CM releases migration commission’s report

DAINIK NATION BUREAU

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat released the Uttarakhand Rural Development and Migration Commission’s recommendation report for the District Pauri at CM residence on Friday. Chief Minister said that what has to be done to stop the migration and ensure development in the district is analyzed in the recommendation report. After Pauri – the most affected district with migration, Almora and other districts will be studied. At the same time, the state government will work on the action plan for development in the affected districts with joint efforts of all departments related to rural development. He said that the Cooperative Department has planned Rs 3600 crores project for rural development, which has been recommended by the Union government as well. It is a loan based system in which 80 per cent was to be borne by state and 20 per cent by the central government. Now it has been changed to 60-40 ratio. State government will soon launch a major action plan for the implementation of various schemes for rural development.

This recommendation report of the Uttarakhand Rural Development and Migration Commission is available on the Commission website.

On this occasion, Principal Secretary Manisha Pawar, Vice President of Rural Development and Migration Commission Dr. SS Negi and other senior officials were present.

Dr SS Negi informed that a report has been submitted on recommendations for strengthening socio-economic development in rural areas by the Rural Development and Migration Commission, Pauri Garhwal. In the report, there are recommendations for strengthening socio-economic development in rural areas of Pauri Garhwal district for mitigating out migration.

The 2011 census reports a population of 6,86,527 of which nearly 83.59 per cent of the population resides in rural areas, whereas the rest 16.41 per cent is the urban population. There has been a declining trend in population over the past four census and a negative population growth rate of -1.51 has been reported in 2011 census.

There has been a declining trend in population of Pauri Garhwal over the past four census. The population growth rate of -1.51 has been reported in 2011 census. As per the table 2.1 the decadal growth of population (2001-2011) in urban areas in the district has increased by 25.40 per cent and the rural population has significantly declined by -5.37 per cent.

From 15 development blocks, there is negative growth rate in the last decade (census 2011) in 12 development blocks. During the Financial Year 2016-17, at constant price, the growth rate of the state was 6.95 per cent and 6.96 per cent for the district Pauri Garhwal. The GDP of state was Rs. 1,95,606 crore and for District Pauri Garhwal it was Rs. 8,283.56 crore, at current price for Financial Year 2016-17. The district’s GDP contributes nearly 4.23 per cent to the state’s GDP. District Pauri stands at number five, after Haridwar, Dehradun, Udham Singh Nagar and Nainital in contribution to state’s GDP. Even though the district accounts for 10.17 per cent of the total geographical area of the state and is the fifth most populated district, it accounts for only 4.23 per cent of the states GDP. Further, the MPCE (Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure) for Pauri (Rural) is Rs. 1294.87 and for Pauri (Urban) is Rs. 2145.62, which is lower than the state and national average. As per the Industrial Profile of District Pauri Garhwal, Ministry of MSME there are a total of 6,272 numbers of registered units in Pauri as of 2016, giving permanent and semi-permanent employment to around 20,000 people. The poverty percentage in Pauri is around 29.36 per cent, which is highest in the state whereas, Tehri Garhwal has the lowest percentage of 10.15 per cent. DES Data provided by Pauri shows that the total area used under horticulture crops, in total, has reduced considerably in the year 2016-17 compared to the year 2015-16, due to which the fruits in the district production has also declined significantly.

Recommendations

Data shows that there has been a significant out migration from rural areas of the district. Out migration has taken place in 1025 out of a total of 1212 gram panchayats (2017-18). About 52 per cent of the migration has mainly taken place due to livelihood/employment opportunities. The main age group of migrants from the district is 26 to 35 years age. About 34 per cent of the migrants have gone outside the state, which is the second highest after Almora district. As per the survey conducted by the commission, 186 villages/toks have become depopulated after 2011, which accounts for about 25 per cent of the total depopulated villages/toks/majras in the state after 2011. There are 112 villages/toks/majras in the district whose population has declined by about 50 per cent after 2011 against a state figure of 565. The decadal growth of population (2001-2011) development blocks viz Thalisain, Khirsu and Kotdwara has shown an increase, though population in other development blocks has decreased or the increase has been very slow.

General Recommendations

Boosting village economy/ village growth – There is a need for preparing and implementing specific strategies for boosting economic growth at the village level as this will generate additional income for the residents. It is likely to have a snowball effect, thereby helping to reduce out migration to minimal levels and encourage migrants to return to their roots. A vibrant economy at the level of villages or cluster of villages will act as a nucleus for socio-economic growth in the Gram Panchayat or group of Gram Panchayats. There needs to be focus on unique strengths of each area rather than trying to ameliorate generic weaknesses.

