APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY PLANNING B. H. MEHTA A regional community,...
APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY PLANNING
B. H. MEHTA
A regional community, organised on firm foundations, can easily evolve along democratic lines under
the initiative and authority of its own leadership. In the following paper, which was submitted to the Asian
Relations Conference, Dr. Mehta presents a plan which if worked successfully will enable the community
to reach gradually the goal of complete democracy.
Dr. Mehta is Professor of Social Administration of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay,
background.—Asia contains Forms of co-operation, especially economic
the largest concentration of population in co-operation, are not adequately evolved.
the whole world. These populations belong Goodwill and understanding exist as a
to many racial stocks, and the long process natural subconscious urge, but they have
of social assimilation brought about by to be cemented by knowledge acquired
economic and social intercourse has woven through closer and more direct association.
them into closely knit communities occu-
Asia's people reached in the past high
pying well-defined areas.
levels of culture and possessed social
It is essential that when we use the organisations which did not lack strength
word 'community,' and when we suggest or homogeneity. But they have been con-
that it should become the basis of Asian siderably weakened by conquest, foreign
regeneration, we should define its meaning, domination, a long era of feudal stagnation,
as the word, through usage, may have and a somewhat delayed acceptance of the
come to bear different interpretations in industrial revolution. These factors have
different countries. In India, especially, the brought about extensive poverty, a low
word community has close association standard of living, devitalised health, high
with religious groupings.
birth rates, and a standard of education
that does not enable us to keep pace with
When we speak of community welfare world progress.
services, we mean closely knit communities
containing a manageable number of families,
The weakness and poverty of the in-
living in close proximity, in well defined dividual is further reflected in the society to
areas. Such communities are bound to which he belongs. Social organisation has
have common interests, though they may disintegrated and political development has
not be too well defined. These communities been retarded by the lack of freedom, and
may be made up of different social groups the organisational strength to achieve it.
with different historical backgrounds and
Western progress has taught us that
religious beliefs, but having evolved to a political emancipation will bring about
settled state of existence, they have a the desired result. It is through freedom
common destiny and must be brought up alone that we can develop initiative to
as democratic units, organised on the put our house in order, to achieve efficiency
basic principles of co-operation and tolera-
of organisation, and to restore health and
tion, moving towards a common goal of strength to the millions. But the days of
human happiness and welfare.
political subjection are almost over, and
Because of the vastness of the physical freedom can no longer be delayed. Already
region and the heavy burden of population, the majority of Asian countries possess
the unity of Asia is only vaguely realised. sufficient freedom to begin the onward
APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY PLANNING 221
march of progress through industrial deve-
mocracy, social action and self-help,
lopment and science. This period of achieving a high standard of living and
transition may mean bitter conflicts and happiness, and contributing creatively to the
further social disintegration but these are culture of the nation, the continent and
mere birth pangs which will usher in the humanity at large.
New Asian Order.
The objectives of community welfare
Whilst it is right that the weapons of should be (1) to provide a healthy environ-
progress must be forged on a national and, ment and adequate housing; (2) to provide
if possible, on an Asian scale, it is most vital
adequate opportunities for the preservation
that immediate action should be taken to of health and the prevention of disease;
repair our foundation, to restore health (3) to provide proper education including
and education, and above all, to create early training, education of the body,
an attitude of co-operation and conscious-
emotions and mind, education for work,
ness of Asian solidarity in the vast masses. marriage, recreation and effective social
participation; (4) to provide for the educa-
To achieve this end, the most efficient tion of the handicapped adult; (5) to take
unit of approach is the regional community,
measures for the preservation of family
be it a village, a section of a town, or a health and unity; (6) to achieve an effective
well-defined area in the city. In India we organisation of the economic life of the
are trying to achieve human well-being community; (7) to make adequate provision
through what is known as labour welfare. for maternity and child welfare; (8) to pro-
This may be necessary to repair some of the
vide adequate facilities and opportunities
damage caused by the unplanned and profit-
for the recreation of the child and adult;
motivated economic development. But to (9) to organise social life in such a way as to
deal with the labour in the factory, is to promote active participation in local, na-
approach the human group through its tional and international affairs; (10) to plan
most important member in a circumscribed methods and programmes for the develop-
and more or less non-co-operative environ-
ment of national consciousness and
ment. Moreover, the approach must be international co-operation; and finally
through an employer whose interest in (11) to undertake programmes for the
human labour is only secondary to his development of local culture in harmony
interest in production and profit.
