Even though India has managed to achieve good economic growth, the country has a long way to go to fulfill its dream of becoming an economic superpower. This is because Economists are of the view the country is only making progress in its cities which are considered as the engines of economic growth. Most of the economic activity is concentrated in prominent cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune etc. Even though these cities might have made significant progress and are contributing to the Indian economy. But the overall picture is very grim and as one looks towards villages and hinterland of the country.
Take the example of Maharashtra itself. Even though the state is known as an industrialized, cities like Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nasik, Nagpur are developed and while the other areas are lagging behind in terms of economic development. Since cities contribute a large chunk of share to the state’s economic development most of the people migrate these places in search of their employment and livelihood. As a result of this, the cities are becoming overcrowded inviting infrastructural issues, crime and unemployment problems.
The scenario is no different with several other states across the country. For instance, they may seem developed but there is a huge disparity between the urban and rural areas. Most of the villages in India are so backward that it lacks proper drinking water facilities, colleges, education and health care schemes. To make matters worse, there is lack of cooperative, rural self help group to provide employment to the rural workforce. This will lead to huge socio economic problems for the country and hence both the villages and cities will suffer in the long run.
A villager may discontinue agricultural activities and shift to the cities in search of industrial jobs. This in turn may lead to shortage of labour in the agricultural sector. It will also have an adverse affect on the country’s agricultural output. Also large areas of rural land are being converted into industrial land and used for commercial purpose which can lead to shortage of agricultural land. On the other hand if a large number of people migrate from villages to cites, it will put an additional burden on the city’s infrastructure. Mumbai is already a victim of this menace and is facing infrastructural woes. It also has created huge shortage of affordable housing in the metropolis and real estate prices have increased manifold. Hence a common man is unable to buy a flat in the city.
Sociologists are of the view that India to become a super power will have to develop atleast 10 cities like Mumbai. They have emphasized on a need to develop the tier 2 and tier 3 cities of the country. Since the metropolitan cities of the country are already overburdened, the onus has now shifted towards developing the small cities with a population of 10 lakhs and above. Also the areas neighbouring the metropolitan cities must be properly connected with the mainstream city. The rapid investment must be made to develop the infrastructure of these areas and the existing rail and road networks must be strengthened so as to get a proper access to the city.
To address this socio economic problem, the government must play an active role in strengthening the rural economy. It must have a proper agricultural policy so as to address the farmer’s woes. Loans must be given to farmers at subsidised rates and they must be assisted in procuring seeds and fertilizer at competitive rates. There must be emphasis on supporting rural artisans, cobblers, weavers so that these people can earn their livelihood. The cooperative movement must be strengthened at the grass roots levels and corruption needs to be addressed. Panchayat’s must be given more autonomy so as to empower them in the decision making process and work for the village’s welfare. The government must look into electrification of villages and also address power shortage.
A periodic audit must be conducted to ensure whether the welfare schemes are reaching the needy people. The government must stop politicizing issues and work in the interest of the country at large. This will enable to address the problem of regional imbalance and economic backwardness of rural areas.