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

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Dimensions of Rural Transformation in India

Dynamics of Difference: Inequality and Transformation in Rural India edited by Narendar Pani, New Delhi: Routledge, 2022; pp xii +269, `1,095.

Contemporary agricultural transformation involves “pluriactivity” or the propensity of rural households to engage in multiple income sources, besides the cultivation of inherited land. Thus, the dichotomy of primary and subsidiary income is rather unclear (Djurfeldt and Sircar 2019; Bhavani et al 2019). In fact, India (like East and South East Asia) is moving towards a pluriactive smallholder agrarian pattern. In India, this is accompanied by family farming gaining in strength. Structural transformation in the West historically involved transformation of traditional agriculture into the capitalist one with an enhanced dependence on hired labour.

Structural transformation is both a cause and effect of economic growth and is manifested through interrelated processes, notably, declining share in agricultural employment and income, rural to urban migration, urbanisation, demographic transition, and increase in the size of the secondary and tertiary economy. The drivers are often cited to be non-economic, such as dreams of a better life. The combined effect is scarcity of hired workers in agriculture. The pull exerted by urban jobs owing to unequal incomes in the farm versus non-farm sectors set the stage for rural change. The neglect suffered by the farm sector and the pervasive agrarian questions combined with the real and perceived income inequalities create conditions for indebtedness that proves detrimental to the farmers’ well-being. The ameliorative conditions have to int­egrate the agrarian policies with those for urbanisation and rural enterprises that will regulate the pace of the labour movement and create adequate income avenues for the landless and small peasantry.

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Updated On : 14th Aug, 2023
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