The rural population in India refers to people who live in the countryside, away from urban centers. India has a predominantly rural population, with around 66% of the population residing in rural areas. Agriculture and related activities are the main sources of income and livelihood for the rural population in India. The rural population is spread across various states and regions of the country and is diverse in terms of culture, language, and social practices.
The government of India has implemented several schemes and programs to improve the standard of living and economic conditions of the rural population, such as the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, and Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana. Despite the efforts, there still exist several challenges such as poverty, lack of education, healthcare, and basic amenities, which impact the well-being of the rural population in India.
According to the latest census in 2011, the rural population of India stands at 68.8% of the total population, which translates to approximately 833 million people.
Here are some key findings about the composition of the rural population in India:
- Age: The majority of the rural population is below the age of 35 years, with children under the age of 14 accounting for around 30% of the total rural population.
- Gender: There is a gender imbalance in the rural population, with males outnumbering females. In 2011, the male to female ratio in rural areas was 949 females per 1000 males.
- Religion: The majority of the rural population in India is Hindu, accounting for around 70% of the total rural population. Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs are the other major religious groups in rural areas.
- Education: The literacy rate in rural areas is lower than in urban areas. According to the 2011 census, the overall literacy rate in rural areas was 68.9%, with the male literacy rate at 77.2% and the female literacy rate at 59.3%.
- Occupation: Agriculture is the main occupation of the rural population in India. According to the Census of India 2011, around 48% of the rural workforce is engaged in agriculture and related activities. Other major occupations include manufacturing, construction, and services.
- Health: Rural areas in India face various health challenges such as inadequate access to healthcare facilities, poor sanitation, and lack of awareness about health and hygiene practices.
- Poverty: The incidence of poverty is higher in rural areas compared to urban areas. According to the 2011 census, the poverty rate in rural areas was 33.8%, while the poverty rate in urban areas was 22.5%.
Issues faced by Rural Population
|Poverty||Rural India is home to a large number of people living below the poverty line. Lack of access to basic necessities like clean water, proper sanitation, and electricity adds to their hardships.|
|Unemployment||Rural areas lack job opportunities, and a significant number of people are either underemployed or unemployed. Agriculture, the primary source of livelihood, is also not sufficient to sustain the growing population.|
|Landlessness||Landlessness is a major issue in rural areas, and many people rely on agricultural labor for survival. The land ceiling laws and the fragmented nature of landholdings have led to the concentration of land in the hands of a few.|
|Lack of education||The literacy rate in rural areas is lower than in urban areas, and access to quality education is limited. This lack of education hampers their chances of getting better job opportunities and improving their economic conditions.|
|Healthcare||Rural areas lack adequate healthcare facilities, and people often have to travel long distances to access medical facilities. Lack of proper healthcare infrastructure leads to poor health outcomes, and diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrhea are prevalent.|
|Infrastructure||Rural areas have poor infrastructure, including roads, electricity, and water supply. This hampers their economic growth and development.|
|Gender inequality||Rural women face several challenges, including lack of access to education, healthcare, and job opportunities. They are often subjected to discrimination and violence.|
|Social issues||Caste discrimination, religious tensions, and conflicts between different communities are prevalent in rural areas. These issues further exacerbate the hardships faced by the rural population.|
Initiatives by GOI
|Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY)||Restructured version of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (ORY) aimed at developing rural infrastructure||Develop rural areas by providing better infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals||Started on 1 April 1999|
|Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)||Launched to provide connectivity to unconnected habitation as part of poverty reduction||Provide high and uniform technical and management standards, facilitate policy development and planning at state level||Implemented by Govt. of India|
|Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP)||Aims to alleviate rural poverty by providing income-generated assets to the poor in rural India||Raise families below the poverty line by creating sustainable opportunities for self-employment||Assistance given in the form of subsidy by the government and term credit advanced by financial institutions|
|National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)||Provides paid work to rural people for 150 days||Boost income of rural population||Implemented by Ministry of Rural Development and responsible for timely and adequate resource support to states and central council.|
1. What is the population of rural areas in India?
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, India’s rural population was over 65% of the total population, making it one of the largest rural populations in the world. However, please note that population figures can change over time, and it’s advisable to refer to the latest census or government data for the most up-to-date statistics.
2. What is the poverty situation in rural areas of India?
Rural poverty remains a significant concern in India. Many rural areas face challenges related to income inequality, lack of access to basic services, and limited employment opportunities. The government of India has implemented various poverty alleviation programs to address these issues, but rural poverty persists in many regions.
3. What are the most profitable businesses in rural areas in India?
Profitable business opportunities in rural areas of India can vary based on local needs, resources, and market demand. Some potentially profitable rural businesses include agriculture and agri-processing, dairy farming, poultry farming, handloom and handicraft production, rural tourism, and small-scale manufacturing. The choice of business should align with the local context and available resources.
4. What are the key challenges faced by rural areas in India?
Rural areas in India encounter several challenges, including:
- Lack of Infrastructure: Insufficient access to roads, electricity, and healthcare facilities.
- Agricultural Dependence: Overreliance on agriculture with limited diversification.
- Limited Educational Opportunities: Inadequate schools and higher education institutions.
- Unemployment and Underemployment: A shortage of non-agricultural job opportunities.
- Healthcare Accessibility: Limited access to healthcare services.
- Migration: Rural-to-urban migration due to lack of opportunities.
These challenges underscore the need for comprehensive rural development policies and initiatives to improve the quality of life in rural India.
5. What is the definition of a rural area in India?
In India, rural areas are defined as areas that are not categorized as urban. While the exact criteria for classification can vary between states, it typically takes into account factors like population density, the presence of basic amenities, and administrative designations. Rural areas are generally characterized by agriculture-based economies and a lower population density compared to urban areas.
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