Sei sulla pagina 1di 48

The Monthly Journal



Vol. 59 No. 11 Pages 52
September 2011

Rina Sonowal Kouli


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Empowering Women in Rural India:

Exploring The Current Dynamics

Anupam Hazra

Status of rural women in Agriculture

Y.V. Singh
Jyoti Nayak

Women Empowerment:
Milestones and Challenges

Arpita Sharma


Rural Women Entrepreneurs In India:

Opportunities and Challenges

Dr. B.B. Mansuri


Breaking stereotypes in womanhood

Dinesh Sahu


Eradicating Manual Scavenging:

Reflections from District Badaun Model

Dr Mohd. Shahid
Gyanendra Mishra


New Definition of Poverty

Dr. Shahin Razi


Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission A Success Story



Wasteland Development in Andhra Pradesh

B. Chandra Sekhar
Prof. K. Govindappa


Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana extended

to the Domestic Workers

Y. S.Kataria


The Rural Market in India:

Great Opportunities, Greater Challenge



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Kurukshetra seeks to carry the message of Rural Development to all people. It serves as a forum for free, frank and serious discussion on the
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September 2011


ndia has the largest number of elected women in the world, and there
are around 75000 women representatives out of a total of 260,000
panchayat representatives. Empowering women is the surest means of

strengthening democracy and improving the lives of the rural people.

Women are instrumental in shaping the society and play a major role
in raising the economic resources for the family, though their contribution
is always underemphasized.
Some scholars note that it was the woman who first domesticated
crop plants and thereby initiated the art and science of farming. While men
went out hunting in search of food, women started gathering seeds from
the native flora and began cultivating them. Despite being the pioneers
of farming, women perform arduous jobs in the fields, while the men
folk use modern technology and tools like tractors to do these jobs.
women continue to perform farm operations which are full of drudgery such
as transplanting, weeding, winnowing, shelling, etc.

We discuss in this

issue the status of women in rural India and what all is being done.
The government has framed legislation

the women with the

decision making.

and special schemes which

aim of giving them a better say in

The impact of reserving one third of seats for women in

the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) has been fruitful, and has empowered
women both politically and socially.

efforts to raise the social status of women for more than a

century, India still ranks very low among the 177 nations on gender equity
according to the Human Development Index.
Though the path to empowerment of women is rough, age old
prejudices and gender based biases are giving way to gender equality and
harmonious development Policies.



September 2011

Empowering Women in Rural India:

Exploring The Current Dynamics
Anupam Hazra

Still, there is a strong preference for sons

in India because they are expected to earn for


September 2011

the families and to take care of ageing parents.

Particularly in rural areas of the country, still it
found that son preference and high dowry costs
result in the mistreatment of daughters. Though
dowry was legally prohibited in 1961 by Dowry
Prohibition Act but it continues to be highly
institutionalized in rural India. It is ridiculous to
notice that even among highly educated sections
the articles of dowry are proudly exhibited in
the marriage as a status symbol. Though the
constitution provides legal equality for men and
women but social and economic equality is yet to
achieve. This is the fact why rural women continue
to be recipients of welfare services and remain a
silent observer in decision-making process with
poor access to education, health care and other
basic facilities of life.
The Government has attempted to involve and
encourage rural women in decision-making process
by providing one-third reservation for them in Gram
Panchayats, to ensure their participation at the

urrent framework of international development

recognizes women empowerment as an
immense effective stratagem for the all
round development of the society. Though India
is developing economically and technologically
by leaps and bounds but women, especially rural
women still continue to be discriminated and
their current status in the society still causes
concern. Across the nation, women constitute
a disproportionate share of the chronically poor
population. Gender discrimination starts from
the foetus, in terms selection of sex, childrearing,
feeding, education, employment, control over
property and resources, participation and
influencing decision-making in public and political
spheres etc. Research on womens status in
Indian societies found that the contributions that
Indian women make to their families are often
overlooked; instead time and again, they are
regarded as economic burdens of the family and
this view is more customary in rural India.

A Model Exploring The Dynamics of Women Empowerment in India

From Multi-Dimensional Perspectives

At family level

At Society/Community level

At State/National level


opportunities for women;
Womens involvement
activities; Contribution
to family income; Access
to and control of family

Womens access to employment

opportunities; Access to credit
facilities; Ownership of land and
assets; Womens association and
involvement in micro enterprises

Strong framework for gender

in allocation for gender
budgeting; Representation of
womens economic interests in
macro-economic policies, Non
discrimination in payment of
wages at work places on the
basis of gender


of movement; Nondiscriminatory treatment
to daughters; Initiatives
towards educating girl

Space for womens participation

in social sphere; Symbolic
representation of the female
in myth and ritual; Existence of
womens association in society;
Shift in patriarchal norms such as
preference to male child

mediarepresentation for women
highlighting their roles and
contributions for the nation;
Womens literacy and access to
a broad range of educational


Active involvement in
decision-making process
of family; Control over
sexual relations; Ability
to make childbearing
decisions; Freedom from
domestic violence

Societal values and norms

emphasising greater importance
and autonomy for women
e.g. self selection of spouses;
Removal of the practice of dowry;
Acceptability of divorce; Campaign
against domestic violence

access to reproductive health


womens basic rights;
Family support and

Ensuring Right to enjoy equality

with men in all aspects of life;
Community consciousness about
womens rights; Social advocacy
for ensuring womens rights;
effective local enforcement of
legal rights

womens rights and promoting
women empowerment, Media
support for ensuring proper
implementation of Acts and
legislations ensuring women
welfare; Active judicial system
to address womens rights


Knowledge of political
as well as democratic
system and means of
access to it; Domestic
support for political

Representation in local bodies

involvement or mobilization in the
local political system/campaigns

in regional and national
decision making bodies of
government e.g. Lok Sabha,
State Legislative assemblies;
Representation of womens
interests in effective lobbies
and interest groups


Respect from every

member of the family; An
increase in self-esteem;
A feeling of self-efficacy
and psychological wellbeing

A well-accepted social identity and

social status; Womens sensitivity
and collective awareness about

Womens sense of inclusion

in the process of national



September 2011

local and district levels of governance through the

73rd Amendments of the Constitution. The impact
of reserving one third of seats for women in the
Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) has been immense,
and has empowered women to a great extent
both politically and socially. At present, there are
approximately 260,000 panchayat representatives in
India, out of which around 75,000 are women. This
is the largest number of elected women in the world.
Reservation has at least succeeded in bringing the
women folk of rural India into the political forum,
and elected women could now imagine standing
against a man in future. Representation of women in
the formal structures of governance at the local level
has recorded a steady increase. Women members of
panchayats are gradually learning to adjust to the new
political conditions. The political knowledge of women
is increasing and gradually a sense of confidence is
getting instilled in them, as they are now aware of the
problems being faced by their locality. These initiatives
have created political space for women but it is
observed that they have not been able to guarantee
a non- discriminative or conducive environment for
women to participate in decision-making processes.
Beside that Illiteracy, dominance of patriarchal values
in the society, lack of access and control over income
and other resources, restrictions to public spaces
and insensitive legal systems continue to impair their
effective political participation.

Access to appropriate health care information, a

comprehensive, adequate and affordable health
services are still to be achieved for the rural women.
Women experience malnutrition, anaemia, infectious
diseases and illness more than men, and they are
less likely to receive timely medical treatment.
High maternal mortality ratio continues to remain a
matter of great concern for rural India. Rural women
are especially vulnerable to pregnancy and child birth
related deaths. Poor health of health and nutritional
status of Indian women are inextricably interwoven
with social, cultural and economic factors. These
factors severely constrain the ability of women and
adolescent girls to acquire good health services.
Though the government is committed to improve
womens health through various policies and
programmes but the issue of improving womens
health needs more intensive efforts and attention as
far as the scenario of rural India is concerned.

Education is milestone of women empowerment

because it enables them to responds to the
challenges, to confront their traditional role and
change their life; so that we cannot neglect the
importance of education in reference to women
empowerment. But in rural India, still it is experienced
that our predominant patriarchal system does not
provide enough chances for women to have higher
education even if they wish. Spending on education
and especially for a girl child is still perceived as a
waste of money and resources, especially in rural
India. Economic costs, social traditions, and religious
and cultural beliefs limit rural girls educational
opportunities. As a result, combating the high rate
of illiteracy among rural women and girls remains an
area of serious concern for the Government.

Measures to improve the status, role and

participation of rural women must be given high
priority both because women have a fundamental
right to enjoy equality with men in all aspects of life
and because women can play a crucial role in and
must fully participate in the sustainable development
process. It is therefore essential to integrate gender
perspectives in policies, projects and programs that
can be achieved by gender analysis. All plans and
projects within community programmes should be
assessed using the gender lens in order to achieve
gender justice for women. On the other hand,
reservation of seats for women in panchayat or in
parliament, however, is only the first step to ensure
that a certain number of women will be involved in
decision-making process of the Government; the
very next task and challenge will be to develop their
capacity so that they can perform their role properly
to make a difference. Expanded policy interventions
with effective implementation; awareness building
at family, institution and community levels; and
better follow-up and intensified efforts for integrating
gender dimensions in policy-formulation are needed
to reduce constraints and to facilitate the participation
of women in the mainstream of every societal affairs.

On the other hand, rural women in India are

among the most disadvantaged section of the
rural communities in terms of their health status.

(The author is Assistant Professor in Department

of Social Work at Assam (Central) University, Silchar
788 011, e-mail :

September 2011


Status of rural women in Agriculture

Y.V.Singh and Jyoti Nayak

ccording to Dr. MS Swaminathan, the

famous agricultural scientist, some
historians believe that it was woman
who first domesticated crop plants and thereby
initiated the art and science of farming. While
men went out hunting in search of food, women
started gathering seeds from the native flora
and began cultivating those of interest from
the point of view of food, feed, fodder, fibre
and fuel. Women plaid a major role in decision
making process in traditional agriculture, but
they are virtually not recognized as producer
within their own right. Due to socio-cultural
traditions, the rural women have subordinate
role in the society. They have inaccessibility to
modern technology, credit, training and other
facilities available to male workers and farmers.
Their role has become passive due to ignorance
of modern inputs and methods of cultivation.
Their regain energy is spent in procuring fuel,
fodder, food and has little time to improve their


skills. In the process they have lagged behind

their male colleagues in using of improved crop
production and processing tools and machinery.
Besides hand tools and improved bullock drawn
implements, more 240,000 tractors and 700,000
irrigation pumps are being introduced every year
for mechanization of Indian agriculture. But these
improved implements are exclusively handled by
male workers. The women continue to perform
farm operations which are full of drudgery such
as transplanting, weeding, winnowing, shelling,
decortication, milling etc.
The R & D institutions have developed gender
neutral simple devices/ equipments for crop
production and processing. These can easily be
adopted by women, but only a limited infrastructure
for training of women are available on modern
crop production and processing technology. There
is a need to create awareness and provide training
on such technologies. Keeping their physiology,
women specific ergonomically comfortable
equipment also needs to be developed.


September 2011




According to population census of India

2001, there are about 402.5 million rural workers
of which 127.6 million are cultivators and 107.5
million are agricultural labourers. In other words,
pure agricultural workers constitute nearly 58.4
per cent of the total rural workers, of which
31.7 percent are owner cultivators and 26.7
percent are mainly agricultural wage earners
(Agriculture Statistics at a Glance, sourced from
Registrar General of India, New Delhi 2001). The
latest available agricultural census data (Govt. of
India, Agricultural Census Division, and Ministry
of Agriculture 2002) also reveal that about 78
percent of operational holdings in the country are
marginal and small, having less than 2 hectares.
About 13 percent holdings have 2 to 4 hectares
and 7.1 per cent have 4 to 10 hectares of land.
(Haque, 2003).

Involvement of women in agriculture

The rural women are usually employed in
most arduous field operations like sowing behind
and plough, transplanting, weeding, inteterculture,
harvesting, threshing and agro-processing. It may
be seen that women are largely employed in
those operations most of which have not been
mechanized. In addition to crop production,
women are also employed in other field operations
in horticulture, agro-forestry, animal husbandry,
dairying and fisheries. These sectors are least
mechanized in India. Nursery raising, tree planting,
pruning, potato planting, earthing, digging, fruit
and vegetable harvesting and transport, animal
feeding, care and cleaning of animals shelter,
milking, dairy product preparation, fish-fry rearing,
cage culture, net making, fish processing, spices
collection, processing etc are mostly performed
by women. It is generally seen that women
worker from socially forward communities prefer
to work on their own farm. Only in exceptional
circumstances they work on others farm. Only in
exceptional circumstances they work on others
farm. But women workers from schedule tribes
have no such reservation and work on their own
farms and farms of other farmers.

September 2011

Women in





Almost entire post harvest and agroprocessing activities are performed by women.
The operations like cleaning, grading, drying,
parboiling milling; grinding, decortication and
storage are performed by women out of necessity,
which is socially accepted, irrespective of economic
status of the women. The male workers seldom
perform these operations, even if they have idle
time. Fortunately mechanically powered simple
equipment and gadgets are available in rural
areas on custom for many of these operations and
therefore womens drudgery has been reduced to
a great extent. The custom services of rice milling,
flour grinding and oil expelling are quite common
in rural areas.

