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winds of change-part I-growth & social justice-ch 1-7

This problem will have to be looked at from the point of view of the factor of proportions and relative prices, utilisation of more labour-intensive techniques of production, adaptation of imported technology to suit the conditions in the country, a greater degree of emphasis on small-scale, cottage and agro-based industries, as also reorientation of the educational policy to suit job requirements not only in the government sector but also in the commercial, agricultural and other sectors. The urgency of this task can be seen in the recent acceptance by the Govern­ment of a massive employment programme to provide at least half a million jobs by the end of 1971. This is only a beginning of an all-out effort to solve the problem of unemployment and under-employment in the coming decade.

The other equally important area of action will be the glaring disparities between the incomes and wealth of various classes in the society. It cannot be denied that inequalities have got aggravated over the years and are being felt sharply. This was perhaps inevitable, since those holding initial advantage in the ownership of assets including land were able to march ahead of others. The process of growth by its very nature is uneven, but we can hardly take a complacent view of this phenomenon. I am aware that this is a complex and intricate question and has far-reaching implications in terms of motivation to work, save and invest. I am also aware that these are the basic factors which govern and condition and momentum in the economy, and to take a rigid view on a purely ideological or doctrinaire basis will not be in the interest of the country in the long run. But, at the same time, it will have to be realised that in an era of rising expectations, islands or pockets of prosperity cannot co-exist with widespread and abject poverty for long. It will also have to be realised that the process of modernisation and economic growth in a huge country like ours will call for concerted efforts spread over several years, and prosperity of a few at the cost of hundreds of starving persons will not create popular fervour and enthusiasm as also a willingness to undergo sufferings and privations. The question of disparity in incomes and wealth has become acute not in urban areas alone. The green revolution and the resultant prosperity of a section of rural population has brought in its wake gigantic problems which have very real social and political connotations. The history of industrialisation of several advanced countries has shown that a technological revolution in the means and methods of production cannot be looked at purely as an economic phenomenon. It also has very compelling social, political and cultural connotations.