(Gandhi’s Spinning-Wheel)

                                 The issue of unemployment
embraces the entire society—its values, culture and attitudes. Unfortunately, millions
of people in South- east Asia, Africa and Latin America suffer un-employment
and are doomed to live in  extreme
poverty without even the basic amenities of life.

                                   We, too, in
India, have atleast 40/60 million citizens in remote rural areas without
employment living in abject poverty, illiteracy and absolute lack of health
care. The Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC), a major Central
govt undertaking, having annual budgetary allocations of  around $ 1 billion was established  by the KVIC Act 1956 ,with the avowed
objective of “promotion and development of Khadi and village industries for
providing non-farm sustainable employment opportunities in rural areas at low
per capita investment  thereby
strengthening the rural economy” since it was realized that  neither the public nor the private sector
could provide any means of production in their hands and it was  Gandhi’s little Charkha alone which could do

                                   However, little
has been achieved by KVIC during the last 58 years of its tenure.  Popularly considered unviable and
impractical, it appears that it has been kept alive by the govt merely as a
token of respect to Mahatma Gandhi in as much as according to the 2007   report of the govt  Labour Bureau,40 million of our labour force
of 400 million  between the working age
group of 16 to 59 years out of our 1.2 billion population still remained

                              Most governments
tend to think that some unemployment is inevitable. Even certain South -European
and East- European countries suffer from this ailment. However, the World
Academy Of Arts And Sciences have issued their Declaration On Full Employment,
strongly asserting that “..concerted decision, commitment and determination by
all parties can eliminate unemployment.”

                              My project, specifically designed for India,
has strategically armed the non-violent Charkha based Gandhian economics with
the Keynesian economic doctrine which propounds that “..deliberate govt action
can foster full employment by directly influencing demand for goods and
services by altering tax policies and public expenditure.” The broad outlines
of my project are as here-under and besides brightening the face of rural India
it gurantees full employment to every Indian.Obviously, different  settings and tools for creating employment
opportunities for the unemployed in other regions of the world will have to be  designed afresh.                         .

                                  The total number of
districts in India is about 640,each having a District Panchayat, under which
there are on an average 10 Block Panchayats, each again having on an average 40
Village Panchayats,  totaling 2,56,000
Village Panchayats in all, as conceived by our late Prime Minister,Sri Rajeev

                                    The  idea 
is to establish in each set of five contiguous village Panchayats(elected
bodies) one SSI unit each, with Bank loan duly guaranteed by the govt and  equipped with latest models of multi-spindle
spinning wheels, instead of single spindle ones for increased production, pit
loom, instead of handlooms for the same reason, dyeing units, standby diesel
generating sets, godowns for raw materials and finished goods, besides
facilities for other village tiny and small industries,  bee-keeping,dairy,  black-smithy and carpentry etc as may be
found suitable for different regions of the country,to provide multiple
employment choices to every unemployed man and woman resident there.

                                  Roughly assuming $80,000 as
the cost of each such SSI unit, the total one time outlay on 53.200 SSI units
would be around $4.2 billions. Quite reasonable if we consider the annual
outlay of $10 billions on MNREGA which does not generate any sustainable
employment opportunity.

                                   The cost of
generation of employment opportunity per unemployed person works out to $100 only,each
SSI unit working two shifts  providing
diverse job openings to 375 unemployed persons of the set of five contiguous
villages per shift as mentioned above.

                                     No constitutional or legislative processes
would be involved in its implementation. It would only be an Executive program
to be approved and adopted by the government and can be activated with
immediate effect since all peripheral institutions and related departments like
KVIC, State KVIBoards and State/District/Block/Village level Panchayat raj
set-ups already exist, probably waiting for this core project to emerge
guaranteeing full employment to our country men.

                                     No heavy annual budgetary provisions and
grants would be required for setting up this vast, widely dispersed and highly
labour intensive national net work of 
village panchayat based Khadi & Village Industrial units, which
henceforth I would love to call MAHATMA GANDHI KHADI & VILLAGE INDUSTRIES

                                      No fear at all regarding full economic
viability of the MKVI units…….courtesy  the aforesaid Keynesian doctrine. Our new
measure of economic progress would be Human happiness and wellbeing….

                                       Problems regarding financing and economic
viability mentioned above have easy solutions as explained below:

a) Each village Panchayat mfg unit can
easily avail Term Loan, Working capital loan and Cash Credit facilities from Scheduled
Banks duly guaranteed by the government as per normal banking practices.

b) As for assured economic viability we
have to rely on the universally accepted Keynesian doctrine” General theory of
employment, interest and money” which says that “…. deliberate government
action can foster full employment by directly influencing demand for goods and
services by altering tax policies and public expenditure…” as already mentioned

                                     Without doubt MKVI would be
capable of producing only major %age of rough and medium quality and minor %age
of fine quality textiles and small/simple industrial products.That is why the”
Program Evaluation Org” of the Planning Commission, March 2001 mentioned in its
report that “ the  major problem
encountered with KVIC products is regarding Marketting and Sales.” in our free
market system.  “OK!! So what?” says my
project--the State would intervene, alter Excise duty, Sales tax, subsidise,
ban production of similar range by large units and issue orders for compulsory
use of MKVI products in form of curtains, bed covers,towels and  uniforms of peons and constables, by all
government offices and departments, PSUs, Rlys and Defence as far as
practicable. Similarly, requirement of small/simple industrial items of all the
aforesaid depts would be ascertained in advance so as to be ordered and
procured from the Village Industrial units.These special measures would offer
no problems at all for the government in view of the sanctity of the purpose
behind them.

                                   Of-course, the nation will have to
be mentally conditioned to accept instead of the current single bottom line of
money in the national balance sheet, a triple bottom line i.e. 1.Money profit.
2. Social happiness and wellbeing. 3.Environmental good which may result in a
little lower GDP growth eschewing the international mad rush for ill-gotten
higher growth rates based on the detestable Carbon economy and the critical
depletion of natural resources, as so emphatically stressed by President
Sarkosy of France, one of the five Super powers in the world. Our own late J R
D Tata expressed a similar view as follows after receiving our nation’s highest
honor ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1992:“I do not want India to be an economic super
power. I want India to be a happy country”.

                                  Smt Sonia
Gandhi’s unique MNAREGA with an annual budgetary provision of $10 billions is
in full operation and provides one person of each rural family 100 days of employment
in a year at $2 per day. This is certainly a big relief to the vast number of
our unemployed countrymen but it does not create sustainable employment
opportunities. It is hoped that the Congress party and the government
would  approve this project, which does
not need any budgetary provision, and implement it so that in due course it may
replace MANAREGA and save the enormous 
present annual outlay on it and help banish the curse of Unemployment
from the country.
This new
strategic program is based on the ideal curve in the graph of the two major
variables, sustainable economic prosperity and human happiness and once the
government implements it, the ethereal music of millions of spinning wheels and
the accompanying billions of beats of the shuttles of matching number of
weaving looms would reverberate through the 53,200 MKVI units—“modern temples”
in the historic words of our beloved late Prime Minister Pt.Nehru—across our
land, providing every single citizen, man or woman, with work and his daily

Atul Kumar Jain

Director:Gandhism Cum;

Member:National Council Of Applied

Economic Research-New Delhi;


1 comment:

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