Women and agricultural modernization

As a result of adoption of modern inputs and
cultural practices the agricultural productivity
has increased considerably. The instruction of
tractors in few states for tillage and sowing and
agro transport have eased the womens drudgery
to a great extent in some states, the majority
of other field operations are still performed
manually. Tractors are hardly used for weeding
and harvesting. Mechanical threshing of wheat,
paddy and few oil seeds and pulses has also
helped in reducing the drudgery of men and
women. Combine harvesting has been introduced
in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh,
Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra
for wheat and paddy, mostly on custom hiring
basis. Harvesting of other crop is done manually.
Tractor operated potato and groundnut diggers are
commercially available and farmers have adopted
where these are grown on commercial scale. On
small holdings these are manually accomplished.

Mechanization in Indian Agriculture

The farm equipment is operated by bullock/
engine and motor power besides human power.
This equipment,
1. Reduce drudgery
2. Facilitate utilization efficiency of inputs
3. Ensures timeliness in field operations and
reduce turn around time for next crop



Increase productivity of man-machine-power

Conserve energy
Improve quality of work and also quality of

Technology and Gender Issues

The improved technology package has
been developed in the country for agriculture
and agro-processing but these have selectively
been adopted mainly by male farmers and
entrepreneurs. The female farmer/entrepreneurs
remained passive spectator and continued to
adopt traditional practices. The reasons may
vary from technological to marketing and social
barriers. These issues may be grouped into:

Training and skill
Passive attitude towards modernization
Credit facilities
Marketing system
Social barrier

1. Technological barriers
The equipment for agriculture production
processing and value addition are developed
keeping ergonomic design factors of male
operators. For women these are scaled down in
size but their physiological responses under long
duration of work are hardly investigated he physical
strength, working posture and environment under
which female workers are employed varies from
region to region, which influences the adoption of
technology. The research institutions have hardly
appointed female researchers and technicians for
evaluation of women specific technology.

2. Training and skill

The training facilities available for women,
in selected trades, are largely located in cities and
rural women can hardly avail these opportunities.
Agriculture production related training facilities
(agricultural machinery and equipment) are no
where available to cater to the rural women needs.
The programme confine mainly to demonstration
of machinery and women hardly get chance to

handle these machines. This does not improve

the skill of women but creates awareness and
therefore, modern machinery does not generate
interest among women worker.

3. Passive attitude towards modernization

In traditional agriculture women farmers
were equally involved in decision making process.
In the absence of knowledge of modern agriculture
technology, men alone take the decision for
modernization of agriculture and the female
members are left behind as passive spectators. They
give their share of labour through traditional tools
and equipment. The attitude of women towards
accepting modern machinery can be changed only
through proper training and demonstration.

4. Credit facilities
The modern agriculture, including improved
machinery, requires higher capital investment
which is not adequate from farmers savings alone.
The women farmers are not conversant with
Banking system and procedure for availing loan and
thus, are deprived of credit facilities for purchase of
machinery and other agricultural inputs.

5. Marketing system
Purchase of improved machinery or sale of
agro-produce requires knowledge of industries
dealing in machinery and organized marketing
network system for agro-produce. The women
workers seldom handle such issues outside their
village boundaries, though they are involved in
trade in village or local bazars.Since marketing
requires movement away from their villages, it
will be appropriate to organize, group societies, to
look after such issues. Network can be established
like Contact farming, franchise trading supply
to organized cooperatives/stores for value added
products for assured marketing.

6. Social barrier
Women are equally competent to operate any
mechanical device as seen in urban areas. In many
Asian countries such as in Japan, Korea, China,
Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, women equally
participate in operation of field machinery. But the
rural women workers in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh
and Nepal have confined to using hand tools and

September 2011

Women in decision making in agriculture

Womens role in agricultural operations, animal
husbandry and other economically productive
activities is very significant. They contribute about 6070 percent of the labour required for these activities
are very significant. The decision making process is
an important segment of every household because
it makes implementation of a plan or programme
quite easy.
In rural areas of the country, both husband and
wife are jointly responsible for making decisions
on matters like family obligations, specific housing
charges and purchase of household articles. However,
womens suggestions are not given due consideration
in the decisions pertaining to agricultural sector and
important family matters. It is because the majorities
of women are illiterate, have little time to know
about the latest techniques of farming and restricted
mobility due to several cultural taboos.
Generally, women have less access to
information about technology by virtue of their
poor educational status and relative isolation from
public life. Thus, there is a hesitation to come out
and interact. At times, even the suggestions of
knowledgeable rural women are ignored or are not
taken seriously because men consider it disgraceful
to accept the decision of women. This is because
traditionally men have been major lawmakers
of society. Many policies and decisions neglect
women and undermine their abilities and roles. The
undesired restrictions imposed by elderly people in
the society on their daughters and daughters-in-law
should be relaxed to facilitate their mobility in order
to have easy access to the outer world.
Most importantly, the women should have a
penchant for self-empowerment through enhancing
their knowledge and skills. Empowerment without
any change in mens attitude or without their
willingness will only aggravate family problems,
increasing dissatisfaction and ensuring that women
will continue to be at the receiving end.

September 2011

Government policies should be framed to

provide legal support and instill confidence in women
Programmes should be developed exclusively for
women, to build leadership skills for managing
agricultural community based development
activities. Access of technology, inputs and credit
has to be ensured predominantly through women
extension workers. They should be trained in farm
management skills and made capable of taking even
complex decisions like shifting from subsistence
farming to diversified agriculture, with stand
competition from market forces improvement in
work or farm efficiency etc.
The extent of participation in the decisionmaking activities in house hold and agriculture
related and other socio-culture affairs reflects the
status of women in the family as well as society.
A study conducted in Orissa shows the activities
by decision makers in household related activities
(Table 3).This study showed that major decisions
regarding purchase of every household item were
taken by males. Decisions in matters of food and
clothing more or less have an equal participation
rate between males and females. But decision
regarding savings and investments and purchase of
household assets is taken by males i.e. 83.5 percent
and 81.3 per cent respectively. As the male members
control the finance, this creates an adverse impact
on womens access to household assets and other
household activities.
A study conducted to study the decision making
patterns, showed that the major decision makers in
agricultural activities were men even though women
performed more in agricultural related activities than
men. Even they need not be consulted at the time of
purchase of animals or change of crop (Table 4).
An average, a woman spends 14 hours a day
working in and outside the home. During harvesting
season she spends about 16 hours a day. The
question arises why womens role in the economy
is not recognized and has given such an inferior
(The first author is Senior Scientist, CCUBGA,
Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New
Delhi 110012, and the second author is based in
Bhopal Regional Station, Directorate on Women
in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, e-mail:

there are social reservations in handling machinery.

This may take sometimes and there is no short cut.
Only persuasion, motivation, patience and social
recognition to their field work with use of machinery
will encourage them to adopt mechanical devices.

Arpita Sharma

mpowerment is a multi-faceted, multidimensional and multi-layered concept.

Womens empowerment is a process in
which women gain greater share of control over
resources - material, human and intellectual [
knowledge, information, ideas] and financial
resources and control over decision-making in
the home, community, society, nation and to gain
`power. According to aReport of the Government
of India, Empowerment means moving from
a position of enforced powerlessness to one
of power. In this process, women should be
empowered socially, economically, educationally


and politically that can help them take Selfdecision regarding education, mobility, economic
independency, political participation, public
speaking and awareness to exercise rights.
India has so far passed/amended several
women specific legislations and implemented a
plethora of programs and schemes for womens
well-being and economic emancipation.
Empowerment is a process aimed at changing
the nature and reaction of systemic forces which
marginalize women and other disadvantaged
sections in a given context. The need for women


September 2011

The countrys concern in safeguarding the

rights and privilege of women found its best
expressions in the constitutions of India, covering
fundamental rights and the directive principles
of the state policy. Articles 14, 15, 15[3], 16, 39,
42, 51 [A] [e] contain various types of provisions
for equal rights and opportunities for women
and eliminate discrimination against women in
different spheres of life. The Constitution [73 and
74 amendments] act 1992 provides that not less
than one third [including the number of seats
reserved for schedule caste and schedule tribe] of
the total number of seats reserved for women. To
make this de-jure equality into a de-facto on, many
policies and programs were put into action from
time to time, besides enacting/enforcing special
legislations, in favor of women. Apart from the
constructional provisions, a large number of laws
have been enacted to protect the Human Rights
for women. The important policies which have vital
implications for the women are National Policy for
Empowerment of Women 2001 and other relating
to population, health, sanitation, water, housing,
credit, science and technology and media etc. Since
women empowerment is a global issue, UNO has
also expressed concern in the matter. The charter
of the United Nations declare equal dignity and
worth of human person- all types of human rights,
civil, political, economic, social and cultural. In
1993, the Vienna Declaration and program of action
proclaimed the rights of women and girl child as
Inalienable, integral and indivisible part-priority
objective of the International community. The
National commission for Women made a number
of recommendations for changes and removal

September 2011

of lacunae in 34 laws and 8 bills. It also made

recommendations an Older Persons Maintenance,
Care and Protection Bill, 2005. The Compulsory
Registration of Marriage Bill, 2005, Protection of
Women from Domestic Violence Rules 2005, laws
relating to Rape/ Sexual Harassment assault etc.


Since the 1950s, when development planning
first came on the international spotlight, a number
of approaches, having different effects on women,
have been tried. They are as follows: 1] Welfare:
This was the earliest approach. It dominated
from 1950 to 1970 and is still widely used. Its
main purpose was to enable women to be better
mothers influencing their role in the society.2]
Equity: This was the original approach of women
in development and was utilized during the decade
for women 1975-85. Women were seen as active
participants in the development process. 3] AntiPoverty: It aimed at increasing the productivity of
poor women and saw their poverty as a problem
of underdevelopment, not of subordination. 4]
Efficiency: This is the most prevalent approach
used today. Its aim is to ensure that development
is efficient and effective. 5] Empowerment: An
approach articulated by third World feminists
since the mid-1980s. It aims at empowering
women through grater self- reliance and sees
womens oppression as stemming not only from
male patriarchal attitudes but also from colonial
and neo-colonial oppression.

Legislative Support for Women

The Government has given greater focus
to issues relating to women through creation of
an independent Ministry of Women and Child
Development, initiation of legislation that has
taken the country closer to complete legal equality
for women, gender budgeting and initiation of
programs for greater inclusion of women in all
walks of life.
The Government has so far passed/amended
five women specific legislations viz [i] The Immoral


empowerment was felt in India long back.

Mahatma Gandhi had announced at the Second
Round Table Conference that his aim was to
establish a political society in India in which there
would be no distinction between people of high
and low classes and in which women would enjoy
the same rights as men and the teeming millions of
India would be ensured dignity and justice- social,
economic and political.

Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 [ii]The Dowry

Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961) (Amended in
1986) [iii] The Indecent Representation of Women
(Prohibition) Act, 1986 [iv] The Commission of Sati
(Prevention) Act, 1987 (3 of 1988) [v] Protection of
Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and 43
women related legislations. However, effectiveness
of the laws can be seen/felt if womens are political
and social empowered.
1] The Government initiated the protection of
women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which
has given more effective protection to women
who are victims of violence of any kind occurring
within a family and provided them a civil remedy
to deal with such violence. [2] Distance Education
Programme for Womens Empowerment 2000.
Government had started a certificate course in
the Distance Education mode on Womens Group
Mobilisation and Empowerment.[3] Antyodaya
Anna Yojana (AAY) 2000 was launched for one
crore poorest of the poor families.[4] National
Rural Health Mission (NRHM), 2005 was launched
with a strong commitment to reduce maternal
and infant mortality, provide universal access
to public health services, prevent and control
communicable and non communicable diseases,
ensure population stabilization, maintain gender
balance and revitalize local health traditions.
[5] Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), 2005 is a safe
motherhood intervention being implemented
with the objective of reducing maternal and
neo-natal mortality by promoting institutional
delivery among the poor pregnant women. [6]
Indira Sahara, 2000 was launched to provide
Social Security cover extended to the age group
18-50. [7] Mukhya Mantri Antodaya Pusthaar
Yojana, 2009 was launched to make the State
malnutrition free, for Below Poverty Line (BPL)
families. [8] Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) was
set up in March 1993, to extend credit facilities
to poor and needy women in the informal
sectors, has disbursed loans of Rs.11.69 crore
during 1999-2000 (up to 31.1.2000) for the

benefit of 0.47 lakh women.[9] The Government

initiated the Hindu Succession Act, 1995 to
make Hindu womens inheritance rights in
coparcenary property equal to that of men. [10]
Amendments initiated by the Government have
been enacted prohibiting arrest of women after
sunset and before sunrise, medical examination
of persons accused of committing or attempting
to commit rape and mandatory judicial inquiry
in case of rape while in police custody. [11] The
Government has introduced a bill in Parliament to
amend the Factory Act, 1948 in order to provide
flexibility in the employment of women at night
while requiring the employer to ensure measures
for safety and protection and thereby generate
employment opportunities for women.
Womens reservation: 1] The new Act 2006
initiated by the Government has provided for
reservation for women for the first time and wards
have been reserved accordingly in the elections to
cantonment boards. 2] Womens Reservation Bill
2010: Womens Reservation Bill or the Constitution
(108th Amendment) Bill proposes to provide
thirty three per cent of all seats in the Lower
house of Parliament of India and State legislative
assemblies reserved for womenThe Womens
Reservation Bill has been a political raw nerve
for nearly a decade now. Due to female feticides,
infanticide and issues related to womens health,
sex ratio in India is alarming at 1.06 males per
female. It is expected this bill will change the
society to give equal status to women.
Financial Focus: 1] The Government has
introduced gender budgeting for improving the
sensitivity of programs and schemes to womens
welfare. The budgetary outlay for 100 per cent
women specific programs has been rising every
year and this year it is Rs. 11,460 crore. 2] Ensuring
that at least 33 per cent of the beneficiaries of all
Government schemes are women and girl children
has been laid down as a key target in the 11the

