Some Aspects of Socio-Economic Planning

P.R. Sarkar
According to PROUT human society is one and indivisible. Human society is just like a garland which is made of different types of flowers, woven together by one common thread. The overall beauty of the garland is dependent upon the beauty of each flower. Likewise, each strata of society must be equally strengthened if we are to maintain the unity and solidarity of society.

«The first step to decentralized planning is to make an economic plan according to the needs of the lowest level.»

To establish a well-built social order in any country three fundamental factors are essential. The first is discipline. Patainjali began his Yoga Sutra with the aphorism:

Atha yoganusha´sanam.
“Now I am going to explain Yoga as a school of self-discipline.”

Similarly, to build a well-knit social order discipline is an essential prerequisite. Some countries of the world are fast losing their power because there is no discipline in individual or collective life. The second requisite factor is that there must be proper ideological inspiration for all-round individual and collective progress. Thirdly, there must be economic stability. The economy of a country must be sound.

All-round progress and advancement also requires specific principles. When these principles are given a practical shape they become a fundamental part of the socio-economic structure of society. Socio-economic development thus entails proper plans and programmes. As socio-economic factors vary from place to place socio-economic potentialities also vary. Factors like the fertility of the land, the availability of labour, etc. may be diametrically opposite in two different parts of a region, so if need be there should be separate planning for each part. For example, the northeast and southeast districts of Bihar suffer from surplus and deficit labour problems. Hence it is nothing but foolishness to prescribe the same planning for both areas. Experiments in centralized planning have been made to try and solve such problems, But they have inevitably failed. Those powers which directly concern economic decentralization should be in the hands of the states or concerning lower level governments. If this is not done, it is not possible for them to materialize the economic programmes that are vested in them by decentralization.

The first step to decentralized planning is to make an economic plan according to the needs of the lowest level. Block-wise planning should be the most basic level of planning. The aim of the planners should be to make each block economically sound so that the entire socio-economic unit will be self-sufficient. Only then will a county or federation become economically strong and developed in the real sense. This approach to planning is the special, unique feature of PROUT’s economic decentralization.

The question is, how can decentralization be implemented? What exactly will be the procedure or basis for creating socio-economic units? According to PROUT self-sufficient socio-economic zones or units should be established throughout the world. These units should be formed on the basis of the following factors – same economic problems, uniform economic potentiality, ethnic similarity, same sentimental legacy, and similar geographical features. Based on these factors, the whole of India and the entire world can be reorganized into socio-economic units. These units would not merely be geographical areas but also socio-economic areas. The basic consideration is social, cultural and economic and not religious or linguistic. This concept of establishing strong, self-sufficient socio-economic units is an important aspect of applied PROUT.

The justification for establishing socio-economic units throughout the world lies in the fact that any attempt to develop an area economically must start at the grass-roots level. That is, 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.

Each socio-economic unit should prepare its own developmental programme and for this several factors need to be considered. These include natural resources, topography, river systems, cultural conditions, communication and industrial and developmental schemes or projects. These factors will enable a unit to facilitate proper planning and development to become economically self-sufficient.

Up until now no serious effort has been made by the rulers of India for the economic development of the country, either in the pre-independence period or in the post-independence period. The post-independence period can be divided into three main phases – the Nehru era, the Gandhi era and the Janata government. All these three eras came within the jurisdiction of 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 capitalist age. It was neither an intellectual revolution nor an intellectual counter-evolution, but simply a movement of capitalist mentality. It was an intellectual reformist approach motivated by capitalist interests. To strengthen its position it tried to give the capitalists better scope to chew the bones and marrow of the laborers, warrior-minded and intellectuals. As it was a counter movement it was short-lived and brought laborer revolution nearer. Consequently, there was no economic development during that period. Hence, for the Proutists there was no alternative but to form socio-economic groups.

As far as India is concerned, about 44 socio-economic groups may be formed. In addition many socio-economic groups may be formed al over the world. In most cases each socio-economic group would form one socio-economic unit, but in some cases one unit may consist of more than one socio-economic group. These groups represent a collection of human beings who want to move together, and all the people in these groups are our brothers and sisters. Thus such groupifications can never be ultravires to humanity. Any human being or non-human being who wants to break the solidarity of society must be opposed, and you will have to fight against such elements. When you have to fight antisocial and anti-human forces in Asia, Europe, the world or the entire universe, you must fight as a single unified entity. That is, whenever you have to fight against inhuman forces all the socio-economic groups of the world are one, and in this fight you must fight for the oppressed and suppressed people of the globe.

