Local Area Planning Need Based Utilisation of Local Resources, Assessing the Local Resources Part 3

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Need Based Utilisation of Local Resources

Resources of the area are being utilised by the local people to satisfy their needs. The air, water, food, cloth, and shelter are the essential needs for human survival. Both inorganic as well as organic matters of the nature satisfy the basic needs of the local people. Selection of useful plants, animals, and natural sites led to the promotion of human activities such as farming, fishing, horticulture, and nomadic herding.

The local needs of building construction, having of streets, drains, sources of water, scenic landscapes, etc. are fulfilled by local resources. Since most of the materials are the common property of the local people, they have been utilised by all as building materials and means of livelihood. Thus, need based utilisation of local resources remained eco-friendly and economically sustainable. A brief discussion about local resources is given below.

Land Resources: Rocks and Soils- The most striking feature of a local area is its rocks and soils. These land resources are the basis of human settlements and primary activities besides being the base for scenic landscape. The exposed rock surfaces act as natural platforms while its slopes and steps remained the basis for plant growth. The places in such a setup are developed as sites for picnic, parks, and natural beauties. Soils are the basis for a variety of human activities such as agriculture, animal herding, horticulture, etc. The fertile soils have always been a source of attraction for human civilisations and development. However, this rare gift of nature is threatened by massive erosion and degradation, and is fast converted to wastelands. Large scale deforestation and commercial uses of land have caused imbalances in soil setup. Since formation of soil, its renewability and replacements require pretty long period, there is an urgent need for soil conservation and maintenance of its natural fertility.

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Water Resources- One of the most basic requirements for life to develop and sustain on long term basis is the availability of water. It is central to all ecosystems. Most of the early human civilisations developed near water sources especially along fertile river valleys. Both for human activities and settlements water is an essential element. Water is being used for a variety of purposes like power generation, irrigation, for domestic and industrial uses besides keeping the local area clean and green. Misuse of water has created shortage. Water pollution have caused diseases. Droughts and floods occur in different areas. Therefore, management of water is an essential requirement for life. Coordinated efforts need to be made towards water harvesting, reducing wastage of water, and making judicious use of water for various purposes. Recharge of water to subsurface layer of soil is essential to check the surface flow of rain water. Use of tanks, lakes, percolation pits, bunds along the sloppy surface help in the recharge of water.

Plantations/Forest Resources- Plants are the basic form of life and act as the source of oxygen. They are means to livelihood and natural attraction. Due to ever increasing pressure of population, forest cover is fast declining causing serious environmental threats. Tree plantations along highways, railway tracts, hill slopes, canals have developed schemes like social forestry, farm forestry and so on. Concerted efforts of the local people are central to plantations and their protection. It is being carried out in the form of rituals and practice of the people. For example, Bisnoi community is known for plant protection especially in parts of Haryana and Rajasthan. Similarly, Maiti is a marriage ritual practiced in Kumaon hills. During marriage ceremony bride plants a sapling and bridegroom puts water on the plant. This practice has converted many villages green in Kumaon.

Since trees provide building materials, fuel and firewood besides, a variety of fruits, flowers and green cover, protection, promotion of tree cover is basic to life support. At the local level, protection and increase of the tree cover is basic to support life.

Assessing the Local Resources

An assessment of local resources is essential for planning. For finding solutions to the local problems as well as for the purposes of development we need to have an idea of local resources. Usually land, soil, water, forests, animals, other organisms, and minerals form the natural resources of an area. Similarly, human being, their educational levels, human activities, skills, health status, etc. form human resources. An inventory of locally available resources needs to be prepared with the help of records of the area and by conducting a field survey.

For example, with regard to land resources an idea of the total area (of the village or an urban locality), nature of rocks and soils, size of the land holdings, number of plots, nature and type of land use should be recorded. Similarly, in case of water resources, a survey of river, drains, ponds, lakes; their approximate length, width, and depth of water need to be known to get an idea of water availability, water surplus or deficit positions, and major problems linked to the consumption of water. An estimate of trees, seasonal plants, their specific use for the community in the form of fire wood, fuel, timber, fruits, and flowers need to be worked out. Similarly, human as well as animal resources should to be assessed.