September 2011

Gender inequality: The principle of gender

equality and protection of womens right has
been receiving attention from the days of
independence. Accordingly, the concern of
the country in safeguarding the rights and the
privilege of women found its best expression in
the constitution of India. While article 14 confers
equal rights and opportunities on men and women
in the political, economic and social activities
without any discrimination on the grounds of sex,
religion, race, caste etc. Article 15 (3) empowers
the State to make affirmative discrimination in
favor of women. Similarly Article 16 provides an
equality of opportunities in the matter of public
appointments for all citizens, yet, another Article
39 mentions that the State shall direct its policy
towards providing men and women equally, the
right to means of livelihood and equal pay for
equal work. Article 42 directs the State to make
provisions for ensuring just and humane conditions
of work and maternity relief. Article 51 (A) (e)
imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen to
renounce the practices derogatory to the dignity
of women. To make this de jure equality into a de
facto one, special legislations have been enacted
from time to time in support of women.
On 8 March 1996, on the occasion of
International Womens Day, the parliament
passed resolution to set up a Standing Committee
for the Improvement of the Status of Women
in India and the Committee on Empowerment of
Women was constituted in April 1997. National
Commission for Women [NCW] a statuary body
set up in 1992, safeguards the rights and interests
of women. It continues to pursue its mandated

September 2011

role and activities viz; safeguarding womens

rights through investigations into the individual
complaints of atrocities, sexual harassment of
women at work place, conducting Parivarik/
Mahila Lok Adalats, legal awareness programs/
camps, review of both women specific and women
related legislations, investigates into individual
complaints, atrocities, harassment, denial of rights

Milestones and Challenges

[1] Convergence of service delivery at
village levels: There are two main programs in the
Department of Women and Child Development,
which aim at convergence of services delivery
at the village level, namely, Integrated Child
Development Scheme (ICDS) and Integrated
Womens Empowerment Program (IWEP). The ICDS
network through Anganwadi Centres reaches 85
per cent of the villages and hamlets in the country.
The IWEP (erstwhile Indira Mahila Yojana) which
extends to 650 Blocks operates through the selfHelp-Groups of women. Both these programs can
be effective vehicles for the implementation of the
National Population Policy. It is, therefore, critical
that both the schemes are universalized.
[2] Nutrition: The Supplementary Nutrition
provided under the ICDS Scheme is one of the most
vital components under Basic Minimum Service
Program aimed at eradication of the menace of
malnutrition of children and women. The success
of the program, however, depends largely on
adequate provision of funds to the States and UTs.
An Action plan needs to be drawn up for taking
up nutrition in a mission mode to cover infants,
adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating mothers
- the three critical links in the inter-generational
cycle of malnutrition. One intervention that has
successfully worked in improving nutrition levels
as well as impacting favorably on retention of
children in schools is the mid-day meal scheme.
This has shown positive results in programs like
TINP and needs to be replicated widely.


Girls Education: 2,180 residential Kasturba

Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya schools have been
sanctioned and are providing elementary
education to 1,82,000 out of school girls. Gaun
Ki Beti, Kisori Balika Divas Yojana, Ladli Laksmi
Yojana, Cycle Praday Yojana, are the programs run
by the Government for empowering the girls in

[3] Formation of Self-Help-Groups: The

formation of Self-Help-Groups as a basis for the
social and economic empowerment of deprived
and disadvantaged women has been found to
be a successful mechanism for the organization,
mobilization and self development of women. This
has been tested through the IWEP and Sawa Shakti
projects of the Department of Women and Child
Development and is being replicated in a number of
programs of other Departments. These groups can
facilitate the process of economic empowerment
through thrift and savings, training and skill up
gradation and access to credit and other productive
resources. They can also be instruments of social
empowerment through awareness generation
and convergence of delivery of schemes. With the
feeling of ownership and management of their
own resources and savings, poor women have
been able to choose their priorities and have
even been found to cover the cost of additional
nutrition and health gaps. The success of this
approach has resulted in universalization of this
mode of organization in all the southern States.
There is a need to replicate this mode throughout
the country.
[4] Access to Resources: The issue of improved
health and nutrition is intimately linked to access
to and control over local, social, and economic
structures. For women to be empowered we need
to ensure: [a] equitable access and distribution
of resources like land, credit etc. [b] access to
education. [c]access to health /nutrition [d]
access to water and sanitation. This implies that
resources should flow into these areas to bridge
the gender gap and that systems be developed to
plan, implement and monitor the bridging of the
gap. Ownership of land tends to reduce fertility by
providing an alternate means of security. Similarly
education has its own impact on reproductive
behavior of both men and women. Improving the
access of women/households in rural areas and
urban slums to safe sources of drinking water will
free them from the drudgery of fetching water and
in decreasing the morbidity resulting from water14

borne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. This

will impact positively on the health and energy
levels of women.[e] access to technologies which
can reduce the drudgery of women on the various
works performed by them both within and outside
the household is also a very useful intervention for
empowering the women.
[5] Women Component Plan: While the
Planning Commission has already incorporated
the concept of Womens Component Plan in Five
Year Plans whereby 30 per cent of funds actually
flow to women, it is important that guidelines are
revisited to ensure their effectiveness.
[6] Development of Gender Disaggregated
Data System: One of the constraints in the
preparation, implementation and monitoring
of plans for the development of women is the
absence of gender segregated data on various
indices of development at the State, district and
sub district levels. These lacunae in our statistical
system should be addressed on a priority basis.
[7] Legislation: Laws should be gender
sensitive and ensure equal provision and access to
resources for men and women. Also there needs to
be a much broader focus on implementation issues.
Many of the existing statutes such as Indecent
Representation of Womens Act, Minimum Wages
Act, Equal Remuneration Act, and Pre-natal
Diagnostic Act, Maternity Benefit Act, etc., are
implemented more in their violation. A number of
these Acts are under review in order to strengthen
their provisions. The Maternity Benefit Act needs
to be strictly implemented and expanded to cover
women in the informal sector, along with provision
of paid leave for a longer period.
[8] Freedom from Violence: Women and
girls face violence in various forms at various
stages of their life cycle. This takes the form of
female foeticide and infanticide, rape, dowry
death and more indirect forms such as desertion
or abandonment of older women. This calls for a
multipronged strategy of implementation of laws,
awareness, community sanctions etc.

September 2011

[9] Participation in Political Life:

For empowerment, women need to have
a voice in decision making and planning
through adequate representation.
Reservation of women in the rural
and urban local bodies had enabled
representation of nearly a million
women at the grassroots who play a very
important catalytic role in transforming
the society. Similar representation in
State Legislature and Parliament would
further strengthen the process of
empowerment of women.

Non-governmental organizations, communitybased organizations and self help groups can be

very effective in the process of empowerment
Participatory communication can help women
to change their attitudes, behaviors and styles
of communication. Empowerment is a complex
term and may be measured in terms of womens
freedom to shape their lives, their control over
resources, their access to basic facilities, their
level of political participation, their ability to take
their own decisions and their ability to remove
hindrances in their path to progress. Self-help
groups of women have been found to be very
effective grassroots institutions in facilitating
access for women to means of development be
it information, financial and material resources
or services. The self-help group mode should be
encouraged, so that the groups become dynamic
change agents in bringing about empowerment
and socio-economic development of women.

September 2011

Organizing women into self-help groups marks

the beginning of a major process of empowering
women by strengthening their capacity for
collective decision making and entrepreneurship
development. Gender sensitization training has
been developed to initiate the task of attitude
change within male-dominated extension and
research bureaucracies and donor agencies.

Indisputably, India is committed to the cause
of empowerment of women. However, the journey
towards progress is long and arduous. India has
witnessed great change in the last two decades.
Age old prejudices and gender based biases are
giving way to gender equality and harmonious
development. Policies to raise womens age at
marriage, enhance their educations and open
greater employment opportunities will also help
to empower them, at least in some respects. Our
goal is to cause policy, institutional and individual
change that will improve the lives of women and
girls everywhere.
(The author is Ph.D Student of Dept.
of Agricultural Communication, College of
Agriculture, G. B. Pant University of Agriculture
& Technology, Pantnagar 263145 Uttarakhand,
e-mail : )


[10] Sustained Media Campaign.

One of the most effective interventions
that can take place to address the issues
of attitude and mind sets of men and women of
the community and also of the functionaries of the
government - the bureaucracy, police and judiciary
is media campaigns. A sustained campaign through
the print, electronic and folk media is necessary
on various issues related to empowerment of
women, health and nutrition, laws, value of the
girl child, violence against women etc.



September 2011


Dr. B.B. Mansuri
The emergence of rural women entrepreneurs in India depends upon closely interlinked economic,
education, social, cultural, religious, psychological and institutional variables. These variables
ultimately account for influencing and moulding the attitude of rural women towards business and
industry. With the introduction of innovative methods and scientific management under the patronage
of the state, rural women entrepreneurs can be expected to be successful in future. The rural women
may be mobilized and may lead to the nation towards the path of progress and prosperity. Thus,
rural women by all means can be very effective agents of change for better homes, better society and
ultimately for robust economy in the present global scenario.


September 2011

of supply and to assemble the necessary plant and

equipment, management and labour force and
reorganize them into a running concern.
The phenomenon of women entrepreneurship
is largely confined to metropolitan cities and big
towns in India. Most of the women entrepreneurs
operate small scale units. However, women



he entrepreneur stands at the centre of the

whole process of economic development
who locates idea and puts them into
practice. Thus, an entrepreneur is an economic
leader who possesses the ability to recognize
opportunities for the successful introduction of
new commodities, new techniques, new sources

entrepreneurs are found in rural areas also. A rural

woman entrepreneur is a woman or group of woman
who undertake to organize and run an enterprise
in a rural area. The rural women entrepreneurs
may be women who take to entrepreneurship
because of dire economic needs, Women who take
to entrepreneurship because they had the family
background tradition in some skill or trade, hence
they would like to have extra money for themselves
and their families, women who take it up because
they have certain personality characteristics such
as need for achievement, need for power and
influence and women who take it up as a leisure
time activity on official advice and guidance.
There are around seven lakh villages in India
and also that more than 70% of our population live
in villages of half are women. Though rural women
represent a sizeable percentage of labour force in
our country yet, they have not been brought under
the fold of main stream of development. The rural
women in independent India occupy an important
place and all efforts are being made to establish
the significant role that they can play in their own
upliftment and of the society at large. This enabled
them to find ways of supplementing their family
income. A section of rural women have emerged
as potential entrepreneurs. This development is of
significant importance in our traditional society.

SHGs, NABARD etc. The policy makers now accept

that rural entrepreneurship is a major vehicle for
generating employment and promoting sustainable
livelihood. The Government has started various
entrepreneurship programmes under different
schemes like SGSY, SGRY, SJSRY, DWCRA and TRYSEM

In order to assist and develop rural women
entrepreneurship, women at grass root level should
be involved through the womens organizations.
Such organizations can be instrumental in identifying
women for income generating activities. The
small industries service Institute and voluntary
organizations should organize special programmes
for prospective women entrepreneurs in villages.
Under the Integrated Rural Development Programme
(IRDP), special sub-schemes can be undertaken
for development of women entrepreneurs in rural

Government Initiatives

Rural women entrepreneurs depend or

the environment and the direct action on the
part of government or other agency. Women
entrepreneurs in rural areas can best emerge
out of the women folk, with an aptitude for an
experience in entrepreneurship. There is ample
evidence to show that the government efforts to
promote entrepreneurship either by training or by
granting loans to women without aptitude have
failed miserably. While examining the factors that
have been active in moulding entrepreneurship,
it is, therefore, necessary to look into the two
aspects of the issue viz, personal profile of
women entrepreneurs and their socio-economic
background, secondly the extent of contact at
the higher social and government levels through
her husband and other close relatives, extent of
technical guidance and financial support received
from government and other agencies.

After the encouraging results of initial efforts

made by the pioneering NGO and entrepreneurs,
Government of India of late has realised what
rural women entrepreneurs can offer to the
world. It has decided to promote the rural women
entrepreneurship through different agencies like
KVIC, Grameen Banks micro-finance through

Rural women adopt entrepreneurial career

due to pull and push factors. In the former case,
they take it as a challenge and an adventure with
an urge to do something new and to take up an
independent occupation. In the latter category,
women establish business enterprises to overcome
financial problems of self and family.

