Rural-Urban Linkages and Divide in India
The rural-urban linkages may be defined as the two-way movement of people, goods, capital, technologies and social transaction which is functional and structural. There always exists an economic, social, political and environmental inter-linkage between rural and urban areas[i]. The rural-urban interaction is an indispensable phenomenon. The linkages between the rural areas and the urban centers are complementary in nature. They are mutually benefited with each other. The important developments include an enhanced understanding of the complexities of poverty, the growing adoption of the free market economy, urbanization, intensification of the rural –urban linkages and decentralization of government responsibilities to lower levels of the government.[ii] Generally, rural –urban interaction can be defined as linkage across space and linkages between sectors.[iii]
Rural- urban disparities have for long been one of the causes of concern for policy makers.[iv] It is a major challenge for the policy makers to distribute the scarce resources efficiently and in a strategic way to solve development problems and to ensure that solutions for urban –related problems do not result in rural–related problems. The divide in the country is rising in a noteworthy pace and the link between the rural and urban sectors play a crucial role in the generation of income, employment and wealth of a nation’s economy. Rural – urban linkage can reduce the vulnerability of both rural and urban poor by promoting livelihood diversification strategies. This issue deserves and requires renewed attention in view of new developments happening in the country in recent years. The rural-urban divide is prominent in all development aspects particularity in developing countries. Studies show that urban-biased policies of the government and weak sectoral linkages may be the main reasons behind the rural-urban divide.
Diversifying Agriculture, capturing backward and forward linkages and identifying regional potential may strengthen the spatial and sectoral linkages and may narrow down the rural-urban gap in India. Investments may be needed in sectors to create sufficient backward and forward linkages effects. Investment in agro-processing industries of India may help in reducing the rural-urban gap due to its linkages across sectors. There are various reasons behind Rural-Urban divide in states of India:
· Resource Availability
· Urban bias in government policies in taxing, pricing and investment/spending which has given rise to the following factors:
o Lack of availability of infrastructure
o Slow growth of agriculture in terms of both output growth and price growth
o Uneven Impact of trade openness and globalization
The absence of required linkages between rural and urban sectors that cause agglomeration of certain activities in certain areas which lead to rural to urban migration.
Although many studies have been conducted on different perspectives addressing the problem of Rural -Urban divide at an international level, only a few linkages or divide studies are found which address the problem of rural –urban divide in India, let alone any particular region. The problem of rural –urban divide is studied without establishing the linkages between the sectors in most of the studies. a systematic study of the problem of rural-urban divide and the sectoral linkages in the state is required to decrease the divide. It is imperative to look into the current status of the economy of the state from the perspective of the rural-urban disparity.
[i] OKPALA,Promoting the Positive Rural-Urban Linkages Approach to Sustainable Development and Employment Creation: The Role of UN-HABITAT,(2003)
Name: Anjali Jaiswal
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