with national and world patterns.
This does not mean, however, that
Collectively taken, the aims and objects
labour welfare programmes are undesirable. are to promote the early attainment of
They have their place, and are excellently world objectives, as laid down in the Atlan-
suited to supplement community welfare. tic Charter and as expressed by the UNO,
But real, far-sighted and extensive measures in well-defined geographical units inhabited
for human reconstruction should begin by manageable social groups. It is thus an
through communities organised by the effective organisational approach towards
State, by local self-government, and by the achievement of fundamental results. It
democratic public initiative.
has been historically proved that when true
The aims of a community welfare understanding between nations is absent,
plan should be to create democratic com-
any attempt to bring about international
munities living together according to the co-operation only leads eventually to con-
four basic principles of co-operation, de-
flicts and misunderstanding promoted by
222 B. H. MEHTA
selfish minority groups and vested interests. be created for the benefit of the masses;
The community plan should help to create fourthly, congested areas must be opened
a new unity above all social, religious, up by providing 'lungs' in the shape of
sectional and local differences; for true playgrounds, parks and gardens; fifthly,
unity is possible fundamentally as a geo-
social amenities for areas containing market-
graphical concept. If Asian solidarity is, places, shops, post and telegraph services,
for the time being, our objective, the unit medical services, fire brigades, police
of this Asian solidarity must be found in centres, etc., should be properly planned
regional societies within which the aims and in terms of needs; sixthly, administrative
objects of the community plan can be divisions of towns should be well-planned
and efficiently organised, and carefully
determined civic functions allocated; lastly,
—Asia has not yet com-
entirely new areas should be taken over for
pletely emerged out of the feudal age during the creation of new towns where an ideal
which the masses depended upon land and physical structure could be created for the
lived in intolerable conditions of chronic occupation of well-organised and disciplined
poverty, want and disease in their insanitary
communities, with clearly defined areas
and humble hutments clustered in the rural for residences, civic amenities, commercial
areas. The seeds of the industrial revolution
functions, and industrial development.
have been scattered on feudal soils, creating
chaotic growths of factories and towns
The housing problem,
that are littered with slums containing problem in Asia demands radical solution.
millions of human beings. The social Asian concepts of housing are medieval,
structure created and built in such environ-
and no attention is paid to the natural
ments cannot acquire the qualities of health,
needs of human life, so complex in pattern
vitality and beauty.
in the modern industrial age. Houses must
be so built that they may become founda-
Since the physical environment is the tions of happy homes. The architecture of
basis of social structure, the success of the structures, the strength and durability
community social services can only be of materials, the quality of workmanship
assured if town planning precedes the and the provision of at least the minimum
community approach to social life. It is of amenities and comforts deserve the
essential that each country in Asia should consideration of every civilised State.
have its own national housing and town
planning act. If such acts are forged after
The one-room tenements in cities and
careful deliberation in Asian conferences, the hutments in rural areas, where human
organised on the lines of International beings and animals are huddled together,
Housing Conferences held in the past in are ideal neither for the functioning of
Paris and other places, a common approach human life nor for the organisation of
could be made to a most vital problem. In family life nor for the maintenance of
any case, it is essential that measures for health. Community centres can only
town planning should operate in seven function after standards of at least minimum
fundamental directions. Firstly, slum clea-
housing are laid down. The human habita-
rance must be taken in hand in earnest; tion, in order of importance, must provide
secondly, areas cleared should be rehabili-
for adequate and well laid out places for
tated wherever possible; thirdly, a network a bed room of at least 1,500 cubic feet for
of quick and cheap communications should every two inhabitants, a kitchen, a dining
APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY PLANNING 223
room, and a parlour for the family. Ade-
for the happiness, health, efficiency, and
quate and clean water supply, lighting, ordered evolution of group life.