The last decade has witnessed the emergence

of rural women in the small business and they
have achieved remarkable success too. Although,
their task has been full of challenges, but they
have overcome the prejudice. Ultimately they
have established themselves as independent
entrepreneurs. Realizing the importance of rural
women entrepreneurs, the government and
financial institutions are trying best for their



September 2011




There is a discrimination against rural women

in all walks of life despite the provision of their
constitutional guarantees. The traditional attitude
of our society does not encourage women to utilize
their human potentials fully. They are not ranked
according to their capacity to do particular job due
to sex, caste and kinship. The major challenges
faced by the rural women entrepreneurs are
Illiteracy, lack of vital information, fear to take risks,
lack of experience and training, feeling of insecurity,
rampant corruption, lack of infrastructure lack of
finance etc. In addition, there are structural constrains
in the form of inequality, limited purchasing power,
condemnation by local elite, etc. They have also to
face competition from the urban entrepreneurs who
make more attractive and cheaper products due to
modern technology and commercial production.

A Case Study of e-Seva Project

The need to strengthen businesses owned
by women in rural areas and to facilitate the entry
of Small Medium and Micro Enterprises has been
reinforced manifold in the recent years. To encourage
the use of information technology in business,
thereby increasing sales and profit; to help farmers,
market women, small/medium scale entrepreneurs
and exporters find buyers for their products in their
community and other countries with our efficient upto-date internet portal; to help buyers and importers
find sellers of products and guarantees the quality of
this product through our quality control centre.
The project e-Seva (e-services) in the district of
West Godavari, in the province of Andhra Pradesh
in India, was initiated as a tool to introduce ICT in
the rural areas, especially to women. Using ICT,
the project provides these people with access to
various C2C (citizen-to-citizen) and C2G (citizen-togovernment) services. Web-enabled rural kiosks
termed e-Seva centres, have been established at the
mandal (a sub district unit of administration) level. A
unique feature about these centres is that they are
run and managed by women from self-help groups,
positioning them as information leaders, and helping
to bridge the gender divide.

September 2011

The womens groups act as change agents while

drawing strength from the project. ICT has played
a crucial role in facilitating this change. Another
important aspect of the project is that it replaces the
traditional form of governance and its accompanying
deficiencies with a modern, more open, transparent
and responsive service delivery system.
The e-Seva centres run on a district portal
that allows access to various citizen centric
services. These services range from the issuance
of various certificates to getting information about
programmes and also go to the extent of allowing
citizens to network with each other for mutually
beneficial transactions. Citizens can file grievances
at these centres. Every grievance is acknowledged
and transferred online for field action. They can
also publicized their projects and goods through the
portal for online auctions.
Even a marriage bureau has been operationalised
so that prospective brides/grooms can place their
bio-data online to attract suitable offers, thus making
the search for life partners easier and more costeffective. Through the portal, the centers expect to
provide a virtual meeting place for the citizens to
discuss issues relating to their districts/villages, their
problems and prospective solutions(http://www.
The emergence of rural women entrepreneurs
in India depends upon closely interlinked economic,
education, social, cultural, religious, psychological
and institutional variables. These variables ultimately
account for influencing and moulding the attitude
of rural women towards business and industry.
With the introduction of innovative methods and
scientific management under the patronage of the
state, rural women entrepreneurs can be expected
to be successful in future. The rural women may be
mobilized and may lead to the nation towards the
path of progress and prosperity. Thus, rural women
by all means can be very effective agents of change
for better homes, better society and ultimately for
robust economy in the present global scenario.
(The author is Associate Professor, Womens
College, A.M.U. Aligarh-202002, e-mail :


Challenges Faced

Breaking stereotypes in womanhood

Dinesh Sahu, Kanker, Chhattisgarh

he age-old bias against women in our society

is a part of our social-economic and political
reality as any other tangible feature of our
life, public and personal. The discrimination that
begins even before birth of a girl-child haunts
her throughout her life as a daughter, a sister, a
wife, a widow and a mother is something which
continues to trouble those who aspire and work
for a just and equitable society, not to mention the
girl child and women who face untold miseries,
some which are told, addressed but many many
others which are borne in quiet desperation, in
anguish. This is unfortunately the state of affairs
one hears from large parts of the country. What is
it that fundamental flaw in attitude and in the way
society is made up that upholds this inequality, this
degrading and downsizing of women? It may be
complicated to understand in all its ramifications
but perhaps a study of contrasts would help.


In the largely tribal society of Chhattisgarh

women are considered equal to menfolk in all
respects. Women and girls live out their lives
largely unhindered by oppressive social mores,
which perhaps elsewhere remind them that they
are fundamentally inferior beings. Yet this age-old
cultural and social values do not exist in a vacuum
and often, especially in recent times we see the
influence of outsiders, those unfamiliar with the
core composition and mores of tribal societies.
Here it is different and perhaps it is time we learn to
celebrate that difference. Attitude which denigrate
and lower the worth of women is palpable as tribal
mores come into contact with and engage with the
rest of mainstream society Still the influence is not
enough to unseat this fundamental belief of equality
between the genders around which our society has
Lata Usendi who heads the Mahila Kalyan
department hails from Bastar, home to the Gonds,


September 2011

Closer to the ground, in Kanker, the President

of the Nagar Palika is a woman, Bela Lalit Thakur.
Across the country, one hears of how women in
local governance are mere puppets pirouette by
their menfolk in their family. Sordid stories of Pati
Sarpanch who call the shots in all matters related to
his wifes position and discharge of duties. Bela Lalit
Thakur laughs as she totally refutes this allegation,
even a suggestion of it. I run the affairs of the Nagar
Palika on my own terms, my judgment. There is no
question of seeking or abiding by directions from the
menfolk in my family in this area.
Perhaps this is the philosophy, the mind-set
that has made it possible for Chhattisgarh as a state
to establish a wide network of health workers called
the Mitanin, which makes available the rudimentary
medical aid as well as the basic medicines for common
ailments in rural areas. These women drawn from
the villages itself are given the basic training and a
medical kit to detect and distribute largely Overthe-Counter medicines to arrest infections, stomach
upsets, fevers and treat small injuries of the people
in the allotted paara or sub-village. They are also
given the task of taking care of pregnant women in
the village by providing them nutritious ready-toeat items and khichdi to little children. They play a
crucial role in the administration of polio drops. Apart
from this first-aid role, there a system of referrals,
for serious cases in the village beyond their ambit of

September 2011

They are part of an entire system, carefully

and innovatively put together at the level of the
state government with resources from social sector
organisations, a kind of privatepublic enterprise,
an umbrella body called the State Health Resource
Centre (SHRC) The system is multi-tiered with
trainers and supervisors at every level from the head
operations at Raipur to each district, panchayat,
ward, village and paara. Yet it can be said that the
singular reason for the success of this massive and
laudable initiative is the dedication of these village
women, very often from tribal communities who
undertake this work, on a voluntary basis, completely
free of charge.
What is equally laudable and indeed heartening
is the social acceptability of the Mitanins by first
their family and village community. Their work
does not invite the disapproval much less the ire
of menfolk in the family. Instead, they go about
freely, managing their time between their domestic
duties and this health work. It gives them a sense of
identity, of worth in society. This itself speaks a lot
for the enabling environment, is a reflection of the
tribal mind-set and social mores.
There are immense societal benefits accruing
from this. The system of institutional deliveries,
which provides for a fixed amount to be paid to the
woman and her family members as an incentive has
received a huge fillip with the intervention of the
Mitanin. She goads and cajoles them, knowing the
local mind-set as well as the benefits of institutional
deliveries. Underlying her efforts is acceptability
within the village community, a trust in what she is
saying, and the way she is pointing to them.
We all need to learn from this. We need to
move beyond pre-conceived notion of womanhood,
of merely refuting patriarchal and discriminatory
attitudes to a more holistic view. . Yes the equality of
the genders is the first and most fundamental step
but we equally need to recognise the dedication,
energy and often unique combination of social skills
that makes a woman successful. There is no doubt
that given even a sliver that opportunity, they will
continue to do wonders in their homes, the fields, in
industry, in their professions and be equal partners
in the progress of our society and this nation.
(Charkha Features)


Halbas and several other tribes is a woman in

position in her own right. Sumitra Markale MLA
from Kanker in the Assembly is also a high-profile
woman in a position of responsibility. Arguably, you
find women in such positions all across the country.
But in Chhattisgarh, there is a difference. Here it is
not restricted to women who come from privileged
or cushioned backgrounds who have made it to such
positions. Rather it is like a running thread in society,
which makes them access resources and leverage
opportunities, no matter which level of society or
segment they happen to hail from. The sense of
discrimination, even fear, of fighting the odds to
make it in a mans world that characterizes many
a successful womans journey in any field is not the
storyline here.

Eradicating Manual Scavenging: Reflections

from District Badaun Model
Dr Mohd. Shahid & Gyanendra Mishra
The article maps the initiative of dry toilets conversion and rehabilitation of manual scavengers in Badaun
district and the scope of scaling up in other parts of country. The strategy of Dalia Jalao has invigorated the
suppressed agency of manual scavengers and could be promoted as counter-hegemony strategy.

anual scavenging seems to be a thing of

past. But the hard reality is that even in
the third millennium India, the inhuman
practice of cleaning and carrying human excreta
exists. Can there be any parallel to this worst form of
human rights violation? Can there be any justification
for any further leverage to this inhuman practice?
But either the complacency or the concoction of data
are the proven tactics of the authorities to absolve
themselves of being party to this crime against
humanity. Few dare to differ, acknowledge the
pervasiveness of the practice of manual scavenging,


locate the foci of intervention and embark on the

path of eradicating manual scavenging. District
Badaun differs.
district Badaun in western Uttar Pradesh (India)
provides an opportunity to engage and experience
the process of eradicating manual scavenging and
rehabilitating manual scavengers. This empirical study
attempted to analyze the issues and strategies in dry
toilets conversion and subsequent rehabilitation of
manual scavengers. It also endeavoured to delineate
the experiences, encounters and aspirations of the


September 2011

Uttar Pradesh,




The state of Uttar Pradesh has first place

in terms of absolute number of Scheduled
Caste population in India. The Scheduled Castes
constituted 21.15% and 17.1% population of Uttar
Pradesh and district Badaun respectively (Census,
2001). There are sixty-six SC communities in Uttar
Pradesh and among them the highest percentage
is that of Jatava (56.3%) followed by that of Pasi
(15.9%), Dhobi (5.85%), Kori (5.67%) and Balmiki
(3.51%) [Kapadia, 2001]. The Balmiki community
is also known as Lalbegi, Mehtar, Halalghor.
The ethnographic inventory, People of India
Project, provides that the Balmikis served other
communities on the basis of generational contracts
(Jajmani system) against payments in cash and
kind of various nature as sweepers and scavengers
(Singh, 1992).

Manual Scavenging: The Brutal Reality

There is no denying the fact that the practice
of manual scavenging is the worst possible
violation of the individuals right to life with dignity.
The prevalence of both dry toilets and manual
scavenging violates section 3(1) of The Employment
of Manual Scavengers & Construction of Dry Latrines
(Prohibition) Act 1993 which clearly states that no
person will engage in or employ manually to carry
human excreta or construct or maintain dry latrine.
It also violates honourable Supreme Court ruling
in 2003 [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 583/2003 Safai
Karamchari Andolan and 14 Other Organisations
Vs. Union of India and Others]. According to the
official statistics of the Ministry of Social Justice
and Empowerment (MoSJ&E) in year 2001-2002
there were 676009 manual scavengers in the
country with highest numbers in Uttar Pradesh
149202 followed by Madhya Pradesh (80072) and
Maharashtra (64785). Further the resurvey resulted
in total population of 770338 manual scavengers

September 2011

and in Uttar Pradesh only the figures increased to

213975 (an addition of almost 65000) [MoSJ&E,
2006]. Furthermore, MoSJ&E data for 2009 on SelfEmployment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual
Scavengers revealed that at all India level the
total population of manual scavenger was 117090
and of these 43909 were trained and 69177 were
provided loan facility. In Uttar Pradesh the figures
tripped to 9426 manual scavengers. The Safai
Karamchari Andolan (SKA) had kept on rebuffing
the government estimates and to their estimate in
year 2006 there could be more than 12 lakh manual
scavengers in the country (Report to Working
Group on Safai Karamcharis XI Plan). Interestingly,
the Safai Karamchari Andolans recently released
nation-wide survey titled Truth in Numbers found
only 11400 people engaged in manual scavenging
(The Hindu, 21 December 2010).

Eradiating Manual Scavenging: The Badaun

Realizing the reality of manual scavenging,
the district administration in Badaun instead of
complacency, attempted to eradicate it. Accordingly
the initiative to convert dry toilets and liberate
manual scavengers started in a mission mode
(abhyan). In consequence, the process of dry
toilets conversion and rehabilitation of manual
scavengers progressed from 78 priority villages
indentified in first phase to 247 villages in fourth
phase that too in a short span of five months from
July 2010 to November 2010. A total of 21536 dry
toilets were converted to pour flush latrines and
as many as 437 manual scavengers were rescued
and rehabilitated through government schemes
and programmes. As many as in 76 villages, there
is a complete conversion from Dry Toilets to Pour
Flush Latrines and the drive is in progress. The
process of dry toilets conversion and the rescue
and rehabilitation of manual scavengers in Badaun
district involved multi-pronged approach. The field
visits entailed an enriching journey into the lived
experiences of manual scavengers and issues in
eradicating manual scavenging at all India level.


liberated manual scavengers and scope of scaling up

the process in other districts. Rapid Rural Appraisal
(RRA) was done to capture the initiative.

