Odisha Economy- A Point Towards Development
“First January 1995, today in New Year day celebration, items for feast must include beans brought from Kandhamal.” Said Sanjit, one of my friends. My question was to Sanjit-Why? But the reply was from all the group members- it is so because the taste of beans of Kandhamal is the best in Odisha. It is not only beans but also cabbage and cauliflower also.
Apart from the above, twenty years back one could see Kandhamal was supplying vegetable to rest of Odisha. But today it is just the reverse. Kandhamal market is dependent on Hinjlikatu Vegetable Zone. Why this change? In the last twenty years definitely Odisha has developed a lot. GDP of Odisha has progressed a lot. Still why this is happening.
To get an answer we have to look at some of our economic policies. One of the policy is taken here for discussion and suggestion.
Most of the Kandhamal comes under BPL. Supposing one family is having six members. Two are senior citizens, two adults and two children. The two senior citizens are getting a pension of Rs 300.00 each. Under ration card system the family is getting a ration of 30 Kg per month. If one Kilo rice is taken at Rs 30.00 in open market the cost of 30 kg rice comes to Rs 900.00 per month and the pension amount comes to Rs 600.00 per month. Combined together the family get an assistance of Rs 1500.00 per month and this way annually it comes out to be Rs 18,000.00.
So with Rs1500.00 per month for a BPL family, it is sufficient for sustenance. Government has full filled its social responsibility. But it has one adverse economic impact. The family that was otherwise engaged in cultivation of vegetable in now not interested in cultivation, because earlier also they were living at sustenance level with hard labour and now also they can live at sustenance level without doing any hard labour. So the family has chosen the second one.
Government may say, we have done our duty in full filling social security for the BPL families. Never have weadvised the families to refrain from cultivation of vegetables or from any other profession. Here the government is right. The farmers are also right. But the economy is a casualty. Is there a solution to this problem? Here we have a suggestion to tackle the problem.
Here we see that the government is providing nearly Rs 18,000.00 per annum per family. So government need not stop this. The help should be provided. But the process we can change as given below.
Let the family cultivate the vegetable or do the profession that they were engaged in till today. Suppose the family is cultivation vegetable and the annual production is Rs 20,000.00. This figure is taken here because, we are talking of a living at sustenance level i.e. the amount provided by government for social security. But the farmer is not getting a suitable market to sell it or even if sold it sells at best for Rs 20,000.00. Here comes the role of government. Government can purchase this produce for Rs 20,000.00+ Rs 18,000.00= Rs 38,000.00. Why is Rs 18,000.00 extra? This is because government wants to pay Rs 18,000.00 per annum.
The effect will be:-
1. Government full filled its duty of providing social responsibility.
2. Farmer got a revenue, which is nearly double of their earlier income. The family can be expected of living a life above bare sustenance level.
3. Market got a good produce, which Odisha loves.
4. There is a great addition to GDP of Odisha.
The produce so purchased by the government can be sold in the open market at market price. There will not bear any loss. This will be win-win situation for Farmers and government and ultimately Odisha will be the real winner.
(Sri Behara works as a Manager in State Bank of India, however the views expressed here are his personal views and has no relation with SBI)
Gopalpur Amarjit Behara