• Vanssh Kapoor

Rural Development- by Vanssh Kapoor

Updated: Sep 10

Aim of the Project: Rural development with special emphasis on the various challenges and its future prospects.

Introduction

Significance of rural development for the growth of the Indian economy.

Rural development usually relates to the method of enhancing the quality of life and financial well-being of an individual specifically living in populated and remote areas.

Traditionally rural development is centered on the misuse of land-intensive natural resources such as forestry and agriculture. But today, increasing urbanisation and change in global production, networks have transformed the nature of rural areas.

Today, rural development still remains the core of the overall development of the country. It has become more than two-thirds of the country’s people is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and one-third of rural India is still below the poverty line. Therefore, it is important for the government to be productive and provide enough facility to upgrade their standard of living. Rural development is a complete term that concentrates on the action taken for the development of rural areas improve the village economy. However, few areas that demand more focused attention and new initiatives are-

  • Education

  • Public Health and Sanitation

  • Women Empowerment

  • Infrastructure Development (E.g. electricity, irrigation, etc.)

  • Facilities for agriculture extension and research

  • Availability of Credit

  • Employment opportunity

  • Improvement of facilities

Rural development is important not only for the majority of the population residing in a rural area but the growth of rural activities is necessary to stimulate the speed of overall economic expansion of the nation.

Rural development is pretended to be noticeable importance in the country today than in the olden days in the process of the evolution of the nation. It is a strategy trying to obtain improved rural creation and productivity, higher socio-economic equality, and ambition, stability in social and economic development.

Agriculture is still the major source of livelihood in the rural areas. More than two-thirds of India’s population depends on it. So, the development of agriculture will contribute to the betterment of rural areas and rural people. Majority of the poor people lives in rural areas. They do not have access to basic necessities of life like a proper meal, health facilities, sanitation, etc.

The primitive task is to decrease the famine roughly about 70 percent of the rural population, implement sufficient and healthy food. Later, serve fair equipment of clothing and footwear, a clean environment and house, medical attention, recreational provision, education, transport, and communication.

Indian Government Measures to Improve Agriculture Marketing

In view, of the defective agricultural marketing system in India, it is absolutely essential that the marketing system is improved. Fortunately, the government in the country-both central and state are aware of the problem. It has taken a number of measures to improve the agriculture marketing in India.

Before Independence, farmers while selling their products to traders experienced massive incorrect weighing and manipulation of accounts. The farmers who did not have required information about the prices and were forced to sell at low prices with no proper storage facility. Sometimes, the product could be sold at a weekly village market in the farmer’s village or in a neighbouring village. If these shops are not available, then the product is sold at irregular markets in a nearby village or town. So, the government took various measures to control the activities of the traders.

Establishment of regulated markets -The initial step was to regulate the market and plan a clean, transparent and simple marketing strategy. This regulation helped both the farmers and the consumer. But it still needs to realize the full potential of rural markets.

Uniform standard weights- In order to regulate the system of weights, the government passed the standard weights and measures act in 1958, making the use of government approved weights compulsory

Storage and warehousing facilities- The second measure was the procurement process like transportation facilities, warehouse, cold storage, go downs, and the processing unit. However, the current infrastructure is inadequate to adhere to the growing demand and therefore needs to be improved.

Marketing information- The third aspect is to decide on the fair price for the product. In the past, it has been a setback due to the unequal coverage of farmer members and the absence of a suitable link between marketing, processing cooperatives, and inefficient financial management. Presently, more than 3200 markets from all over the country

National Agriculture market (NAM)- The present NDA government has started a scheme for setting up of a NAM. It aims at setting up of a common e-market platform to be deployed in selected regulated wholesale markets in various states. This is helping in bringing together different agriculture markets.

State trading in food grains- State trading in food grains has been introduced to centralise the movement of food grains and also to assist the farmers in securing reasonable prices. State trading is carried out by the food departments of the central and state governments and also by the food corporation of India. Food corporation of India undertakes the purchase, storage, distribution and sale of food grains in the country.

Rural development means an action-plan for the economic and social upliftment of rural areas. It aims at improving the quality of life of people living in villages. It focuses on the action for the development of areas that are lagging behind in the overall development of the village economy. In additions, the government has taken various steps to provide efficient transport management, better financial facilities, etc., to improve agriculture marketing.

