Chapter-5 Rural Development


Mahatma Gandhi once emphasized that India’s true progress does not solely rely on the growth of industrial urban centers but primarily hinges on the development of its villages. This perspective, highlighting the centrality of village development in the nation’s overall progress, remains pertinent today. Rural development holds immense importance due to the following reasons:

(a) Dominance of Agriculture in the Economy: Agriculture stands as the backbone of the Indian economy, contributing significantly to employment and livelihood creation. The agricultural sector sustains over half a billion people, employing 54.6% of the workforce (Economic Survey 2013-14).

(b) Role of Agriculture in Industrial Development: Agriculture plays a pivotal role in fostering industrial growth by supplying raw materials such as cotton, wood, sugarcane, jute, and oilseeds to manufacturing industries.

(c) Foodgrain Production: Agriculture is the primary source of foodgrain production, ensuring the sustenance of the population.

Despite these crucial roles, one-third of rural India grapples with severe poverty. Thus, the development of rural India becomes imperative for the overall progress and advancement of the country.


5.2.1 Understanding Rural Development

5.2.1 Understanding Rural Development

Rural development encompasses a comprehensive approach directed towards advancing areas that lag behind in the overall progress of the village economy. Despite the decline in the agriculture sector’s contribution to GDP, the population dependent on this sector has not witnessed a significant decrease. The reduction in the growth rate of the agriculture sector can be attributed to the decline in public investment post-reforms.

5.2.2 Key Aspects of Rural Development

Several areas require renewed initiatives for effective rural development:

Human Resource Development: Emphasis on literacy, particularly female literacy, education, and skill development.

Health and Sanitation: Focus on human resource development in health, addressing both sanitation and public health.

Land Reforms: Honest implementation of land reforms.

Productive Resource Development: Enhancement of productive resources in each locality.

Infrastructure Development: Improvement in infrastructure, including electricity, irrigation, credit facilities, marketing, transportation, construction of village roads, feeder roads to nearby highways, agriculture research and extension, and information dissemination.

Poverty Alleviation Measures: Implementation of special measures to alleviate poverty and significantly enhance the living conditions of the weaker sections of the population, emphasizing access to productive employment opportunities.

In essence, farming communities need to be provided with various means to enhance the productivity of grains, cereals, vegetables, and fruits.

Objective Types Questions

1. What is the main focus of rural development?

A. Urban infrastructure development

B. Advancing village economy

C. Industrial growth in metropolitan areas

D. International trade agreements

Answer: B. Advancing village economy

2. Why has the growth rate of the agriculture sector declined in rural areas?

A. Lack of natural resources

B. Decrease in population dependent on agriculture

C. Reduction in public investment post-reforms

D. Excessive use of technology in farming

Answer: C. Reduction in public investment post-reforms

3. Which aspect is NOT a key area for effective rural development?

A. Human Resource Development

B. Industrialization

C. Infrastructure Development

D. Poverty Alleviation Measures

Answer: B. Industrialization

4. What does “Productive Resource Development” in rural areas involve?

A. Enhancing the productivity of urban industries

B. Promotion of agricultural tourism

C. Improving productive resources in each locality

D. Encouraging international trade partnerships

Answer: C. Improving productive resources in each locality

5. Which of the following is NOT considered part of infrastructure development in rural areas?

A. Electricity

B. Transportation

C. Urbanization

D. Agriculture research and extension

Answer: C. Urbanization

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