Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
What is rural development?
Chief Minister Navin Patnaik is now eager to define rural development as availability of rice at the rate of Rs.2 per kg to people below the poverty line. It is not rural development.
Spread of consumerism with matching markets of consumer goods in rural areas resembling urbanization is not rural development.
Rural development is not urban development. So urbanization is not rural development.
Rural development is addition of urban facilities to rural landscape while retaining the original life style of rural peoples.
Rural peoples in Orissa are agro-based. Agro-activities are irrigation-based. So rural development is provision of irrigation to every inch of cultivable land and development of adequate markets in nearest proximity to cultivators.
Rural peoples are animal-dependent. So, rural development is provision of proper centers for animal care. There should be veterinary dispensaries in every village and veterinary hospitals in every panchayat.
There should be encouragement to autonomous social forces so that the typical rural character of self-dependence is not ruined.
Every rural belt has its own typical trade traditions. Those traditions should not be allowed to decline; but should be encouraged to flourish.
Every village should be guided to generate its required energy from cow dung to help people have electricity without dependence on power traders. Known as Gobar-Gas plants, Orissa has experienced success in it in different locations. Peoples should be encouraged to develop these plants on collective basis for secure energy. Peoples should be encouraged to develop collective farming in order to practice proper packages and yield more crops and earn more incomes.
The government’s role should be specific in establishment of public hospitals, post offices and police stations in rural nerve centers and provisions of road links to every village by best utilization of funds through food for works programs or the likes thereof.
Sad, Orissa’s incumbent Chief Minister has not yet been able to understand these bare minimum necessities of rural development. He wants to escape by creating fogs of rice at the rate of Rs.2 per kg.