Empowering Rural India

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The Empowering Rural India and its subsequent development is credited to a large extent upon the development of its 700-million strong rural population of India. The majority of Indian population lives in about 600,000 small villages and the main livelihood of this section of Indian population is primarily agriculture and its allied area.

The post 1990 era witnessed paradigm shift of Indian economic policy from a highly insulated market to open market. Further, during the process of industrialization a substantial size of India’s current agricultural labor force had to move to non-agriculture sectors for making a livelihood. The main challenge for Empowering Rural India during such transformation was managing transition of the 80% of the rural population from a village-centric agriculture-based economy to an industry based village economy. The main authority vested with the power of Empowering Rural India is the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India and the Planning Commission of India.

The notable steps taken by the Government of India for Empowering Rural India are as follows -
  • The allocation for Rural Infrastructure Development Fund to be raised to `12, 000 crore from `10, 000 crore.
  • A separate window for rural roads will continue, with a corpus of `4, 000 crore.
  • An additional irrigation potential of 2,400,000 hectares to be created, including 900,000 hectares under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme.
  • The National Agricultural Insurance Scheme of India to continue for the 2007-08, with an allocation of Rs 500 crore.
  • A weather-based crop insurance scheme will be introduced.
  • To connect 66,800 habitations with population over 1000, with all modern metal roads.
  • Total investment of `1, 74,000 crore envisaged under “Bharat Nirman”, investment on rural roads estimated to be at `48, 000 crore.
  • `1, 800 crore has been allocated for a water recharging scheme that will offer a 100% subsidy to small Indian farmers and 50% to other farmers to encourage them to recharge water.
  • A special plan is being implemented over a period of three years in 31 suicide-prone districts in four states, involving a total amount of `16, 979 crore. Of this, around `12, 400 crore will be spent on water-related schemes.
  • To address the problem of poor availability and quality of certified seeds, the integrated oilseeds, oil palm, pulses and maize development program will be expanded with more focus on scaling up the production of breeder, foundation and certified seeds Government will fund the expansion of the Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Kanpur.
  • Government to offer other producers to double production of certified seeds within a period of three years.
  • The Indian Agriculture Technology Management Agency, now in place in 262 districts, will be extended to another 300 districts.
  • The amount of fertilizer subsidy has been increased from ` 17, 253 crore to ` 22, 452 crore.
  • The budget has also allotted ` 12, 000 to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
  • Amount of ` 2, 800 crore has been allocated for the Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana.
  • To facilitate a corpus of ` 8000 crore to Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
  • To construct additional 1,46,000 Km of new rural roads and repair and modernize 1,94,000 Km of existing rural roads.
  • Allocation for promoting self -employment among the rural poor, has been increased from ` 1, 200 crore to ` 1, 800 crore.
  • NABARD to issue government-guaranteed rural bonds to the extent of ` 5, 000 crore with suitable tax exemptions.
  • A 31% hike in allocation towards the Bharat Nirman programme for upgrading rural infrastructure, from ` 18, 696 crore to ` 24, 603 crore, and a proposed ` 225, 000 crore for farm credit.
  • In December 2006, 53,370,000 new farmers were brought under the institutionalized credit system. The target for 2007-08 is set at ` 225, 000 crore with an addition of 50,000,000 new farmers accessing credit.
  • A Special Purpose Tea Fund to rejuvenate tea production. Financial mechanisms for re-plantation and rejuvenation will also be implemented for coffee, rubber, spice, cashew and coconut plantations.
  • To add to clean drinking water facility along adopt proper sewage mechanism.
  • To engage faster electrification and telecommunication process.
  • Increase number of rural health centers, with special focus on mother and child health care.

(Last Updated on 19 May 2011)