As India showcases a positive trend in its economy, it is imperative that this development reaches to rural India as well. The issues in rural India are multi-dimensional that hinder the rural population to utilize the available options to generate sustainable livelihoods for themselves. The problems of lack of opportunities of generating income and infrastructural facilities are being solved by not only the government but not-for-profits as well.
There are numerous schemes initiated by the Government of India that use skill development initiatives as an instrument to help create livelihood options for them. The Government has also encouraged voluntary action to mobilise rural India.
India being a diverse country offers regional imbalances on various socio-economic dimensions. From developed states to impoverished states, one major issue that the rural poor is facing is securing sustainable livelihoods. Historically, India’s rural economy has been primarily based on agriculture and related activities, but with increasing population and decreasing land holdings, the dependency on primary livelihoods is at risk. In this dire situation, distress migration takes place where the village youth is compelled to migrate to the cities in search of employment. The major cities, over-loaded with a bulk of unskilled rural youth can only offer minimum wage labour opportunities. Therefore, it is altogether imperative to find alternative livelihood models and strategies for achieving inclusive growth.
In a typical rural setting, one can identify three kinds of beneficiary segments- the farmers, the women and the youth. The farmers in India often face issues of high input costs and low yield. While the farmers are engaged in agriculture and labour work, the women in rural areas are engaged in on-farm activities and livestock management. However, the youth of the villages is not attracted towards agriculture as their potential livelihood option. There has been a cultural shift in the way the youth perceive agriculture. To them, it is a physically intensive job with low remuneration. When the farmers are not engaged in farming in off season, they migrate for labour work at low remuneration.
The rural economy is majorly unorganised in nature. There is a severe lack of organised employment channels in rural areas and there is a lack of jobs at the village level. The employers from nearby areas, perceive the rural folk as unskilled or semi-skilled and do not easily hire them. When they do, they offer low remuneration, making it even less lucrative for candidates to leave their villages. Hence, a system needs to be developed where the employment opportunities are created in the unorganised sectors either by making self-employment a more profitable option or by forming organised associations of the rural folk for forward integration with the industries.