• Introduction
  • What is Rural Development
  • Origin and Development
  • Concept of Rural Development
  • Definitions
  • Characteristics of Rural Development
  • Components of Rural Development
  • Objectives of Rural Development
  • Significance of Rural Development
  • Summary

Agriculture is the main means of livelihood in rural areas. Mahatma Gandhi once said that the real progress of India did not mean the development of urban industrial centres, but mainly the development of villages. The idea that rural development is the center of national development is equally relevant even today.

Thiruvaluvar said that “the tillers of the soil live with rights, the rest of the chain eat the bread of their shelter.”


We see all around us growing cities with large industries and information technology centers Still, why so much importance is given to rural development? The answer is that even today two-thirds of India’s population is dependent on agriculture, whose productivity is so low that they cannot even subsist. For this reason, one-third of the country’s population still lives in extreme poverty. If we want real progress of India, then we have to build a developed rural India.

Rural development means to improve the standard of living (economic, social, intellectual etc.) of the rural people. Rural development is to raise the standard of living of 28 percent of the population living in rural areas who are living below the poverty line and to make the process of its development self-sustaining. under rural development central and state sponsored programs are included which are related to the aspects of rural life such as agriculture and its allied activities, irrigation, transport, education, medicine, rural and cottage industries, housing, training, marketing, social welfare etc.

‘Rural development’ is a broad term, it basically emphasizes the focus on the development of those components of the rural economy which are lagging behind in the all round development of the rural economy. The areas in which there remains a need to take new and meaningful initiatives for the development of India are as follows, the development of human resources which includes the following.

  • Literacy (especially female literacy, education and skill development.
  • Health, which includes both sanitation and public health.
  • Land reforms.
  • Development of productive resources of each region.
  • Development of infrastructure such as electricity, irrigation, credit, marketing, transport facilities – construction of rural roads, facilities for agricultural research extension and information dissemination.
  • Special measures for poverty alleviation and significant improvement in the living conditions of the weaker sections of the society, in which special attention should be paid to providing opportunities for productive employment.

The concept of rural development was given top priority in the national policy of the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America etc. Recognizing the importance of rural development, the developed nations have directed their efforts towards providing basic necessities to the poor people in the developing countries. The World Bank (IBRD) has specifically committed its efforts towards improving the productivity and welfare of the rural poor in developing countries.


The ideology of rural development has been reflected in many ways. Different views exist in relation to expressing the ideology of rural development. The ideology of rural development has become a major issue in the present times. Although rural development Many schemes have been started with a view to encourage, but the ideology of rural development is still uncertain. What is meant by the ideology of rural development? This ideology includes two words – rural and development. These terms have been defined in different ways and in different broad contexts.

As a Concept : Rural development refers to the all-round development of the rural area with a view to improving the lifestyle of the rural population. In this sense, rural development is a multi-dimensional ideology in the general sense. In the purely economic sense, the ideology of rural development includes the development of rural areas and human resources in addition to the development of social facilities with the development of agriculture and allied activities.

As a Phenomenon : The ideology of rural development is the result of the interaction between various physical, environmental, technological, economic, social, political and institutional factors in rural areas.

As a Strategy : The ideology of rural development is a way or operational design to bring about the desired positive changes in the socio-economic and cultural life of the rural population.

The strategy of rural development that paves the way for increasing the capacity of rural population to upgrade the standard of living of the rural population and the environment with a wider distribution of benefits accruing from such improvement.

The expression of rural development is a process of showing change in the rural community, which does not include only those efforts which are made entirely at the government level. However, as noted by John Harrish, another meaning of rural development is commonly used in the development literature.

Rural development is a typical method of government intervention in the economies of underdeveloped nations. It is a more specialized and detailed process than agricultural development. According to the World Bank scenario, the ideology of rural development throws light on poverty and inequality and thus “includes the concept of a strategy in the economic and social life of a specific section of people, the rural poor.”

Rural development is a multi-dimensional approach. It is an ideology which characterizes the ideal of development of the entire rural area with a view to improve the lifestyle of the rural poor. In this sense, the ideology of rural development is a multi-dimensional and comprehensive ideology which is successful in the development of agriculture and allied activities, rural and cottage industries and handicrafts, social-economic, infrastructure, community services and facilities and above all, human resources of rural areas. related to doing.

