UP’s ‘ODOP’ scheme a big step towards ‘economic nationalism’

The scheme of One District One Product (ODOP) was launched in Uttar Pradesh in 2018. The scheme aims to spend Rs 25,000 crore which will provide employment to 25 lakh people in the five years. The need for the ODOP scheme was felt because the development policies concentrated more on the urban settlements, leaving the […]

The scheme of One District One Product (ODOP) was launched in Uttar Pradesh in 2018. The scheme aims to spend Rs 25,000 crore which will provide employment to 25 lakh people in the five years. The need for the ODOP scheme was felt because the development policies concentrated more on the urban settlements, leaving the rural area desolate and lagging behind particularly for the young.

The ODOP scheme promotes balanced socio-economic development of the region. The three basic principles of the ODOP scheme are self-reliance and creativity, human resources development and thinking locally but acting globally. Another important aspect is the marketing and creating a brand value of the products. Many products covered under the ODOP scheme have been manufactured since generations but their reach is limited to a specific market.

ODOP is similar to the One Village One Product (OVOP) scheme launched for regional development in Japan in 1979. The scheme aimed at adding value to locally available resources.

The OVOP scheme has been exported and experimented by different countries of the world. The countries have made modifications according to the local requirements. Therefore, we have many variations of the previously implemented OVOP scheme. For instance, the land-locked country of Malawi implemented it in 2003. The projects concentrated on dairy products from jams and breads to oyster mushrooms. The OVOP scheme in Malawi has opened the doors for the products to international markets which were earlier sold in domestic markets. This has helped in earning higher exchange value for the producers.

 The OVOP programme has focussed on increasing the Gross National Satisfaction (GNS) besides the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Another variant of the OVOP scheme was the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) scheme launched in Thailand by the Thai government in 2000. Tambon is an administrative unit in Thailand just like a district. In Thai societies the OTOP programme was seen as development of the rural society which was to act as a shock absorber for the reverse migration prevalent during that time. The rural society was dependent on the rich natural resources and the strong socio-cultural belief deeply rooted in the Thai culture.

The OVOP programme was based on the bottom-up approach relying heavily on government-communityprivate sector partnership. However, the OTOP programme was implemented by the Thai government with strict guidelines for product development and marketing. OTOP, unlike OVOP, was part of the dual strategy adopted by the Thai government for increasing competitiveness and product development.

The ODOP scheme aims to focus on a specific product and gain competitive advantage to face international competition. Each district is also to be assigned a product under ‘Ek Zila Ek Utpadan’ scheme. The district’s signature industry will be the focus of this scheme. The scheme is in alignment with the country’s target of reaching a $5 trillion economy by 2024. The scheme will help the state reach the target of $ 1 trillion by 2024. Certain districts which do not have any signature industry can focus on the growth of agriculture and allied sectors. Some of the districts covered and the products are: Agra (Leather Products), Auraiya (Food Processing-Desi Ghee), Ayodhya (Jaggery), Bahraich (Handicrafts), Bhadohi (Carpet), Chandoli (Zari-Zardozi), Chitrakoot (Wooden Toys), Ghazipur (Jute Wall Hangings), Jaunpur (Woollen Carpets), Lucknow (Chickankari), Mathura (Sanitary Fittings), Prayagraj (Moonj Products) and Varanasi (Banarasi Silk Sari), etc.

ODOP will enhance the inclusive development of the entire state. The scheme will give a boost to the small, medium and traditional industries. The state government has collaborated with the eretailer Amazon for marketing of its products. Recently Flipkart has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the ‘Flipkart Samarth’ initiative with the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The Flipkart will provide incubation support in form of free cataloguing, marketing, account management and warehousing support. The collaboration will help artisans, weavers and craftsmen to come into mainstream business. The Quality Council of India (QCI) is looking after the standards of the manufactured product and makes it globally competitive. The scheme is providing support to the central government’s scheme of ‘Vocal for Local’. The state of Uttar Pradesh can gain from the global scenario of the US-China trade war and the ‘Boycott China’ campaign. In hard times like the pandemic of Covid-19 the scheme is helpful in generating gainful employment for the skilled and semi-skilled workers.

Why is Uttar Pradesh important for the economy? The ODOP scheme aims to increase the GDP of the state by 2 per cent. The state needs to create a unique scheme (probably ODOP can give the needed boost to the state economy and the Indian economy) aimed at increasing the composition of Gross Value Added (GVA) and the human capital development. The state of Uttar Pradesh has a large youth population which needs to be mobilised to increase economic productivity. The ODOP scheme enhances the quality, diversity and exportability of the products to make them globally competitive.

Uttar Pradesh is a producer of products which are found nowhere else — ‘Kala Namak’ rice, rare wheatstalk craft, Chikankari and Zari-Zardozi work on clothes. Most of these products are GI-tagged already recognising them as specific to the region. Some of the products are already being used by the people without recognising its uniqueness. One important aspect of the ODOP programme is ‘empowering the localities’. The scheme trains producers in agro-processing, quality control and packaging. Training in marketing of the products can be helpful in creating strong branding for the products. The ODOP projects transform the local environment and make it attractive for tourists. Product originality and uniqueness are the key components to gain face competition from other items of similar nature. The Indian economy is on the path of generational transformation and many great leaps need to be taken to achieve the set goals in the next five years. The ODOP scheme is one such step towards gaining ‘economic nationalism’ for the country.

Siddharth Singh is Assistant Professor of Economics at Department of Economics, DAV, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. Kunwar Pushpendra Pratap Singh is journalist and expert on international relations.