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A Critical Appraisal of Past Strategies for Rural Development in India

  • Design
  • Economics


Rural Development (RD) has been in and out of fashion many times. Once again it is in. This time it is expected to be integrated. The paper examines the past experiments in RD in India, thinking from 1952 onwards, the three models available to India during the First Plan, the Community Development (CD) design, and administrative and economic strategies followed so far, and raises some basic issues relation to RD. All the past experiments were similar in approach, had many common features and also many naive assumptions. All these past experiments are, at best poor examples of rural reconstruction, considering their narrow and shallow base of thinking, and poor and transient impact on the economy of the intended beneficiaries. The CDP introduced in 1952 also followed the same approach. The persistence of rural poverty questions the very relevance of the CDP and earlier approach to present environment. And yet, the present design and approach of rural development, even of the integrated type is in no way different from that of the CDP.

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