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Rural life & society-Rural society is not static. It has been changing fast. The changes
have been more rapid during the last four decades. It is quite interesting to mention that not
only in India but in almost all the Third World countries, much amount has been spent on
rural development. It has been stressed by economists and sociologists that key to our
development lies with the development of rural people.

International agencies have provided focus on the economic development of the rural society.
Various aspects of rural life, namely, education, industry, cooperatives and entrepreneurship
are stressed by national government. It should also be mentioned that sociologists have made
intensive studies on the rural life, particularly during 1950s and 1960s.

Rural social formations such as caste, class and family have received a popular attention of
sociologists. It would not be wrong to say that about half of our sociological literature in
India belongs to the study of rural society.

Rural life and society in a typical Indian village is very simple. Rural areas are also referred
to as ‘villages’. The villagers have a common way of living, dressing, food habits, shelter and
manners, etc. The people in the village have a lot of homogeneity and enjoy more and less the
same social status. In the villages, due to homogeneity, an associative attitude of community
development has developed although there is very little scope for occupational mobility
because agriculture is still the main occupation of the people.

In the village the family still plays a predominant role. Its hold is very strong and it is
required to perform many important functions. Educational and recreational associations do
not divert a man from the family responsibility.

In the villages the people have face-to-face and primary contacts with each other with the
result that the chances of crime are the minimum. It is primarily because stolen goods cannot
be hidden, and secondly it is easy to trace the people of doubtful character.

In India’s villages there are many factions. A faction is a section of people inclined to a
certain type of thinking almost unknowingly and willingly. The factions develop due to
personal interests i.e. an individual might become part of a faction simply because he might
feel that his interests can best be served by joining that group. He might go on extending
support to that faction under all circumstances as long as that faction serves his purposes.
Then it can be due to political reasons. The people belonging to a political ideology might
form one faction as opposed to another faction with a different ideology. Then there can be
occupational factions that the people professing a type of profession or vocation might
become part of one set of the people forming another type of quite opposite profession and
vocation, thus having clashing and conflicting interests. It can also be faction based on caste
with a view to either establishing its supremacy or superiority or seizing power or authority
and the attempt might be checked or resisted by the people belonging to other caste faction.

Thus in every village there may be caste and political factions. Decisions are made and
views to problems taken, taking caste in consideration. In fact in the village every activity is
based on caste and political factions. Without political or caste faction it is difficult to think
of any power structure in the village. To be more precise power structure in the village is
more influenced by caste than political considerations.

There is logic to study the village society. Our country has spent crores of rupees in the
development of villages. Village economy and its diversified dimensions have been studied
by sociologists. It is agreed that the targeted goals of village development have not been
achieved, but the fact remains that much awakening has come among the village people.

Perhaps, the objective development of village people is debatable, but subjective

development has definitely come to the people. Much of the rural development may not be
through the directed planned change but the village people and surely the elites and the
middle classes have been marching well on the road to development.

The reality is that we should make a fair and bold assessment about the outcome of
development efforts. But first we need to find the problems that the rural society faces.

Problems of the rural society-

The Rural Society of India is very much backward. It backwardness is very much due to the
several problems that haunt the Rural Society. The process of change is very slow and so the
problems are more or less age old in recent years, the process of change has been accelerated
and so new problems are also cropping up. But in this project we will discuss about a few
major problems faced by the rural society in india.

Unemployment –

Government has recognized the need to develop rural entrepreneurship since independence.
Various five-year plans have emphasized the need to develop rural entrepreneurship because
of umpteen benefits given away by the rural industrialization. Creation of employment,
dispersal of income equitably, utilization of resources etc. is possible if our rural industries
develops. Inspite of efforts made by government, the growth of rural entrepreneurs is not very
healthysome of the factors are:

1. Rapid growth of population:

Growth of population is the principal cause of rural unemployment. Every year population
increases by nearly 50 lakh in India. According to Gopalaswami, the annual increase is to the
tune of staggering 80 lakh. As the industrial growth of the country does not keep pace with
the stupendous rise in population, industrial sector fails to absorb the increasing labour
population. As a result a vast number of people, almost 67.7% of the population, depend on
agriculture. This leads to rural unemployment.

2. Pressure on agricultural land:

Ruralites depend largely on agriculture for their livelihood. But cultivable land is limited in
supply. Whatever measures are taken to make uncultivable land arable, it is not possible to
cater to the needs of the growing demand on land in rural areas. As a result unemployment
prevails in rural areas.

3. Sub-division of land:
Agricultural land in India is divided into smaller parts and is in the process of further sub
division as children inherit the property of parents. Sometimes these small plots are scattered
far and wide. Due to fragmentation of land agricultural produce falls and land is reduced to
an uneconomic holding. As a result ruralites depending on agriculture are without

4. Disorganisation of agriculture:
Agriculture in India is extremely disorganised and diversified. It follows an inverted
economics because the Indian farmer has to willingly invest more to get less. This
precipitates rural unemployment.

