Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rural Development

India is a country of villages and about 50% of the villages have very poor socio-economic conditions. Since the dawn of independence, concerted efforts have been made to ameliorate the living standard of rural masses. So, 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 (RD) programmes comprise of following:
  • Provision of basic infrastructure facilities in the rural areas e.g. schools, health facilities, roads, drinking water, electrification etc.
  • Improving agricultural productivity in the rural areas.
  • Provision of social services like health and education for socio-economic development.
  • Implementing schemes for the promotion of rural industry increasing agriculture productivity, providing rural employment etc.
  • Assistance to individual families and Self Help Groups (SHG) living below poverty line by providing productive resources through credit and subsidy.

  • General Overview
  • Integrated development of rural areas is one of the abiding tasks before the Government of India. The National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) (External website that opens in a new window) of the Central government reiterates the cardinal importance of villages to the overall development of the country and commits to work towards development of rural areas, which for various reasons could not keep pace with urban areas in the past.

    In conformity with this commitment of the Government, the Ministry of Rural Development (External website that opens in a new window) accords foremost priority to development in rural areas and eradication of poverty and hunger from the face of rural India. A number of initiatives have been taken in the recent years for creation of social and economic infrastructure in rural areas to bridge the rural-urban divide as well as to provide food security and fulfill other basic needs of the rural populace.

    The renewed emphasis on rural development is also visible in the commensurate progressive increase in the allocation of resources for implementation of poverty alleviation programmes. For the Tenth Five Year Plan, the allocation of funds for rural development programmes has been enhanced to Rs. 76,774 crore as against Rs. 42,874 crore in Ninth Plan.

    Addressing the challenge of unemployment in the rural areas of the country is central to the development of rural sector for ameliorating the economic condition of the people. Wage employment is provided in rural areas under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) (External website that opens in a new window) and Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) (External website that opens in a new window) whereas self-employment is provided under Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY). Besides generating employment these wage employment schemes also ensure creation of durable assets in rural areas. Initiatives are also taken by the Ministry to build and upgrade the basic rural infrastructure through various schemes.

    Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) (External website that opens in a new window) construction and repairing of rural roads are taken up to ensure rural connectivity. It is expected under the scheme that an expanded and renovated rural road network will lead to an increase in rural employment opportunities, better access to regulated and fair market, better access to health, education and other public services so as to accelerate the pace of economic growth in rural areas. Similarly basic amenities for housing, drinking water and toilets, etc. are provided under Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY), Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) (External website that opens in a new window) and Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) (External website that opens in a new window) to enhance the welfare and well-being of the vulnerable sections of rural population. Area Development is encouraged through Watershed Programmes to check the diminishing productivity of waste land and loss of natural resources.

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