(Sample Material) IAS Mains Sociology (Optional) Study Kit "Rural And Agrarian Transformation In India"

Sample Material of Our IAS Mains Sociology Study Kit

Subject: Sociology (Optional)

Topic: Rural And Agrarian Transformation In India


Rural development became a planning concern as it became clear that the strategies adopted in developing countries remained largely ineffective in alleviating poverty and inequalities in rural areas. It became increasingly clear that apart from an effort to increase agricultural and industrial production, it was also necessary to address directly the problems of education, health services and employment and to attack the problem of poverty in rural area. The increasing interest in rural development is a result of the realization that a systematic effort is necessary to create better living conditions in the rural areas where the vast majority of populations of developing countries reside.

During the 1950s and 1960s, development policy makers sought to increase productivity and per capita incomes through advances in the manufacturing sector. In the realm of agricultural production, growth in output during the first two decades after independence was achieved mainly by increasing the area under cultivation, supported by expansion in public investment in supporting infrastructure. It was soon realized, however, that the gains from these methods reached, to a large extent, only a small minority - mainly those who were already better off and privileged. In fact, the gains made as a result of these efforts are believed to have further accentuated inequality in incomes in rural areas.

By the 1970s it became clear that there were serious problems in the way the issues and problems of development were being tackled. In particular, the hope that the problems of unemployment and poverty in rural areas would get addressed adequately was certainly not realized.


It is important to distinguish between rural development projects and programmes. Rural development projects are micro level efforts to bring about change in rural areas. These changes can take many forms ranging from efforts to increase literacy to attempts to increase agricultural productivity. The effects of these projects are not generally widespread in the sense that they concern only a small number of people. Rural development programmes involve a number of projects each, which are aligned to one another so that they influence the various facets of rural economic and social life. Therefore, rural development programmes attempt to bring about changes in a wider area impacting a greater number of people.

Rural development programmes are more difficult to implement because of the problem of scale. This is particularly so in the case of a country like India where the rural population is large, widely dispersed and with varied socio-economic and natural endowments.

Because of these problems, adequate planning in launching and completing rural development programmes is of great significance. Also, appropriate monitoring and evaluation agencies and mechanisms are important in order to ensure that these programmes meet their objectives in cost­effective ways. India’s experience in these respects is quite instructive


The Planning Commission has defined the community development programme in these words: “Community development is an attempt to bring about a social and economic transformation of village life through the efforts of the people themselves.” In this way, the community development programme indicates those projects for social and economic reconstruction in the villages which are implemented with the co-operation of the public itself. In the words of A.R. Desai. “The community development project is the method through which Five Year Plans seek to initiate a process of transformation of social and economic life of the villages”. In this way, community development project is a process controlled by the community itself. Here community implies rural community. Elucidating the aims of community development project has been laid down in India 1973, published by the Government of India, “The community development programme, launched on 2 October 1952, aims at bringing about an integrated development of rural society covering the social, cultural and economic aspects of community life”. Prof. S.C. Dube, writing in his book India’s Changing Villages has recognised the following two aims of community development projects:

The Community Development Programme (CDP) initiated in the 1950s intended to involve popular participation in rural development. It laid emphasis on the building of infrastructure in rural areas with the participation of rural communities.

The CDP sought to promote rural development in a phased manner in different parts of the country. A block of villages was identified as the development unit and an infrastructure of technical and administrative staff provided to implement development programmes in different sectors.

The present set up of the schemes under Community Development Programme is based on old community development concept, which aims at the development of community with the initiative and participation of the community itself. The grant-in-aid is being provided to the Panchayat Samitis under the head Social Education and General Education for developmental activities in the social educational fields. Funds are provided to the Blocks for the construction/ completion of staff residential buildings and Gram Sewak huts. Besides, the funds are also provided for completion of on-going office buildings. Provision of funds is made for providing staff salary of the employees posted at various levels. Grants are also provided for the promotion / strengthening of Mahila Mandals, incentive awards to Mahila Mandals and organisation of awareness camps for non-officials etc.


1. To manage or achieve an adequate increase in the country’s agricultural produce and a progress in the means of communication, rural health and cleanliness, and rural education.
2. To initiate and to direct a process of synthetical cultural change aimed at transforming the social and economic life of the village.

The following major aims have been recognised in the Ministry of Community Development of the Government of India publication A Guide to Community Development:

1. To create a change in the mental outlook of the masses.
2. To develop responsible and active leadership in the village.
3. To make the villagers self-dependent and progressive.
4. To modernize agriculture on the one hand and to develop cottage industries on the other in order to raise the economic status of the villagers.
5. To improve the condition of the women and families of villagers in order to make the suggested improvements practicable.
6. To develop properly the future citizens of the nation.
7. To protect the interests of rural educators.
8. To raise the standard of health among the rural populace and to protect them against disease.

1. Short Term Objectives: The aims of the community development project have been divided into two parts: Short-term objectives and Long-term objectives. The short-term objectives are the following:

1. To maximize increase in agricultural production.
2. To solve the problem of unemployment in the villages.
3. To develop the means of communication in the villages.
4. To improve the centres of primary education, public health and recreation in the village.
5. To improve the conditions of houses. 6. To encourage industries and indigenous handicraft.

2. Long Term Objectives: The long-term objectives of community development projects is the complete planned development of all physical and human resources. In it, arrange­ments will be made to provide all villagers with full employment. The goal of community development project is the development of villages in such a way that the citizens of the country may not lack anything, which is the ideal of a welfare state and that everyone should get adequate food and that every one should progress socially, morally and financially. In this way, in brief, community development projects aim at the integral development of the government.


Describing the importance which the community projects have for rural life, the Planning Commission has written in the Second Five Year Plan. “It is a problem, briefly, of changing outlook of 70 million families living in the countryside, arousing in them enthusiasm for new knowledge and new ways of life and filling them with ambition and the will to live and work for a better life”. Extension services and community organizations are among the principal sources of vitality in democratic planning, and rural development projects are the means by which, through co-operative self­help and local effort, villages and groups of villages can achieve in increasing measure both social changes and economic progress and become partners in the national plan.

Social development projects will involve improvement in all the aspects, social, economic and others, of rural life. The main effects which development projects have had upon rural life are the following:

1. Agricultural Development: Agri­culture is the foundation of rural economic life. The happiness and the prosperity of the village depend upon the progress of agriculture. The main cause of the poverty in the Indian villages is the backward condition of agriculture. The main problems of Indian agricultural are old techniques of agriculture, dearth of new tools, absence of manures and fertilizers, excessive subdivision of land, dearth of the means of irrigation, shortage of good seeds, etc. The community development projects have made efforts to solve all the problems which beset Indian agriculture. New techniques of farming are exhibited in the villages and manures, seeds, tools and fertilizers distributed. The community projects also undertake and repairing of old wells, supplementing them by sinking new wells in order that the farmers have the necessary facilities available for irrigation. Efforts are made to protect the land from soil erosion and other maladies.

2. Economic Progress: The greatest problem of rural life in India is its poverty. The. community development projects have encouraged cottage industries and handicrafts. Unemployed people are provided with work through auxiliary and useful services. Although these efforts are as yet quite inadequate, it is hoped that a continuous increase in them will lead to rural life in India becoming more prosperous in the future.

3. Development of Quality of Animals: Another major problem and obstacle of progress in Indian villages is the deplorable condition of the animals which are even today employed in ploughing the fields. The ox is used for this purpose. In order to improve the strain of the species the community development projects have made use of good oxen. Improved poultry have also been arranged for the development of poultry farming.

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