Issues in Manual



Balmiki women represent a complex construct

of gender and caste. They bear the brunt of manual
scavenging. During the field visits these liberated
manual scavengers quite vociferously narrated
their concerns and issues involved in manual
scavenging. They were categorical in expressing
No to Manual Scavenging. They feel themselves
They shared how because of their manual
scavenging job they could not even afford to get
sick! Even while going to relatives or marriage or
such ceremonies to nearby villages, they used to
be in consistent tension and pressure that patron
families would feel bad and deal badly for the delay.
Kudos to this great commitment of Balmiki women
to their Jajmans (Patrons) who did not get tantalize
with the fact that a fellow human being cleansed
their excreta.

overdue entitlements (BPL cards, widow pension,

old age pension, disability benefits); special
scholarship to school going children; job cards
and work under NREGA; and loan under SCP (SubComponent Plan) for income generation activities.
The process of identifying trades and imparting
training in small scale enterprises to liberated
manual scavenger was under discussion at time
of study. Further in study villages Balmikis were
happy that they got liberated and it was towards
this end that a Balmiki women from nearby village
Sanghtara asked hamare yahan Daliya kab Jalegi!?
(when shall there be wicker basket burning in our
village). Another lady asked Bareilly main kab
Daliya Jalegi? When shall there be wicker basket
burning in Bareilly? Dalia Jalao according became
a demand-driven the strategy for the liberation
of manual scavengers. It is reflective upcoming
agency of manual scavengers but demand support
of civil society organisations to promote it as
counter hegemony strategy.


The Balmiki women also rebuffed the

arguments that manual scavenging is an easy to
earn money venture. They fired back, was this
really easy money? They asked us to calculate the
amount they used to get from the patron families.
Some families used to give Rupees 15-20 per month
(on average one Balmiki woman used to cover 2030 households), some just leftover food and some
annual cereals. What a great income they used have?
They themselves asked. And therefore they expressed
satisfaction with the efforts of district administration
which made them understand that they could quit
this inhuman practice and they quitted. The strategy
of Daliya Jalao (burning of wicker basket of manual
scavengers) contributed in giving impetus to dry
toilets conversion.

Initiative in Badaun to eradicate manual

scavenging provides frame for the macro level
understanding on two major counts. Firstly,
initiative has triggered the suppressed agency
of manual scavengers. The strategy of Daliya
jalao represents counter-hegemony notion. This
agency and consciousness of manual scavengers
in effect disrupts and disturbs the creation of
an illusion of equality which is the basis of any
political action (Ravichandran, 2011). It is the
beginning of the end (EPW, 2010). Secondly,
multi-pronged approach of the initiative
had strong inter-sectoral linkages across the
government departments. This aspect needs to
be investigated further for developing a frame for
holistic district development planning.

But it had to be supplemented with the

rehabilitation package. It was this combo strategy
of dry toilets conversion and rehabilitation package
for manual scavengers that worked in eradicating
manual scavenging. The rehabilitation package
was in form of providing them with their long

(The first author is

Assistant Professor,
Department of Social Work, Bhim Rao Ambedkar
College, University of Delhi, Delhi, e-mail: and the second author is
Research Scholar, Department of Sociology and
Social Work, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh)



September 2011


Dr. Shahin Razi

In India poverty is mainly a rural problem.

More than 65 percent of the countrys population
lives in rural areas and about 193 million rural
people are poor and every three of the four
people in India survive on less than US $ 1 a day
and they live in rural areas. For more than 15
percent of rural poor people, poverty is a chronic
condition. Agricultural wage earners, small and
marginal farmers and casual workers engaged in
non-agricultural activities, constitute the bulk of
the rural poor. Such a high incidence of poverty
is a matter of concern in view of the fact that
poverty eradication has been one of the major
objectives of the development planning process.


September 2011

Initially, India adopted a development strategy

which was based on the trickle down concept.
Then the government realized the need for direct
intervention in favour of the poor, since that
development strategy failed to meet the basic
needs of millions of the rural poor. Consequently,
the government embarked on the preparation and
implementation of comprehensive and coherent
antipoverty programmes.
The Planning Commissions new definition
of poverty, based on the recommendations of the
Suresh Tendulkar Committee, has now fixed a cut
off of Rs. 675 and Rs. 870 as the monthly per head
expenditure in rural and urban areas respectively for
a family to qualify as poor.
The traditional method of defining poverty was
based on how many calories people consumed. Going
by the new definition, the Planning Commission has
estimated that nearly 37 percent of the countrys



ass poverty is one of the major critical

problems confronting planners in India.
Poverty can be defined as a social
phenomenon in which a section of the society is
unable to fulfill even its basic necessities of life.

people 26 percent of the urban population and 42

percent in rural areas fall into the Below Poverty
Line (BPL) category.
The ministries of rural development and
housing and urban poverty alleviation, and the
Registrar General of India are set to launch a survey
to identify this 37 percent. The last BPL survey was
carried out in 2002.
Since it is difficult to find out through a survey
exactly how much families are spending per head,
the rural development ministry has devised a
method for identifying the target 42 percent rural



The automatic inclusion group is expected to
make up 4 percent of the rural population. To identify
the remaining 38 per cent (among the estimated 42
percent rural BPL population, according to the Rs.
675 cut off) seven deprivation parameters will be
Each household gets one point for satisfying
each parameters. If households with the maximum
score of seven do not come to 38 percent, those with
scores of six will be included, and then those with
scores of five, and so on till the required 38 percent
is reached. The seven parameters :

Households with only one room, with kutcha

walls and kutcha roof.


(Households almost certain to fall within the
Rs. 675 cutoff)

Households with no member aged between 16

and 59.

Women-headed households lacking any male

between 16 and 59.

Households with at least one disabled member

and no able-bodied adult.

Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe families.

Households with no literate adult aged

above 25.

Landless households earning major part of their

income from manual casual labour.

Primitive tribal groups

Those living on alms

The homeless

Manual scavengers

Released bonded labourers

(Households with per head expenditures almost
certainly above Rs. 675 a month)

Families with assets such as mechanized farm

equipment, motorized boats and vehicles, Kisan
Credit Cards with Credit Limit of Rs. 50,000 or

Families of government employees (but not

those of incentive and other honorarium-based

Those with landline phones or refrigerators

Households where any member earns more

than Rs. 10,000 a month.

Households owning 2.5 acres or more of irrigated

land with at least one irrigation equipment.


The housing and urban poverty alleviation

ministry has not yet prepared the criteria to identify
the urban poor, but they are likely to be based on
residential, occupational and social vulnerabilities.
The BPL benefits under central welfare schemes
will be confined to 37 percent people as estimated
by the Planning Commission. The states are free to
increase the number of the BPL people above this
estimate. For the additional BPL card holders, the
state concerned will provide whatever assistance it
According to the plan panel, the new definition of
poverty, based on the recommendations of the Suresh
Tendulkar committee, is the most rational one.

September 2011

The previous definition was based on the work

of a 1973 committee that suggested that people
consuming less than 2,400 calories in rural areas,
and 2,100 in urban areas, should be included in the
BPL category. The estimate based on the old method
was not correct. Under that method, poverty in
urban areas was coming out to be higher than that
in rural areas.
The Tendulkar Committee took into account
criteria such as per head expenditure on food, health
and education, as well as calorie consumption.
According to it, the correct calorie cutoffs should
be 1,950 and 1,800 in rural and urban areas,
Another committee, headed by N. C. Saxena,
had said in 2009 that about half of all Indians are poor,
while a similar committee under Arjun Sengupta had
in 2007 estimated that poor and vulnerable people
made up 77 percent of the population.
The World Bank has prescribed norms under
which those living on less than $1.25 a day (Rs. 56 a
day or Rs. 1,680 a month) should be considered poor.

Eradication of poverty in India is a long-term goal.
It is incorrect to say that all the poverty eradication
programmes have failed because the growth of
the middle class people indicates that economic
prosperity has indeed been very impressive in India,
but at the same time, the distribution of wealth is not
at all even across the country. Poverty eradication
is expected to make better progress in the coming
years than in the past due to the increasing stress on
education, reservation of seats in government jobs
and the increasing empowerment of women which
have contributed much to the eradication of poverty
in India. According to Nicholas Stern, Vice-President
of the World Bank, increasing globalization and
investment opportunities contribute significantly
to the reduction of poverty in India which would
increase rise in per-capita income and accelerate
economic development of our people.
(The author is Reader, P.G. Department
of Economics and Dean of the Faculty of Arts,
Jamshedpur Womens
College, Jamshedpur,
e-mail :


Though India is on its way towards development, its a displeasure to know
that manual scavenging still prevails in many parts of the nation. The Prime
Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has asked the states to pledge to eliminate
manual scavenging within six months.
Dr. Mamohan Singh said this in June in his inaugural address at a conference
of state ministers of welfare and social justice. He said "One of the darkest
blots on our development process is that even after 64 years of independence,
we still have the heinous practice of manual scavenging".
He firmly pledged that "this scourge will be eliminated from every corner of our
country in the next six months."

September 2011




Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water

Mission - A Success Story

he provision of drinking water supply is an

imperative need of the society. Ensuring
adequate and effective supply of drinking
water in rural areas is one such important
priority area and was thus incorporated as one
of the six key components of Bharat Nirman
programme under the UPA government in
2004. During the Bharat Nirman Phase I
period itself, over 55,000 un-covered and about
3.31 lakh slipped-back habitations were covered
with provisions of drinking water facilities. In
addition over 2 lakh quality-affected habitations
were to be addressed for water quality problem.
The Planning Commission documents say,
the national goal of achieving universal access


of the mammoth rural population to adequate

potable drinking water at a convenient location
at all times is truly a daunting task. Thus it is not
without good reason that a national water supply
and sanitationprogrammewas introduced in the
social welfare sector way back in 1954.
Essentially, provision of safe drinking water
in the rural areas has been the responsibility
of the states. The Accelerated Rural Water
SupplyProgrammewas introduced in 1972-73 by
the Government to assist the states and Union
Territories to accelerate the pace of coverage of
drinking water supply. The entireprogrammewas
given a mission approach and the ambitious project
was named the National Drinking Water Mission


September 2011

(NDWM) in 1986. This National Drinking Water

Mission was renamed as Rajiv Gandhi National
Drinking Water Mission which principally works on
the premise of community based demand driven
approach instead of the traditional forced supply
driven approach. Actually, a paradigm shift in the
scheme was brought after a nationwide survey
conducted in 1996-97 which revealed that even
poorest of the poorwerewilling to participate in
the implementation of theprogrammes, and also
contribute towards operation and maintenance of
the scheme for drinking water.

Rural Water Supply Programme or the Rajiv

Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission and
the Rural Sanitation Programme implemented
simultaneously would help break the circle of
disease, morbidity and poor health, resulting from
water borne diseases.

Thus, the rural drinking water supply turned

into a mission with greater involvement of various
agencies. Certain institutional arrangements were
worked out and agencies identified in certain areas
like the state level water land
sanitation mission (SWSM),
which is responsible for policy
Experts also maintained
guidelines and implementation
that the principle of graded
safe drinking water
contribution from among the
of the Project. Thencomesthe
would not be achieved
villagers and the poorer sections
district water and sanitation
of the society would also
committee (DWSC), which is
inculcate a sense of ownership
responsible for formulation
aspects of water and the
which in-turn will improve the
and management of project
overall functional efficiency of
implementation in the district
addressed together
the system.
and ensuring that the project
development objections are
The project envisages
achieved in the district. There
provision of sustainable water
has also been involvement of Village water and
supply and sanitation facilities to the inhabitants of
sanitationcommitteestoensure sustainable water
the project area with components like installation
Supply in Rural Habitations and Schools.
of water
In order to ensure adequate fund flow for
supplyschemes, utilizing the water efficiently,
uninterrupted works in these projects, it was
dependable sources and thus assuring sustainable
also ensured that the states could enlist external
water supply.
assistance. Accordingly, the World Bank has
Several brainstorming sessions have worked
assisted the states in the Integrated Rural Water
over the years in order to improve the efficacy
Supply and Sanitation Project. These include the
of the system. It was realised that the objective
states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu,
of supplying safe drinking water would not be
Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra
achieved unless the sanitary aspects of water and
Pradesh, to name a few.
the issueof sanitation are addressed together.
By the on-ground experience it was also
Thus, the Centrally Sponsored Rural
realized that the objective of providing necessary
Sanitation Programme was christened with
scientific and technological inputs required to
the overall objective of improving the quality
improve the performance, cost effectiveness
of life of the rural people. It was envisaged
and management practices of the onthat the two programmes, the Accelerated
goingprogrammeswould not be achieved without
September 2011




the Research and Development (R&D) input and

support. A series of Research and Development
initiatives have therefore been taken to provide
the necessary scientific and technological inputs
into the Missionprogrammes.