Need for giving impetus to both agriculture & non-agricultural incomes – There is a need for giving an impetus to agricultural as well as non-agricultural income because of the fact that income from service sector has increased in comparison to traditional agricultural income and non-traditional agricultural income.

Village specific plans – On advice of experts, different line departments and local residents, plans may be prepared for clusters of villages that have similar conditions with respect to land use; geography; level of migration; climatic conditions; accessibility; availability of water for drinking and irrigation etc.

Availability of basic facilities – Water scarcity; roads; quality education; health care are some of the basic facilities which need to be addressed in the villages of the district; particularly from where out-migration has been more.

Changing climate – Changing  climate has emerged as a major factor of concern, particularly in Pauri district where a considerable part of the rural areas are located in the sub-tropical region. Agrarian economy will be the worst affected by climate change.

Re-orientation of staff and local communities – The staff of all the line departments needs to be re-oriented, motivated and trained so that they can facilitate focused socio-economic development of the rural areas which are affected by migration. For the next five to ten years the focus of line departments should be to boost the village or gram panchayat level economy in various parts of the district;

Skill development – Skill development programmes should focus on improving the skills that would suit the local economic needs. These could be on improved agricultural technologies; off-season cropping; food/fruit processing; dairying; milk products processing; hospitality etc.

Convergence – All government run programmes and schemes need to focus on boosting the village level economy. They need convergence of their programmes keeping in view this emergent need, which would lead to the reduction of migration from the rural areas.

Focus on role of women – Focusing on women involvement in socio-economic development will reduce their difficulties.

Growth centers – The Uttarakhand government has recently adopted a process for facilitating growth centres. Rural development in the district needs to be dovetail with the development of growth centres.

District policy; strategy and approach for boosting the rural economy – District Magistrate and Chief Development Officer need to play a leading role in planning and implementing strategies at Gram Panchayat level for boosting the rural economy of the district.

Sector Wise Recommendations

Rural Development

Rural development is being taken up through a number of schemes/programmes of the rural development department; watershed directorate and JICA funded project under the auspices of the state forest department. Under the AJEEVIKA scheme; 2350 Self Help Groups are been formed in the district, of which the largest number (560) are in Dugadda block, while the least (09) are in Nainidanda block.

(A)  The blocks where rural development schemes have achieved relatively less progress as compared to others need to be identified and focused on.

(B)  All those developmental blocks, whose progress is less in the rural livelihoods mission should be focused towards the rural livelihood scheme. The livelihood mission is playing an important role in generating livelihood in rural areas. Gram-organizations have been formed in very small number under self-help groups in the rural areas. Even if they exist, they are not functioning effectively, which are in dire need of strengthening. Similarly, migration in the hill areas can be prevented.

(C)  In order to create livelihood at the level of Gram Panchayat level, a detailed action plan should be prepared for each development block, so that villagers can get livelihood to generate income. Cooperation of Rural Development Department and other line departments should be taken in the implementation of these schemes.

(D)  There is a shortage of field staff in the rural development department and some of Village Development Officers are responsible for covering more than 35 gram panchayats many of which are remote and difficult to reach. This issue needs to be addressed immediately.

Agriculture

The net sown area of the district has declined from 64,824 hectare in 2013-14 to 62,097 hectare in 2015-16. The area sown more than once is about a third of the net sown area. The area under paddy has declined from 13,923 hectare in 2013-14 to 12517 hectare in 2015-16; wheat from 22,431 hectare in 2013-14 to 16,779 hectare in 2015-16; mandua from 19,798 hectare in 2013-14 to 19,421 hectare in 2015-16 though the area under pulses has increased from 13,923 hectare in 2013-14 to 12,517 hectare in 2015-16 while the area under oilseeds and potato has remained constant at around 53,000 hectare and 62,000 hectare respectively. Farmers are raising vegetables in Thalisain and Khirsu development blocks are being encouraged but there are villages where farmers have leased their lands to farmers from Nepal who are growing vegetables. Marketing of agricultural produce is an issue of concern as there are not enough volumes to attract buyers for large cities.

The following recommendations are made for boosting growth in the agriculture sector in the district:

(A)  Encouraging groups of farmers shift to growing vegetables including potatoes on a large scale in order to produce large volumes, as this will help in marketing their produce. The example of villages like Salon in Thalisain block can be adopted elsewhere. Co-operative farming with adequate market linkages is the way forward.

(B)  After studying the ongoing marketing process in each development block, the Agriculture Department should prepare a concrete strategy, for which small scale e-mandis should be set up at the developmental block local level.

Fruits

Many different fruits are being grown in the district including apple; walnut; litchi; mango; pear and pomegranate. The area under fruit cultivation is about 4047 ha in the district (2016-17). It was informed that the area under apple in the district has decreased from about 1100 hectare about 10 years back to about 212 hectare at present.