Role and progress of cooperative marketing

Cooperative marketing societies have been started in the country with the purpose, in addition to other purposes, of marketing the surplus produce of the farmers. These societies collect the surplus produce of the members and nonmembers cultivators who are willing to sell their produce, process and grade them, store them, transport and sell them as and when it is advantages to sell. They help the farmers in getting fair price for their produce.

Increases bargaining strength of the farmers- If the farmers join hands and form a cooperative society, they will be able to increase their bargaining strength because their produce will now be marketed by single agency.

Easier and cheaper transport- This reduces the cost and botheration of transporting produce to the market. Sometimes societies have their own transport facilities.

Storage facilities- The cooperative marketing societies generally have storage facilities. Thus, the farmers can wait for better prices; also, there is no danger to their crop from rains, rodents and thefts.

Grading and standardisation- This task can be done more easily for a cooperative agency than for an individual farmer. For this purpose, they can seek assistance from the government or can even evolve their own grading arrangements.

Market intelligence- The cooperatives can arrange to obtain data on market prices, demand and supply and other related information from the markets on a regular basis and can plan their activities accordingly.

Two types of cooperative marketing structures are found in India. Under the first type, there is a two-tier system with primary societies at the base and the State society at the apex. Under the second type, there is a three- tier system with primary societies at the village level, Central marketing societies at the district level, and the State marketing society at the apex.

At present, the cooperative marketing structure comprises 2,633 general purpose primary cooperative marketing societies at the Mandi level, covering all the important mandis in the country, 3,290 specialized primary marketing societies for oilseeds, etc., 172 district Central Federations and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd., (NAFED) at the national level. NAFED is the apex cooperative marketing organization dealing in procurement, distribution, export and import of selected agricultural commodities.

It can be concluded that cooperative marketing is very essential in promoting the agriculture produce because cooperative marketing reduces the cost of marketing and arranges good price to the participants of cooperative marketing.

Rural credit

Rural economy growth generally depends on the funds, from one interval to another interval, to understand high-rise productivity in non-agriculture and agriculture areas. The interval gap from sowing the seed to the understanding of post-production revenue is comparatively long, the farmers lend money from different fronts to match the primary investment on fertilisers, seeds, tools, and other personal expenses.

Post-independence, traders and moneylenders took advantages of poor peasants and landless workers by lending money to them on huge-interest rates and also influencing their accounts and trap them.

In the year 1969, India started social banking and different agencies who could provide funds to satisfy the requirements of rural credit. Later in the year 1982, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) was formed as an apex body to regulate and organize all the financial activities concerning rural financial system. This becomes more concrete when the Green Revolution came into begin and changed the credit system of the country, resulting in a productive lead of rural credit.

Today, rural banking includes a set of various financial institutions, particularly, regional rural banks (RRBs), cooperatives, commercial banks, Self-Help group, and land development banks. They assign sufficient credit at cheaper interest rates.

Challenges of rural development

The Rural development generally refers to the process of improving the quality of life and economic welfare of people living in relatively isolated and sparsely populated areas. India is emerging as a major power economy and our cities and urban centers are beginning to display marks of affluence. Unfortunately, our development is lopsided. The rural hinterlands are not able to march in tandem with urban India. About 69% of the country’s total population continues to live in rural India There is no trickledown effect. The benefits of economic growth are not percolating to more than two–thirds of the people. The vital sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure development, and community and social services, and in rural development as a whole, our performance is not appreciable.

Economic development in any country to a greater extent depends on rural development and it assists the economy to grow and sustain. In the rural area's agriculture is the main source of livelihood to the people. There is a direct relationship between agriculture production, income and the demand for industrial goods. People living in the rural areas have to struggle to earn wages or are forced to migrate to urban areas. The migration pattern varies with the region, opportunities and socio–economic status of the families. The poorest families, particularly the landless and marginal holders owning poor quality land tend to migrate with the entire family. Many tribal families migrate to cities as construction workers and return at the onset of the rains.

Such migrations severely affect the quality of life, due to poor health, lack of education and social pressures leading to erosion of moral values. The major problems consist of the agriculture, the ownership of the land, the lack of cottage industries, lack of education social evils, death of animal, wealth, bad wealth and so on.