provision for the disposal of garbage,
Modern housing administration" im-
bathrooms, urinals and lavatories are im-
plies the maintenance of vital statistics
perative for each home.
and other statistical data showing the growth
The house is a structure built by the chart of well-being and welfare of the
human being for the performance of members of the community in every
imperative natural functions like sleeping, aspect of life.
cooking, eating, sex life, play, work, rest
The foundations of community life
and social intercourse. The structure must are well-laid when carefully planned and
meet the needs of these functions in such erected buildings come into existence in
a way as to yield maximum satisfaction healthy and planned areas, and are under
that can become the basis of human the management and supervision of proper-
ly organised housing authorities.
The sanitation of the buildings and
—It is possible to promote the
grounds require organisation and supervi-
care of health in the regional community
sion. The buildings require maintenance with a thoroughness and efficiency which
and care. The community centre of social is not possible in any other manner. Health
service should, therefore, provide scientific of millions in Asia is not what it ought to
housing administration. This should be be on account of uncongenial climatic
entrusted to specially trained and qualified condition, and unhealthy and insanitary
social workers who would work in co-
physical environment in the urban and village
operation with the health, education and slums. Further, it is also due to grinding
case work officers. Scientific housing mana-
poverty and a low standard of life with
gement must fulfil the two-fold purpose of consequent chronic malnutrition, and a
(1) education and care of the human beings high birth rate. The conditions of ill-
who must live in obedience to the law of health have been aggravated by centuries of
good neighbourliness, and (2) care of neglect, insufficient medical relief, inade-
housing which must always maintain ideal quate trained personnel, and lack of
standards of efficiency and comfort. These resources.
two objectives can be achieved through a
It is imperative that an Asia-wide drive
blending of duties of superintendent, for physical regeneration should be made
manager and administrator.
by Asian organisations for the promotion
of athletics, physical culture, and the
Well organised communities, inhabi-
playground movements. Health care pro-
ting well-defined areas, organised
grammes should be undertaken by mater-
with predetermined social objectives, must nity and child welfare agencies, schools,
live, to some extent, under controlled con-
and villages. Quick and effective medical
ditions. But this friendly and co-operating aid should be provided and it should reach
authority should exact obedience to mini-
every family and home.
mum rules, maintain close and direct
contact with tenants. Further, it should
The community centre provides an
also expect co-operation and participation ideal field for the organisation of a complete
of members of the community in social health unit organisation. But it should
amenities and activities that are provided receive general directions and help from
224 B. H. MEHTA
the Ministry of Health, and be managed and traditions, in the larger interest of
by the regional community centre authori-
people living under modern industrial and
ties. As health is directly dependent upon social conditions.
sanitary and healthy surroundings and
Wherever the practice of birth control
adequate housing, the health unit should is found imperative or desirable, it must be
work in closest co-operation with the accompanied by systematic education about
housing authority. The housing authority objectives, theories, methods and apparatus.
should look after the care of buildings, The objectives of social health should
grounds and gardens, water supply, sanitary never be forgotten, and the community
and conservancy organisation under the must be saved from an unintelligent practice
supervision of the health unit authority.
which may undermine sex and social
The health unit should be in charge morale.
of a medical officer and a staff of nurses
Ante-natal, maternity and post-natal care.
and assistants. These should look after —Methods of ante-natal care are by now
a large number of services provided for too well-known to deserve any special men-
the promotion of the members of the com-
tion. A persistent and careful follow-up of
munity. The most important service in the mother, four months after conception,
the community is the care of the mother will not only give her a feeling of security
and the child provided through the birth but also ensure the birth of the child under
control and the maternity and child welfare conditions which are congenial to its health
clinic. The programme of this section of and growth.
