Problems of Rural Development in "Green Revolution9 Areas
THE PROBLEM of rural-urban disparities has received a good deal of attention in recent years. Indian villages are so underdeveloped— economically, politically and socially—that not only do the villagers suffer continually, but also educated people generally refuse to work in the villages and help them to develop. What is more, this dispaiity tends to grow. Poor villagers who migrate to cities have to live in slums and work on low wages in unorganized industries, as construction labourers, rickshaw-pullers etc, without the protection of labour legislation. Despite planning, the number of poor has been growing in India, both absolutely and relatively. In the Sixth Plan document, those below the poverty line are estimated to constitute 48 per cent of the population. Within the villages also, the disparity between the rich and the poor has been growing due to the unemployment of many erstwhile artisans like weavers, and the conversion of small or marginal farmers into landless labourers. »
The Community Development programme was an ostensible attempt to deal with these problems. However, it was soon realized that the bureaucracy could not be the main instrument of development. The bureaucracy did proliferate without fulfilling the objectives of the programmes. Panchayati raj was introduced with the object of bringing about "democratic decentralization*'. But real grass-root democracy was never achieved; for, the panchayat functionaries were often the nominees of political bosses at higher levels; at other times panchayati raj bodies remained superseded. Further, corruption of both politicians and civil servants interfered with development: the loans, subsidies, raw materials and implements meant for poor farmers and artisans rarely reached them. This has been the experience of the working of the Integrated Rural Development Programme also.
The different aspects of the problem of distorted development of rural areas have been studied in the specialized disciplines of economics, politics, sociology, and so on. However, it is now being realized that
* Professor, Department of "Public Administration, University of Punjab, Chandigarh.