ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Large Villages, Small Towns

Two distinctly different processes of change are likely to operate in rural areas as a consequence of urbanisation (Surinder S Jodhka, “Changing Face of Rural India”, EPW, 5 April 2014). As the urban boundaries shift out with larger villages becoming eventually small towns, the people in these villages would acquire urban lifestyles and aspirations though they continue to remain rural in the records. As the review notes, some 20,000 large villages account for more than a half of rural population. Their dissatisfaction with the prevailing rural physical environment and with inadequate livelihood opportunities outside agriculture would make them politically restless and prone to agitations which could be violent and disruptive. When we add those in urban slums, there would be formidable numbers spread widely across the country getting mobilised to fight for their basic needs. The second process relates to worsening conditions of small, isolated and stagnant villages with low political visibility. The policies for inclusive growth would have to monitor both these processes and achieve balance in dealing with the problems they create.

V M Rao
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