Using ICT, rural India can be accorded its place in the World Economy, while still maintaining its predominantly agrarian economy. This will facilitate “Rural India to shine, smile and roar”.
Viable society in a rural space
India is a land of diversity with different types of terrain, various agro-climatic conditions, different levels of socio-economic conditions, and varied levels of regional development.
Agriculture, including crop husbandry, animal husbandry, forestry and agro-forestry, fisheries, and agro-industries, provides livelihoods to over 70 % of the rural Indian population. Agriculture is decentralised but small scale manufacturing (small and marginal farmers) units. Agricultural development, along with village and cottage industries, tiny and micro enterprises, are the cornerstone for promoting sustainable rural livelihoods. More than 60% of our workforce is still in Agriculture. Water, crucial for agriculture, faces rapid depletion, thanks to free farm power that encourages over-irrigation and hence empties aquifers.
Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, agriculture remains high on the international agenda because it brings together critical issues like water, poverty, hunger, and health. The Agenda 21 of the Rio Earth Summit 1992, the action pathway for sustainable development, clubbed sustainable agriculture and rural development under one head in its Chapter 14. ‘Access’ to ‘sustainable livelihoods for all’ is ‘a gateway’ to ‘sustainable development’. Agriculture productivity is a function of seed quality, nutrient adequacy, irrigation and adoption of appropriate package of practices. Agricultural sector faces constraints for achieving its sustainable growth in many parts of the country.
The national efforts in ‘bridging this Social Divide’ are visualised through: