Rural and Agrarian transformation in India
The village economy has changed from subsistence to cash economy. Farmers now cultivate commercial crops like sugarcane & cotton and send them to outside market. They produce more by adopting new agricultural innovations. The Govt's involvement is more in village agricultural economy through its development. Programmes & personnel. The village co-operatives try to assist the farmers by supplying the necessary agricultural inputs. There is not much change in the land ownership pattern in spite of passing land legislations. The tenants condition has not improved much the agricultural laborers also continue to live in poverty in spite of the increased agricultural production. Since the agricultural production is capitalistic economy & market oriented the farming community never gets the benefit of more production. On the other hand industrialists and traders who control the national politics take away the profit of agricultural yield. Still the farmer is faced with the forced sales due to his immediate need for investment.
Religious Institution- The ritualistic life of the rural people did not change much in spite of the social reform movements. Even those who advocate casteless & classless society in villages do not venture to disturb the ritual relations in any way. The village traditional religious customs still follow the same old pattern. People never go out of the traditional way in religious matters. Caste distinction & particularly segregation of Harijans continues in village religious life marriages are conducted with the same traditional rituals. The death & other life cycle ceremonies also follow the traditional pattern. People are either traditional oriented or reluctant to oppose the traditions & hence there is little change.
Political Structure - The traditional associations like caste & village councils have lost their political influence due to the introduction of new political institution like village panchayats, mostly they have influence only in village ritual life. The statutory panchayat with its legal powers, resources & increased area of services reduced the importance of village traditional councils & caste councils. The introduction of adult franchise has reshuffled the political position of several caste groups. Economically & numerically dominant caste groups occupy the top political positions. Several caste groups are able to improve their political status because of their voting strength. The introduction of adult franchise & general elections have linked the village political system to the wider political system of the nation. Now the villages vote for the different political parties & elect their representatives to state Assembly and Parliament. Political parties slowly started entering the village polities. The old traditional leadership has given way to modern young leadership. Now the traditional leaders are replaced by the young leaders. The cultural values in leadership also have changed. People prefer the ability of leader to his caste background. They give importance to the personal qualities & skills of the leader.
Caste & Social Interaction - Most villages have started showing signs of change towards the caste system. Still there are several villages (of remote areas) with rigid caste structure. The caste barriers are being removed in most of the social interactions particularly among the higher caste people. Still Harijan caste groups live as isolated units even though they have free movements in village common places. There is considerable change in caste customs related to food & dress. The equal status caste groups have caste free interactions in their social life except in marriage relationship. The economic relationship of the service & occupational caste groups have changed. But the service caste groups still render the ritual duties in life cycle ceremonies. The traditional caste hierarchy system has lost its importance & Harijans have the disability of segregation. Untouchability prevails in most the remote villages the govt. legislation is seen in living places of Harijan caste groups. All these bring out the fact that our rural community are slow to change.
Critically examine the role of caste in village politics.
In rural India almost every activity revolves round caste a rich person who belongs to high caste is always a leader & non done challenge his authority. Both directly & indirectly he commands and dictates following of a person depends on his caste people & factions & groups in the village are formed on caste affiliations. Since the involvement of the village in electoral politics, the caste has crept in politics as well. The Congress claims to be the champion of the down caste, whereas the Marxists claim that they support the cause of the poor irrespective of the caste to which they belong. Infact every national & regional political party has some image in the village and voting pattern & behavior of every caste depends on the cause which the party is believed to support. Every local body, institution or organization in the village revolves or organization in the village revolves round caste, which plays even very effective role in local body elections.
The elites of the backward caste groups & scheduled castes have realized the need for consolidating the political power of these caste groups. They have either our political parties on important positions in regional & national parties. They used pressures in electing their own caste candidates from the areas where they function as dominant caste groups. They even pressurize the ruling party to offer minister ship for their caste their MLA.
What is the part played by community Development./ & NES programmes in India's rural development? Freedom will be meaningless for people if they do not have economic & social justice. So after independence, our national leaders planned for several socio economic measures to improve the conditions of people particularly in villages. Community Development programme is a major step towards rural reconstruction. It was a major comprehensive programme undertaken by the government as early as in 1952 to bring a sort of revolution in rural India. The main objective of the whole programme being to involve the whole community in the task of rural re-construction. However if the initiative of the people was to be lacking, efforts were to be made to arouse it and stimulate it in order to secure the people's active & enthusiastic response. The community Development movement's aim was to create a psychological change in the villagers. It wanted to inculcate in two villagers new desires, now incentives, new techniques & a new confidence so that this vast reservoir of human resources could be used for the growing economic development of the country.
In 1952 (during the 1-plan) the Community Development Programme was launched in selected areas of the Nation. Later in the second plan the numbers of blocks were increased & now every village is covered by the C.D. Block. In the first phase of its starting the blocks were called Community Projects Later the National Extension Service (NES) blocks were introduced and finally the present community development block were introduced. Now we have Integrated Rural Development Blocks in selected areas (the community development programmes has the following items of programmes for rural development.