Remedial measures:
1. Increasing the cultivable land:
Steps should be taken to convert barren land into fertile land by scientific methods. Again it
is through the scientific methods sandy and rocky land and even marshes and grass lands can
be converted into cultivable farm lands.

2. Development of subsidiary industries:

Improvement in agriculture, not supplemented by any other corrective measures, cannot
provide employment to the increasing population. The peasant should also get some gainful
employment during that period of the year when he is not engaged in cultivation. In order to
provide employment to all such people in off-season, some subsidiary occupations such as
dairy farming, poultry farming, horticulture, bee keeping, furniture making, weaving baskets
and ropes etc. should also be developed. For this purpose, they should be provided with
adequate finance.

3. Small scale, labour-intensive industries should be set up to provide employment to surplus

rural labour force. These industries should take into account the needs and resources of the
rural areas. Furthermore, there should be rural industrialization in big villages in the shape of
the establishment of large-scale industries. The local labour as well as other resources should
be utilized to develop these industries.
4. Public construction:
The unemployed ruralites can be provided with work by engaging them in public
construction like constructing roads, digging tanks etc. These works should be started only in
areas where people are without any work.

5. Minimum need programme:

Minimum need programme should be undertaken in the rural areas. This covers the provision
of rural housing, water supply, primary health care, primary education etc. Besides providing
employment, such a programme will improve the socio-economic health of the rural society.

6. Arrangement for transport of labour:

In order to provide employment to the rural people arrangement should be made for transport
of labour from the areas of thick population to the areas where the density is comparatively

7. Organisation of agriculture market:

Favourable conditions for marketing agricultural produce will alleviate the problem of
agricultural unemployment. The organisation of the agricultural market will increase the
income of the cultivator. As a result, the problem relating to rural unemployment will be
mitigated to a great extent.

8. Controlling the growth of population:

Efforts should be made to check population explosion so that whatsoever is produced can be
available to the existing population and industrial sector can be in a position to give
employment to the surplus rural labour. This is how serious problem of rural unemployment
will be tackled to a remarkable extent.

Poverty is often defined by economists and social workers with reference to certain basic
amenities such as food, floor space per person, medical care, etc. When a family lacks these
basic amenities, it is considered poor, regardless of its income.

An alternative approach is to define poverty “in terms of both minimum needs of food con-
sumption”, or, more specifically, calorie or nutrition requirements to sustain life is
determined first. This is then converted into an income level for a particular base year.
Families with income less than the “critical level” are classified as poor regardless of size
and actual living conditions as a result of past savings, accumulated wealth and private gifts.
High population growth rate is one of major reasons of poverty in India. This further leads to
high level of illiteracy, poor health care facilities and lack of access to financial resources.
Also, high population growth affects the per capita income and makes per capita income even
lower. It is expected that population in India will reach 1.5 billion by 2026 and then India will
be the largest nation in the world. But India’s economy is not growing at the same pace. This
means shortage of jobs. For this much population, near about 20 million new jobs would be
required. Number of poor will keep on increasing if such a big number of jobs won’t be

The measures adopted so far to reduce poverty are the following:

1. Primarily the government has tried to remove poverty or inequality in income distribution
through the Five Year Plans by accelerating economic growth and increasing employment

2. Land reform measures such as abolition of the zamindari system, ceilings on land holdings,
redistribution of land among poor peasants and farmers have helped to a great extent.

3. The encouragement of small-scale industries have helped to create much more employ-
ment and self-employment opportunities.

4. A very important aspect of the anti-poverty measure is the family planning programme.
This is true for the present as well as the future well-being of the country.

5. To control the growth of large business houses in India, the Government of India has
passed the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act in 1969. However, this
Act, in fact, has failed to check the trend toward monopoly.

Ever increasing prices of even basic commodities is another reason of poverty. A person
below the poverty line finds it difficult to survive. Caste system and unequal distribution of
income and resources is another reason of poverty in India.

Apart from all these, unskilled workers are paid very low in spite of hard work they put daily.
The problem lies with the unorganized sector as owners do not bother the way their workers
live and the amount they earn. Their area of concern is just cost-cutting and more profit.
Because of the number of workers looking for a job is higher than the jobs available,
unskilled workers have no other option but to work for less money. The government should
really find a way to impose minimum wage standards for these workers. At the same time,
the government should ensure that this is implemented well.

The measures adopted so far to reduce poverty and inequality were the following:
1. Primarily the government has tried to remove poverty or inequality in income distribution
through the Five Year Plans by accelerating economic growth and increasing employment

2. Land reform measures such as abolition of the zamindari system, ceilings on land holdings,
redistribution of land among poor peasants and farmers have helped to a great extent.

3. The encouragement of small-scale industries have helped to create much more employ-
ment and self-employment opportunities.
4. A very important aspect of the anti-poverty measure is the family planning programme.
This is true for the present as well as the future well-being of the country.

5. To control the growth of large business houses in India, the Government of India has
passed the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act in 1969. However, this
Act, in fact, has failed to check the trend toward monopoly.

