Eternal Gandhi - Economy

Eternal Gandhi: Economy

  • Gandhi's economic ideas were governed by the principles of ethics and morality and self-sufficiency, taking the village as the basic unit of development.
  • It advocated Sarvodaya which means 'good of all', which in simple terms held that the good of individual was contained in the good of all. Sarvodaya was to be achieved through the precepts of non-exploitation, non-possession, and trusteeship.
  • In his scheme of things, the development of the rural economy was of utmost importance as India lived in villages and thus nation-building had to begin there. This was to be brought about through the concept of Swadeshi which would provide self-sufficiency at the village level. This meant that at the micro level each household would produce its requirements. This self-sufficiency would then keep expanding upwards at all the levels of administration and governance.
  • Within the pifalls of economic systems, he was particularly wary of those capitalism and its rebid ownership. To avoid the pitfalls of the exploitative nature of capitalism, Gandhi advocated trusteeship, in which the capitalist would voluntarily give up his excess wealth for societal good. He also said that production should be oriented towards the basic needs of the masses. Production centers should be located at consumption centers to facilitate production and distribution to take place simultaneously. The means of production should be indigenized.
  • He was not in favor of the use of heavy machinery if it meantdisplacing employment and lead to the unemployment of the masses. Mechanization, for Gandhi, was welcome only if it could help the human improve his productivity. Gandhi's insistence on labor-intensive technology for India was justified to an extent as the country had a surplus of labor and was deficient in capital at the time of Independence. And hence, could not have been expected to make any significant capital expenditures .
  • While it is true that post-independence. India went for a mixed economy which relied on heavy industries, yet successive governments have over the years devised plans to boost agriculture and develop the villages. Even today, over 60% of the country's economy depends on agriculture as a source of livelihood.
  • Aceross the decades, governments have realised the merit of a bottom upwards model of economic development. And have made some efforts at reforming the otherwise top heavy economic system through District and Local Area Development Plans. In recent times, the government has also started the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, which is an insurance scheme for farmers so that farming becomes as risk-free as possible. To provide for a market for the farm produce, there is an e-trading platform called the E-National Agriculture Market (NAM), which is operational throughout India.
  • The current government has also has adopted a comprehensive action plan to empower farmers throughout the farming cycle, which is called Beej Se Bazaar Tak (BSBT). Starting from providing high-quality seeds, to making available 100 percent neem coated urea, the scheme also offers an end-to-end solution to the country's irrigation problems through the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). It has the objective of providing "Water To Every Field" so as to mitigate the effects of drought.
  • However, despite these measures, rural India finds itself in distress in a changing global economy, of which India is now a part. Hence the current government has made various schemes to try and alleviate this distress.