Rural Development – the way forward28th April 2018
Rural development largely consists of providing adequate employment opportunities for the adults, providing quality, affordable education for the children and facilitating basic amenities for the population.
Providing adequate employment for rural population is a tricky affair. We may need to come up with innovative approaches so as to employ semi-skilled or unskilled labour pool of rural India. Lack of major reforms in the Indian agriculture after the ‘green revolution’ and ‘white revolution’ has aggravated rural employment distress further.
I think the key is to create new employment opportunities considering the demand-supply equation in that particular location and after making assessment on the skills already the local population possess. (I believe that there will be some innate talent or skill for everyone, though we may call those people unskilled in the traditional sense of the word).
When we work in an agriculture dominated geography we will have to work on bring in agriculture reforms as much as possible. Many times people may have apprehensions about losing their existing livelihood when we try to change their current way of doing things. This is where the above mentioned approach of creating new employment opportunities comes into picture. When some members of the farmers family takes up the newly created employment opportunities, the farmers may be more willing to accept at least some reforms in the farming. So both this should go hand-in-hand. The reforms will increase the yield and additional employment opportunities will add further value to the economy.
Providing high quality, affordable Education
Private players in education space may be reluctant to invest in rural area. The government run schools or govt aided schools in rural areas need to focus on improving their quality of teaching. Also if any geography or section of society is excluded from the education space, govt of the day need to ensure that quality education reaches every child irrespective of their financial status.
NGOs and charitable organisations can play a role in improving the quality of teaching in govt schools. These organisations can prepare innovative teaching aids and provide them to the schools. They can also come up with new methods of teaching and provide orientation to the school teachers on employing new methods of teaching.
The requirement of basic amenities will be different in different locations. Here I am not talking about all the basic amenities, since the subject in itself is so vast. I would like to touch upon the subject of electricity supply in rural areas. I think it is time for us to get rid of the age-old mindset of taking the grid power to remote rural areas in an attempt to ‘electrify’ them. But after laying the overhead wire the electricity boards may provide them power only for limited time windows in a day. Instead of all these, I think, we should focus on solar power for remote rural areas. This would be much more economical and reliable for the rural folks rather than having long stretches of wires(with huge investment) and then electricity available only intermittently.
The other basic amenities like quality healthcare, drinking water, irrigation water , sanitation etc needs very customized approach suitable to that particular geography and populace. It would be naïve to give any generic prescription here, I think.
[The views, thoughts and ideas expressed in this blog post are that of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in this blog post do not reflect the views of Distinct Voices and Distinct Voices does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same]