Sources of Collecting Data to Assess Local Resources: For assessing local resources, we can make use of governmental and non-governmental sources. Besides collecting information through secondary sources, we can also conduct field surveys to collect certain information or primary data that is not available from secondary sources.

Preparing A Plan and Ensuring Its Implementation: Based on the assessment of local resources a plan of action need to be prepared. This should broadly cover the aspects of education, health, transport, communication, retail markets etc. The plan should also cover the promotion of agricultural and industrial activities besides community functions. The formulation of the plan must be based on the availability of local resources, requirements of the people, likely expenditures and estimated benefits to the people. The plan should be phased out with regard to time and the targets when the work is to be completed.

For ensuring the implementation of Local Area Plan, efforts should to be made to mobilise the support of local people in the form of labour, raw material, skill, and guidance. In addition to it, the support of governmental, non-governmental organisations, and self-help groups need to be obtained in the form of finances, technology, and material help. Effective checks and controls should be exercised to ensure the monitoring of the work done.

It is usually observed that the maintenance of the structure once created by planning, remains poor due to misuse or careless handling of the operating/services such as buildings, tap water, public toilets etc. The local resources should not be exposed for commercial utilisation by non-local people as it leads to excessive exploitation of resources and their subsequent depletion.

It is necessary for the local people to be caring and remain concerned about the maintenance and upkeep of the planned projects. It is, thus, established that need based utilisation of local resources is essential for survival and development of the community. However, balance needs to be maintained between the ecological conditions and socio-economic needs of the community. The process of planning, as such, will vary greatly with the ecological settings and socio-economic needs of the local people.

Development over Different Five-Year Plans

India is making planned efforts to develop its economy, society, and areas. Plans are designed for a period of five years. India’s First Five-Year Plan began in 1951. The progress made so far is a record of 55 years of planned effort in India covered through ten Five-Year Plans and a few annual plans. A brief idea of different plans, their local area designs and special emphasis of development is explained through a chart given below.

Local Area Development Over Different Five-Year Plans

Local Area Development over Different Five-Year Plans
Title: Local Area Development Over Different Five-Year Plans

Plan and its Period

Design of Local Area

Special Emphasis on Development

1. First Five-Year Plan

1951 – 1956

Community Development Blocks Identified

Developing irrigation networks and increasing agricultural productions.

2. Second Five-Year Plan

1956 – 1961

Industrial Estates were established

Self-reliance in industrial development.

3. Third Five-Year Plan

1961 – 1974

Intensive Agricultural District Programme (IADP)

Achieving higher output levels both in agricultural and Industrial sectors of economy.

4. Fourth Five-Year Plan

1969 – 1974

Balanced Regional Development (BRD), Command Area Development (CADP)

Target Area

Target Group.

5. Fifth Five-Year Plan

1971 – 1979

Decentralised Planning Tribal Area, Hill Area Drought Prone Area Development Programme

National Programme of Minimum Needs, Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP).

6. Sixth Five-Year Plan

1980 – 1985

Multi Sectoral Approach DWCRA, TRYCEM, RLEGP

Removal of Poverty Small Farmers Development Border Areas, Backward (SFDA) Districts.

7. Seventh Five-Year Plan

1985 – 1990

Agro – climatic zones, Watershed Development

Self-employment Scheme (SES), Jawahar Rojgar Yojana (JRY).

8. Eighth Five-Year Plan

1992 – 1997

Panchayati Raj Institutions HADP, BADPWGDP NEC

Human Resource Development, Economic Diversification.

9. Ninth Five-Year Plan

1997 – 2002

Basic Minimum Services (BMS)

Human resource Development, Housing to the people, Health education in remote rural areas.

10. Tenth Five-Year Plan

2002 – 2007

Cleaning of major rivers, Rain water harvesting (renewal of traditional methods), Interlinking of rivers water, Harvesting in drier regions

Public Delivery system (PDS), Total Literacy campaign, National Literacy Mission (NLM), Provision of urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), Health for All.