The major problems that have been identified are, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, homelessness and crime and violence. Poverty is the condition, when the individuals experience scarcity of resources that are necessary to sustain their living conditions appropriately. Illiteracy is when individuals do not possess the basic literacy skills of reading, writing and numeracy. Due to lack of literacy skills, they certainly experience problems in the implementation of tasks and activities. Unemployment is, when individuals do not have any job or work. Homelessness is a condition, when they do not have proper housing accommodation. In rural communities, it is unfortunate that women and girls are the ones, who in most cases experience criminal and violent acts. These include, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual harassment, neglect and discriminatory treatment. Therefore, in order to alleviate these problems and enhance the livelihoods opportunities of rural individuals, there have been formulation of measures and programs that have the main objective of promoting well-being of rural individuals.

Prospects of rural development

The primary area to improve should be providing employment in rural areas and improving the productivity of the agricultural sector. Often villages in our countries are not in sync with the urban areas because of bad connectivity. Eventually, this leads to segregation and a social divide between urban and rural areas. In essence, the infrastructure of rural areas should drastically improve. Even after so many years of Independence, stigmas like the caste system still have a grip on rural people.

Quality education can help in achieving the goal of eradication of such social evils. The dwindling literacy rates in rural India, especially for females, are a major matter of concern. There is a need for land and technical reforms. Modern technologies like organic farming should be incorporated to improve outputs and profits. Lastly, people should be given access to easy credit and loans by improving the banking system in rural areas.

It can be easily concluded, that for the development of an economy in both rural and urban areas need to be focused upon. Rural areas need drastic changes in areas like infrastructure credit availability, literacy, poverty eradication, etc. The schemes that are already in place with the aim of rural development need a new outlook and proper updating. Accordingly, the government needs to act for the upliftment of rural India.

Conclusion

Is the Indian government able to achieve the objectives behind rural development?

India has taken various measures to bolster the rural economy but the efficacy of the schemes would depend upon their implementation. The prospects for rural development are encouraging in the current year and hoped that the general elections will increase attention to rural areas where the majority of voters live.

The rural economy is an integral part of the overall Indian economy. As majority of the poor reside in the rural areas, the prime goal of rural development is to improve the quality of life of the rural people by alleviating poverty through the instrument of self-employment and wage employment programmes, by providing community infrastructure facilities such as drinking water, electricity, road connectivity, health facilities, rural housing and education and promoting decentralisation of powers to strengthen the Panchayati raj institutions etc.

The various strategies and programs of the Government for rural development are discussed below:

Wage Employment Programs: Anti-poverty strategies, like assistance to the rural poor families to bring them above the poverty line by ensuring appreciable sustained level of income through the process of social mobilisation, training and capacity building. Wage Employment Programs have sought to achieve multiple objectives. They not only provide employment opportunities during lean agricultural seasons but also in times of floods, droughts and other natural calamities.

Food for Work Program: The Food for Work program was started in 2000-01 as a component of the EAS in eight notified drought-affected states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttaranchal. The program aims at food provision through wage employment. Food grains are supplied to states free of cost.

Land Reforms: In an agro-based economy, the structure of land ownership is central to the wellbeing of the people. The government has strived to change the ownership pattern of cultivable land, the abolition of intermediaries, the abolition of zamindari, ceiling laws, security of tenure to tenants, consolidation of land holdings and banning of tenancy are a few measures undertaken.

What should be the future course of action specially in the present situation of COVID - CRISIS?

Maintaining a steady state of low-level or no transmission is important because, as the pandemic has spread, its public health and socioeconomic impacts have been profound, and have disproportionately affected the vulnerable. Many populations have already experienced a lack of access to routine, essential health services. Migrants, refugees, displaced populations, and residents of high-density and informal settlements, are at a particularly high risk from the interruption of already limited health and social services.

Everyone has a crucial role to play in stopping COVID-19-

  • Individuals must protect themselves and others by adopting behaviours such as washing hands, avoiding touching their face, practicing good respiratory etiquette, individual level distancing, isolating in a community facility or at home if they are sick

  • Governments must lead and coordinate the response across party lines to enable and empower all individuals and communities to own the response through communication, education, engagement, capacity building and support. Governments must give the health system the support it needs to treat patients with COVID‑19 effectively and maintain other essential health and social services for all.

It can be easily concluded, that for the development of an economy in both rural and urban areas need to be focused upon. Rural areas need drastic changes in areas like infrastructure, credit availability, literacy, poverty eradication, etc. The schemes that are already in place with the aim of rural development need a new outlook and proper updating. Accordingly, the government needs to act for the upliftment of rural India.

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