THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 23 April 2020 (The village is still relevant(The Hindu))

The village is still relevant (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 3:Economy 
Prelims level: Not much 
Mains level: Role of villages in an economy 


  • The upheaval caused by the novel coronavirus should inspire a review of past choices and policies. Some of these policies had gained so much acceptance that one felt there was no point left in questioning them. 
  • Public health and education are two areas in which India took a decisive turn in the 1990s. 
  • When several States decided to stop giving permanent appointment letters to doctors and teachers in the mid-1990s, they were guided by an ideological shift at the national level towards allowing health and education to be opened up for private enterprise. 
  • This was viewed as a major policy reform, a necessary part of the bigger package of economic reforms. They were presented as a package, offering little choice for specific areas. 


Taking a back seat:

  • The new buzz was public-private partnership. It covered everything from roads to schools. 
  • The form it took made it amply clear that the state would take a back seat after issuing a set of rules for private operators while the state’s own infrastructure will shrink. 
  • The cost-effective measures became the priority in both health and education. 
  • Chronic shortage of functionaries became the norm while young persons learned to wait for years for vacancies to be announced. 
  • Working on short-term contracts, with little security or dignity, became common. 

Imbalance and invisibility:

  • This general framework justified discriminatory funding in every sphere, including health and education. 
  • No serious public investment could be made in villages. 
  • Even as medical education and teacher training became increasingly privatised, the availability of qualified doctors and teachers willing to work in villages dwindled. 
  • Ideologically-inspired pursuit of economic reforms swept State after State, leaving little room for dissent or longer term thinking. 
  • A veneer of welfarism was maintained. It allowed the expansion of essential facilities of a rudimentary kind in villages. 
  • They served as sites for special schemes for the poor and provided minimalist provisions. 
  • The goal was to keep the poor alive and occupied. Privately-run facilities burgeoned, creating an ethos that boosted commercial goals in health care and schooling. 
  • Stuck between state minimalism and commercial entrepreneurship, villages lost what capacity they had for regenerating their economy or intellectual resources. 

Obsolete debates:

  • The novel coronavirus has demonstrated how unsustainable this socio-economic arrangement was, apart from being ethically indefensible. It was characterised by sharp and growing regional disparities. 
  • No matter how hard we will try to rebuild the world as it was before the virus struck it, its unsustainability will not go away. 
  • It is rooted in the structural imbalance between the urban and the rural on one hand and the predominance of a skewed vision of economic growth on the other. 
  • In this vision, the village has no future other than becoming a pale copy of the urban and eventually dissolving into it.
  • Once upon a time, there were debates over the nature of India’s rural society — on whether it was intrinsically good or bad. These debates are no longer relevant. 
  • The village is, however, still relevant, at least for the vast number of urban workers. Similarly, while the problem of defining a village in an academic sense has ceased to matter, its existential reality has asserted itself, and we need to recognise this assertion.
  • If we do, we might agree to notice a problem in policies that do not acknowledge the right of villages to flourish as human habitations with their own distinctive future. 


  • They deserve to have new sites and forms of livelihood. 
  • They also deserve systems of health and education that are not designed as feeders to distant centres. 
  • Initiatives in this direction will make both cities and villages more sustainable and capable of coping with the kind of crisis we are currently facing.


Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1)With reference to the Primordial Black Holes (PBH), consider the following statements:
1. They were formed during the Hot Big Bang phase.
2. PBH can be massively large as 3000kms or be extremely tiny like nucleus of an atom.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2



Mains Questions:
Q.1) What are the reforms needed in Indian villages to have flourished with its habitations?