While reviving the economy, when conventional solutions don’t give much traction, one may like to listen to voices from below for a change. Most important advantage of distributed income in the hand of millions will be a different kind of consumption pull compared to the gains in far fewer hands. This is a well-known economic principle. But then the majority of discussants have not cared to look at distributed solutions so far, let me try.
Let the government extend advance to all employees to buy the annual stock of grains, pulses, oil, sugar, spices, and other essentials including clothes and furnishings. Let community self-regulate that this advance is not used for any other purpose. Distributed inventory costs less, spoils less and last longer and helps market liquidate the excess inventory. Let it incentivize private sector to buy e-vehicles, essentials on Diwali or Dussehra, all other durables for homes. Massive infusion of capital with tax incentives for the firms to ensure demand-pull for durables.
Let the experiment triggered by NABARD to supply food at a few railway station be urgently replicated to at least half of the stations to generate huge work for women self-help groups and homely food for the passengers. NABARD can extend the advance to such groups to deal with working capital requirements.
All parties and functions in the country for one year at least may serve two dishes of millets, some snacks/juices/jams from north-east and Jammu and Kashmir, and central India. Let market monitor the misery and alleviate the distress by linking potential demand for various goods/services with untapped supply. LTC (leave travel concession) to tourist sites in aspirational districts with strong tent-based stay facilities (because the durable infrastructure will take time to come about, in Kutch whole microcity was created) may be incentivized. Similarly, CSR investment or co-investments with science, tech and educational innovation initiatives in such regions may be incentivized.
All residential college/school/public hospitals messes may be asked to serve healthy multi-grain food, organic vegetables at least once a week, disclosing the list of suppliers on their websites to let others know about such suppliers.
Every notebook and school text book may have printed information about nutrition, child rights and keeping-oneself -safe for girls and boys. But till then, small booklets and posters may be printed with a weekly or bi-weekly wall-newspapers for each village carrying preventive health, sustainable agri and non-farm enterprise tips, specific for each region or sub-region. It may have space for local block level and even village level advertisers. Idea is to stimulate demand for micro-small producers with limited capacity to produce and serve.
All c-class radio stations may be advised to give at least three hour worth of concessional advertising in popular Vividh Bharati program to local entrepreneurs and service providers. Let there be business centres set up at each petrol station with the help of the association of chartered accountants, company secretaries and other commerce post graduates to provide rural entrepreneurs, young and old to use e-market potential for their sale and purchase.
Let post office network of 1.5 lac rural centres serve 650,000 villages and GIAN and SRISTI are willing to provide logistical and conceptual support for these kinds of galvanising unmet demands and untapped supplies for horizontal markets. Today tens of thousands worth of crores rupees worth of saving of self-help groups is not used to buy each other’s products.
Soon after rains, let there be a massive public program to deepen wells, tanks, dig new wells, tanks on private and public lands, planting trees after rains with Sundaram’s one lit water once technology under MNGREA for preparing the country to ensure trillions of gallons worth of distributed water storage capacity and millions of micro forests. After rains, soils will be soft and easier to dig and with less energy, more work can be done as against doing the same in summer which we have failed to do every year.