In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Introduction to Rural Development 2. Meaning and Definition of Rural Development 3. Analysis of Concept 4. Basic Elements 5. Objectives 6. Approaches 7. Importance 8. Policies and Strategies 9. Changing Scenario 10. Constraints/Problems.
- Introduction to Rural Development
- Meaning and Definition of Rural Development
- Analysis of Concept of Rural Development
- Basic Elements of Rural Development
- Objectives of Rural Development
- Approaches of Rural Development in India
- Importance of Rural Development in India
- Policies and Strategies of Rural Development
- Changing Scenario in Agricultural Extension
- Constraints/Problems in Rural Development
1. Introduction to Rural Development:
The term rural development is becoming a buzz word all over the world. As most of the people on earth live in rural areas, development in true sense cannot be expected without addressing the basic necessities of this huge population. In the era of modern science and technology, large amount of population in rural areas are still deprived of adequate nutrition, good education, proper communication, and social justice. Therefore, rural development is gaining importance in both the developed and developing countries.
However, till today, there is no universally acceptable definition of rural development. As a concept, rural development is comprehensive and multidimensional. It means improving the quality of life of the people living in rural areas through agriculture and allied activities. As a phenomenon, rural development is the result of interactions between various physical, technological, economic, socio-cultural and institutional factors.
For instance, if we want to develop rural area through agricultural activities, there is a need to think of changing the attitude of farmers toward modem agriculture; introduction of HYV of crops, mechanization of farming, use of fertilizers, pesticides; formation of SHGs for microfinance; training of farmers for building capacities in modern agriculture; improvement of roads and communication system, provision of electricity, market etc. Therefore, it calls for a holistic approach of development.
As a strategy, rural poor are always targeted in rural development. As a discipline, it has close relationship with subjects like agriculture and allied sciences, social sciences, health sciences, engineering and management sciences.
According to UN, rural development is a process which leads to a continuous rise in the capacity of the rural people to control their environment accompanied by a wider distribution of benefits resulting from such control.
Robert Chambers (1983) opined that rural development is a strategy to enable a specific group of people, poor rural women and men, to gain for themselves and their children more of what they want and need. It involves helping the poorest among those who seek a livelihood in the rural areas to demand and control more of the benefits of the rural development. The group also includes small scale farmers, tenants and the landless.
Thus, rural development may be defined in many ways depending upon our focus and attention. However, successful rural development aims at improving the quality of life of the poor rural people through technological intervention, forming, modifying or strengthening new and old institutions and organizations for building their capacities, providing better communication facilities and implementing government policies and programmes.
The term rural development combines two words Rural and Development.
The term Rural and Development is used in different ways as given below:
i. As a concept – Development of Rural areas
ii. As a phenomenon – Interaction between institutional factors
iii. As a Strategy – Approach to bring positive change in rural life
According to International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, there is a broad general consensus that the term rural refers emphatically to population living in the area of low density and to small settlements.
“The term development, according to Lale (1975) – is a process of improving standards of the masses of the low income population residing in rural areas making the process of rural development self-sustaining”.
Definitions of Rural Development:
According to Agarwal (1989) Rural Development is a strategy to improve the economic and social life of a specific group of people- the rural poor, including small and marginal farmers, tenants and landless.
According to World Bank rural development is a strategy designed to improve the economic and social life of a specific group of people by extending the benefits of development to the poorest among those who seek livelihood in the rural areas.
According to National Commission on Agriculture rural development means development of an area and the people through optimum development and utilization of local resources by bringing about necessary institutions, structures and attitudinal changes and by delivering package of services to improve all fields of the rural poor and rural weak.
The term rural development is a subset of the broader term “Development”. However we define it, development is a universally cherished goal of individuals, families, communities and nations all over the world. Development is also natural in the sense that all forms of life on Planet Earth have an inherent urge to survive and develop.
Given these two attributes, i.e., its universal supremacy as a goal and its natural occurrence, development deserves a scientific study and analysis. Hence, it is not surprising that the subject of development has been studied by scholars of all faiths, ideologies and disciplines.
