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Approach:

  1. Introduction
  2. Briefly mention about the objects of Mission Antyodaya.
  3. Mention the findings on India’s rural deprivations.
  4. Conclusion & way forward.

The Constitution mandates local governments to prepare & implement plans for ‘economic development and social justice’ (Art. 243 G and 243 W). Several complementary institutions and measures like Gram Sabha to facilitate people’s participation, District Planning Committee to prepare bottom up & spatial development plans, State Finance Commission to ensure vertical-horizontal equity, etc…had been created, but India’s decentralisation reforms have failed in delivering social justice & progress in rural India.

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Rural Development, launched the ‘Mission Antyodaya’ project in 2017-18 to eradicate rural poverty in its multiple dimensions. Its main objective was to ensure optimum resource utilization through convergence of various schemes to address multiple deprivations, making gram panchayat the hub of development plans. The annual survey in this identifies the gaps in the basic needs at local level and integrates resources to address them.

State of rural deprivations:

  • The Socio-Economic Caste Census Data 20ll reveals – 90% rural households have no salaried jobs, 53.7 million households are landless, 6.89 female based households have no support, 49% suffer multiple deprivations, 51.4% derive sustenance from casual labour and 23.73 million are will no room or only one room to live.
  • The ‘Mission Antyodaya’ survey (2019-20) for the first time reflected on the infrastructural gaps from 2.67 lakh gram panchayats. This data enables development planning sectorally & spatially. The maximum score value is 100, presented in class intervals of 10. Its findings are –
  • No state falls in the top score bracket of 90 – 100. 1,484 gram panchayats falls in the bottom score bracket. Even in the score range 80 – 90, 10 states & all UTs do not appear.
  • Considering the score range 70 – 80, Kerala tops but accounts for only 34.69% of gram panchayats, the corresponding all-India average being as low as 1.09%. Even Gujarat, which comes second, only 11.28% gram panchayats fall in this bracket.
  • In the country, while only 7.37% have a composite index in the 70 – 100 bracket, Gujarat, topping the list, has 20.5%, followed by Kerala (19.77%) and Karnataka (17.68%).
  • Although only 15 gram panchayats fall in the bottom range of below 10 scores, more than 1/5th of gram panchayats are below 40 score.
  • No serious efforts to converge the resources along with the failure to deploy India’s fiscal federalism, particularly to improve the transfer system and horizontal equity in delivering public goods.

The Mission Antyodaya sought to make 50,000 gram panchayats poverty free by 2019, which has now been shifted to 2022. Yet, this will remain unattended. There lies immense scope to reduce the growing rural-urban disparities, given the saturation in approach, which requires strong policy interventions. ‘Mission Antyodaya’ is a recent case of big projects failing to achieve the desired outcomes. After identifying the gaps, integrating resources at various levels of schemes, self-help groups, voluntary organisations, etc. are needed. If pursued genuinely, this can foster economic development and inter-generational equity.

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