Some vested interests may try and brand PROUT’s applied approach as parochial, but is this justified? The three bases of PROUT’s socio-economic groups are cultural, social and economic. Culture denotes all sorts of human expressions. The best possible means of communicating these human expressions is through one’s mother tongue as this is most natural. If people’s natural expression through their mother tongue is hampered then inferiority complexes will grow in their minds. This will encourage a defeatist mentality which ultimately leads to psycho-economic exploitation. An example is the imposition of the Hindi language by a section of Indian leaders as the national language of India. Hindi is not the natural language of the people in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc. There are many local dialects in these regions which need immediate encouragement. To utilize the sentimental legacy of the people, people must raise their socio-economic consciousness, know who their exploiters are, expose psycho-economic exploitation and become imbued with fighting spirit. While you should encourage the use of all tongues, this does not imply opposing the study of other languages. Language in itself is of secondary importance; of primary importance is the cultural and socio-economic consequences of linguistic imperialism.

A language usually changes every 1000 years and a script every 2000 years. There was no script at the time of the Vedas. The composition of the Rk Veda started 15,000 years ago and ended 5,000 years ago, thus the entire composition was done over 10,000 years. In those days people used to write on the skin of sheep. Later people started to write on papyrus, and still later papyrus became paper. Bangla was written with wooden pens and Oriya with iron pens. To save 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 the different races. The different races have developed numerous languages. The four races in the world are the Austrics who originated from Asia, the Negroids who originated from Africa, the Mongoloids who originated from Mongolia, and the Aryans who originated from central Asia. The original home of the Aryans was southern Russian, east of the Ural Mountains, now known as the Caucasus. The Muslim land of the USSR includes Uzbekistan, Tazakiestan, Azarbaizan, etc. Today Aryans can be divided into three groups – Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean. Nordic Aryans belong to Scandinavian countries and they have red complexions and golden hair. Alpine Aryans belong to Germany and the surrounding areas. They have a reddish-white complexion, blackish-blue hair and blue eyes. Mediterranean Aryans belong to southern Europe and have white complexion, black hair and black eyes. Geo-racial conditions may produce changes in the vocal cords and other centres or plexi. Consequently, the entire pronunciation and other items of language may change. Hence, language alone is not a sound basis upon which to integrate society or demarcate socio-economic units.

To ensure the social-economic development of a region, several additional problems must be considered and include the following. The first concerns those problems arising from the inconvenience faced by the many people who have to travel to other regions to find employment. There should be no need for people to leave their own area to find employment as there is enough scope for creating employment in every region. Furthermore, when people travel to other regions there is the unnecessary economic burden of maintaining two establishments.

Secondly, to ensure the socio-economic development of each unit, the drainage of money from one region to another must be checked. If the drainage of money is not checked, the per capita income in a socio-economic unit cannot increase. For this reason every socio-economic group should demand the cent percent utilization of state or central revenue raised in its area till the per capita income comes on par with the most developed area in the country. Stopping the drainage of money from a region is the most practical and courageous approach to uprooting exploitation. However, present leaders will never dare to adopt this approach.

Thirdly, to fulfil the mutual needs between regions, PROUT encourages the barter system in preference to the export system. The export system ultimately becomes commercial and competitive and leads to exploitation.

Another measure that PROUT advocates is the abolition of income tax. If income tax is abolished and excise duty on excisable commodities is increased by only 10%, 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 and 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 revenue. Intellectuals should take up the demand for 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 – that is, cheaper than the present ration rate for all essential commodities like rice, pulse, flour, sugar, vegetable oil and cooking oil – for all labourers.

PROUT’s fundamental policy is that it is against small states as these become taxing and burdensome to the citizens. Socio-economic units should demand separate development projects, and in order to materialize this they may also demand the separate allocation of resources in the budget. However, if any unit finds that obstacles are being created from some quarters in materializing its development projects, that unit will have no alternative but to demand the formation of a separate unit

The size of PROUT’s socio-economic units is ever-expanding. Smaller units will merge together to form bigger ones. A day may come when the entire South-East Asia will become one unit. The following four factors provide the basis for socio-economic units to merge together in the future – diminishing economic disparity amongst the units, the development of science and communications, administrative efficiency and socio-cultural mixing.

