THE NEED OF COTTAGE INDUSTRY
The world is being dominated and even governed by business and industrial tycoons. The sluice gates of liberalization have been opened. The water of multinationals is expected to flood the markets of all developing countries. More than three-fourth of the national market in consumer goods like soap is controlled by two multinationals- Proctor & Gamble and Lever Brothers. Quality textiles, heavy chemicals, drugs and medicines, iron and steel, fertilizers, and non-ferrous metal industry are in the hands of a few ultra rich persons or families. Thus the profits are shared by the rich alone. The vast population of middle class and lower class is out of the world of trade and manufacture in this country. Gradually the society is being dominated by Indian and foreign capitalists. Others are at their mercy.
Large scale production is capital oriented and does not require much labor. The poor are left to their own fate. Computerization and other such processes have eliminated even the middle class educated people from the employment market. What is this vast humanity going to do in this country- getting their names registered in the employment exchanges? The chances of employment are becoming less every day.
Some small-scale industries are growing in certain spheres of production. Some work as ancillary industries too. But the fast growth of sophisticated plants and computer software may eliminate them from the fields of production, trade and distribution. After signing GATT documents the government has left the poor farmer and the village artisan at the mercy of God.
The need of the hour for the populous country like India is to keep certain areas of trade and manufacture for the small entrepreneur and cottage industries. If there are no cottage industries the man power will go waste. It cannot be eliminated as other agents of production can be. The only solution to engage this sea of humanity is to develop cottage industries with more vigor.
Cottage industries mean slow growth. But if the poor in the rural as well as urban areas are not employed they may, one day, run amok destroying the whole economic fabric. It is better to have slow growth than to have a sudden crash. We have to look not to the needs of the present man but of the coming generations. Let the young of the 21st century have a say in the development.