A few months from now, we will perhaps witness rigorous and unrelenting attempts from the three new political parties, as well as the old ones, of what they would do if elected to power in the next elections.
How the parties will purport or what it would promise the electorates during the upcoming election campaigns, nonetheless, will have a pivotal bearing on the results of the next elections. However, we can be sure of one thing that what parties and candidates would pledge to do would not be anything different from what is already there in the 11th Plan.
The draft 11th five-year-plan is expected to be ready anytime soon and it’s targeted keeping in the mind the timing when candidates would be in the field campaigning.
Therefore, in consonance with ‘Rural Prosperity’, which is the main thrust of the 11th Plan, what we can be sure of is that almost all parties or candidates would be basically explaining about the activities and developments that would be taken or are there in the plan for rural prosperity.
It won’t be surprising if we are told that more farm roads would be built, more basic health units would be opened up, and that people will have access to market, clean drinking water supply, electricity for every home, and cellular connectivity for every community; basically all amenities and infrastructure that would reduce rural drudgery and attract people back to their villages.
But how far this would materialize is yet to be seen. If the recent trends are any indication, of a sort contrary seems to be happening.
Firstly, we are grappling with rural- urban migration. It has been continuing unabatedly; to an extent that we are now even witnessing signs of urban poverty in some urban towns.
Not only an increasing number of people are flocking to urban areas, but increasing chunks of farmlands are also left fallow and some rural people have even abandoned their ancestral land and home.
Further, wild animals depredation is another big problem. It’s becoming rampant every year and coercing farmers to abandon farming in totality. Their hard works are lost to wild animals, thus leaving some farmers barely anything to thrive on after having had toiled in the farms from dawn till dusk.
Therefore, achieving rural prosperity or to enliven rural areas would be a mammoth challenge, but it would be worth our endeavor even if we achieve a fragment of it.
But we need to also understand that taking better amenities and infrastructure to rural areas alone wouldn’t suffice. The drift to urban towns would continue because more jobs are created here. We need to take employment opportunities in rural areas if we are serious in our pursuit. And the important thing is to keep working towards it.