Rural development as a Core Area25th March 2021
Rural Development is the process of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people living in rural areas, often relatively isolated and sparsely populated areas.
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.
Rural Development has traditionally centered on the exploitation of land-intensive natural resources such as agriculture and forestry. However, changes in global production networks and increased urbanization have changed the character of rural areas. Increasingly tourism, niche manufacturers, and recreation have replaced resource extraction and agriculture as dominant economic drivers.
The need for rural communities to approach development from a wider perspective has created more focus on a broad range of development goals rather than merely creating incentive for agricultural or resource-based businesses. Education, entrepreneurship, physical infrastructure, and social infrastructure all play an important role in developing rural regions. Rural development is also characterized by its emphasis on locally produced economic development strategies. In contrast to urban regions, which have many similarities, rural areas are highly distinctive from one another. For this reason, there are a large variety of rural development approaches used globally.
Rural development is a comprehensive term. It essentially focuses on action for the development of areas outside the mainstream urban economic system.
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.
- Public Health and Sanitation
- Women Empowerment
- Employment opportunity
- Infrastructure Development (e.g. electricity, irrigation, etc.)
- Facilities for agriculture extension and research
- Availability of Credit
The concept of rural development can be analysed as follows:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Basic Elements of Rural 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.
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.
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.
Important approaches of rural development taken up in India:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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