India is emerging as a major power with the economy registering high growth rates and our cities and urban centres beginning to display marks of affluence. Yet, there is no uniform development, the rural hinterland not being able to march in tandem with urban India. More than 70 per cent of our people live in villages 80 per cent of our poor also live in rural areas. The benefits of economic growth are not percolating to more than two-thirds of the people. The visible symbols of development should not make us forget the problems of the rural areas.
The Indian economy is the fourth largest in the world, but the growth pattern is not uniform. While the rate of growth for manufacturing, services, and communications sectors has substantially improved, in vital sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure development, and community and social services, and in rural development as a whole, our performance is not appreciable.
Without the development of rural people, the country can never claim to be developed. In recent years, agricultural growth has fallen and so have investment and profitability of agriculture, net sown area under crops, and the area under irrigation. According to the Economic Survey 2006-2007, low yield per unit area across almost all crops has become a regular feature.
Rural India is in crisis. As Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, the distinguished agricultural economist, said, “The agrarian crisis has its roots in the collapse of the rural economy… Unemployment leading to out-migration of the asset-less is growing. The minimum support price mechanism is not operating for most commodities. At every level of the livelihood security system, there is a tendency to make profit out of poverty. Something is terribly wrong in the countryside… ”
Today, finding themselves helpless in the face of adversities of various kinds, the peasantry in parts of the country is resorting to extreme measures. Repeated crop failures due to unpredictable climatic variations, inability to meet the rising cost of cultivation, and the increasing debt burden are among the factors leading to frustration. In such a scenario, meeting the challenges of rural reconstruction becomes a formidable and priority task.
Agriculture being the mainstay of our economy, it is imperative that we have a comprehensive and time-bound programme to extricate the sector from stagnation, if not deceleration. Larger irrigation facilities, better seeds and agri-inputs, and fertilizer at reasonable costs will have to be provided to farmers, along with finance and infrastructural and marketing facilities. Agriculture must become an income generating activity and farmers should not be left to the vicissitudes of weather, financial resources, and markets.
To increase productivity and employment generation in the sector, there is a need to bring about structural changes, primarily based on land reforms, as support prices and provision of cheap credit do not help beyond a point. Experience has shown that providing the poor with access to land is not anti-growth. In the rural growth strategy, the dynamism of small family farms plays an important role.
Problems in Rural Development
As we know the 60-70% of rural population in India live in primitive conditions. This sorry state exists even after 60 years of independence. There are many obstacles in the rural development programmes as shown below:
- 1. There is still no electricity supply in many villages.
- Many rural peoples using primitive methods of cooking, living and farming
- By using primitive cooking stoves, around 300,000 death / year takes plan due to pollution.
- 54% of India’s population is below 25 years and most of them live in rural areas with very little employment opportunities.
- Literacy is the major problem in rural development programmes.
- Untrained, unskilled, inexperienced staff in extension linkage cannot provide satisfactory help to rural peoples.
- Everyone wants to go to the cities, so rural people’s remains ignored by the policy makers.
- Privatization concept is useful for rural development but, government not paying much attention to this aspect.