Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine
Rural Development Programmes
India Rural Development Report 2012/13
The India Rural Development Report 2012/13 was released by
Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Rural Development, Government of India. The
Report was prepared by IDFC Foundation in collaboration with network partners,
the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), the Institute for Rural
Management Anand (IRMA), and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research
(IGIDR), with contributions from several other researchers, experts and civil
society organisations. On the occasion, Dr. Mihir Shah, Member, Planning
Commission, gave a special address. Dr. Rajiv Lall, Executive Chairman, IDFC,
highlighted the key points of the Report. The launch was followed by an animated
panel discussion on ‘Enhancing Rural Livelihoods: What Can Be Done?’
Concurring with the Report’s analysis of why government
programmes have not been as effective in achieving their goals, Shri Jairam
Ramesh said “We need continuous evaluation and feedback to help us improve our
rural programmes for which we are setting up an independent Concurrent
Commenting on the thread of sustainability that runs through
the Report, Dr. Mihir Shah emphasised the centrality of water to rural life,
saying “Water, which is critical for survival and livelihoods, must be managed
holistically across different uses, with coordination across government
departments, and with community participation.”
Dr. Rajiv Lall underscored the need to find innovative
solutions to address some of the most pressing challenges, saying “While rural
consumption and aspirations are rising, we can no longer fail to provide our
rural population basic services and opportunities to enhance their livelihoods.”
The Report provides a comprehensive landscape of rural India,
covering debates on topical issues, providing empirical analyses and
synthesising literature across a spectrum of issues including regional disparity
and deprivation; the changing nature of livelihoods; sustainability of natural
resources; and the changing role of the state and local self-governance. It
reviews all major central government rural programmes and schemes and, in
particular, the flagship MGNREGA. It will be a valuable resource for policy
makers, state and local bodies, researchers and the private sector.
The Report highlights the need to develop new strategies for farm
Income from farm livelihoods is no longer sufficient for
a household, especially for smaller and marginal farmers, who make up 85
percent of farm holdings, and for dryland farmers that occupy more than half
the cultivated area.
Need to encourage new crop models for them, and revive
traditional crops like millets, that suit drylands. Cultivation of different
varieties of millets, which are hardy and nutritious, can be promoted by
procuring and distributing through the public distribution system (PDS).
Various types of collective farming have helped small
farmers overcome problems of scale, insecure land tenancy and poor access to
credit, modern supply chains and storage.
Nearly 2 million farmers in Andhra Pradesh have
successfully adopted community-managed sustainable agriculture (CMSA),
significantly reducing their cost of cultivation and soil toxicity by doing
away with chemical inputs while increasing or maintaining yields.
Water efficiency in farming is also critical as 80
percent of water use is for agriculture. Water must be considered a
community resource and the management of both ground and surface water must
be looked at holistically across all uses of water.
Non-farm income sources are increasingly important – 43 percent of
rural families rely on non-farm employment as their major income source.
Indian rural households are typically pluriactive,
combining work on their own farm, with that on others’ farms, animal
husbandry, and commuting or migrating to undertake non-farm activities in
villages, towns or cities.
Non-farm employment offers better wages and social
mobility for lower castes to move out of agricultural labour. There is also
some evidence that higher non-farm wages have helped increase agricultural
Non-farm work is predominantly casual in nature with most
work in the construction and trade sectors. Even manufacturing employment
has become increasingly informal over time. This denies workers job security
and benefits of formal employment.
Must tackle the important barriers to non-farm
livelihoods - lack of access to credit, marketing and skills. Financing
skill training is difficult: trainees are not assured job placement or
higher wages, and employers find training not relevant or employee retention
difficult. While some projects have worked scalable solutions are needed.
Recently, the government launched Aajeevika – aimed at
skill development, assisting the poor set up small businesses and expanding
access to capital through SHGs.
Poverty, though reducing, is increasingly concentrated amongst certain
regions and social groups.
In 1993–94, nearly 50 per cent of the rural poor lived in
seven states — Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh
and Uttar Pradesh. This rose to 65 percent in 2011–12, though states like
Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh have reduced poverty significantly
These states, along with Rajasthan, also fare worst on
education learning levels, child and maternal health, and poor penetration
of healthcare services.
Only 18 percent of rural households have access to all
three basic services – drinking water within premises, sanitation and
electricity – and 20 percent have none of them.
Almost all the bottom two quintiles of districts in terms
of access to the three basic services are in Rajasthan and the seven states
excluding Assam. There are also pockets of deprivation in richer states,
such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, which are mostly in
Poverty is markedly higher among scheduled castes (SCs)
and scheduled tribes (STs) who together constituted 44 percent of the rural
poor in 2009-10.
Despite progressive legislation, SCs and STs continue to
face discrimination, limiting their participation in economic, social and
political spheres. They have the highest rates of malnutrition, child
mortality, and access to public health services. STs fare the worst.
Government spending on productivity-enhancing infrastructure has a more
significant and lasting impact on poverty reduction than spending on subsidies.
- Village-level connectivity has improved, especially roads, electricity
and telecommunications. Yet results are not commensurate with government
expenditure. Household-level access is poor, especially for the most
vulnerable, and infrastructure assets are often of poor quality, incomplete,
unusable or badly maintained.
- Almost all villages are connected to the grid, but 45 percent of rural
households lack electricity connections. Electricity supply is often
unreliable and water supply unavailable or polluted. Almost 70 percent rural
households lack sanitation facilities.
- Also, in education, nutrition and health, service delivery is marred by
widespread absenteeism of government healthcare providers and teachers,
leading to poor outcomes.
- Learning from past experience, government approaches are changing and
- India lives in villages so development of Indian villages are
development of India . Comment.
- Discuss the India Rural Development Report 2012/13.
(With inputs from Government of India websites and reports)
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