THIS CHAPTER DEALS WITH THE ECONOMIC TRENDS pertaining to production, prices, wages, etc., as reflected in the standard of living enjoyed by different levels of income-groups in the district. As a matter of fact, the economic trends at the district level do not vary widely from those prevailing in the country as a whole because the economic policies of the national Government are found to shape the district economy also. The policies pertaining to production, labour, capital, marketing, supplies, purchasing power of the currency unit, and taxation, which are intended to shape the national economic forces, have salient effects on the district life as a whole. District is too small an area to have an independent character in a planned development unless it possesses unique natural advantages. The trends in economic life of a district are bound to keep pace with those of the nation. The forces in the economic mechanism of a district have to be more or less in consonance with those of the country.

However, some geographical, historical and economic factors give rise to regional imbalances with the result that some districts develop peculiarities of their own. The pattern of economic life in a particular district may not tend to keep pace with the one in the country. The principles of regional planning which are gaining ground in Maharashtra also point to the existence of regional imbalance in development. This has further emphasised the need of district planning within the frame-work of State planning.

Hence it is of great interest and of immense value to study the economic trends in a district. Such a study is significant because of other reasons also. In a developing economy geared up by the Five-Year Plans, the economic life undergoes momentous changes. An evaluation of such changes is essential as a basis for future planning.

At the same time it is interesting to analyse the results of the active utilisation of the existing resources which is best reflected in the standard of living of the people. The standard of living enjoyed by the masses, which is a measure of economic prosperity, depends upon a multiplicity of factors. Optimum utilisation of the available factors of production in relation to the total population of the country is a sine qua non of a higher standard of living. As such, availability of ample natural resources, external factors of production, optimum population and sound economic policies inter-act upon one another and determine the standard of living. It is best reflected in the size and pattern of income and expenditure.

The economy of the district witnessed numerous changes during the course of the present century. Though the basic structure of the rural economy did not undergo changes of a basic nature, the economic face has changed considerably since the beginning of this century. The process of economic growth gathered a momentum during the post-planning period. The First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War and the post-war economic crisis were the most significant events shaping the economic condition of the people in this country. These events in the national and international fields had a definite impact on the district life as well. The Five-Year Plans ushered in an era of economic and social development. The development programmes under the plans have been making a progressive impact on the various sectors of the district economy. The vitalising effect of the same is particularly perceptible in the fields of agriculture, industries, commerce, communications, public health, education, etc. The family planning movement has also brought about an awareness which will go to improve the economic conditions in the future.