(A)  There is scope for up scaling the area under fruits in the district. However, quality planting material needs to be used keeping in view the better market which is available for such fruits.

(B)  There is also scope for encouraging local entrepreneurs for establishing private nurseries for the production of quality planting material, as this will help to generate livelihoods.

(C)  At present there are only 9 nurseries (2016-17) for production of fruit plants in the entire district. There are none in Kaljikhal, Pabao, Thalisain, Bironkhal, Dwarikhal, Yamkeshwar and Pokhra blocks, while the rest have one each and Dugadda has 2. This number is too low and needs to be increased.

(D)  The focus needs to be on production of the right variety in large quantities so that fruits from the district can be exported to large markets in Delhi and other big cities. The horticulture department in the state is facing shortage of field staff. All vacancies should be filled for strengthening the horticulture department in the state.

Animal Husbandry

The number of cows has decreased from 3,61,563 in 2003 to 3,00,081 in 2015- 16 and that of buffaloes has declined from 70,115 in 2003 to 40,533 in 2015-16. On the other hand the number of goats in the district has increased from 1,51,547 in 2003 to 1,78,404 in 2015-16 and poultry has increased from 70,125 in 2003 to 83,556 in 2015-16.

The following recommendations are made for strengthening this sector:

(A)  Quality of livestock needs to be improved so that dairying farming can become the main source of income of as many families as possible. The target should be not only to make the district self-sufficient in milk and milk production but also to market milk to other areas. Encourage the farming of milch animals of hybrid species.

(B)  Processing of milk products into cottage cheese and ghee has immense scope in the rural areas. There are entrepreneurs who already doing this activity, though it needs to be up scaled.

(C)  There are some dairy farms at the village level, which are supplying milk to urban centers like Pauri, Srinagar, Kotdwara and Satpuli. However, these are not enough and there is scope for focusing on this economic activity.

(D)  Goat rearing and poultry rearing is being practiced in many gram panchayats and this can be up scaled for generating additional livelihoods.

Micro, Small and Medium industries

Development of micro, small and medium industries in the district is essential for boosting the local economy and providing livelihoods. At present the main industrial area is located at Sigaddi-Kotdwara, where there are large number of readymade garments/embroidery; wood/wood based furniture and repairing and servicing units. In 2015-16, with a total investment of Rs.342.54 crores and giving employment to 19,356 employees, a total of 6,272 micro and small enterprises units were set up in the district. There has been a gradual increase in the number of such units and employment opportunities provided by them. Calculations suggest that for every Rs. 1 crore of investment in such units, the employment potential is about 55 persons. The MSME sector has a high potential for transforming the socio-economy of the rural areas of the district. Data suggests that there employment to about 55 persons for every Rs. 1 crore of investment. The types of micro and small units which have come up in relatively large numbers include agro-based readymade garments/embroidery; wood/wood based furniture and repairing and servicing units. The potential for such units in each block can be examined and they may be promoted.

(A)  The authorities responsible for promoting the growth of this sector need to prepare a block wise plan for the development of micro and small units considering the local conditions.

(B)  Data shows that development of MSMEs is lacking or almost negligible in some blocks of the district. Special attention needs to be paid for expanding micro and small enterprises in all blocks.

(C)  Capacity building programmes in the district should also be in tune with the requirements of this plan for development of micro, small and artisan units in the district.

(D)  Entrepreneurship development programmes may be conducted and handholding of entrepreneurs done particularly in gram panchayats where such units are lacking.

Tourism

There are 26 major tourist destinations in the district which include dense forests, destinations rich in wildlife, high peaks, important temples and site of archaeological significance. In 2015-16, 4,17,044 tourists visited the district; amongst them were 21,162 foreign tourists. There are 9 tourist guest houses and 242 hotels and paying guest houses in the district while the number of home stays is 10, most of them being in Lansdowne area.

The following recommendations are made for promotion of tourism in the district:

(A)  A district tourism development plan may be formulated which would identify different destinations at the block level, adding up to a broad plan for the entire district. This should also identify livelihood opportunities and converge with the capacity building programmes under different schemes.

(B)  Recently the state government has launched an ambitious plan for promoting home stays. Data suggests that the existing hose stays in the district are too less and concentrated in the Lansdowne area. These can easily be extended to other parts of the district.

Recommendations for strengthening socio-economic development of selected villages

It is recommended that focus must be on strengthening the socio-economic development of these villages so that further migration is minimized.

The main objectives of this initiative would be:

  1. To provide a boost to the local economy.
  2. To leverage the attractive landscape and local resources for facilitating entrepreneurs.
  3. To facilitate generation of livelihoods for the local population
  4. To facilitate convergence of development and livelihood generation schemes of different government departments and externally aided projects in these villages.
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