According to World Bank (1975) – the rural development in general terms, is a strategy designed to improve economic and social life of people in a rural settlement and in particular, it focuses attention on the rural poor comprising the small and marginal farmers, tenants and landless labourers.
Rural development is the dynamic process of development of the rural people through various programmes and projects so that they can become self-reliant citizens of the country. The work is done by involving various agencies and organizations, and above all, the local people themselves.
It involves extending the benefits of development to the poorest among those who seek a livelihood in the rural areas. The group includes small scale farmers, tenants and the landless. As a phenomenon, rural development is the end result of interaction between various physical, technological, economic, socio-cultural and institutional factors.
Motivate the people for adoption. As a strategy, it is designed to improve the economic and social wellbeing of a specific group of people – the rural poor. As a discipline, it is multidisciplinary in nature, representing an interaction of agricultural, social, behavioral, engineering and management sciences.
Robert Chambers (1983) defined that “Rural development is a strategy to enable a specific group of people, poor rural women and men, to gain for themselves and their children more of what they want and need. It involves helping the poorest among those who seek a livelihood in the rural areas to demand and control more of the benefits of rural development. The group includes small-scale farmers, tenants and landless.”
Rural Development is a process of developing and utilizing natural and human resources, technologies, infrastructural facilities, institutions and organizations, government policies and programmes to encourage and speed up economic growth in rural areas, to create jobs and to improve the quality of rural life towards self-sustenance. Ultimate objective of rural development is improving the quality of life of rural poor and the rural weak.
The concept of rural development can be analysed as follows:
i. It is a process of building capacities of rural people. The capacity may be build up in all aspects of life which includes socio-economic, cultural, educational and political.
ii. It ensures the increased ability of the poor rural mass to have control over their environment and resources rather than being passive object of external control and manipulations.
iii. It also ensures the participation of rural people in all developmental activities. There is an increasing concern all over the world that the poor, the needy, the unprivileged, the weaker section of the society should take active part in development process, so that, they can fully enjoy the benefits of development.
There are at least three basic elements as given by Singh (1986) which are considered to constitute the true meaning of development.
In order to survive, people have certain basic needs. These basic necessities include food, shelter and clothing. Besides, health care facilities and security are also important needs. Providing these basic necessities to all the people is of vital importance for economic growth, which is a prerequisite for development.
Every person and every nation seeks some basic form of self-respect, dignity and honour. Absence or denial of self-esteem indicates a lack of development initiatives.
Freedom not only refers to political or ideological freedom, but also freedom from ignorance and superstitions. Man should be free from all bondages and should live in harmony with nature.
The objectives are:
i. Providing goods and services in terms of social and economic infrastructure.
ii. Increasing the income of every rural family on a self-sustaining basis.
iii. Creation of additional employment opportunities in rural areas.
iv. It implies a broad based reorganization and mobilization of the rural masses so as to enhance their capacity to cope effectively with the daily tasks of their lives and with changes consequent upon this.
v. Improvement of services or rural masses in the process.
vi. Improvement of know-how, which is to be implemented to the rural people.
According to Singh (1998), the main objectives of rural development in all societies, irrespective of their economic, political and socio-cultural systems are:
i. To make available and improve the distribution of life- sustaining goods, such as food, clothes, shelter, health and security.
ii. To raise per capita purchasing power and improve its distribution by providing better education, productive and remunerative jobs and cultural amenities.
iii. To expand the range of economic and social choices to individuals by freeing them from servitude and dependence.
The objectives of rural development are manifold. It manifests through the different activities taken up by different societies.
However, in almost all societies, following objectives are considered vital for all-round development of rural people:
i. Rural people must have the access to the basic life-sustaining articles, such as, food, shelter and clothing. It must be made available to the rural people. Besides, there must be provision for sound health care facilities and also social security. In absence of these, rural development can hardly be achieved.
ii. The improved standard of living of poor rural people as result of development initiatives must be reflected in increased purchasing power, better education to children, and greater attention to cultural and philanthropic activities. More job opportunities should be created for the rural people to live a better life.
iii. There must be a gradual reformation of society from slavery and dependency to social and economic choice by the individual and thereby empower themselves to determine their own fate.
IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) identified the following objectives of rural development:
i. Improving the standard of living of rural people by providing food, shelter, clothing, employment and education.
ii. Increasing productivity in rural areas for reducing rural poverty.
iii. Ensuring peoples’ participation in planning and development through decentralization of administration.
iv. Ensuring distributive justice and equalization of opportunities in society.
In order to attain the objectives of rural development, different approaches need to be followed. However, there is no single universally acceptable approach of rural development. Since, development itself is a long term process; strategies are evolved to solve the rural problems. The problems of rural people are many and approaches for their solutions also vary according to situation and magnitude. There are various schools of thought which perceive the approach of development differently and put their emphasis in different set of factors in their theories.
Let us explain some important approaches of rural development taken up in India:
i. Rural Development Projects and Programmes:
Rural development projects are micro level efforts to bring about desirable changes in rural areas. However, rural development programmes involve a large number of projects which are aligned to one another, so that; they affect various facts of rural economic and social life. Rural development programmes attempt to bring about changes in a wider areas affecting large number of people.
ii. Community Development Programme:
The community development programme initiated in the year 1952 made an attempt to increase involvement of rural people in development process. It laid emphasis on building of infrastructure in rural areas with the active involvement of people through organizational set up of National Extension Services.
iii. Package Approach:
In order to increase agricultural production per se in the country, this approach was adopted. Popularly known as package programme, emphasis was given on application of all improved practices, such as seeds, fertilizers, irrigation, plant protection measures and use of improved agricultural implements. The programme like Intensive Agricultural District Programme (IADP), Intensive Agricultural Area Programme (IAAP), High Yielding Varieties Programme (HYVP) are good example of such approach.
iv. Area Approach:
In this approach, specific areas were targeted for development initiatives. The areas which needs specific attention for certain problems to tackle were selected in this approach. The Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP), Command Area Development Programme (CADP) are some of the major initiatives under this approach.
v. Target Approach:
The poor, unprivileged section of the society deprived of the benefits from package programme, were selected under this approach. The Small Farmers Development Agency (SFDA), Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labourers (MFAL) were some of the programmes under this approach.
vi. Integrated Rural Development:
There is a fair amount of disagreement among the rural development experts in defining the concept of Integrated Rural Development. The rural economy and social structure in most of the developing countries is characterised by widespread poverty, poor health conditions, illiteracy, exploitation, inequitable distribution of land and other assets and lack of rural infrastructure and public utility. Therefore, the problem requires an approach that will take into account all these factors in devising a comprehensive strategy to foster development in rural areas.
vii. Grass Root Level Approach or Local Level Participation in Rural Development:
There is a paradigm shift of approach in rural development in recent times. The efforts are more people-centric and situation specific. It is because of the fact that the problem of the rural areas varies with the situation to situation and problems need to be solved locally using available resources. Hence, ensuring people’s participation in all development efforts is becoming a prerequisite for any rural development initiative.
The implications of these efforts are:
(a) Suppression of elitist elements in rural areas so that the poor people can reap the benefits of development. It was observed that the fruits of the development initiatives in the post-independence era were eaten up by the rural elites. The poor, who constitutes the larger sections of the Indian society, remained untouched. As a result impact of development efforts was found to be very less. Therefore, in grass root level approach of development, the poor, the deprived class of people are given due importance.
(b) Stressing the importance of self-development rather than foreign aid;
(c) Using education as a tool to enable the people to organize themselves to bring changes in the society.
(d) The top-down approaches are proved to be anti-poor and therefore there is a great demand for pro-poor bottom-up approach.
a. Social Significance:
i. Innumerable rural problems
ii. Social change
iii. Best utilization of resources
iv. Infrastructural facilities
b. Economic Significance:
i. National Income
ii. Employment and Source of livelihood
iii. Fuel and fodder
iv. Industrial Development
v. Internal Trade and Transport
vi. International trade
vii. International ranking
viii. Capital formation and Investment
c. Political Significance:
i. Political stability
As we know that India is predominantly an agricultural based country and majority of the population lives in rural areas. The father of the nation rightly said that to understand the Indian mind, one must visit and study rural India. The culture, tradition, ethos and values of this ancient civilization can be seen in villages. Though the country has achieved lot of successes in different spheres after her sixty two years of independence, but lots have to be done yet in the field of rural development.