These are: the need to revitalize the work of the

Village Water and Sanitation Committees.

cropped up on improving the awareness level.
Awareness programmes with regard to the
Looking back, there are success stories visMission should be organized on regular basis
-vis the implementation of the Rajiv Gandhi
in the remote villages for its success. For better
Drinking Water Mission. According to Planning
results, there is also stress on greater community
Commission sources, a few years back, Himachal
involvement, especially women.Studies also claim
Pradesh stands out as unique in the sense that
that the improvement in this regard is found to be
almost all women a whopping 96 per cent
phenomenal in the case of Rajasthan where over
have asserted their increased participation in
91 per cent of the rural households have access to
the community activities. As
safe drinking water, making a
regards the programs impact
marked improvement than
on children, an overwhelming
what it was in 2003-04. In
majority of women, 89 per
terms of receiving sufficient
availability and
cent have reported that on
quantity of water, the northconsequently,
account of improved water
eastern state of Assam also
supply, easier access and
stands out as one of the best
water usage by the rural
adequate availability, children
performing states.
have now more time set apart
The increased availability
for study and play. Needless
found to be the biggest
and consequently, increased
to add, earlier the younger
water usage by the rural
program benefits.
lots used to devote a lot of
households have been found
time in helping elders collect
to be the biggest program
water. Overall, the study
benefits. Overall, there has
said, an overwhelming majority, 96 per cent of
been also noticeable decrease in the frequency of
the households have reported increased usage of
the supply system breakdowns and also ensuring
Environmental Sanitation and reduction in water
borne diseases.
An evaluation study on the implementation
of theprogrammealso revealed that a substantial
To wrap up, one must say; the greatest
93 per cent of the rural population at present has
strength of democracy is that under this system
access to safe drinking water, about66 per cent
of governance, the people are the masters of the
of the households having access to safe drinking
destiny and also of their own developmental works.
water source are getting round the year supply of
The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi had
drinking water. And it is encouraging to note that an
always underlined this theme. The Rajiv Gandhi
overwhelming majority of the households,93per
National Drinking Water Mission is truly one such
cent have reported their satisfaction with the
scheme. (PIB Features)
water quality.
(The author is the Special Representative,
The study also brought some important
The Statesman,NewDelhi)
suggestions for better functioning of theprogramme.


September 2011

B. Chandra Sekhar & Prof. K. Govindappa

However, different departments at present

define the wasteland according to their land use
Agricultural land lying fallow for more
than two years can be treated as agricultural
Lands under the control of Revenue department
not fit for agriculture lying barren can be termed as
Revenue wasteland.
Similarly, the grasslands and lands under the


September 2011

control of Forest Department; which do not have

tree cover can be termed as Forest wasteland.
Although, there is no common definition of
wasteland, it is clear that, wastelands are the areas,
which are under utilised, and which produce less
than 20% of its biological productivity. Other areas,
which are generally included in the wastelands
are, saline and alkaline soils, waterlogged areas,
common grazing lands, Panchyat lands, land lying
vacant along railway lines, roads, canals, denuded,
and barren rocky hills, ravine lands, flood plains,
land infested with thick weeds, and lands lying
vacant in the towns, cities, and residential



he term Wasteland in common usage means

degraded unutilized, un-cultivated and
common land.

The wastelands are ecologically unstable. These

lands have been subjected to different degrees of
biotic or ecological interference, as a result, rendering
them, degraded, infertile, and un-cultivable. After
extensive discussions, with different departments
the National Wasteland Development Board (NWDB)
defined wasteland as, that land which is degraded and
presently lying unutilized (except as current fallow)
due to different constraints. NWDB also suggested
that any land, which is not producing green biomass,
comparable with the status of the soil, and water,
must be treated as wasteland. Wastelands can be
divided into cultivable wastelands and un-cultivable
wastelands. Cultivable wastelands comprise gullies
or ravinous lands, undulating upland surface, water
logged marshy areas, salt affected lands, shifting
cultivation areas, degraded forest land, sandy area,
mining, industrial areas, pastures, grazing lands. Uncultivable wastelands comprise barren rocky areas
and steep slopes.


Ecological status of Wastelands:

Before putting the wastelands into proper

productive use, it is better to assess their ecological

Wastelands are situated in most drier parts of

the country.


Annual rainfall may not be more than 700 mm.


The soil will be either sterile or alkaline, to saline.

iv. In slopy topography, the soils must have been

subjected to erosion, exposing rocks, or strewn
with boulders.

The region might be subjected to heavy


vi. The regions are surrounded by rich population

of poor people, and subjected to heavy illicit
hacking and encroachments.
vii. Keeping the above in view, the following steps
can be taken up.
viii. Provision of complete protection from man and
Luis animals.

ix. Existing peoples participation to the maximum.


Selection of suitable species for afforestration,

or other productive uses.

xi. Adoption of proper techniques for success, and

adoption of modern scientific techniques.

2. Classification




Estimates of degraded land vary considerably,

and the extent of land degradation is yet to be
determined precisely. Estimates of wasteland differ
considerably due to definitional and coverage in
consistencies. According to land use statistics for
2002, published by Dept. of Agriculture, the current
estimates of cultivatable wastelands are about 13.90
m. ha. However, the information on land use statistics
does not clearly indicate the extent of wastelands
and degraded land, which could be restored with
some interventions.
National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA)
carried out a District wise mapping of wastelands
on 1:50,000 scale using satellite data. The total
wastelands in the country were placed at 63.85 m.
ha. They occur in different agro climatic and soil
zones of the country. The following table given the
data on total extent of wastelands available in the
These wastelands form the core of degraded
lands in India. They are in urgent need of attention
and have to be accorded the highest priority for
Some of the most degraded lands in the country
are CPRs (Common Property Resources). CPRs
are the resources on which people have an equal
right of use. These resources include community
pastures, community forests, wastelands, and
common dumping and threshing grounds. Inspite of
concerted efforts to check deforestation, and various
afforestation schemes taken up during successive plan
periods large tracts of forest continue to be classified
as degraded. The 2005 Forest Survey of India report,

September 2011

Table . 1
State-wise Wastelands of India
(Area in Sq. Km)


No. of

Total Geog. Area of

districts covered

Total Wastelands
area in districts

% of
to total geog.

Andhra Pradesh





Arunachal Pradesh





























Himachal Pradesh





Jammu & Kashmir


















Madhya Pradesh




























































Tamil Nadu






Uttar Pradesh






West Bengal






Union territories











September 2011




placed the actual forest cover at only 20.60 percent

of total geographical area as against the recorded
forest area of 23 percent. In Andhra Pradesh, the
Forest Survey of India report, places the forest cover
at 16.13 percent. of the total forest area 31 m. ha.
suffers from some form of degradation and 14.06 m.
ha. of forest suffer from extreme degradation and
are part of 63.85m. ha. of wastelands reported by
In addition to the wastelands identified by
NRSA, other areas such as deserts, drought prone,
flood prone, and tribal areas have been subjected
to severe forms of degradation. The capacity of
these lands is limited due to environmental factors.
Pressures of livestock and human population have
further compounded the problems. Table (2) given
below, provides estimates the degraded land on
the basis of factors that covered the degradation.
Attempts were made by NWDB to identify the total
wastelands and concluded that an area of 129.57m.
ha. (Including degraded forest area) and 93.69 m. ha.
(Without degraded forest area) is available. However
the estimate given by NRSA, is fairly realistic.

3. Land and Environmental degradation &

It is to be recognized that both poverty and
environments are descriptions of states of human and
natural resources attributes, and cannot be reduced
to simple one-dimensional cause effect relationship.
Hence, the wastelands co-relate very strongly with the
incidence of poverty in the country. The prevention
of land degradation and the augmentation of the
carrying capacity of land to provide food, fuel, and
fodder requirements have therefore, been a primary
concern of the Government. In our country, for
targeting environmentally degraded lands to initiate
poverty alleviation programmes, at the behest of
ministry of Rural Development, the planners are
using the data on wastelands availability extensively.
Presently, this data serving as primary input in
planning reclamation measures, micro level inventory,
and monitoring of wasteland reclamation measures,
are being used by the Department of land resources
of the ministry of Rural Development, state Forest and
Agriculture Departments etc., for various institutional
interventions, aimed at poverty alleviation.

Table. 2
Causes of Land Degradation
(million hectors)

Percentage of total

Water erosion



Wind erosion









Water logging



Degraded land due to shifting cultivation



Degraded forest lands



Special problems



Coastal sandy areas





Causes of Degradation

Mines & Quarry wastes



September 2011

Despite more than 70% population in the

rural areas in India being dependent on natural
resources, the relationship between wastelands and
poverty is seem to be complex. In fact, at state level,
the occurrence of wastelands does not seem to be
connected with the incidence of poverty. Bihar, for
example, has just 6% wastelands, but, the percentage
of population below poverty line is 57%.
There are another set of states wherein the
incidence of poverty as well as wastelands both are
equally high. Assam with more than 25% wastelands
has got more than 45% population, below poverty
line. On the other hand Punjab with 4% wastelands,
has 11% population B.P.L followed by Andhra
Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat.

The linkage between poverty and environmental

degradation are, however not just governed by
the physical limits of eco systems, but rather, by
the income strategies of the poor. Driven by public
policies and institutional interventions, economic
and spatial integration of markets occurs and
several new marginal income-earning opportunities
become available in the informal sector of economy.
Consequently, the dependence of poor on the natural
resources base will be decreased.

4. Programmes

At the district level, the relationship between

incidence of poverty and wastelands has increased
significantly. Similarly, if we move further to micro
(village) level, the relationship still increases. Table
(3) gives the clear picture.




Drought Prone Area Programme was

the first major programme aimed at
land development and soil and moisture
conservation in drought prone areas. It
was introduced in 1973-74. Anantapur
district is one among the five districts
selected under DPAP with World Banks
financial assistance. Later from the year

Table. 3.1
Wasteland statistics and indicators of poverty and food insecurity In India



Deficit in food


below poverty

Rural in
index (%)

Rural literacy
(%) 2001






Andhra Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Tamail Nadu
Uttar Pradesh
West Bangal


September 2011




Table. 3.2
Wasteland statistics and indicators of poverty and marginalization
Andhra Pradesh


Incidence of poverty
(poor %)

Wasteland (%)

Small and Marginal holdings


















East Godavari

















































































West Godavari




1985, the Government of India continued

the programme with central and state
share. Currently it is being implementing
in 971 blocks in 16 states.


The desert development programme,

which was introduced 1977-78, is being
implemented in 7 states and covers 234
Blocks in 40 districts. Anantapur district in
Andhra Pradesh covers all its blocks under
DDP scheme.


Integrated Wasteland Development

Programmes started in 1989-90 seeks
to develop Government wastelands and
CPRs, based on micro plans at village level.
The IWDP is aimed at overall economic
development and improving the economic
conditions of resources poor population.

NWDPRA: National Watershed Development Project

for Rain fed Areas (NWDPRA) initial in

September 2011

NABARD: In order to channelise greater resources,

for rainfed areas, the watershed
development funds was set up in 2000-01
at the National Bank for Agriculture and
Rural Development (NABARD) with corpus
fund of Rs. 200 Crores. Andhra Pradesh is
one of the recipient states of this fund for
rainfed areas development, on watershed
basis, through participatory approach.

5. Scenario of wasteland development in

Anantapur District:
Anantapur District is chronically drought
affected and receives 552 mm of rainfall, and is
situated in rain shadow region. Bulk of rainfall is
received from South West monsoon. Failure of South
West monsoon in the district leads to drought. The
total geographical area of the district is 19.13 Lakh ha.
The forestland is about 10% of the geographical area.
As per Forest Survey of India, (2005) the area under
canopy is hardly 2.16%. Area wise, it is biggest district
in Andhra Pradesh. 90% of the agricultural area is
under rainfed condition. Irrigation is through bore
wells and Thungabhadra Project (High Level Canal)
covers an area of 51.771 ha. in 157 villages.
Drought has been a recurring phenomenon
in Anantapur district. The adverse effect of drought is
felt not only on human beings, animal population but
also on ground water table, drinking water, crop, and
fodder production. The situation has led to spreading
of large chunks of lands to become barren and
unproductive. Nearly 16.90% of the total geographical
area is classified as wasteland, as per NRSA. .
Inspite of all the programmes aiming at land
development through soil and moisture conservation
and localized water harvesting, the following problems
of wastelands still persist.

Increase in biotic pressure.


Absence of adequate
appropriate management.


September 2011




High incidence of poverty in rural areas.


Breakdown of traditional institutions for

managing CPRs (Common Property Resources)
and failure of new institutions to fill the


Faulty land use practices.

As these problems exacerbated, the

consequences are, soil erosion and degradation,
depletion of natural resources increase in extent
of wastelands, threat to ecological security due to
pressure on forest areas.
The following components are suggested to
improve the productivity of wastelands.

