What is Rural Development
There is no universally accepted definition of rural development. The term is used in different ways in vastly divergent contexts. As a concept, it connotes overall development of rural areas with a view to improve the quality of life rural people. As a phenomenon, it is the result of various physical, technological, economic, socio-cultural and institutional factors. As a discipline, it is multi-disciplinary in nature representing an intersection of agricultural, social, behavioural and management of sciences.
In short, rural development is a process that aims at improving the standard of living of the people living in the rural areas.
Rural development may be defined as overall development of rural areas to improve the quality of life of rural people. It is an integrated process, which includes social, economical, political and spiritual development of the poorer sections of the society.
Rural development can be defined as, helping rural people set the priorities in their own communities through effective and democratic bodies, by providing the local capacity; investment in basic infrastructure and social services, justice, equity and security, dealing with the injustices of the past and ensuring safety and security of the rural population, especially that of women.
According to Robert chambers, 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 the landless.
Thus, the term rural development may be used to imply any one of the above-mentioned connotations. The avoid ineffective floundering among the myriad definitions, we shall define rural development as A Process leading to sustainable improvement in the quality of life of rural people, specially the poor
The Concept of Rural Development
The meaning of rural development has been the subject of much debate and little agreement. The definition of rural development varies from one point of view to the other. The definition or rural development may be centered around income criterion in which the concept is made to address the problem of rural poverty. Or it may be defined in sociological concept in which the rural poor represents a reservoir of untapped talent a target group that should be given the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of development through improved education, health and nutrition. This is one of the most important definitions of rural development as the provision of social infrastructures could provide the catalyst that would transform the rural areas.
Rural development may also be seen as an ideology and a practice. It may mean planned change by public agencies based outside the rural areas such as the national Government and International organization; It may also be the bringing of the countryside into an active state, as well as the transformation of the inferior nature of the country side into something more superior in terms of activities.
Rural development as the improvement in the living standard of the rural dwellers by engaging them in productive activities such as the establishment of rural industries that will increase their income. It is seen by these scholars as a means of raising the sustainable living of the rural poor by giving them the opportunity to develop their full potentials.
Rural development can be distinguished from agricultural development which it entails and transcends. In essence Rural Development may imply a broad based re-organization and mobilization of rural masses in order to enhance their capacity to cope effectively with the daily task of their lives and with changes consequent upon this. According to the World Bank Rural Development must be clearly designed to increase production. It recognizes that improved food supplies and nutrition, together with basic services, such as health and education, not only directly improve the physical well-being and quality of life of the rural poor, but can also indirectly enhance their productivity and their ability to contribute to the national economy.
Rural Development ensures the modernization of the rural society and the transition from its traditional isolation to integration with the national economy. It is concerned with increased agricultural production for urban and international markets. This is essential so as to generate foreign exchange, and to attract revenue to finance public and private consumption and investment. In order to encourage increased production rural development may offer a package of inputs and welfare services for the rural masses. Such inputs and welfare services include physical inputs (such as the provision of feeder roads, water and electrification), social inputs—(namely health and educational facilities) and institutional inputs such as credit facilities, agricultural research facilities, rural expansion services among others.
Objective of Rural Development
The main objective of the Rural Development is improving the living standards of rural people by utilizing the easily available natural and human resources. The other objectives of rural development programmers are as follow:
1. Development of agriculture and allied activities.
2. Development of village and cottage industries and handicrafts.
3. Development of socio-economic infrastructure which includes setting up of rural banks, co-operatives, schools etc.
4. Development of community services and facilities i.e. drinking water, electricity, rural roads, health services etc.
5. Development of Human resource mobilization.
Importance of Rural Development
Improvement in the quality of life of rural people is the important agenda of rural development programme. In India – a country where the number of people living in rural areas, rural development programme is necessary aspect.
Rural development implies both the economic betterment of people as well as greater social transformation. The basic objective of all rural development endeavors / programmes has been the welfare of the millions. In order to achieve this, planned attempts have been made to eliminate poverty, ignorance and inequality of opportunities. A wide spectrum of programmes has been undertaken so far, to alleviate rural poverty and ensure improved quality of life for the rural population especially those below the poverty line. In the initial phase of planned rural development, the concentration was on sectors of agriculture industry, communication, education and health. The Ministry of Rural Development places importance now on health, education, drinking water, housing and road so that the quality of life in rural areas improves and the fruit of economic reform are shared by all sections of the society.
With time and experience, it is realized that accelerated and meaningful development can be achieved only if people of the grass root are involved, “people’s participation” has become the keyword in rural development programmes. The participation of the people is necessary to provide the rural people with better prospects for economic development
Problems in Rural Development
As we know the 60-70% of rural population in India lives in primitive conditions. This sorry state exists even after 60 years of independence. So that Rural Development programmes have urgency in the present condition also. There are many obstacles in the rural development programmes which are as under
1. In 21st Century, there is no electricity supply in many villages.
2. Now also many rural peoples using primitive methods of cooking, living and farming and they have trust on these methods.
3. By using primitive cook stoves, around 300,000 death / year takes plan due to pollution.
4. 54% of India’s population is below 25 years and most of them live in rural areas with very little employment opportunities.
5. Literacy is the major problem in rural development programme.
6. The poor extension linkage causes slow growth of rural development.
7. Untrained, unskilled, inexperienced staff in extension linkage cannot provide satisfactory help to rural peoples.
8. Every one want to go to the cities, so that rural people’s remains as ignores part by the policy makers also.
9. Privatization concept is useful for rural development but, government not praying much attention to this aspect.
10. Policy makes prepared policies, programmes for betterment of rural people but, if these programmes are not implemented very well then have no used.