the health unit should include :—
The main handicap in the way of
(1) Birth control and family developing extensive health visitors'
services for the benefit of many regional
communities is the absence of trained
(2) Complete ante-natal care in-
personnel. It is the duty of the State to
cluding feeding of the expectant take effective measures for the creation of
mother for five months before special institutions for this purpose. Wor-
king under the direction of the medical
(3) Health visitors' service.
officer of the community centre, the health
visitors should supplement the work of
(4) Post-natal care of the mother the family case worker, and give advice and
for at least one year after the practical help to families for the mainte-
birth of the child.
nance of health. They should see that the
(5) Infant and child care including families derive the maximum benefit of the
feeding during the first two to clinical and medical services provided in
the community centre. The health visitor is
invaluable for supervising the sanitation of
planning.—Asia, with its teeming
homes, prescribing home remedies for
population, has to decide about the minor ailments, and for rendering effective
policies and objectives of birth control in assistance to the mother in carrying
terms of social condition prevailing in out the advice and treatment prescribed
different regions. There is an imperative by the medical authorities in case of illness.
need of a rational and scientific attitude
with regard to this matter. Decisions have
Post-natal care will help to restore the
to be made irrespective of beliefs, customs mother's health and efficiency for normal
APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY PLANNING 225
duties and work after the h o a r d s of child-
The care of the child in the community
bearing. The mother should be given centre must be complete and generous. But
guidance and help regarding not only her it should be provided on the basis of an
health, but also the care and feeding of her
Asian children's charter, guaranteeing equal
child. Even medical aid and nourishment opportunities to all children who must be
should be provided, if necessary.
regarded as assets of the State. The prepara-
tion of such a charter is an imperative
—The care of the child duty of the Asian Conference.
in its early years by the community, with
The community infant and child
the help of the State, is the most effective welfare centre may include a nursery
guarantee for the health and efficiency of where children may be looked after and
future citizens. Childhood, the period of fed, unless they are taken to creches in
dependency, is the longest and the most factories, offices and institutions where the
difficult period of life. Human organism mothers work. Care of health, the provision
is complex. It is born in a complex environ-
of protection and security, and adequate
ment and needs all the care one can give opportunities for an all round growth are
for its growth and development. But in the primary functions of the community
Asia communities are considerably handi-
centre. In Asia the proper feeding of the
capped to give complete aid to the child in child, especially in countries where the
order to enable it to survive. The alarming standard of life is low, is imperative.
death rate amongst children in Asian
countries is enough justification for laying
The pre-school of the community
great stress on the problem of the care of centre should function under the joint care
of the health unit and the education
director. All children in the community
Pre-schools in Asia must develop on should enter the pre-school at the age
the lines found suitable for Asian of two and a half or three.
conditions. In a friendly and homely
—The best insurance
atmosphere, the child, together with against disease is the maintenance of good
other children, should receive care and health.
Carefully planned programmes of
assistance of young and capable women. physical recreation for children, youths and
The pre-school, run according to the prin-
adults of both sexes are firm foundations
ciple of activity, should provide play and for the edifice of a healthy society. A
planned activity, food and rest to the Community centre which provides good
children. The child's early physical and housing is not complete without extensive
mental growth and its emotional security open places converted into playgrounds of
and development should receive special various kinds for the physical recreation
attention of the pre-school staff. The health of the entire community.
unit authorities should look after the
child's health and plan its nourishment.
Playgrounds do not provide mere
physical recreation, for, on the playgrounds
The pre-school, properly housed, well-
the foundations of the social structure are
equipped for play, work and training, laid. Engaged in physical activities consis-
manned by young and trained women ting of well organised play, human beings
must guarantee the child's maximum growth
develop emotions, learn co-operation, and
and prepare it to receive a properly planned
receive training for leadership and organised
education from the age of five onwards.