Finally, geo-psychological characteristics are another important aspect of socio-economic planning. For example, people living in an east-wet area are weak and lethargic, while those living in a west-dry area are strong and active. This may be called the “east-wet Theory”. These characteristics are not due to individual strengths or weaknesses but are the result of geo-psychological factors. In India for example, the Punjabis live in a dry western region and are physically strong and hard working. The Assamese, who live in a wet eastern region, are physically weak and lethargic. Such factors should be given proper consideration when formulating socio-economic plans.

Thus, it is crystal-clear that the applied side of PROUT is based on humanistic patriotism and not geo-political patriotism like other theories and philosophies. While other theories only encourage enmity and rivalry, in PROUT’s socio-economic groups all sit together and coordinate and cooperate with each other. Hence, PROUT’s applied approach can never be justifiably branded as parochial.

Now let us discuss some concrete examples. Some examples of how decentralization can benefit particular industries include the following. First, take the jute industry. In Bengal many jute factories were closed after the British left. This was a disaster for jute farmers as they were then at the mercy of the buyers because they had to sell their raw jute immediately. The main problem of the jute industry was to eliminate these middlemen. To salvage the jute industry, jute producers should establish producer cooperatives to manufacture and supply jute thread from raw jute. Spinning mills should purchase jute thread directly from the jute producers and manufacture bags, coarse cloth, etc. for consumers cooperatives.

Tobacco is grown in the north of India, processed in the south, and again taken back to the north. Farmers in the north should have the facilities to convert raw tobacco into chopped tobacco; that is, there is no need to send it to the south of India for processing. This will lead to more employment and a drop in the price of tobacco.

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

The tea that is grown in southern 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 market.

In addition, hydro-electric plants should be built in North Bengal where there is much rain; pineapple leaf fibre can be used for the manufacture of cloth; limestone from Purulia can be used for making cement; stone chips from Bankura district can be used for roads; molasses and mung dal can be produced from Nadia district; abundant fish can be grown by developing aquaculture in Biirbhum district; and sugar cane pulp can be used in the paper industry in West Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

Now let us take the examples of Angadesh and Jammu and Kashmir to see how proper planning might apply to specific socio-economic areas of India.

Angadesh

In Angadesh the indigenous population is being exploited by outsiders. The Aunga people are poor and destitute, and most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Their lot can only be improved when some progressive farming methods are adopted. For example, those parts of Purnia, Katihar, Madhepura and northern Bhogalpura which extend up to six miles from the southern bank of the Ganges River could grow selected cash crop successfully. A new system for growing cash crops in this area is outlined below.

1) Kerala hybrid variety of coconuts. Before planting each sapling, a three-foot deep hole should be dug and five kilos of salt should be put into the bottom of the hole. The salt should be covered with a layer of sand and then the sapling should be planted erect and compacted with more sand to fill the hole. A pyramid of sand should be made above the level of the soil around the base of the sapling. Leaf mould should be placed at the top of the pyramid. This will be gradually absorbed into the soil. In the event of a shortage of rainfall the saplings should be irrigated by a sprinkler system which will create a natural environment of rain for the plants. The plants will thus grow in a natural way.

2) Black-pepper farming. This will not require any further land if black-peppers are planted beside coconut trees as the black-peppers will climb on the trees. Black-peppers do not need any fertilizers other than leaf mould and cow dung manure.

3) Arecanut cultivation of Cooch Bihar variety. This can be cultivated very successfully on the same land. Cow dung manure should be administered once a year before the rainy season starts. All the old dead leaves of the arecanut plants should be removed and the plant should be cleaned in the months of September and October.

4) Pineapple or ananas. A good harvest of pineapples can be gained in those fields of Purnia, Katihar and Madhepura districts where the rainfall is more than six inches. In salty soil also there can be good harvests. In Purnia, Siliguri variety will produce a good harvest, and in Katihar and Madhepura, Baruipur (Calcutta) variety is suitable.

5) Red pepper and green chilli. In the northern portion of Aun?ga red pepper and in southern Aun?ga green chillies of Kalana (Burdwan) variety will yield good harvests as seasonal cash crops of second grade. Green chilli of Ba´vagi (Sowa) variety will be better in South Aun?ga. Manure should be mustard cakes, custard cakes and baranj cakes – that is, the residue of these seeds after the oil has been extracted.

6) Mangoes. The Malda district of North Aun?ga will grow good crops of fajali, langara, a´sina, swajpuri, laksmanbhog etc. – in fact all varieties of mangoes. Where there is a scarcity of land, these varieties can be grown in large earthen pots. The manure should be a mixture of 25% cow dung compost, 25% leaf mould compost, 25% bone fertilizer and 25% crushed bricks. Dead lime can replace bone fertilizer.

