YFI: Dr. Hegde, what according to you are the factors impeding the success of rural development programs in India?
Dr. Hegde: Rural development programs in India face multiple impediments:
Benefits not reaching poor: Although, several development programmes are launched to address the problems of the poor, the benefits of most of these programmes have not been reaching them due to inadequate infrastructure and poor communication, apart from mismatches between the problems at the micro-level and pre-conceived development programmes.
Adverse environmental factors: In the absence of alternative employment opportunities, a majority of the poor are dependent on rain-fed agriculture and livestock development which are uneconomical due to lack of appropriate technologies, uncertainties in agricultural production caused by global warming and exploitation by middlemen.
Lack of guidance: Most of the poor being illiterate or semi-literate, they are hesitant to participate in any development programme. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of dedicated extension officers and field guides who can live in rural areas and guide them;
Structural challenges: As the present programmes are launched in isolation, small farmers are not able to make efficient use of the resources and improve their earning;
Poor planning & implementation: There is significant economic disparity and emotional divide between urban and rural population. Lack of understanding about their problems, result in poor planning and implementation of the development activities;
Availability of finance: Lack of finance and critical inputs for promoting economic activities by the poor;
Weak economic linkages: Lack of effective linkage and fair understanding between the producers and consumers;
Lack of skills/capabilities: Lack of people’s organisations and voluntary organisations to build capabilities of the rural poor and to facilitate various development programmes.