226 B. H. MEHTA
Playgrounds for children, open grounds
Gymnasium attracts some young
for youths, special playgrounds for special people, but the playground attracts a
games, and the sports arena are organised larger number. Physical culture planned on
separately to answer the needs of different sound educational lines should appeal to
age and sex groups in the community. various sections of the population.
Civilisation demands the existence of a rich
game-lore for every nation and community.
Education for health.—
Asian countries possess a wealth of games of health requires the education of the
that require to be studied and exchanged individual in matters physical. Educational
for the mutual benefit of all countries. systems in the East have not given adequate
The West has developed some unique attention for the training of the individual
physical welfare movements and their in ordinary matters like diet, rest and care
group games are useful for educational of health. The authorities of the health
purposes. National games, group games unit, in co-operation with the director of
and team games provide opportunities for education should orgnise programmes for
organised physical recreation for at least the spread of health knowledge. The
one hour a day for every member of the cinema, radio, wall newspapers, leaflets,
community. The playground has always lectures, demonstrations and exhibitions
invited maximum participation according must keep the community health-minded.
to the personal interest of each individual. Ceaseless propaganda and publicity are
required in Asian countries where both
Over and above the playground, the the birth rate and the death rate are con-
national physical environment should pro-
siderably high, pointing to an alarming
vide opportunities for most healthy physical prevalence of health and disease.
recreations like swimming, cycling, and
mountaineering that add to the zeal for a
—It is but natural that
well-organised outdoor life, especially for the community, in spite of its good and
the young. As Asia is becoming indus-
well looked after housing, its extensive
trialised and urbanised, the need of outdoor
programme for physical recreation, and
life increases to keep the individual in continuous physical education will require
touch with the health, beauty and orderli-
an efficient though not very elaborate
ness of nature. Community physical welfare medical service. A well-conceived health
programmes must include frequent excur-
insurance scheme, subsidised, if necessary,
sions, recreational and training camps, can provide an efficient medical service for
hiking, and even lone camps for the the local community. The timely treatment
maintenance of health, and the preparation of minor ailments and timely diagnosis of
and training of leadership.
disease have saved many human lives.
The masses in Asia are young, ignorant and,
International athletics invite a conti-
therefore, local medical service, organised
nuous participation in field of sports. The by the health unit should provide extensive
annual community athletic meet should be facilities to save not only health, but also
a preparation and training for enthusiastic expenditure. The health unit authorities
participation in national and international should make, with the co-operation of
sports. Athletics should prepare the human municipal and other health authorities,
body for efficient functioning in work-life proper arrangements for hospitalisation
and healthy parenthood.
and sanatorium treatment.
APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY PLANNING 227
—The regional community go out to learn in schools and educational
is organised for the purpose of education— institutions in the town or the city.
education for life, for the efficient perfor-
However, the director of education of the
mance of life's functions. In a highly civilised
community should maintain a permanent
community the process of education contact with the education of each
should never end. The countries of Asia individual in the community. It is the
are alarmingly backward in education. function of the community to inspire,
There are millions who are yet illiterate. encourage and aid its children to receive
In certain countries mere academic or education according to their talents and
classical education has failed to prepare needs.
the individual for the fundamental functions
The community's department of
of life, like work and marriage. In the education should pay special attention to
community centre education should (1) pre-
the difficulties and handicaps, both mental
pare the individual for the efficient and physical, of the school population.
performance of life's major functions, Countries in Asia have not yet adequately
(2) aid the individual in the day-to-day provided for those who are unable to
functions of life, and (3) enable him to complete their schooling. In the absence
understand the complex world mechanism of bifurcation courses, the community
in which he lives, and adjust his life to the centre should provide opportunity for
larger national and social pattern around vocational training in elementary arts,
crafts and clerical services so that those
The education of child should be the who fail to complete their school education
primary function of the regional com-
may not be handicapped in life later on.
