It seems today rural development and prosperity of those living in rural areas has become the concerns of all. Even most of the columnists in pink papers have made it a popular subject for their write-ups. But most of these people are having only academic interest and have bookish knowledge of the rural conditions and difficulties. Most of them might have their roots in the villages, but they and their kids have come far away from the roots and they do not any more enjoy the rural living. If the situations force them to live in villages, perhaps they can no longer survive in that atmosphere and will run away. Look at the representatives of the rural mass coming to the legislatures. Today hardly they spend any night living in their villages. Either they are afraid of their life or they can’t live in that condition without electricity and all other fixtures, gadgets and facilities. How can a minister live in his ordinary village house when he spends a million or more on refurbishing of the bungalow allotted to him?
But then what can be done to improve the conditions of those living in villages? How can they be made to improve their earnings? I have been writing about it in my blog. I have also been suggesting some of the things to my uncle who still lives there with his youngest son and his wife to look after the agriculture. He was Mukhia for many years and has done a lot for the village. Unfortunately, he lost last election, as he couldn’t understand the undercurrent of opposition of his own people. To boost his morale, I keep on suggesting some or the other project. I do also ensure the financial support, but he does not show any interest. I wish I can find some one who can work on my suggestions.
I feel, the spread of the concept of outsourcing can only help the village economy. I am sure the villages will be connected by good roads and will have power in every household in next five years. The younger generations will take up some jobs that can be easily executed from the villages. After I came to know about the outsourcing story of Sasaram (see through archives my entry on October 20,2004), I am much more convinced that the outsourcing can be moved even to our villages if some entrepreneurs take initiative. The villages can provide the cheapest solutions for the business of call centres.
Another area of outsourcing is the apparel manufacturing and knitting based clothes-cardigans and sweaters. To start with, it may be for the domestic market but very soon the quality of produce can be improved for all markets, even exports. Can you think of some young men opening telephone booths, and internet café? Can you think of smaller food processing units, say an Atta Chaki that supplies a quality coarse healthy atta from a crop that used only organic manure to the health conscious urban elites? Can you think of commercial tree plantations and supply of standardized parts of fixtures and furniture for the building industry? Can you think of or promote an apparel making unit for the unemployed boys and girls or women? Can we imagine a cyber café financed by the business malls in the nearby city to expand its home delivery of customers’ orders right up to the village household? Can you think of a public school outsourcing its primary education through qualified housewives of a village, who prepare the rural kids to their standard at affordable fees? Business malls can also serve as buyers of the produce from the farmers. The malls are to decide what they want to buy from the farmers with what level of value additions.
I also think of outsourcing of different types that will improve the conditions of the villages. Today, in metro and towns, we find people conscious about their health attending gyms, yoga, naturopathy, meditation camps and religious discourses. Morning walking is getting more and more popular. Women are joining some or other groups from kitty parties to kirtans. For the older people there are many missionary institutions organizing religious discourses and functions. Unfortunately, the life style is changing fast in villages. They are blindly following their urban counterparts. But there is total lack of health consciousness. The old practices of morning exercises and wrestling in Akharas have disappeared. Even the evenings of group singing of Ramayana or folk songs or staging of Ramlilas are missing from the villagers activities. Rural values and cultural strength and uniqueness are getting badly polluted. Why can’t some institutions such as Chinmaya mission and gurus like RaviShankar and Ramdeo cover the villages in their activities? Certainly, financial gains for their institutions will not be the same as in the towns and cities. But after all they pretend to serve the mass. And by going to the villages they can do it better. The religious and cultural institutions must give preference for the rural areas. All these institutions must have at least one sanchalak in every village that can take care of the healthcare through yoga, exercises, or naturopathy. The same person may organize different cultural functions and festivals, periodic discourses on religious topics from Geeta or Ramayan.
The quality of life in village must be restored to a respectable level. The panchayats require exposures as well as empowerment. By doling out subsidies for food and fertilizers or fuels, we can bring in sustainable prosperity for all.