- Agricultural & Animal husbandry, development of communication (roads etc).
- Education (social edu. Etc)
- Training (of village leaders in programme of social change).
- Social Welfare (women & youth welfare through organization & programmes).
- Local self help
- Local mobilization of natural & human resources.
- Govt. aid in the few of technical guidance
- Local initiative of people in planning & executing the programme
- Remuneration of community organizations for mobilizing the people's support
- Use of group work approach
- Importance of peoples' participation through local leadership
- Assisting role of Govt. machinery
C.D. programme was & continues to be a multi - fact one. It aims at all sided development & advancement of the rural folk-
Agricultural Development. In the field of agriculture under the programme the agriculturists were educated & new techniques of farming were exhibited. Good quality seeds & fertilizers were procured & distributed. Old wells were repaired & new ones dug. A network f tube well was spread & better irrigational facilities were provided cultivable land was protected from maladies & soil erosion was checked. Efforts were made to bring barren areas under plough & reduce. The dependence of cultivations on rain.
Economic Development.The main aim of the project is economic uplift of the people. Under the programme cottage industries & handicrafts were encouraged. Efforts now also made to provide employment to the unemployed.
Animals Development.Animals, particularly the bull are the most useful possession of a cultivator. Under the programme better breed animals like oxen, cow etc. were arranged. Efforts were made to make the people feel that there should be more dependence on mechanical equipments rather than on the animals.
Educational Development.In order to end illiteracy stress was laid on the development of education. Attention was paid to education of the adult, children & women alike. Primary & adult schools were opened & efforts were made to ensure that the children got education without least financially hindering the people & that the adult got education during their leisure time.
Development Training - Under the programme developmental training activities were undertaken by which the village folk were training to lock after the work being undertaken by development agencies & also to co-operate with them so that the work was satisfactorily finished.
Transport Development - Under the programme old roads were repaired & thousands of miles of new roads were constructed. The villages were linked with the market areas. Thus efforts were made to link villages with the cities, market places & other places of rural importance.
Cleanliness Programme- The rural areas by & large are dirty & unclean. No care is taken for hygiene. Under the project a large number of drains were constructed in the village efforts were made to provide pure drinking water & well ventilated houses were constructed.
Health Development - The village folk are lean & then. They do not posses good health & health care facilities are very much lacking in the villages. The health of women & children is highly unsatisfactory. There is shortages of both the medicines & doctor. Under the programme health centers & new dispensaries were opened in each block, where trained midwives & muses were posted. In addition, qualified doctors & mobile dispensaries were also arranged.
Attention was paid to games & entertainments so that the people usefully used their time & did not waste that in drinking & gambling: Good deal of work was done in the field of co-operation & ending of rural in debtedness.
Shortcomings - Though the project was done considerably good work yet it has done considerably good work yet it has not achieved the desired purpose. The whole programme when in full swing was badly criticized for its failures. The programme could not go far in the field of irrigation, distribution of fertilizers & setting up of cooperative societies. It has no programme of distribution of land & other rural wealth. The bureaucracy did not get involved in the successful working of the project. It paid no attention to the problem of landless labour & backward conditions of cottage industries.
The programme also failed to solve many local problems or to provide any solution to these, which shock the faith of the people. There was no proper harmony between the bureaucracy & rural people. Necessary agricultural equipments were always in short supply & the co-operation of the people, which would have made the whole programme a success could not be obtained. Thus it remained only an imposed & not people's programme. The programme also suffered became there was acute shortage of women workers.
Thus in spite of the fact that the whole programme wanted to achieve much, it could achieve very little & was badly criticized both inside & outside the Parliament various committees set up to review the working of the programme also pin pointed that the whole programme was not satisfaction progressing. They gave the following reason.
The govt. officials did not understand the time spirit underlying the program. Instead of developing community effort & local leadership, they were functioning as executives, with target orientation. The officials did not follow the principles of extension work & the government did not take roots in village community. People developed more reliance on the govt. instead of developing the attitude of self-reliance because of their feeling that govt. has to provide everything for them. The leaders & people were not involved in the decision making process. The decisions were taken by the top officials & the lower officials implemented them there was no co-ordination between the different departments which were involved in the development work. Inter department -rivalry was the common feature. The programme benefits were not equally shared by the people of the village community & only the rich section of the village go benefited much by the agriculture road development programmed. The poor people were exploited through Sharamdan progrgrammes. The poor & the depressed classes did not get representation in community development organizations like statutory panchayat & village co-operatives. Only the rich were able to dominate these institutions & they further strengthened their economic & political dominance according to the evaluations the failure of community development programmes is mainly due to ignorance & lack of will on the part of officials, faculty organizational principles, disinterest of the villagers, lack of technical & social skills, the selection of programmes which did not have relevance to the felt needs of the community failure to use effective communication media to make the villagers to understand the programme.