On the basis of the above discussion, the main theme of rural development can be summarized as follows:-

  1. To increase production and productivity in rural areas.
  2. To achieve the goal of social-economic equality.
  3. To establish a suitable balance between economic and social development.
  4. To improve the ecological environment so that it can prove effective in growth and prosperity.
  5. To develop community representation on a broad basis in the process of development. International bodies and Asian nations have also received attention during the last year towards the ideology of rural development. In spite of tireless efforts due to local fluctuations and administrative or financial limitations, no universal objective of rural development could be outlined. For example, SKAP, in consultation with member states and in partnership with international organizations and specialized agencies of the United Nations, presented the following objectives of rural development:
  • To integrate the entire rural labor force with the main stream of economic activities.
  • To realize the creative power in the rural people.
  • To prevent migration of rural population from villages to cities in the country.
  • To encourage greater participation of youth and individuals and towns in the development process.
  • To improve the standard of living and lifestyle of the rural population, especially through integration of the environment with development.
  • To assure all round development of the rural population in terms of its economic and social productivity and job satisfaction.

Rural development is a composite phenomenon which includes a wide spectrum of activities. These activities are done with a view to achieve excellence in the standard of living of the people living in rural areas. Rural development has been defined in different ways by different subject experts. Some definitions of rural development are as follows:-

According to the World Bank, “Rural development is a strategy to improve the economic and social conditions of a specific class – the rural poor, which includes small and marginal farmers, tenants and landless.”

According to Robert Chamber, “Rural development is a strategy to enable a specific class of persons, poor rural women and men, so that they can get what they need most for themselves and their children.” Under this, a process of assistance is included, through which to live in rural areas.The poorest of the poor can get maximum benefit from the operation of rural development programs for their livelihood.

According to Ensminger, “Rural development seeks to involve itself in the process of transformation of traditionalist-oriented rural culture into an acceptable and science-based direction based on science and technology.”

“The ideology of rural development can also be defined as a systematically organized effort which is reflected in the maintenance of high income levels of the people living in rural areas for a very long time. Common human efforts are involved which are mainly directed in the following directions:-

  • Increase in current activities
  • Uncover the causes of backwardness
  • Explore possibilities of development.
  • In giving concrete shape to the program, strategy and action.
  • Facilitating programs based on infrastructure.

In the Indian context, rural development refers to the coordinated development of the area and individuals, while conserving them wherever necessary, while making optimum use of local resources – physical, biological and human. With a view to improve the lifestyle of rural poor and rural poor, by providing a package of services in all four directions, in the field of agriculture and allied activities, rural industry, but also necessary social infrastructure related to health and nutrition, housing, drinking water and literacy. Structure and service can be defined as bringing about institutional, organizational and ideological changes.

The ideology of rural development in India was first used by the planning makers. It is a process of planning the implementation of rural development programs by appropriate strategies with a view to achieving the desired results. It characterizes a strategy to improve the social and economic life of the rural poor who want to earn a living in rural areas. In this regard, it is not only necessary that agricultural productivity and the rate of overall economic growth in rural areas should increase, but it is also important that the share of poor and vulnerable communities should be convinced of the benefits of development.

Rural development, therefore, refers to the process of developing the potential of rural resources by integrating specific functional and short-term aspects and improving living conditions, providing basic facilities, increasing productivity and employment opportunities.

In the process of rural development, the entire rural community moves from one step to the next on the economic ladder, which increases its social and economic status. The target group for rural development program is identified as rural poor.

From all the above mentioned definitions of rural development, it is thus concluded that the immediate aim of rural development is the treatment of rural poverty. These people are often ignorant, in little contact with the modern era, politically less effective, nominal land owners and less capital for comfortable living, less able to help themselves and are very hard to get government assistance, rural development in their favor. The process of self-reliance is operated on the basis of providing opportunities for better living to the low income group living in rural areas.

  1. To collect and distribute financial resources in such a way that a balance can be established between productivity and welfare schemes in rural areas.
  2. To make arrangements for providing financial resources to the low income groups (small and marginal farmers, landless laborers and rural artisans) and to ensure that these sections get their fair share from the increase in productivity and welfare services.
  3. To develop suitable skills and abilities in the weaker sections of the rural society and to mobilize all those resources for them, which are helpful in making proper use of the acquired abilities.

