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Rural Development

Rural people consume most products such as shampoo, biscuits, tooth powder, etc in micro units. This is majorly linked to the fact that they earn in daily or weekly wages. The following discussion is to reason out why do they prefer daily/weekly wages in turn to explain the popularity of shampoo sachets (and not a shampoo bottle).

If you visit any rural household or a surrounding retail stores please observe what kind of things they have. Tooth powder in sachet, Coconut oil in sachet, Fail & Lovely in sachet, only one soap bar (though they might be using multiple soaps in a month), small biscuit packet (Do you know the very popular Britannia Tiger?? it just contains 3 pieces instead of regular 10 pieces), the telephone usage with a 1 Re coin box, mobile phone usage in small top-ups (10/- or so), chota pepsi, etc. Basically consumption world is a miniature here.

Basic reason for these micro-units of consumption is to use them for a day or for at most a week. Their consumption budget is just about a week or less. That is because their earnings fall under in similar periods. Typically in rural locations, the work contract period is about a week or less. In fact, it is day-contracts which rules here.

Before proceeding further discussion on these consumption patterns, let me talk about an interesting topic and it is about you (Yes, I am talking about you, the reader). Assume, after a shopping exercise, you came out of a shop to return your home. As you are with some luggage, you wanted to return home with a auto-rickshaw. You found 3 autos standing on the road and you know it takes about 45/- to reach your home. When you asked each auto driver, you were told 3 prices, first guy - 100/-, second guy - 50/- third guy - 10/-. Then which one will you take to reach home? and why? Think for a while before reading further.

Coming back to our original discussion, rural people plan weekly budgets unlike the Indian government which does 5-year budgets. As we have seen before that is because rural people earn in similar periods. And surprisingly, it is their choice to earn in daily but not monthly. Yes, you read it right, it is their preference. Why is that so? It is because, their logical capability to think is very limited. Just like birds, they can do additions up to 10, beyond which it is difficult for them to count. To understand things for a year period, you need to foresee a lot of things, and plan accordingly. This requires arithmetic skill-set. So it is skill-set deficiency that makes an issue with them..

India is a country of villages and about 50% of the villages have very poor socio-economic conditions. Since the dawn of independence, concerted efforts have been made to ameliorate the living standard of rural masses. So, rural development is an integrated concept of growth and poverty elimination has been of paramount concern in all the consequent five year plans.
Rural Development (RD) programmes comprise of following:

  • Provision of basic infrastructure facilities in the rural areas e.g. schools, health facilities, roads, drinking water, electrification.
  • Improving agricultural productivity in the rural areas.
  • Provision of social services like health and education for socio-economic development.
  • Implementing schemes for the promotion of rural industry increasing agriculture productivity, providing rural employment
  • Assistance to individual families and Self Help Groups (SHG) living below poverty line by providing productive resources through credit and subsidy.

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