Infrastructure is of great importance for an economy and without developing of proper infrastructure no country can ensure its economic growth. The development of infrastructure in any economy is directly related to the economic welfare of its people. Rural infrastructure includes the roads, finance, transport, electricity, communication and warehousing. In the context of the Indian economy, infrastructure is of key significance in several crucial areas.
The very functioning of an economy is determined by the existence of infrastructural facilities. These are in fact the wheels of an economy. Infrastructure, if properly designed, can be of great help in accelerating growth that will reduce poverty in the country. Though India is an agricultural country where about 72% population of India lives in villages and the rural income is made of mainly agriculture and agricultural wages yet the basic amenities for human life are not available to most of the rural population.
Though we know that the rural infrastructure is a key component of rural development and the proper development of infrastructure in rural areas improves rural economy and quality of life yet development of rural areas in India is very slow due to improper and inadequate development of infrastructure. Infrastructure is the backbone of economy and no country can ensure economic growth and development without proper infrastructure in a place.
Agricultural and Industrial development depends largely on infrastructure and without having a sound infrastructure base it cannot be possible. Infrastructure development affects production and consumption directly and provides multiples support to them. The development of infrastructure in any economy is directly related to the economic welfare of its people. In the context of the Indian economy, it is of key significance in several crucial areas. The very functioning of an economy is determined by the existence of infrastructural facilities.
These are in fact the wheels of an economy. Infrastructure, if properly designed, can be of great help in accelerating growth that will reduce poverty. Since Independence India has covered a long distance to attain the goal of economic development and has made a remarkable progress in various fields. India is an agricultural country where about 72% population of India lives in villages. The rural income is made of mainly agriculture and agricultural wages. The basic amenities for human life are not available to most of the rural population.
Development of rural areas is slow due to improper and inadequate provision of infrastructure. Infrastructure is the supporting mechanism that provides basic services. Rural infrastructure is a key component of rural development. The proper development of infrastructure in rural areas improves rural economy and quality of life. It promotes better productivity, increased agricultural income, adequate employment etc. Rural infrastructure includes the following components: 1.
ROADS: Rural roads, which are indispensable ingredient of the infrastructure, are generally termed as the roads which posses through rural and agricultural areas, connecting villages to main road and market centers. Improvement in rural roads result in improved market, access reduced transportation costs, optimum utilization of expanded government extension efforts and stimulate agricultural economy. Total length of rural network in India is about 33. 4 lakh kms. of which rural roads consists of 26. 4 lakh kms.
All past efforts by the government could provide connectivity to only 55% of total villages in the country. Sufficient attention has not been given to the formulation of district road plan through which district roads, rural market roads and village approach roads may be developed as an integrated system capable of meeting growing local needs and accelerating the development of the rural economy of each area. In our country most of the villages are situated in the remote sensing areas, which are not connected with the pucca roads.
Lack of proper transportation facilities affects the business of villagers adversely. Mostly in rainy season the kuchcha roads get muddy and marshy and are totally cut off from main roads. The villagers have to face a great difficulty in sending their finished products to the market. In such a cases they have to sell their products in local markets at such a price, which only covers their cost of production. For the upliftment of the rural economy government should emphasize upon maintaining good roads to connect villages to the main roads and markets.
2. FINANCE: Commenting upon the importance of finance, an economist said, “ Finance is the oil of the wheels, the marrow of the bones, the blood of the veins and spirit of all the trade, commerce and Industry”. Finance is said to be the blood of the economic structure of the economy. But in India finance is still the biggest problem for the development of rural economy despite it being innovative. People in the rural areas have no money and often tend to go for high cost borrowings. No lender comes forward to help the rural community with social obligation in mind.
No lender lends money to those poor people without collateral securities despite having entrepreneurial capabilities, innovativeness, creativeness and hand working abilities. It is pity to say that in few districts villagers happened to be bonded labourers to big money lenders due to high cost borrowings, which has never been a easy task to repay. The modern Banking System has failed to deliver inexpensive credit to India’s 6,00,000 villagers. Though various banks and other financial institutions are available to provide finance to the rural people, still they hesitate in granting loans and advances to them.
It is found in the survey that most of the poor villagers are deprived from financial assistance, which is made available for them by the government. Therefore, it is important to have a continuous feedback between rural clients and financial institutions to maintain a high degree of market coverage accessibility. 3. TRANSPORT: Development of proper means of transportation is indispensable to economic progress. Without adequate facilities for moving goods and people from place to place, economic and social activities can be carried on in a limited way only.
Transport has been seen as the basic infrastructure, which is crucial for the success of a development plan. Transport plays a vital role in the economic development. Development of transportation network is the prime importance for economic progress. If a country wants to achieve the goal of industrial and economic development, its transport network must be accordingly developed. It is said that if agriculture and industry are the body of economy, transport is its nerves. Transport means serves all types of surface transport vehicles, trucks, buses, cars, animal driven carriages and bicycles.
The road transport being highly labour intensive has a large employment potential. Without road transport the mail and other means of communication can hardly reach the villages and remote areas. 4. ELECTRICITY: The power infrastructure lays a vital role in sustained economic development of a country. A positive co-relation exists between use of electricity and improvement in human development parameters of health and education. Power accessibility has been a matter of concern in rural areas.
Keeping in view the present situation the government of India has aimed at supplying electricity of 1,25,000 villages, which are not yet electrified under the Bharat Nirman Programme. Now there is an urgent need for the installation of power grids in villages so that the electricity problem may be rooted out from the rural areas of the country. 5. COMMUNICATION: The need for effective and comprehensive rural telecommunication has become clear in the last two decades. In the past rural telecommunication has been neglected because of the impression prevalent that there is not enough demand to justify the investments.
Even after making Universal Service Obligation (USO) compulsory for service providers the rate of growth of telecommunication facilities in rural areas has been slow. Even today 3 out of 4 villages are not having distant telephone facilities. Mainly Public Sector Company BSNL provides the telephone facilities in rural areas. In present scenario the rural communication share only the 10th part of urban communication. For the upliftment of the rural economy, the communication facilities should be increased at high cost and rural connectivity programme is to be funded under the Universal Service Support Policy of the Government. . WAREHOUSING: Warehouses are considered to be the main activity of marketing these days. When the production as well as consumption is seasonal there is no problem but when the production is seasonal and the consumption is perennial, the goods are to be stored in good condition from the time of production till the time of consumption. Storage aims at meeting different objects such as – bridging the gap between the time of production and the time of consumption, to get the expected appreciation in prices, to capture the market etc.
Though the government has taken initiative in the establishment of warehouses and Central Warehousing Corporation has established many warehouses in the country and in states yet in the country like India, where about 65% of the total population is engaged in agriculture, there is a great problem of lack of warehouses in our villages. Due to the shortage of warehouses in our villages, the farmers feel themselves unable in storing their products for a long time and they are compelled to sell it immediately.
As Rice and wheat are the two most important consumable crops of our country, storage facilities for these two crops available in India are not adequate keeping in view its requirements. And this lack of adequate storage facilities brings instability in the marketing activities. Thus, we see that rural infrastructure development is a challenge, which must be met urgently and on a priority basis. We can say that the development of India lies in rural India. And if we take infrastructure development as a challenge we will succeed in changing the picture of rural areas.