Challenges to Rural Development in India

Examines 21st century challenges to rural development in India.

The paper reveals that in India, the rural population is ignored in the country’s quest for modernization; rural electrification of villages comes second to the shunting of electricity to suit industry and land is not available to the homeless family but is made readily to industrial investors. The paper explores the impact of external factors such as globalization and neo-liberal economics as well as the role of internal constraints, and discusses cultural change in India. The paper argues that if governments and planners continue to ignore the plight of the country’s very poor, in the interest of promoting capitalist objectives, they may eventually produce uncontrollable social fissures.
“The case of India offers a strong example of what Boyer has noted of the post-Glasnost adjustment of various Third World countries. The current development efforts of democratic societies can be severely strained by neo-capitalist adjustments that have given rise to newer market economies of less concern for the aims of social justice. (1996, p. 107) This scenario has been amply played out in India. The experiences of international debt restructuring and the impact of Globalization have put strong emphasis on promoting commercial and industrial growth. Attention has shifted away from older policies which centered on swadeshi or home-made production, village-level and basic needs development, and a centrally directed, socialist paradigm. The current environment in India is one whose bottom-level concerns have been rather swept away by entrepreneurial demands for modernization to aid capitalist ventures and with much less concern for how these demands affect other groups.”