In southern Aunga grapes will be a very good seasonal crop. Jackfruit of Bankura variety and blackberries of red Jammu variety are also very good. In the hilly land of southern Aunga, the following can be produced – cloth, carpets, mats etc. from the fibres of sisal variety of bamboo (Ram bamboo); sericulture and silk from custard plant cultivation; and mulberry and mulberry silkworms. In addition, in South Aunga papaya can be grown and from this papane can be produced. Rice bran oil and cement can also be manufactured from rice husks. In north Aun?ga jute cultivation can be used to produce match sticks and paper can be produced from the residue of sugar cane and maize or corn cobs.

In the red soil of Aunga, Hyderabad variety of grapes, Bankura or Ananda Nagar variety of papaya, cashew nuts and jackfruits of Bankura variety, blackberries of Red Jammu variety, and mangoes of Rarhi Bombay and Rarhi Madhukalkali varieties will grow very well.

Elections are very costly. In India money for elections comes from capitalists – both local capitalists and foreign agencies. Exploitation exists in each and every sphere of life – social, economic, cultural, psychic, etc. Exploiters do not care whether an area is a surplus or deficit labour area. Bhojpuri is a surplus labour area while parts of Bengal and Assam are deficit labour areas. All of these areas are exploited by exploiters. Angadesh and Assam are the worst affected areas. In Angadesh Bhagalpur and Monghyr are the only cities and in these two cities outside exploiters dominate. They have no sympathy for the local people, their language or their sentimental legacy. Ranchi is also controlled by outside exploiters while in Orissa land and assets are in the hands of outsiders.

Jammu and Kashmir

The three portions of Jammu and Kashmir are Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Jammu is known as Dvigartbhumi in Sam´skrta. It consists of hills and plateaus – not valleys. In plateau areas autumn rice can be grown and in the low land areas winter rice can be grown. Maize can be grown in the hilly areas by the terrace system. The climate is good for cattle, especially the Gujurat variety of buffalo. The land is also suitable for rapeseed and mustard seed cultivation. It is not suitable for summer paddy, although autumn and pre-winter paddy can be grown. Medicinal herbs can be produced. Agro-industries should be established throughout the region.

Kathua, a district in Jammu, falls within the Shivalik ranges. The land is very good for oil seeds. In the time when the mythological epic the Ramayana was written it was know as Kastoka. Kast means wood, and since the place was famous for wood, it was called Kastaka. Ground nut and paddy can be grown to earn foreign exchange. The shell of the groundnuts can be used to manufacture coarse paper.

In Jammu coffee can be grown and in Kashmir tea can be grown. In the highlands of Jammu peas and Arhar pulses can be grown. In the low land Bengal gram and black gram can be grown. Lentil pulse can be grown with wheat as a companion crop. Sugar beet can be grown in upper Jammu, and seeds can be grown in Doda. The main problem is irrigation. This can be solved by small river projects and lift pumping.

Kashmir is a land in the upper Himalayas consisting of valleys and hills. In Varamula district some part is valley land and some is snow-covered hilly land. In Srinagar the major portion is valley, and some portion is snow covered. In Kashmir paddy crops can be grown in autumn and pre-winter but the land is not good for growing wheat because of the extreme cold.

The people of Kashmir belong to the Mediterranean group of Aryans. The Kash were the original people of Kashmir which is why the region was called Kashmir. Kashmiri was derived from Pashcataya Prakrta like the languages Uzbeki and Tazaki.

Ladakhi is part of the Tibetan group of Pashcatya Prakrta. The Majhari community of Ladakh know Urdu while the upper class know English. The prevalent script is Tibetan. Southeast Ladakh is dominated by Mahayani Buddhism. Kargil is the largest city in Ladakh. Ladakh is a snow-desert – the Sahara is a hot desert. In the northwest of Ladakh people do not know Urdu. In Baluchistan the majority of the people do not speak Urdu. From Baramulla to Anantnag districts of Kashmir, Kashmiri is the spoken language.

Shia Muslims are predominant in the northwest of Ladakh, and they speak Ladakhi sprinkled with Urdu. Kashmiri is spoken in Muzaffarabad, Baramulla, Anantnag, Srinagar and Doda. In Muzaffarabad the language is a blending of Kashmiri and the language spoken in west Punjab. People in the southern portion of Doda speak Dogri while in northern portion they speak Bhabrawahi. 550 years ago the people of Kashmir were Hindus, but due to political pressure from Rani Didda the people became Muslims. This region has a colourful history and great socio-economic potential.

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011

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