The concept and phenomenon of education based on school-going is of modern origin in
India. Education in the past was restricted to upper castes and the content taught was also
ascriptive. However, today, to lead a comfortable life in this fast-changing world, education
is seen as the most influential agent of modernization.

When we talk about education in India, we can’t just talk about how education is in urban cities
of India, without going deep into rural education that constitutes almost 90% of the schools
being located in rural areas. Recent studies have shown how the face of education in rural parts
of the country have developed to a great extent, but some remote areas still do need a serious
checkup with children failing to receive basic quality education.

We cannot but agree that, it is education that leads to the road to betterment of a community and
the nation at large. And when we think about bring in a reformation in education, we have to
point out what all prevents the education system in India to develop. Let’s start it with rural
The most common problems that hinders the growth of education in rural India can be pointed
out as

 Lack of proper transportation. Most villages have poor connectivity from one place to
another and that is often one of the main reason why, despite efforts by local governing
bodies to build schools, often go in vain. Children, most of the time have to walk miles
to reach these government funded schools and this often demotivate them to attend
school on a regular basis.
 People belonging to remote rural areas have meager incomes, which at times is too less
to sustain a family of maybe four or five. Most likely, children from these families won’t
be sent to schools, instead would be asked to assist the earning member of the family to
add up some extra income. On the other hand, teachers in rural educational centers in
villages are paid poorly, often leading to lack of attention by teachers, ultimately forcing
the students to suffer.
 Lack of proper infrastructure at these rural schools is also a big concern. Most of the
schools don’t have proper classrooms, teaching equipment, playgrounds and even basic
facilities like clean toilets. Thus, the poor condition of schools are big reasons to drive
away students.

Various programmes initiated by the government for

the rural development-
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 main feature was to enable selected families to cross the
poverty line in a given time-frame by taking up self-employment in various activities like
agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, weaving and handicrafts and services and
business activities.

The target group consisted of small and marginal farmers, agricultural labourers and rural
artisans having annual income below Rs 11,000 defined as poverty line in the Eighth Plan.
Among the selected families, it is stipulated that at least 50 per cent of assisted families
should be from SCs and STs. Furthermore, 40 per cent of the coverage should be of women
beneficiaries. In spite of its many important features, the programme has also been criticized

Training Rural Youths for Self-Employment (TRYSEM):

This scheme was launched in 1979 to provide technical skills (training) to rural youths
(between 18-35 years) living below the poverty line, to enable them to seek employment in
fields of agriculture, industry, services and business activities.

As in other schemes of poverty alleviation, in this scheme also, youths belonging to SCs and
STs and ex-servicemen, who had passed ninth class, were given priority. One-third seats were
reserved for women. The beneficiaries of this scheme after completion of training were
absorbed in the IRDP scheme.

According to an estimate, up to 1995-96, about two lakh youths were being trained every
year, of whom about 45 per cent became self-employed and 30 per cent got regular

In spite of being a good scheme, it has many shortcomings. For example,

(1) its coverage is very small in relation to need;

(2) the amount of stipend given to the trainees (about Rs 75 to 200 per month) to motivate the
youth is very meagre to join training programme; and

(3) skills imparted in the training are of very low level and not linked with rural
industrialization process.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS):
After independence, for the development of rural society, particularly to develop the socio-
economic life of the rural poor, many schemes and programmes were launched from time to
time but unfortunately the fruits of these programmes reached to a very low proportion of
these people.

It was estimated about 70 per cent of rural population was still deprived of the basic
necessities of life. For the purpose of extending the benefits to rural people, a new scheme
was launched and legislation was enacted under the name ‘National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act’ (NREGA).

This scheme was initially started in 200 districts of the country from February 2006 and from
April 2008, it has been extended to cover all the districts of the country. The main objective
of the scheme is to provide 100 days employment to rural unemployed people. In this
scheme, employment to women is also provided.

Like other rural development schemes, this scheme is also plagued with many problems—
workers’ identification and registration, muster rolls, works attendance, calculations and
disbursement of wages and overall transparency. In recent months, people from all circles
have also voiced great concern about the rampant corruption in this scheme.


No doubt, villages are in a state of neglect and under-development, with impoverished

people, as result of past legacies and defects in our planning process and investment
pattern. But the potential in rural India is immense. What if every village in the country is
provided with basic amenities, like drinking water, electricity, health care, educational
transport, communication and other facilities, with only a smaller population of the
village engaged in agriculture and the remaining in other gainful occupations? When this
happens India will turn into mighty country. The purchasing power of the rural population
throwing enormous demand for goods and services will boost the national economy
tremendously. The day will see the reverse migration of people from the urban slums
back to the villages. Rural Development is the subject to come to the forefront after the
economic reforms and rural banking will serve the backbone of this development.


Essay on rural development in India with focus on various programmes
Under the Supervision of – Dr. Parijat Pradhan

Submitted by:-
Dakshyesh Darshan Naik
B.A L.LB(Hons)- 3rd Semester
Enrollment- CUSB1513125017