Publication Date: January 2006
Publisher: East-West Center
Author(s): Christopher M. Edmonds; Nobuhiko Fuwa; Pabitra Banik
Research Area: Government; Social conditions
The Indian economy's strong growth in recent years has given new impetus to long-standing efforts to develop the country's poorest rural areas. Growth has increased government resources and raised expectations among the rural poor for improvements in their well-being. Findings of a long-term study of farming households in Eastern India suggest the importance of local circumstances in developing policies intended to raise the welfare of poor families in remote, agriculturally unfavorable, areas. The history of government rural development efforts in India is largely disappointing, but recent policies, including the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, signal a reversal of top-down national policies and improve prospects for these agricultural areas. Program decentralization and allowing localities broad latitude in developing interventions that encompass agricultural, manufacturing, and labor market-based pathways for raising rural livelihoods are critical in these efforts. Success in rural development efforts in India is vital to maintaining support for economic reforms and sustaining the nation's growth.
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