Four major components or sectors of rural development can be considered :-

(A) Agriculture

(B) Rural Industry

(C) Education And

(D) Services.

In the field of agriculture, the development and mechanization of agriculture, the arrangement of improved varieties of seeds and fertilizers, pest control, the system of storage and marketing of agricultural produce, etc. can be included. In the field of rural industries, modernization of industries, technical training of rural craftsmen and marketing of manufactured goods can be included. In the field of education, the system of adult education, general education for children, technical education and agricultural education can be included. In the field of services, the arrangement of dispensary, family welfare, means of transport, workshop, post office and bank can be included. Obviously, the development of the agricultural sector is an important part of rural development. But agricultural development alone cannot be termed as rural development, because the meaning of rural development is much broader than this.

To give importance to any dimension of development, it is necessary to provide prompt awareness to the ideology of rural development. Primarily for this purpose, there is a need for significant changes in the economic, social, political ideology and attitude of the rural population because this part of the population is illiterate and ignorant in nature.

According to Azmat Nain, “Rural development is both a problem and a solution.”

The ideology of rural development is basically related to the standard of living of the low-income population living in rural areas and making the process related to their development self-dependent. Ideology of rural development, customs, thinking and values ​​- both qualitative and quantitative, natural and human resources, patterns and sizes of employment, technology, institutional and organizational framework, income, rural lifestyle in both social and interrelationship and land and water, Forests, Mines, Incentive Services, Values, Backward Areas and Forsaken Sections of the Society, Organization and Administration, Resource Generation, Self-reliance, and Self-Energy, Gender Issues, Maintenance and Management/Protection, Government Intervention, Public participatory and (including decentralized planning in a multi-level framework) the nature and level of planning, etc. The basic objective of the ideology of rural development is to significantly change the standard of living of the rural population. Following are the main objectives of rural development:-

  1. To achieve the availability of certain social goods and services in the form of social and economic infrastructure.
  2. To make efforts to increase the income of every rural family and to see that in the coming times the families who are migrating below the poverty line should come above the poverty line.
  3. To create additional employment opportunities in rural areas.
  4. The ideology of rural development is necessarily related to the improvement of the standard of living of the poor population living in rural areas on the basis of self-dependent efforts.
  5. Re-organization of the life of the rural population, which includes broad-based reorganization and promotional activities that enable numerous villagers to develop their ability to effectively adjust themselves to the daily changes taking place in the society. .
  6. To improve the standard of living of the rural population.
  7. To improve the technical know-how to be used with a view to inculcate a sense of pragmatism towards the process of development in the rural population.

During the last few years, the ideology of rural development has gained a high level of attraction in development literature, development plans, political forums, programs mostly by donors and international lenders.

The above fact is also logical because 72 percent of the third world population lives in rural areas. It is to be noted that in different parts of the country the residence of the poor population is not in equal proportion. During the last few years, the importance of development has shifted in favor of rural development. The main reason for this is that the development programs and efforts implemented during the past years have failed in the desirable improvement in the standard of living of the weaker sections of the rural population or in the eradication of poverty and unemployment. Giving importance to policy in the context of rural development has become an important task of comparatively poor countries. The main reason for this is that the pace and style of development of poor nations is determined only after successfully solving the problem of rural development.

Rural development programs get a respectable place in the programs of economic development of India, because 72.25% of the nation’s population lives in rural areas. In fact, the rural area represents the real India. Therefore, it is not possible to accelerate the axis of complete economic development without the upliftment of the rural masses. , It need not be emphasized that the overall development of India is closely related to rural development. With a view to ensuring that the nation achieves balanced economic development and the fruits of development are felt at the grass-root level, rural development should be accorded top priority in the planned efforts.

Rural development has special importance in the context of a nation like India due to the following social, economic and political reasons,

(A) Social Significance

(B) Economic Significance

(C) Political Significance

(A) Social Significance:-

  1. Rural problems: Agriculture and allied activities, primary and overall macroeconomic activities in rural areas, are suffering from innumerable problems. There are innumerable marginal and small farmers in rural areas who are deprived of non-availability of land for agriculture because a large part of the land is concentrated in a few hands. Apart from this, a large part of the agricultural population of the rural poor is suffering from various types of problems like finance, inadequacy of agricultural inputs, production and marketing, unemployment and low income etc. The ideology of rural development provides a one time package for satisfactory solution of all the above mentioned problems.
  2. Social Changes: People living in rural areas are highly traditionalist and have a tendency to oppose any kind of change. There can be many reasons for the rural population to oppose the change, but one of the important reasons is their ignorance about the various welfare schemes being run for their welfare. The ideology of rural development tries to educate the rural population in such a way that they start welcoming the social changes instead of opposing them.
  3. Optimum Utilization of Resources: In the absence of adequate infrastructure facilities and employment opportunities, the orgy of poverty and unemployment can be experienced in the entire rural areas. More than 30 percent of the population in rural areas is literate. As a result, available human and natural resources cannot be used for human welfare programmes. Due to this, a significant part started migrating to urban areas, which resulted in increase in urban problems. Through the implementation of rural employment and other development schemes, it is possible to use the available resources in the best interest of the nation.
  4. Infrastructural facilities of the population: In rural areas, most of the basic facilities like all-weather roads, primary schools, health centers and lack of drinking water, etc. are such burning problems without any delay. Necessary . Therefore, the operation of rural development programs of holistic nature is very important in rural areas.

(B) Economic Significance :-Despite rapid industrialization during the last five decades, agriculture is considered as the backbone of the Indian economy. Agriculture being a very large scale industry of India, it provides the livelihood of about 72 percent of the population. Agriculture and allied activities account for 18.50% of India’s GDP. In fact, all aspects of the Indian economy are imprinted on agriculture in such a way that the existence and development of all economic activities is linked to the condition and development of agriculture. The economic importance of rural development can be understood well under various heads in the context of the overall economic development of the nation.

  1. National Income: The distribution of national income by industrial origin since independence shows that if we consider the income from the production of various agricultural commodities and the contribution of animal husbandry and allied activities to the national income. If seen, it has been more than 40 percent. In fact, agriculture contributed more than half of the national product during the fifties. In the sixties, seventies and eighties, it decreased slightly to 44 percent.
  2. Although the share of agriculture in the national income and production has increased since 1960-61, but still agriculture is the single most important sector, which contributes the most to the national income. If we compare the situation with that of foreign countries, the picture becomes clearer. The contribution of agriculture to the economy of England was 3.1 percent, in the United States it was 32 percent, in Canada it was 5 percent, the same sequence is also present in many other developed countries. A clear conclusion of this appears to be that the more developed a nation is, the smaller or lesser the share of agricultural production is.
  3. Employment and Source of Livelihood: The size of labor force in the agricultural sector has increased rapidly during the last years. According to an estimate 7 out of every 10 persons are engaged in agriculture and allied activities. The above mentioned percentage of population has remained almost constant during the last seven decades. In developed countries like England, United States of America, West Germany, Canada, New Zealand etc., about 20 percent of the population is dependent on agriculture and allied sector for their livelihood. Along with this, it is also very important to consider the fact that the percentage of total population dependent on agriculture is decreasing in the above mentioned developed countries, whereas in India this percentage is almost constant.
  4. Food and Fodder: On the basis of an estimate it has been expressed that about 80 percent of the total consumption expenditure is spent on agricultural products. In this situation it is very important that agriculture fulfills the complete food requirement of the population. Although a large quantity of food grains have been imported by India in the past years, the share of food grains in the total food requirement has been very small. is being maintained. Their numbers (animals, buffaloes, sheep, goats, horses and ponies etc. have been converted into crores. Protective food is supplied by them, which includes milk, eggs and meat etc.
  5. Industrial Development : The supply of raw materials from agricultural production is self-evident in providing sufficient raw material to the major industries of India.The important industries of India are cotton textiles, edible oil, leather, plant protection industries etc. All are directly dependent on the development of agriculture. // Industrialization is accelerated due to the increasing trend of use of modern technology in agriculture due to increase in demand for seeds, chemical fertilizers, fertilizers, agricultural implements, machinery, pump sets and consumer goods.
  6. Internal Trade and Transport: Most of the agricultural products remain dominant in internal trade. In trade, the purchase of raw materials and food grains etc. is done for the supply of industries and consumers respectively. It is through trade that farmers get industrial and consumer goods. The size of trade undoubtedly depends on the economic development of agriculture. The development of rail, road and other means of transport through which agricultural commodities are transported in large quantities from the fields to the markets is possible only through agricultural development.
  7. International trade: Agriculture plays an important role in exports and agricultural commodities are also an important source of import. The share of agricultural goods in the total export income is about 35 percent and the representation of agricultural products in the import income is about 32 percent. If the import and export of agricultural based goods are included in this, then this part increases even more. The major items of agricultural export by India are tea, oil seeds, fruits and vegetables, spices, tobacco, cotton, rice, sugar etc. Export of ready-made garments and jute textiles are other such items which are dependent on agriculture for obtaining raw materials. The major agricultural commodities of Indian import are pulses, raw cotton. Chemicals, vegetable oils and fats, dairy products, raw jute, tractors, raw wool, rubber, agricultural machinery and implements etc. The foreign exchange used in the purchase of these commodities is met by the export of agricultural commodities.
  8. Capital formation and investment: Since the contribution of agriculture to the national income is about 40 percent, it plays a special role in capital formation in the economy due to being the basic source of savings. Before independence, there was neither enthusiasm nor capacity in the country to build productive wealth on such a large scale. But at present, most of the produced wealth of the nation is received in the form of agricultural assets like irrigation facilities, plow, storage capacity etc. Every year significant growth is being earned in this stock on government and private basis.
  9. International Ranking : Even at the international level, Indian agriculture is highly rated on the basis of many parameters. India ranks first in the world with respect to peanut production, India has a leading position in the world in terms of production of rice, tobacco etc. It is very clear from the above discussion that agriculture has a central place in the national economy. Due to adverse effect of agriculture, the entire economic system will be badly affected. Experience shows that the all-round rise in Indian prices is due to the scarcity of food grains. The increase in exports is due to failure on the agricultural front. Due to the failure in agriculture, there has been a decrease in the income of the business and the government. In fact, not only the economy but also Indian culture, society, politics and all the organizations of life have a strong and deep color of rural life.