Soil and moisture conservation measures

like bunding, trenching, vegetative barriers,
and drainage line treatment to check land


Planting and sowing of legumes and fodder

species, promotion of agroforestry and dry
land horticulture, Block plantation for meeting
fuelwood, fodder, demands, Strip plantations
along roads, canal banks, will improve biomass

N.R.E.G.S: (National Rural Employment Guarantee

Scheme). Apart from the land based
programmes explained above; NREGS
is launched in the district during the
year 2006, as per the National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act (2005). The
main objective of the programme is to
provide 100 days of employment per each
family, in a financial year in rural areas.
80% of the funds are earmarked for landbased programmes like soil and moisture
conservation, water harvesting, and
development of wastelands, and CPRs,
creation of durable assets in rural areas.
(The first author is Divisional Forest Officer,
DWMA, Anantapur, and the second author is
Professor in S.K.University, Anantapur, e-mail :


1990-91, has twin objectives of improving

agriculture production in rainfed areas and
to restore ecological balance.

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana extended

to the Domestic Workers
Y. S.Kataria

he Union Cabinet has approved extension of

the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana(RSBY)
to all the registered domestic workers in
the country recently. The scheme is expected to
cover approximately 47.50lakhdomestic workers
in the country.
The Scheme envisages smart card based
cashless health insurance cover up to Rs. 30,000/- in
any empanelled hospital anywhere in the country.
The funds will be allocated from the National
Social Security Fund for Unorganised Workers.
The premium will be shared by the Central and
State Governments in the ratio of 75:25. In case
of States in NE Regional and J&K the ratio is
90:10. The estimated expenditure to be borne
by the Government for the year 2011-12 is Rs.


29.70 crore, for 2012-13 is Rs. 74.25 crore, for

2013-14 is Rs. 148.50 crore and 2014-15 is Rs.
Domestic work forms one of the largest
sectors of female employment in the urban
areas. Domestic workers are unorganized and
the sector remains unregulated and unprotected
by labour laws. These workers come from
vulnerable communities and backward areas. Most
of these are poor, vulnerable, illiterate, unskilled
and do not understand the urbanlabourmarket.
The RSBY provides for smart card based cashless
health insurance cover of Rs.30,000/- per annum to
BPL workers (a unit of five) inunorganisedsector
is presently being implemented in 25 States / UTs.


September 2011

Domestic Workers
Domestic work forms one of the largest
sectors of female employment in the urban
areas. Domestic workers are unorganized and
the sector remains unregulated and unprotected
by labour laws. This is largely because the
domestic workers undertake work in private
homes rather than in commercial establishments.
They work in appalling conditions, with no
coverage under the existing welfare measures
and schemes for social security, old age pension,
health and maternity protection etc. Domestic
workers lack organizational strength and voice and
comprise largely of unskilled women, who enter
thelabourmarket without any technical skills.As
per National Sample Survey (NSS) 2004-05, there
are about 47.50 lakh domestic workers in the
country. About 30lakhof these workers are urban
women, making domestic work as the largest
female occupation in urban India.
Domestic workers come from vulnerable
communities and backward areas. Most of these
are poor, vulnerable, illiterate, unskilled and
do not understand the urban labour market.
Domestic work is undervalued and poorly
regulated, and many domestic workers remain
overworked, underpaid and unprotected. They
are maltreated, exploited and suffer violence
and even sexually abused. The main issues that
concern domestic work are: lack of decent wages
and work conditions, no defined work time, no
weekly offs, loneliness, violence, abuse, and

September 2011

sexual harassment at workplace, victimization

at the hands of traffickers/ placement agencies,
forced migration, lack of welfare measures (such
as health insurance, maternity protection, old age
security), and lack of skills development resulting
in stagnation and no career growth.
Looking at the vulnerable nature of the
domestic workers, the Ministry of Labour &
Employment constituted a Task Force to evolve
a policy frame work on Domestic Workers in the
context of regulatory mechanism and for providing
social security. The Task Force in its Report has,
inter-alia, recommended extension of the welfare
schemes to the domestic workers including:
health and maternity benefits, death and disability
benefits, and old age benefits. The Task Force
defined the domestic workers as follows:
Domestic Worker means, a person who is
employed for remuneration whether in cash or
kind , in any house hold through any agency or
directly, either on a temporary basis or permanent,
part time or full time to do the household work
but does not include - any member of the family
of an employer.
The State Governments would identify
domestic workers as those having completed 18
years of age. For the purpose of identification of
domestic workers, any two of the following criteria
would be treated as evidence of persons working
as domestic workers:
certificate by registered Resident Welfare
Association to the effect that a person is
working as a domestic worker in the area;
employer certificate
certificate from a registered trade union
that the concerned person is working as a
domestic worker;
police verification certificate which certifies
that the person is working as a domestic


The scheme has since been extended to building

and other construction workers registered with
Welfare Boards constituted under the Building
and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of
Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1996,
street vendors,beediworkersand such MNREGA
workers who have worked for more than 15 days
during the preceding year.

The Task Force has recommended that

the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana(RSBY), the
national health insurance scheme should be
the first welfare scheme to be extended to the
domestic workers. RSBY provides for smart card
based cashless health insurance cover of Rs.
30000 per annum per family (a unit of five).The
premium is shared between Centre and State
Government in the ratio of 75:25basis.25 States/
Union Territories have started enrollment and
issuance of smart cards in 348 districts. Remaining
States except Andhra Pradesh are in the process
of implementation of the scheme. More than
2.35 crore smart cards have been issued as on
June 30, 2011.
The Government has taken a decision to
extend the RSBY to domestic workers. It is proposed
to cover 10% of the estimated 47.50lakhdomestic
workers i.e. 4.75lakhduring the current financial
year i.e. 2011-12 and remaining in next three

years. After 2014-15 the recurring expenditure

is likely to be around Rs. 297 crores annually,
though the exact amount will be determined on
the basis of persons identified and registered as
domestic workers under the scheme during each
preceding year and the actual premium rates. The
expenditure will be met from the National Social
Security Fund for unorganized sector workers
administered by Ministry of Finance.
The International LabourOrganization
(ILO) also discussed at length during the last
InternationalLabourConference on International
Convention for protecting the rights of
domestic workers and for providing social
security to this extremely vulnerable segment
ofunorganisedworkers and adopted a Convention
and Recommendation. The Government of India
supported adoption of Convention on Domestic
(courtesy PIB)

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September 2011

September 2011




The Rural Market in India:

Great Opportunities?
The concept of Rural Marketing has always
played an influential role
in the Indian Economy.
Despite the phenomenal
growth of the urban
Indian middle class,
over 620 million of the
population still lives in
more than half a million
Indian villages, thus
that India lives in her
villages. The rural market
is not a separate entity
in itself and is highly influenced by the sociological
and behavioral factors operating in the country.
With the rural residents accounting for around
627 million it makes up exactly 74.3 percent of the
total population. This sizeable segment, commonly
referred to as the bottom of the pyramid, naturally
presents a huge opportunity for companies. It is,
therefore, interesting to assess the current situation
in rural India, and analyse macro-level patterns and
trends while appreciating the fact that differences
do exist at the micro level.

income level there are 2.3 million urban households

as against 1.6 million households in rural areas. This
gap is only expected to narrow in the coming decade.
Rural Consumptions in India
Rural Consumption patterns are suggesting a
shift from sustenance driven consumption through
a near parity between amount of expenditure
on food and non-food items. Moreover, rural
consumption expenditure is growing at nearly
double the rate of urban consumption expenditure
growth. The 61st round of the National Sample
Survey (NSS) report 2004-05 on consumer
expenditure in rural and urban areas reveals that
the average monthly per capita consumption
expenditure (average MPCE) in rural areas to be
Rs 559, a bit more than half of urban India. The
emerging pattern of rural consumption is now
showing a near balance between the amount
spent of food items and non-food items. While
food items account for 55 per cent of the total

Size of the Indian Rural Markets

Going by the latest estimates, About 285
million live in urban India whereas 627 million
reside in rural areas, constituting 74% of Indias
population they make up the population of 6, 27,000
villages. Estimated sizes of the rural markets vary,
for example, a recent survey by the National Council
of Applied Economic Research reveals there are
33 million households in rural India, and upper
estimates on the other hand quote a figure of 42
million households, or about 720 million consumers.
These are significant numbers by any yardstick.
According to the NCAER study, there are almost
twice as many lower middle income households
in rural areas as in the urban areas. At the highest

Figure 1: Rural Households in India


September 2011

Table 1: Distribution of Population in Villages in India

Population (Number)

No. of Villages

Proportion of Total Villages (%)

Less than 500 people



Between 500 and 999



Between 1000 and 4999



Between 5000 and 9999



More than 10,000






Source: Census of India

Perhaps the most striking factor here is that a big majority (about 62 percent) of villages have a population below
1,000 and only 3 percent of the villages above 5000. Most villages with less than 500 people do not have any shops.
These characteristics point toward the complexities of distribution and logistics management.

consumption expenditure, non-food items like fuel

& light, clothing & footwear, education, medical,
miscellaneous consumer goods, conveyance, other
consumer services and durable goods accounted for
10, 5, 3, 7, 6, 4, 4 and 3 per cent respectively. Until
2000, food consumption expenditure accounted
62 percent of total consumption expenditure. It is
worth noting that there has not been a fall in the
real expenditure on food, indeed per capita real
spending on food has grown by over 3 percent.
At the same time, non-food items registered an
increase of 17 percent over a period of five years
since 2000.

pinpoints on the raw fact that there is vast potential

for profits in the rural markets. He says, globally
the bottom of the (economic) pyramid consists of 4
billion people living on less than $2 per day. If we
stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden
and start recognizing them as value-conscious
consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will
open up. Prahalad suggests that four billion poor can
be the engine of the next round of global trade and
prosperity, and can be a source of innovations. As
urban markets become saturated, more businesses
are retooling their marketing strategies, and in many
a case their products targeting rural consumers with
tiny incomes but rising aspirations, giving birth to a
new era of rural marketing.
To expand the market by tapping the
countryside, more and more MNCs are foraying into
Indias rural markets. Among those that have made
some headway are Hindustan Lever, ITC, Coca-Cola,
LG Electronics, Britannia, LIC, HDFC Standard Life,
ICICI, Philips, Colgate Palmolive and most of the
Telecom companies.

Industries all over the world and particularly

in India are quickly coming around to view the rural
poor less as victims or a burden and more as valueconscious consumers. The future lies with those
companies who see the poor as their customers
says economist C. K. Prahalad in his book The
Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. He clearly

September 2011



Figure 2: Percentage Distribution of MPCE

(Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure)

The importance of the rural market for some

FMCG and durable marketers is underlined by the
fact that the rural market accounts for 55 per cent of
LIC policies, 70 per cent of toilet soaps, 50 per cent
of TV, Fans, Bicycles, Tea , Wrist Watches, Washing
soap, Blades, Salt, Tooth Powder and 38 per cent
of all Two-Wheelers purchased. Of the two million
plus BSNL connections, 50% is from small towns/
villages and out of 20 million Rediffmail signups,
60% are from small towns. The gigantic market size
of rural markets (in Indian Rupees) is self evident
: FMCG - 6500 Billion, Agri-Inputs - 4500 Billion,

Consumer Durables 500 Billion, Automobiles

( 2 & 4 Wheelers) - 800
Billion. The figures tell us
that the rural market is
growing much faster than
the urban counterpart. A
recent forecast revealed
that the Indian Cellular
Services revenue will
grow at a rate of 18.4
Figure 3: The significant
per cent with most of the
contribution of Rural
growth coming from rural
segment to Indian
Pharmaceutical market markets.
(Courtesy Livemint)

Purchasing Power

Indias rural consumer market accounted

for $425 billion of revenue, in 2008-09, up from
$266 billion the previous year. At the same time,
the number of rural households with an income
of $1,525 has more than doubled from 22 to 46
per cent, bolstering the spending power of rural
consumers. The upsurge in rural spending power
is being spearheaded by the increasing purchasing
power of the rural youth. Such an upsurge is partly
due to the success of the governments National Rural
Employment Guarantee Scheme (NAREGA), which
promised 100 days of guaranteed employment with
an income of `100 a day. With 43 million new jobs
(1.82 billion new man-days), the village economy
became a big draw for the village youth. Young
people not only decided against migration, those who
had already migrated began returning home. At the
same time, better power scenario, good connectivity
with the cities and access to communication facilities
such as mobiles and satellite televisions improved
not only the standard of life in far flung villages, but
also increased awareness and enhanced aspiration
levels. As a result, rural spending in the last three
years quadrupled to a whopping Rs. 40,000 cr. This
trend is set to continue as the Union Budget for
2010-11 has hiked the allocation under the National
Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) to US$
8.71 billion in 2010-11, giving a boost to the rural
The rural market already contributes more
than half of FMCG and durables sales, 100% of agriproducts sales, and nearly 40% of automobile sales. In

the last few years, the

biggest push to Indias
mobile telephony story
has come from the
hinterland where 175
million connections
have been soldand
this is expected to
rise to 440 million by
2012. These figures
will only become
bigger as the Indian
growth story spreads
further into Indias
hinterlands. As per
white paper prepared
in November 2009,
the rural consumer
market, which grew
25 per cent in 2008, is
expected to reach US$
425 billion in 2010-11
Figure 4: Spending
with 720-790 million
these Patterns in Rural India are
getting diversified.
figures are expected
to double the 2004-05
market size of US$ 220 billion.

