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4th October 2023 (11 Topics)

Know the India that still lives in its villages

Context:

There is a lack of accurate data on India’s rural region and thus policy making becomes difficult for the government.

India's Evolving Rural Landscape

  • Rural Population Growth: India's rural population has grown significantly, with an estimated 60% of Indians living in rural areas today, marked by an increase in the number of large villages.
  • Challenges of Classification: Large villages face issues in being reclassified as urban areas due to criteria related to non-agricultural employment.
  • Uncertainty of Outcomes: The effects of bifurcating large villages, creating new gram Panchayats, and municipal corporations on governance and residents remain uncertain.

The Diverse Nature of Rural Economies

  • Economic Diversity: Rural India is not solely agricultural; it hosts factories contributing substantially to manufacturing output.
  • Rural Workforce Composition: Around 60% of rural male workers are self-employed, and 27% are casual laborers.
  • Persistent Landholding Issue: Small land holdings, a problem identified by Ambedkar, continue to pose challenges for rural livelihoods.

Need for Holistic Rural Development

  • Historical Initiatives: Various policies have been implemented to support rural livelihoods, but they often address symptoms rather than root causes.
  • Lack of Intellectual Debate: There is a dearth of intellectual discourse on comprehensive rural development strategies in contemporary public discourse.
  • Call for Visionary Plans: Ahead of the 2024 elections, political parties must propose holistic plans for rural India, recognizing that the majority of the population still resides in these areas.
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