(c) Political Significance:-

  1. Political Stability: Political stability is adversely affected by the increasing difference between urban prosperity and rural poverty. A stable and developing rural economy can contribute to political stability, which is important for economic development. As the whole world is contained in itself, in the same way India also lies in the villages. Rural development is the mainstay of national development. The reasons are quite clear, in spite of rapid urbanization, a large part of our population still lives in villages. Secondly, due to many historical reasons, rural India is still behind on the path of development. In order to correct developmental imbalances and give due priority to development in rural areas, the Ministry of Rural Development is implementing several programs aimed at sustainable development of rural areas. . The objective of these programs is to reach out to the most vulnerable section of the society through a multi-pronged policy and bring about all-round economic and social change in the rural areas. During the last three years, rural development has been accorded high priority not only by allocating additional funds and resources, but also by implementing new programs and revamping the old programs for taking forward the development work in rural areas. In India, no matter which political coalition is in power in the government, it cannot accelerate the pace of development ignoring rural development. Giving emphasis to the ideology of rural comfort, the Prime Minister of India expressed this statement on 29 June 2004 at the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Conference that poverty alleviation and rural prosperity are the basis of the development of the Indian economy. The views were expressed by him that agriculture should be made the engine of development and Panchayats need to be made more prosperous. Rural development programs in India need to be reviewed afresh.
  2. Reduction in corruption
  3. Establishment of political values.
  4. Decentralization of power.

The concept of rural development in India has been going on since the Pre-independence period. Rural development was accorded top priority right from the beginning of the first five year plan. The then Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had said that “The soul of India resides in the villages.” The development of the whole of India is not possible unless rural areas are not developed. According to the census of the year 2001, 72% of the total population of the country resides in villages, so development of India is not possible without developing a large part of this population. Agriculture and its allied activities are the main source of income for the people living in rural areas. Indian farmer is born in debt, grows in debt and dies in debt. The main reason for this is the lack of a permanent source of income. Most of the agriculture in India is dependent on monsoon and all the family members are dependent on agriculture.

Therefore, farmers living in rural areas should get maximum benefit of various programs run by the government so that their poverty, unemployment, ignorance, illiteracy can be removed. Meaningful efforts have been made by the government in this direction and many programs like Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, Employment Guarantee Scheme, Indira Awas Yojana etc. have been conducted.

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