Characteristics & Dynamics of Indian Rural


Geographical Diversity: The rural market of

India is a geographically scattered market.
While the urban population of India is
concentrated in 3200 cities and towns, the
rural population is scattered across 570000
villages. And of them, only 6300 villages, or
less than 1.1 per cent have a population of
more than 5000 each.

Socio-economic positioning: By and large,

rural consumers continue to be marked by
low purchasing power/low per capita income.
Similarly, they continue to be traditionbound community, with religion, culture
and tradition strongly influencing their
consumption habits. A sizeable segment of
rural consumers defy this description. Nearly
60 per cent of rural income comes from
agriculture. More than half the households
are in the income category of less than Rs

September 2011

25000 per annum, but about 14 per cent of

the households have an annual income that
exceeds Rs 50000 per annum.

Cultural Diversity and Heterogeneous market:

The diversity is manifest in a more intense
manner among the rural segments. It can be
said that heterogeneity is the No 1 hallmark
of the rural market-5, 70,000 villages, half a
dozen religion, 33 languages, 1,650 dialects and
diverse sub-cultures characterize the market.

Variable Development: There is also a good

amount of difference between different states
in extent of development. A recent study
conducted by IMRB provides development
index points for each state, after collecting
village-level data on various parameters, such
as availability of health and education facilities,
availability of public transport, electricity, TV
transmission, banks, post offices, water supply
and so on. According to the study, while the
average village in India has 33 development
index points, villages in Kerala had an average
of 88 points while those in Bihar had just 22;
M.P, Rajasthan and UP were close to Bihar; and
states like Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka
had points ranging between 40 and 50.

Literacy Level: It has been estimated

that rural India has literacy rate of 28
percent for the whole country. The rate is
certainly on the low side. However, such
statistics do not reveal the whole picture.
The adult literacy programmes launched in
the rural areas are bound to enhance the rural
literacy rate in the years to come. In absolute
numbers, already there are more literate people
in rural India (16.5) in urban India (16 crore).

Lifestyle: By and large, the rural consumers

are marked by a conservative and traditionbound lifestyle. But, what is striking today
about this matter is not the basic conservative
characteristic, but the fact that the lifestyle is
undergoing is significant change.

in the rural markets in India. The rural consumer

remains dynamic and acquisition of wealth has made
him open to new avenues of consumption. In many
sectors, for example the cellular telecom growth in
rural segment is becoming increasingly concurrent
to the urban market. However, unlike their urban
counterparts, the position of FMCG MNCs and other
big players is by no way guaranteed in the vast
marketplace of Rural India. The rural markets have
been a battle field with national players like HUL,
Dabur jostling for foothold with regional players like
Ghari and Nirma.

Recent sector wise trends in the rural

market place can be surmised under few
broad consumption heads:
According to figures released by market
researcher Nielsen, demand for personal care
products grew faster in rural areas than urban areas
during the period January-May 2010. In shampoos,
rural demand grew by 10.7 per cent in value terms,
while in urban markets, it rose by 6.8 per cent.
Similarly, toothpaste sales grew by 9.1 per cent in
rural India and by 4.4 per cent in urban markets.
Several fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)
companies such as Godrej Consumer Products, Dabur,
Marico and Hindustan Unilever (HUL) have increased
their hiring in rural India and small towns in order
to establish a local connect and increase visibility.
Swiss FMCG giant, Nestle plans to make further
inroads into the rural markets. The company has
asked its sales team to deliver 6,000 new sales points
every month in rural areas to expand its presence in
Indian villages, according to Antonio Helio Waszyk,
Chairman and Managing Director, Nestle India.

Significant Players in Indian Rural Market


September 2011

Figure 5: Market Growth of Consumer Non-Durables,

Rural & Urban (Source: Livemint)


Manufacturing companies, telecom companies,

FMCG MNCs, service providers, multitude of
entrepreneurs in the unorganised sector and even
the government constitute the dominant players

The rural retail market is currently estimated at
US$ 112 billion, or around 40 per cent of the US$
280 billion Indian retail market, according to a study
paper, The Rise of Rural India, by an industry body.
Hindustan Unilever (HUL) is planning to
significantly increase its rural reach. According to
Harish Manwani, Chairman, HUL, the quality and
quantity of rural coverage will go up to the extent
that what we have done in the last 25 years we
want to do it in the next two years. Currently
HUL products reach approximately 250,000 rural
retail outlets and the company intends to scale
it up to nearly 750,000 outlets in two years time.
Direct selling firm Tupperware India, known for
its storage containers plans to foray into the rural
markets in the next two-three years. We have
solid plans for the rural market. We are working on
bringing products for rural people as well, said Asha
Gupta, Managing Director, and Tupperware India.
Castrol India is pushing its rural sales by building up a
distribution infrastructure to reach out to all villages.
According to Ravi Kirpalani, Chief Operating Officer,
Castrol India, Our distribution now reaches 5,0007,000 towns and villages, but we are planning to take
our products to six lakh villages with a population of
less of 5,000.

Car sales in rural India have been on the
increase in the last three years since the government
announced various schemes such as farm loan waiver
etc, for the rural population.
Maruti Suzukis share of rural sales has
increased from 3.5 per cent to 17 per cent in the
last three years. Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M)
is now selling more Scorpios in rural and semiurban markets. Scorpio sales have increased from
35 per cent to 50 per cent in the last two years.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), in which Japans Toyota
Motor Corp holds an 89 per cent controlling stake,
is planning at selling 40 per cent of its cars in rural
markets in India. According to Hiroshi Nakagawa,
Managing Director, TKM,
Yamaha is also planning a major initiative in rural
India by launching more models in the affordable price
range in 2010. We are very strong in Tier 1 and Tier
II cities. Now onwards, our focus will be rural India

(Tier III towns). We will launch more models in the

affordable price range to dominate the rural market,
according to Pankaj Dubey, National Business Head,
India Yamaha Motor. At present, around 15 per cent
of its sales come from the rural market and Dubey
sees this demand increasing substantially in 2010.
Tata Motors is also making efforts to sell its
pickup truck Ace in rural markets. It has already
opened 600 small outlets for the Ace in rural and
semi-urban markets. It has also tied up with 117
public sectors, gramin (rural) and co-operative banks
to help small entrepreneurs buy the vehicle.
Reaching the Rural Consumer: Penetration of
Rural Markets
Despite its colossal potentials, the Indian
Rural Market is not without its problems: scattered
geographical placement; Low per capita disposable
incomes that is half the urban disposable income; large
number of daily wage earners, acute dependence on
the vagaries of the monsoon; seasonal consumption
linked to harvests and festivals and special occasions;
poor roads; power problems; and inaccessibility to
conventional advertising media are just some of the
very real challenges facing the Rural marketer.
Lack of media penetration is one of the bigger
impediments to the reach of broad based marketing
campaigns. Despite there being upwards of estimated
25 million TV sets
in Rural India,
television access
and 2009, the FAS
(Foundation of
Agrarian Studies)
surveys in 14
villages in six
States three in
Andhra Pradesh
each in Uttar
Pradesh (2006),
(2007), Rajasthan
Figure 6: Rural vs. Urban
Madhya Pradesh Phone Subscribers in India
(2008), and three

September 2011

Another area of focus could come in the shape

of the ever expanding rural cellular and telecom
network. India is the fastest growing fastest growing
telecommunications industry in the world that is
projected to have 1.159 billion mobile subscribers
by 2013. A major chunk of this number is
constituted of the rural consumer. According to the
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), there
has been a rise of 18% in use of the mobiles by rural
subscribers. Rising from 93.2 million users at the
end of last year, India today has a total of a massive
109.7 million rural mobile subscribers. The urban
users on the other hand are 282 million in total. With
more than a 100 million customer base, cellular
network has quite understandably opened a great
new marketing avenue for rural marketing. Mobile
telephony has placed a powerful new empowerment
tool in the hand of the rural consumer, and one
that is much less constrained by the traditional
limits of power and infrastructural shortages.
Numbers however, tell only a part of the whole
story. Telecom availability remains severely
restricted overall. Despite the rapid growth of
mobile telephony in recent years, rural tele-density
(defined as the number of persons per hundred
owning a telephone connection) in India continues
to lag far behind urban rates. The latest figures

September 2011

released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of

India (TRAI) show that tele-density in rural India was
mere 24.29 in March 2010, compared to 119.73 for
urban areas.
Perhaps the greatest challenge to rural
marketing is presented by the vast and scattered
nature of the rural market place. About 62 percent
of villages have a population below 1,000 and
only 3 percent of the villages above 5000. Most
villages with less than 500 people do not have any
shops (refer to Table 1) these characteristics point
toward the complexities of distribution and logistics
management. It is uneconomical to access a large
number of small villages with a very low population
density spread over a large geographic area. Factors
such as limited physical access, low density of shops,
limited storage facilities, make the tasks of reaching
rural consumers very complex.

Challenges to rural marketing can be

surmised under the so called 4A theory

AVAILABILITY of the product: The first

challenge is to ensure availability of the
product or service. Indias 627,000 villages
are spread over 3.2 million sq km; 700 million
Indians may live in rural areas, finding them
is not easy. However, given the poor state
of roads, it is an even greater challenge to
regularly reach products to the far-flung
villages. Any serious marketer must strive to
reach at least 13,113 villages with a population
of more than 5,000. Marketers must trade off
the distribution cost with incremental market



in Karnataka (2009). The surveys, which covered

3,139 households in the first four years, gathered
information on a wide range of variables including
access to electricity and television. The incidence of
households owning a television is about 50 per cent in
most villages. However, TV ownership was obviously
low in villages where access to the electricity was low,
a worrisome indicator for the majority of hinterland
villages in States of Bihar, MP, UP and Rajasthan
that have chronic power shortages. Instances of
Cable TV ownership is but a fraction of the overall
TV numbers. Lack of TV exposure can be a hindrance
to the more traditional methods of marketing and
advertisement. Radio to an extent makes up for the
TV lag, since at present Radio transmission is available
to 100 percent of the villages and radio ownerships
remains high. In the wake of liberalised transmission
norms, the next big thing in rural radio could come
in the form of localised FM channels focused on the
rural sector.

AFFORDABILITY of product: The second

challenge is to ensure affordability of the
product or service. With low disposable
incomes, products need to be affordable to
the rural consumer, most of who are on daily
wages. One way to address the affordability
problem by introducing small unit packs.
Lower prices/smaller packaging has been the
most common strategies adopted by FMCG
companies to penetrate rural markets. HUL
initiated Operation Bharat to tap rural market
by rolling out low priced sample packets of its
toothpaste, fairness cream, shampoo, cream
and other products. Similarly LPG companies
have introduced small sized cylinders ensuring
that price remains in the affordable range for its
rural consumers.

market only for low end products, corporations

are today seeing rural market as the new growth
avenue. Corporations can only ignore the rural
Indian market at their own peril. A case in point
is a survey conducted by Mckinsey in 2008 that
postulates a rural India with a population of 630
million (approximately) becoming bigger than
total consumer market in countries such as South
Korea or Canada in another 20 years. At that
point of time it would have grown at least four
times from its existing size.


At the same time, Indian rural markets are

often misunderstood. A clear distinction has to be
made with regard to the reality versus the image of
rural India. The rural market is not homogeneous.
The individual sections of this market are not too
big, although the overall size is large. There are
geographical, demographical, statistical and logistical
differences. Positioning and realities regarding the
potential of each of these market segments differ
and lie at the very core of forming the strategy for
the rural markets. Different target segments require
different marketing approach and rural market is
no exception to it. Experience suggests that mere
extension of urban marketing strategies in rural India
will fail unless they are customized to the needs,
ethos of rural India. The classic rules of reach and
coverage of the media are shattered as the market
is undergoing a dynamic change every passing year,
where more traditional mediums like the television
is bypassed and replaces by mobile communication
nets. Rural Marketing is an evolving concept, and
as a part of any economy has untapped potential.
Improvement in infrastructure and reach promise
a bright future for those intending to go rural.
Any macro-level strategy for these markets should
focus on availability, accessibility and affordability.
Constant scanning and sieving of ideas and plans is
essential at all times. There is no doubt that great
divide exist between urban India and Rural Bharat.
However a silent transformation has already begun,
a seamless integration of rural and urban markets is

Spurt in purchasing power of rural

population in recent past has fuelled lot of
interest in rural India. Traditionally considered a

(The author is Assistant Professor at Tapindu

Institute of Higher Studies, Patna, e-mail:


ACCEPTABILITY of Product: The third challenge

is to gain acceptability for the product or
service. Social norms, traditions, castes, and
social customs have greater influence o the
acceptability quotient.


penetration and literacy levels are just some of
the factors that come into play here. Companies
may have to rely on direct promotion and area
specific marketing campaigns to get better
results on their product awareness. For example
companies like Hindustan Unilever (HUL) rely
heavily on their own company-organised media
promotional events organised by stockiest.
Since rural areas have limited venues for
entertainment, conducting an event in rural
areas can bring a good response. Some of the
interesting events that can be conducted are
Road Shows, Melas, Street Theatre, Film Shows
and so on. Several Agrochemical companies
such as Rallis India Limited, Wockhardt and
tractor companies like Escort, Mahindras
have successfully employed melas, local
communication to get higher sales.



September 2011