munity. We have already dealt with the
pre-school which deals with the child
The education programme of the
between 3 and 5 years. The process of community falls mainly within the scope
education begins with the completion of 5 of the following :—
years, when the child enters the primary
(1) Reading rooms and libraries.
school. The primary school is the only
(2) Education as a part of youth
part of the State educational system which
activities including the organi-
should exist within the regional community.
sation of study circles, discus-
This-education should become the founda-
tion of the individual's educational career.
sion groups, debating unions,
The aims of primary education, the prin-
art circles, hobby clubs, etc.
ciples on which it functions, the methods
(3) Literacy classes for grown-ups.
of teaching and the quality of teachers,
(4) Adult education for men and
and finally the curriculum depend upon the
women through organised adult
municipal and State education boards and
(5) Community education program-
The primary school should be orga-
mes through community
nised within the regional community, and
newspapers, lectures, cinema,
administered by it with the aid and supervi-
radio, education travels, exhibi-
sion of the municipality and the State.
tions and celebrations.
On the completion of primary educa-
The reading room and library in the
tion, the boys and girls of the community community should become the centre
228 B. H. MEHTA
of intellectual activities. Newspapers should to the rank and file of the people. This
be carefully selected to give information can be done easily through the organisation
and news that are local, national and of hobby clubs and workshops for the
. international. Books also should be carefully benefit of both sexes.
selected to give a high cultural level to
Asia ought to determine and solve the
the community and satisfy all the different problem of illiteracy, wherever "it exists,
mental tastes that are found in a highly within the next ten years. Vast masses of
evolved society. The library circle in the people yet exist, even in large cities and
community should not only make special towns, who are unable to read and write.
plans for stimulating reading, but also The 'each-one-teach-one' campaign can
encourage those with an aptitude for writing
achieve unique results, as actual experi-
to contribute articles, book reviews, etc., ments have shown, because literacy groups
to the community newspapers, wall news-
can be organised by the student population
papers and the local press.
in each country aided by the community
Youth activities in a healthy society centre authorities and the national adult
include a wise blend of physical, mental, education institute.
creative and cultural pursuits. Young people
A more ambitious programme of adult
of today are interested in national and world
education can be carried out through well-
problems. They demand freedom of thought,
organised community women's clubs and
and opportunities to express their fresh out-
men's recreation clubs. These clubs should
look on life. Study circles may, therefore, function during leisure hours.
be organised on the basis of interest, and
discussion groups, debating societies and
The women's clubs should provide
forums may also be organised for fostering opportunity for recreation and education
interest and developing knowledge on the in fundamental subjects of interest to
basic problems of life.
women like mother-craft, domestic economy,
home-crafts, etc., organised programmes
Youth is interested in art, especially for training in birth-control, child care,
folklore, music, painting, drama and cooking, tailoring, etc. Fancy work of all
handicraft. A revival of artistic activities in kinds not only provides recreation and
regional communities will raise the cultural education but also helps to supplement
level of the whole nation and create a new the income of . families and stimulate
generation of cultured citizens.
a healthy social life for women. Likewise,
the working man's recreation clubs can
Progress of science in the world today organise programmes of outdoor and indoor
has made it necessary to provide libraries, games, excursions and educational visits
laboratories and workshops for the benefit and .further help to organise co-operative
of every community group. Western nations
efforts of various kinds. Activities to aid
have stolen a march over Asian countries the economic life of the community may
through the application of science for the be organised through the initiative of clubs'
conquest of nature. However, some for men and women.
countries in Asia have already made
stupendous progress in the world of science
Modern media of publicity and pro-
and industry. We must democratise science paganda should be utilised for the purpose
and provide opportunities for technical of raising up quickly the intellectual level
and scientific experiments on a vast scale of well-organised community groups.
APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY PLANNING 229
Amongst these the 16 mm. film, and radio
(2) To create maximum earnings
must play the most effective part. Weekly
through right employment,
programmes of educational films will pro-
treatment of unemployment,
vide knowledge with amusement, and
and organising activities to sup-
blend recreation with education. The radio
plement existing incomes.
should bring to the community, through
(3) To reduce family expenditure.
the air, information and knowledge from
(4) To devise ways to adjust ex-
all over the world, whilst the various
penditure to income, and to
stations in each country should give special
meet any possible shortage
programmes for the benefit of community
which may lower the minimum
standard of living.
Each well-organised community group
The problem of economic poverty is
should own its own printing press and extensive in many countries of Asia. Whilst
publish its own community newspaper. national measures should be taken to
A good deal of further educational pro-
bring science to the aid of production, the
paganda must be done through specially small community must devise its own
prepared pamphlets and leaflets.
ways to maintain the firmness of the founda-
An intensive programme may also tions of economic life without which the
include specially organised lecture series, real prosperity of the human group, and
visits to places of historical, economic and the maintenance of a reasonable standard
cultural interest, and organised celebra-
of life become impossible.
tions of community and national holidays.
The regional community should aim
An active social life must thus be made at "full employment." This will mean the
the basis of community happiness and employment of men and women after
their completion of the preparation for
—Economic life in the work life through education and training.
community is related to the work life of The community should maintain a statisti-
men and women in fields and factories. cal and historical record of the work life
The regional may live outside the areas of of its members. Further, it should
work, and attend work places taking organise :—
advantage of public conveyances; or they
(1) Vocational guidance service to
may live near the place of work and walk
enable young men and women
to the place of employment; but where
to select proper vocations ac-
workshops exist together within the resi-
cording to their talents and abili-
dential area, it is possible to organise
regional industrial communities. This can
be done only if no factory of industry
(2) Vocational training groups in
proves an obstacle to the welfare of the
arts, crafts and business services.
(3) Community employment ser-
Social services to aid the economic
vice to find work for the able-
life of a community should have the
bodied persons who are un-
(1) To enable the community to
Vocational guidance includes elemen-
take advantage of its maximum tary instructions to young people about
available earning capacity.
the nature of work life that prevails in the
230 B. H. MEHTA
social environment to which the individual work of cases where the newly employed
belongs. They are informed about the person has to be adjusted to his new work
available fields of employment, the pre-
paration necessary for each one of them,
To overcome tragic consequences of
and the likely rewards and prospects poverty of millions of people all over
in the various vocations. Further, through Asia, it is imperative that organised regional
a series of intelligence and performance groups should be given every encourage-
tests, specific work tests and temperament ment and aid to become economically
tests, the natural inclinations, aptitudes independent. Three main types of economic
and talents of the individual are determined,
activities suggest themselves for improving
and guidance is given regarding the suita-
the earning capacity of families :—
bility of vocations for each individual.
(1) The organisation of home in-
The duty of providing vocational guidance
dustries and industrial co-oper-
should be performed by the director of
atives with a view to retain the
education of the community only in case
dignity of labour and the free-
this is not done through proper vocational
dom of the producer.
guidance bureau organised departmentally
or in the high schools.
(2) The creation of handicrafts,
industrial homes and work-
Vocational training of an elementary
houses in the community centre.
kind, sufficient to provide small income to
(3) The provision of work to
the unemployed or to handicapped in-
women and subsidiary earners
dividuals, or to supplement the income of
to supplement the income of the
families should be given through organised
vocational groups functioning under
qualified instructors. The vocations should
Germany and Japan, and many small
be selected to utilise raw materials easily countries of Europe have shown the value
available in the country, to supply the needs
and progress of small scale industries,
of the community and the local market, worked by electric power, for manufactu-
and to produce such articles that will ring whole articles, or parts of articles for
utilise any special talent that exists in the which there is a local demand. A large
number of articles can be manufactured in
small workshops using small power-driven
A well organised employment bureau machinery. But there are many lines of
is an asset in a regional community. It manufacture which do not require even a
may function independently, or it may power-drive.
