Jan 10, 2012

Elevating financial profile of a community is much easier than perceived.

By – Anoop Jha

Creating community potential inventory and building capacity

When it comes to economic development of a region or community, there are always two choices available for the governing authorities. First, to let the business go on as usual that is apparent in majority of cases, second, to take deliberate catalytic measures to enhance the economic profile of a community as a whole and hence elevating financial profile of the individuals and households. In the first case, all the efforts of government remains targeted to somehow sustain the past economic growth rate of the region, general governing psychology is to please the community with showing little increment in overall growth rate, hence securing the vote bank and if that is not possible there are so many tricks to present even weak economic profile and data in number of glorified ways. If you want to taste a flavor of statistical manipulation, a widely recommended book is “How to Lie with Statistics -by Darrell Huff”. Anyway, coming to the second case, it takes a vision, intelligence and determination of government and policy makers to elevate the financial profile of a community and individuals in a real sense, which is after all not that difficult as historically projected by government itself by blaming lack of resources or by policy makers, relying too much on age old economic theories, failing to understand and tap emerging possibilities, or by mainstream media which is more concerned about blaming administration and debating on trivial statistics rather than educating and helping community to find out other additional possible economic resources and options.

There is one fundamental flaw in the way government approaches the community economics. Their current method and thrust is to gather information form community, derive inferences from its analysis, propose measures to tackle it and allocate the fund to achieve the same for the given time period and done for a while. But this model is not sustainable because in this model community is totally dependent on external aid and support while their potential remains untapped. Community needs an economic model which puts community economic growth on autopilot mode; of course they need some kind of assistance from government also in terms of strategic structure, creating infrastructure and some monitory help in the beginning. A better model of economic growth for a region would be to extract the previously untapped potential of a community, every household, and every individual for their own development. A community holds key of its own success, they have huge unrecognised potential in totality, which if tapped and nourished can help them create a much better economic profile.

Census or community data are mostly related to demography and they are quantitative in nature. Here is a list of data items collected during survey by Census of India. http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_And_You/data_item_collected_in_census.aspx  
What is lacking here is the qualitative data.  Qualitative data is essential to understand the potential of individual and community as a whole, and to formulize a holistic economic strategy for the region and community which is beyond time or resources.  Government should also include qualitative items in census survey while asking questions to individuals and household like what is their strength, what economic activity they would like to peruse given a choice or if made mandatory? What are their economic aspirations? What are their hobbies or talent in which they would like to get training and government support to take it further as an additional household economic activity? What are the three immediate measures and assistance they are expecting from government as an individual or household to peruse their dream leading to economic development? What are they good at? What are the excess resources which they would like to share or transfer to society or community if needed, whether its material, time or knowledge?

Government need to prepare the inventory of potential and talent lying within the community itself. They have to find and create and nourish entrepreneur in every household and should provide every possible support and training for the same, if they want to raise the economic profile of any community, society or region. These entrepreneurial activities can be in addition to their primary economic activities. They need to create entrepreneur out of every housewife, out of every teenage, out of senior citizens. Each one of them have latent talent which need to be unlocked for they own sake and for the sake of better and autonomous society. All they need to do is to identify the potential, building capacity on that direction and create linkage between talent and market, rest of economic activities and growth will follow on its own.

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