Prosperity 2000

Prosperity 2000 Strategy for Full Employment

In 1991, the Society conducted a study of the commercial potentials of Indian agriculture in collaboration with the International Commission on Peace and Food (ICPF) in order to evolve a strategy to generate full employment in India during the next ten years. The study examined the technological and commercial potentials of cash crops and animal husbandry and identified missing organizational linkages needed to full exploit India's capacities. The study concluded that 100 million new jobs could be created within a ten year period by accelerated development of commercial agriculture, agro-industry and agro-exports. The findings of the study were published as a book entitled Prosperity 2000: Strategy to Generate 100 Million Jobs in India with 10 years. The Prosperity 2000 strategy was subsequently presented to the Prime Minister and Planning Commission of Government of India and incorporated the recommendations in the Eighth Five Year Plan. The Small Farmers' Agri-Business Consortium was established by the Government to implement the programme and district level studies were initiated by the Government in 12 districts around the country.

The Economic Times, Nov 1991 - Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Financial Express, Nov 1991 - Click on the image for an enlarged view.

The Hindu, Jan 1992 - Click on the image for an enlarged view.

In 1994 Society staff worked with Agriculture Finance Corporation to apply the Prosperity 2000 strategy in Pune District. Maharashtra. The study focused on the potentials for stimulating development of commercial agriculture in areas such as flower cultivation, vegetable and fruit production and processing, inland fish culture, mushrooms, etc. The study concluded that this strategy could generate additional employment of 750,000 in the district.

In 1996 the Society organized a national conference on India's economic potentials in Madras to discuss strategies to stimulate employment generation and economic growth.

In 1997 the Society applied the Prosperity 2000 strategy to identify opportunities for stimulating employment generation in the Union Territory of Pondicherry. This study identified potentials for increasing total job creation in the state by 15%.

In 1999, the Society collaborated with California Agricultural Consulting Services (CACS) of USA to evolve a plan for disseminating high yielding soil management and production technology in India and for creating a computerized expert knowledge database system to make the latest information available to farmers throughout the country.

In summer 2000, the Society in collaboration with CACS submitted a proposal at the request of the Union Planning Commission for establishment of a Farmers' Training that would train lead farmers and farm managers from all over India.

In July 2001, the Tamil Nadu Government requested the Society to prepare a proposal for a pilot project to introduce, demonstrate and disseminate advanced agricultural production technology throughout the State. The pilot proposal involves acquisition and transfer of technology from a leading US firm, California Agricultural Consulting Services. It calls for the establishment of a model farm cum training centre at Neyvel to train farm school instructors, establishment of 500 village-based privately owned Farm Schools, and training of more than 24,000 farmers within four years. The objective of the proposal is to double or triple the average net income from agricultural lands. To assure off-take of the increased farm produce, the project envisions establishment of rural industries, including biomass power plants, oil extraction units, ethanol plants, fruit and vegetable processing plants. The strategies focused on developing the potentials of biomass power, ethanol from sugarcane, edible oil from Paradise Tree and fuel oil from Jatropa. Based on these recommendations, the Government announced a major programme for wasteland development in the State.

In January 2002, the Society presented a scheme to the Government of Tamil Nadu for a massive farmer training programme to disseminate CACS technology to more than one lakh farmers throughout the State. The Government conducted more than 15 high level meetings to discuss the proposal and requested the Society to submit a detailed project feasibility report. In December 2002, the Government of Tamil Nadu requested the Society to submit and present a detail proposal for establishment of a pilot programme at Neyveli to demonstrate and disseminate high productivity crop production methods based on CACS technology. The Society also participated in a one-day training programme for 600 agricultural officers in Kerala during January 2003 and in discussions with the Government of Kerala regarding a proposal for a pilot project in Mallapuram District.

During 2003-4, the Society focused on the economic and employment potentials of jathropa as a source of bio-fuel that can be grown both on wastelands and irrigated lands and on promoting the use of bio-mass power. Its views were presented to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu during the inaugural session of a conference on Opportunities in Tamil Nadu organized by the New Indian Express Group. Following the conference, the Chief Minister requested a copy of the presentation and took steps to promote both these potentials within the State.

During 2004-5, the Society conducted an in-depth review of the Prosperity 2000 Strategy to determine its relevance to present day conditions and identified a new range of strategies for raising agricultural productivity, incomes, agro-based industries and rural employment. The findings of this study were presented at three conferences organized by the National Farmers Commission and the World Food Program during November 2004 and a written report was submitted to the National Farmer's Commission in December 2004.

A study was also conducted to identify strategies for accelerating employment generation in the informal sector and recommendations were presented to a meeting of the National Commission on Employment Opportunities in the Informal Sector in New Delhi during November 2004.

Prosperity 2000

In 1991 the International Commission on Peace & Food (ICPF) conducted a country study of employment potentials in India. The study found that India would need to create an average of 10 million jobs a year for the next 10 years in order to provide employment opportunities to all job seekers and also to the approximately 35 million unemployed at that time. The Commission drew up a strategy entitled |Prosperity 2000 which included practical and specific measures designed to generate 100 million additional employment opportunities within 10 years.

The thrust of the Prosperity 2000 strategy was to directly utilize agriculture as an engine to raise on-farm incomes and purchasing power, generate additional on-farm employment opportunities, and stimulate rural industrialization and services. These would in turn increase demand for agricultural products, manufactured goods and services throughout the economy, creating a multiplier effect that generates jobs in other sectors. The specific focus on the strategy was on raising on-farm productivity and fostering closer linkages with industry and markets through innovative approaches to the organization of the rural economy. The strategy was based on the perception that due to the relatively low level of nutrition in the Indian diet, rising income levels would result in a dramatic increase in demand for fruits, vegetables, sugar, dairy products, fish, meat and cotton textiles. The strategy sought to leverage this latent demand to spur job creation and higher rural incomes which would in turn act as a stimulus on other sectors of the economy.

The strategy was presented to the Prime Minister, Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, in December 1991, examined by the Planning Commission and related government departments, and formally adopted by the Government of India as official strategy within three months from its initial presentation. Manmohan Singh, then Finance Minister, now Prime Minister of India, included funding for the program in the 1992 Budget. A specialized agency, the Small Farmers' Agri-Business Consortium, was also established by the Government to implement the strategy.

Two subsequent studies were conducted that confirmed the feasibility of this strategy at the local level: a study of Pune District by the Agricultural Finance Corporation for the Government of Maharasthra and a study of Pondicherry by the Mother's Service Society.

The original purpose of the study had been to demonstrate a theoretical and practical potential. It had not been seriously envisioned that the Government would adopt the strategy for implementation. In fact, in formulating the strategy the Commission had stipulated that government could only effectively play a catalytic role and recommended the establishment of autonomous agencies with strong private sector participation to preside over implementation. In actuality, after a delay of two years in working out bureaucratic modalities, the government attempted to implement it through normal department channels. Shortly afterwards, a new government came to power and the program was dropped for political reasons. In spite of this fact, employment did record a significant surge in the following years and to approximately double the level prevalent in 1991.

See also:

  1. Summary of Prosperity 2000 Strategy for India, March 22, 1996
  2. Prosperity 2000 - Strategy to Generate 100 Million Jobs in India, Report submitted to and adopted by Government of India, October 2, 1991
  3. Model Districts Development Progam, January, 1992