work in co-operation with larger employ-
ment exchanges. Through the employment
Home industries require planned or-
bureau the community should make the ganisation and co-operative effort, so that
maximum effort to find employment and labour within an entire family can be
to keep unemployment at its lowest level. employed for the manufacture of specific
The work of the bureau must include parts which can be collected centrally in
registration of the unemployed, contacting workshops for the purpose of assembling,
sources providing employment, studying finishing, packing and marketing.
employment trends, contacting would-be
Handicrafts in Asia have reached a
employers on behalf of the unemployed, high level of quality production in the
systematic canvassing of jobs, and follow-up course of centuries, Mahatma Gandhi
APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY PLANNING 231
has made the spinning wheel the pivot of (2) co-operative consumers and credit
economic recovery. There are a large societies.
number of other handicrafts which are
Education of groups of adults, men
suitable for village and town life to create and women, in the art and science of living
self-sufficiency for local communities. In is necessary to make family life intelligent
cases of acute poverty, it is possible for and creative. This should especially refer
the State, municipal authorities, public to food, clothing and the expenditure
charity, or even local community initiative relating to the daily routine of life. In
to organise small workhouses to find and Eastern countries the uneconomic expen-
provide work, especially to the handicapped
diture over marriages, births, deaths, reli-
sections of a community. Such workhouses gious practices, etc., require a determined
are needed for women who cannot work and effective handling so that new and
the whole day, for the partially disabled more rational traditions which will not
and the mentally deficient, and for the upset the economic foundations of family
aged who have enough vitality left to work life, may be created. The next fundamental
according to their interest and ability.
practice that requires consideration is
In all cases where it is not possible that of 'booming' which creates most
to create special institutions for providing serious problem to private and indigenous
work, light work which can bring in a small banking to the greatest detriment of working
income, can be found for families. This may classes. The problem can only be solved by
include part-time work for women and eradicating the causes of indebtedness,
partially employed persons. Work may be eliminating the booming habit, and remo-
secured even for the student population ving the unorganised class of money-lenders.
to earn their way to higher education. But
Thus co-operative consumers' societies,
this particular type of work will only be and co-operative credit societies need to be
suitable for ill-organised and backward organised for the benefit of every regional
community, functioning with the aid of
It is not enough that organised com-
a democratic State and operating under its
munities should take measures to find supervision and control.
employment and increase the income of
Social authority and social organisation.
families. It is equally important to spread A regional community, organised on firm
the knowledge of domestic science even economic foundations, can easily evolve
to the lowest economic group so that by along democratic lines under the initiative
education and proper cultivation of habits,
and authority of its own leadership and
they may learn to maintain a decent organisation. It may not be possible to
standard of life within their income. The achieve this goal in the initial stage, as the
proper distribution of family income in plan has to develop under State and munici-
chawls contribute most to family welfare. pal auspices and finance, and be carried
The prevention of wasteful expenditure out under a trained executive consisting
and indebtedness, and the cultivation of of the housing superintendent, the medical
thrift and saving habits are necessary in officer, the director of physical welfare, the
order to maintain the economic equilibrium director of education, etc. But if the plan is
worked successfully for a number of years
The two main measures for the achieve-
and if special encouragement is given to
ment of this object are: (1) education and local initiative, talent and organisation, the
232 B. H. M E H T A
community will be able to reach gradually carefully selected and developed areas.
the goal of complete democracy.
These experiments will, no doubt, reveal
It is presumed that large scale applica-
difficulties and handicaps, but they will, at
tion of the plan of regional communal the same time, indicate the lines on which
development may not be feasible immediate-
secure foundation can be laid not only
ly because of the lack of resources and for the new era in Asian renaissance but
trained leadership; but it will prove useful also for the steady and prosperous growth
to organise experimental social groups in of large human communities.