India, since its independence has been walking towards to become a developed nation- a developed India; but the major concern is about which type of development we are looking for. The Oxford dictionary defines ‘A developing country’ as ‘a poor agricultural country that is seeking to become more advanced economically and socially’. In fact development is a vast concept to be understood by any individual, development can be of social, economic, technology, etc. Only industrialization does not mean development of a place or nation, whereas it focuses on the needs of people living there, and the major focus is to remove poverty.
A country’s development always starts from its rural areas and about 70 % population of India lives in rural areas.
Millennium Development Goals (that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000) has set a target of reducing 50% of poverty of India by 2015 what it was in 1993, but according to a report of 2012- 2013 by Ministry of Rural development of India, about thirty percent of the population of the country is still living below poverty line and nearly 80 percent of the population living below poverty line are located in rural areas.
Indian rural areas are mostly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood including fishing, cottage industries, potteries, etc. It has a large population of artisan families, many of whom are from the minority and tribal communities. Most of these artisan farmers do not own any land and many find themselves in a difficult condition with poor access to market linkages and to remunerative livelihoods.
In this context, the Ministry of Rural development of India works for the welfare of population living in rural areas, and the prime focus is on providing livelihood opportunities to those in need including women. It operates some programmes in rural areas of which the one is Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act aims at enhancing the livelihood security of the people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. Due emphasis has been given as to how the MGNREGA in conjunction with the NRLM (National Rural Livelihoods Mission) programme can help these artisan communities to obtain a decent living while at the same time conserving the base of craftsmanship which is India’s cultural heritage.
According to a data, about 68,67,976 persons from Uttar Pradesh were allotted work under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA programme in the term year of 2012-13.
Literacy rate in rural areas has increased by 10.2 % in the year 2011 as compared to 2001. It has shifted from 58.7 % in 2001 to 68.9 in 2011, but still this increment is slow as the time gap is of 10 years. Female literacy has also reached to 58.8 % in 2011 as compared to 46.1 % in 2001.
The overall data shows that India needs some more time to become a developed nation, and the development could be reached by focusing on the rural areas. Many Non-Governmental organizations are also working for the welfare of the people living in the rural areas.
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