Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rural Development

Around 70 percent of India's population lives in rural areas. A rural area is often characterized by an agrarian society, conservative mindset, heavy population pressure on land etc.

Rural Development refers to improving the quality of life of people living in rural areas. This means a holistic development in terms of social and economic parameters.

Why is rural development important?
a) It will lead to an overall development of the economy - Since rural areas are inhabited by millions of people, their prosperity will generate greater demand for manufactured goods and services.

b) It will generate jobs in rural areas - Disguised Unemployment seems to be a major constraint in the development of rural areas. With rural development, enough jobs are expected to be generated which will tackle this problem.

c) It will lead to reduction of poverty - Rural areas are home to a large number of poor of India. Rural Development will of course lead to reduction in poverty by generation of greater employment opportunities.

d) It will solve the problem of haphazard rural to urban migration - If sufficient jobs are created in the rural areas, then the migration of people from rural to urban areas will also be contained. This will indirectly tackle the problems emerging out of rapid urbanization in India.

Various schemes are in place to encourage the development of rural areas. Some of the most important ones are the MGNREGA, IAY, etc.

The fund allocation for rural development has seen a tremendous increase with every subsequent Five-Year Plan. Despite this, the conditions have not improved significantly.

How to achieve rural development?
a) Improving Infrastructure - Both physical and social infrastructure are lacking in rural areas. Improvement in infrastructure will lead to greater agricultural productivity as well as encourage manufacturers to establish industries there.

b) Human Development - Education and Healthcare are the key to human development. This will make them more employable as well as unleash their entrepreneurial potential.

c) Greater thrust on food processing - Food Processing industries are particularly suitable for rural areas and have great employment potential. Besides, the source of raw material is also available close-by.

d) Proper Implementation of Centrally-Sponsored Schemes - Implementation of schemes has been lackadaisical which has resulted in wastage of enormous funds without making the desired impact. Schemes need to be properly introduced and properly implemented.

With these measures, we can hope to see changes in the profile of our villages soon enough.

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