raw tobacco into chopped tobacco. There should be no need to send it to South India for processing. This will lead to more employment.

The match industry was functioning successfully through cooperative production. However, the government undermined this industry by coming to the assistance of big manufacturers when they were being undersold.

The tea that is grown in South India should be replaced by rubber plantations. Although both require much rain, rubber is more useful and profitable than tea. A product should have both usefulness and a ready market.

In Bengal, pineapple leaf fibre can be used for the manufacture of cloth; limestone from Purulia district can be used for making cement; stone chips from Bankura district can be used for roads; raw sugar and mung dhal can be produced from Nadia district; abundant fish can be bred through pisciculture in Birbhum district; and hydroelectric plants can be built in North Bengal where there is much rain. In west Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, sugar cane pulp can be used in the paper industry.

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011

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