The rural India is still in the grip of poverty, illiteracy, hunger and malnourishment; lack of proper health and sanitation facility; and above all absence of scientific temperament. There is also need to devise a programme which would empower people to decide their future course of actions by themselves to earn their livelihood. This calls for planning and implementation of various rural development policies and programmes.
At present, about 20 per cent of national GDP comes from agriculture and 57 per cent of Indian population is employed in agriculture. There are 200 million farmers and farm workers in the country. It is also found that 2 per cent growth in agriculture can result in 8 per cent growth in other sectors. However, barring few advantageous states, in most of the states of country are still practicing the age old farming practices. The modem method of cultivation is still a far cry in majority of the Indian villages.
The population in the country is increasing day by day creating lot of pressure in existing land. In order to feed this huge population, production and productivity have to be increased. Also, being a signatory of WTO agreement, India must have to put emphasis on quality produce for international market. Therefore, there is a growing need to make our farmer aware about the present demand.
There are different areas of rural development where efforts should be directed to achieve desired results. This includes application of science and technology in agriculture and allied sectors, addressing the issues related to natural calamities, solving the problems of rural migration, utilization of rural resources, ensuring participation of rural people in all the stages of development and improvement of the socio-political conditions of the people.
As suggested by FAO of UN, the benefits of the rural development should reach the needy and underprivileged sections of the society. Therefore, rural development helps developing self-confidence of the poor rural mass, so that they can control their environment, which is a prerequisite for overall development of the country.
The present strategy of rural development mainly focuses on poverty alleviation, better livelihood opportunities, provision of basic amenities and infrastructure facilities through innovative programmes of wage and self-employment. The above goals will be achieved by various programme support being implemented creating partnership with communities, non-governmental organizations, community based organizations, institutions and industrial establishments, while the Department of Rural Development will provide logistic support both on technical and administrative side for programme implementation. Other aspects that will ultimately lead to transformation of rural life are also being emphasized simultaneously.
The Government’s policy and programmes have laid emphasis on poverty alleviation, generation of employment and income opportunities and provision of infrastructure and basic facilities to meet the needs of rural poor. For realizing these objectives, self-employment and wage employment programmes continued to pervade in one form or other.
As a measure to strengthen the grass root level democracy, the Government is constantly endeavoring to empower Panchayat Raj Institutions in terms of functions, powers and finance. Gram sabha, NGOs, Self-Help Groups and PRIs have been accorded adequate role to make participatory democracy meaningful and effective.
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 decentralization of powers to strengthen the Panchayat Raj institutions.
The Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj is responsible for the implementation of various rural welfare schemes and also assists Panchayat Raj Institutions to discharge their duties and functions as effective Local Self-Government entities.
9. Changing Scenario in Agricultural Extension in Rural Development:
Since the beginning of 21st century, some significant relevant to agricultural extension has been visible.
The important are:
1. Need for helping farmers to build and maintain profitability in farming in increasingly competitive markets.
2. Expected rise in purchasing power of the people as well as their changing food habits.
3. Avoidance and control of pollution.
4. Emphasis on computer – aided learning and dissemination of information.
5. Growing involvement of the corporate in rural life (through buying, selling, producing, processing etc.).
6. To view agriculture as part of a wider set of rural development processes that includes enterprise development and non-farm employment.
Rural development is an integrated concept of growth and poverty elimination has been of paramount concern in all the consequent five year plans.
Rural development programmes comprise the following:
i. Provision of basic infrastructure facilities in the rural areas e.g. schools, health facilities, roads, drinking water, electrification etc.
ii. Improving agricultural productivity in rural areas.
iii. Provision of social services like health and education for socio-economic development.
iv. Implementing schemes for the promotion of rural industry for increasing agriculture productivity, providing rural employment etc.
v. Assistance to individual families and Self Help Groups (SHGs) living below poverty line by providing productive resources through credit and subsidy.
