In India, the term ‘Rural Development’ is not a very old term. It exists in British rule. Rural development means a strategy to implement certain policies to improve the social life of rural people. It is not important to raise the agricultural productivity and economy of the rural areas, but also it is to ensure that everyone shares equal rights and opportunity. Rural development encompasses: improvement in the level of living which includes education, health and other basic facilities, and decreasing inequality.
Major problems faced by the rural are:
1) Proper land reforms to make sure land is owned, cultivated, irrigated to make the most efficient use and maximum output.
2) Rural credit – Banking services need to be popularized and credit should be available for basic services like agriculture.
3) Electrification – Many villages still receive only 3 to 7 hours of electricity per day which needs to improve to empower the villages of India
In our country, a number of rural development programmes have been launched to end these problems since 1952. It is often said that, the rural development programmes failed to attain their desired goal due to improper identification of the programmes, schemes and the beneficiaries therein.
The main objective of rural development is to remove poverty and fill the widened gap between rich and poor. Keeping in view the planning policies in mind, the government of India as introduced several schemes of development, especially, the development of agriculture and education. For example, ‘BETI BACHAO, BETI PADHAO’ is a campaign of the government of India which aims to generate awareness
about various welfare services intended for girls in India. Although it was launched with a good cause of increasing the sex ratio, decrease the female foeticide and increase the population of educated girls, however, it failed in some regions of the country. It was rarely implemented in NON-BJP ruling states and its main focus was on school girls leaving aside the married or widow women. Other polices like Intensive Agricultural District Programme (IADP), Khadi and Village Industries Programme (KVI), Multi-purpose Tribal Development, Village Housing Schemes were also implemented but it failed in some regions due to the carelessness of the government. The programmes of self – awareness and supplementary wage employment were also enacted. The aim of these programmes is national in nature and the progress and achievements are based on the secondary data available. One of the important programs is the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP). The programme was launched by the Centre in March 1976 as a major instrument of the government to alleviate poverty. Its aim was to enable specific families to cross the poverty line in a given time period by taking up self-employment in different activities like agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, weaving and handicrafts and services and business activities. In spite of a good scheme there were shortcomings like: 1) There was corruption, misuse and malpractice in the implementation of the programme at every level. 2)The people were not conversant about the programme. They took less or no interest in the programme because they were afraid of being cheated. 3)It was found that this scheme also could not make any significant impact in the generation of employment in rural areas.
In my opinion, for any scheme to be successful we need to change the mindsets of people who act as a barrier to its success.Certain steps should be taken by the government for the success of the implemented schemes:-
1) First, there should be a door to door facility provided in most backward regions in India. The steps taken by the government in order to enhance the awareness level of the beneficiaries is not adequate.
2) Second, the Government should open special cells for the publicity of the rural development programmes. The Government is required to adopt the publicity method, which is conducive to the nature and requirement of the rural people. The people are to be provided with adequate instruments for enhancement of awareness level. The existing system of publicity about rural development is required to be reconsidered and should be based on rural realities prior to the Selection of the Scheme as well as the Beneficiaries.
3) Third, the implementing agencies should provide details of the programme to the rural people, who are likely to be benefited serious endeavor is, therefore, needed to make the rural people aware about the resources earmarked for rural development in various Government departments.
4) Forth, Voluntary effort will no doubt continue to grow in the coming years but it can accelerate if the environment is more congenial to its growth. Voluntary Organisations with professional and Managerial Capabilities can act as a catalyst and can organize beneficiaries, involve people in planning and development and provide the necessary support to make development a reality. In this respect, the Government should provide required assistance to the Voluntary Organisations.
5) Fifth, The various Government departments with specialized expertise and banks should work in close co-operation with the district planning unit in order to have a coordinated and scientific plan, the availability of local resources, the potential for alternative productive works and of viable schemes, to be looked into.
6) Sixth, Political interference is one of the difficulties faced by the Planning and Implementing agencies. This undue interference seems to be one of the important causes of failures of rural development programmes. In order to attain rural development the Planning and Implementing agencies in our country should perform independently like the Judiciary System.
7) Seventh, In our country, most of the rural development programmes are either based on the principles of the political parties or biased by their ideologies. Besides, the programmes again governed by cheap slogans and improper manifestos. Due to these, causes the programmes failed to attain the expected success.
The development and expansion of these facilities are an essential pre-condition for the attainment of economic development and rural development. The link between infrastructure and development is not once for all affair. It is to conclude that, A realistic programme on rural development with the potentiality of the successful implementation, can only be prepared if rural poor are taken into confidence and are assisted to draw the development the programme taking a village as a unit.
Writer: Ananya Singh, a outstanding participant of International Essay Contest, Nov-2019