Mahatma Gandhiji mentioned the above statement more than half a century ago. Even today, the statement holds true. Rural India is blessed with natural resources like land, minerals, rivers, scenic beauty etc. It has diverse communities, of different caste, creed, religion staying in villages for years with unity and togetherness. They have their own art, culture and festivals celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm. The main point to highlight is they have always led a simple life.
The sky, sun and moon are the same for everyone i.e. the urban and rural population but the growth and development of both differs. The opportunities available to both also differ to a larger extent. Urban places are growing at a rapid pace but the rural area is still backward in its functioning. There are many reasons like inadequate healthcare systems, poor quality education and less opportunities for higher education and employment, loan facilities for new business etc. This has led to migration of rural populations to urban areas in the search of employment, better living conditions, education and to fulfil their basic necessities of life.
Our urban areas have less resources and cannot cater to the overgrowing population, and this migration is leading to many issues in the urban areas like increase in slums, sanitation, solid waste management issues, pollution, pressure on healthcare facilities and over burden on the existing resources.
So, the time has come where the government, private organizations, NGO’s, civil society organizations and everyone come together to work for achieving a balanced regional growth for the development of the nation.
This can happen when every sector which is important in rural areas is given focus and developed according to the needs of the rural population. We can start with the focus on healthcare systems i.e., the Primary Healthcare system. If PHC in every village is strengthened so for e.g., the pregnant woman is properly taken care of and she can get the safe delivery done. After her delivery, she is given proper medication for her and her child. Then comes the education sector which will play an important role where today’s children, tomorrow’s youth and citizens will be nurtured with the right amount of knowledge and holistic education. This will start from our Aanganwadis, where proper educational facilities and food is given to children. So, we can keep a check on the nutrition and growth of the child.
Primary and secondary schools with qualified teachers and start of the art facilities must be provided to them. Higher educational opportunities should be available to every student nearby his village or at taluka level.
Our youth is going to play an important role in nation building since 70% of our youth lives in rural areas. So different employment opportunities should be open to them in the rural areas like rural BPOs or call centers, web designing, social media marketing, computer programming, high tech farming etc.
Then come our true heroes, our farmers who over the years have helped achieve food security of our nation. Today farmers hold many acres of land, but there is no increase in their production of crops and annual income. Livelihood patterns are based on years of trends and a deep behavioral impact needs sustained impetus. We must create awareness regarding the use of technology, different cropping patterns, making them aware of non- farm activities like horticulture, dairy farming, goat farming, poultry farming and innovative solutions of how we can achieve doubling farmers income.
Then the next thing is infrastructure. We can achieve all this when we have a good infrastructure being developed to link the dots. E.g., farmers have good crops with them but no proper transport to sell his crops to the market, then he is going to face many issues. So, connectivity will play an important role.
The main institution in our rural area is our Gram Panchayat. Being a democratic country, every citizen has the right to take part in the developmental process. A strong Gram Panchayat with its active members and Sarpanch can play an important role in developing every village as an Adarsh village. They will help in implementing all the government schemes and see to it that every villager is benefited. They can take various decisions for the growth and development of their village. Active participation of every villager is must for achieving these goals.
This will have many results like it will promote balanced regional development, reduction in difference between income earned in rural and urban area, reduction in migration to cities, increase in the standard of living of rural populations and they can live a happy and sustainable life.
The developmental gaps can be achieved with inclusive and sustainable growth and then we can ensure that India’s rural population walks in hand- in-hand with the rest of our country. And this will help India to become a global leader in the coming years.