There are several problems encountered by our rural society. These problems or constraints have to be removed in order to increase the speed of rural development.
i. Most people are illiterate for such people extension teaching methods like Demonstrations, individual and group approaches, Training classes require large number of extension workers.
ii. Inadequate communication channels especially Mass Media in rural areas.
iii. Limitation of Funds and staff for training the farmers.
iv. As a traditional society with old ways and practices does not want to take risk unless they see the results.
v. In an illiterate traditional society real leadership could not come forward.
vi. Communities and individuals differ in their needs as their circumstances change.
vii. Organizational constraints.
viii. Vaguely framed objectives of organization.
Some major problems are as follows:
Poverty is considered to be one of the major hurdles in the path of development. Poverty refers to a level of living so low that it prevents normal development of human personality-physical, mental and social. According to Planning Commission, 21.1% people (estimated) in rural areas of our country were living Below the Poverty Line in 2007. There are different indicators of poverty which includes roads and communication facilities, primary schools, health care facilities, fair price shops, drinking water facility, electrification, marketing facilities etc. Non-existence of any one of these indicates the extent of poverty in an area. Eradication of extreme poverty is also one of the millennium development goals of the UN.
Education is the key to development. However, much have to be done to attain 100 per cent literacy. According to 2001 census, literacy rate in rural India is only 59.40 %. In line with the efforts of UN, there is a need to ensure that by 2015, all children must have to receive full primary education.
3. Small Landholdings:
With the increase of population, the land, one of the major factors of production, is becoming a scarce commodity. As per National Sample Survey (2002-03), the average land holding in India was 1.06 ha only and marginal holdings (of size 1 hectare or less) in 2002-03 constituted 70% of all operational holdings. The experts are of the opinion that use of agricultural technology in small landholdings is very difficult. Therefore, need of the hour is to evolve modalities for development of appropriate technology suitable for small holdings.
4. Malnutrition and Starvation:
It is closely linked with the issue of extreme poverty as well as mass awareness. The infant mortality rate (under-1) was 54% in 2007. Moreover, in some areas of the country, due to several natural disasters, deaths out of starvation and malnutrition are still reported. Sometimes, due to lack knowledge of balanced diet, people suffer from various ailments.
Due to lack of proper health care facilities and education, people of the country are suffering from various diseases. Child mortality and greater number of maternal death are also creating major threats to development in the country.
6. Ignorance and Lack of Scientific Temperament:
The issue related to lack of scientific temperament is closely associated with proper education. There is a need to make people aware about scientific phenomena behind health and sanitary problem and also to fight against all kinds of evils in the society.
7. Caste System:
Existence of the caste system also sometimes acts as a bottleneck in the process of development. The problems of the people belonging to lower caste need to be solved so as to bring them into the mainstream. Special provisions are made in the constitution of India to uplift them to higher position.
8. Communication and Transportation:
Even after sixty two years of independence, the communication and transport system of the country are not up to the mark. However, these two are equally important to speed up agricultural development. Though our country is marching ahead in modem information technology and communication network, many villages are yet to be connected by telephone booth and even post offices. The conditions of the rural as well as urban roads are also deplorable which are very important for movement and products of goods for marketing from rural to urban areas and vice -versa.
9. Exploitation by Vested Interest Groups:
The very existence of old Jamindari system is though not available, rural people are still in the grip of money lenders, mahajans, middlemen and also local level politicians. Due to poverty, lack of education and some other socio-political issues, rural people are exploited by these groups.
10. Gender Inequality:
Women are still not represented to a great extent in local as well national decision making bodies.
Efforts are being made in this regard so that they can take active role in development process.
Thus, it can be concluded that much is to be done yet many things to bring rural development in true sense. The problems of the small farmers, tenants and landless labourers have to be addressed properly by implementing several programmes with a view to improving the quality of their life.