Livelihood in Rural India |

Livelihood in Rural India


∙ At a group discussion held by Life Skills Collaborative, most of the rural youth when questioned about their aspirations for the future they preferred staying in their village.


∙ With the prevalent trend of urbanisation — the UN projects that almost 50% of the Indian population will be living in urban areas by 2047— it is crucial not to overlook those who choose to stay behind in villages.

Rural Livelihood

∙ Main source of income: Farming is the main source of rural livelihoods, with children from many rural families supplementing their family’s income by working on family-owned farms.

∙ Changing Trends: The rural economy is experiencing a major occupational shift, the National Sample Survey Office data recorded 34 million farmers leaving their farms and transitioning to other sectors such as construction during 2004-05 and 2011-12.

∙ This highlights the need for not only making agriculture an aspiring vocation among rural youth, but also creating alternative employment opportunities.

∙ Current vocational education: In rural India the current vocation education is intermixed with Industrial Training Institutes to upskill rural populations, but with little to no placement opportunities.

∙ Presently, rural education scarcely focuses on skill development, if learning is infused with rural life skills in schools, rural education will have the potential to nurture a generation capable of thriving.

Initiatives by Government of India to Upskill Youth in Rural India

∙ Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): Launched in 2015, PMKVY is a flagship skill development scheme that aims to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training to help them secure a better livelihood.

∙ The scheme provides short-term training programs in various sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, construction, and more.

∙ Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY): DDU-GKY is a part of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) and focuses on the rural poor youth.

∙ It aims to transform rural poor youth into economically independent and globally relevant workforce through market-driven training programs.

∙ National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM): NRLM, launched in 2011, aims to reduce poverty by promoting diversified and gainful self-employment and wage employment opportunities in rural areas.

∙ It includes skill development as a key component to enhance the livelihood options for rural youth.

∙ Skill Development Initiatives under MGNREGA: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) includes provisions for skill development and wage employment in rural areas.

∙ States may allocate a portion of their MGNREGA funds for skill development programs.

∙ Rural Self-Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs): RSETIs are institutions established to provide training and skill development to rural youth, especially those from economically weaker sections.

∙ These institutes aim to promote self-employment and entrepreneurship in rural areas.

∙ Skill Development in Agriculture: Various initiatives focus specifically on skill development in the agricultural sector, including training programs on modern farming techniques, use of technology in agriculture, and agribusiness skills.

∙ Digital India: The Digital India initiative aims to bridge the digital divide in rural areas by providing digital literacy and skills training.

Way Ahead

∙ To control migration of these youth to urban areas in search of meaningful employment, it becomes imperative to provide vocational training to students to imbibe relevant rural skills.

∙ Effective rural education should be tailored such that technical as well as life skills, needed to empower youth in these areas, become accessible to them through formal education.

∙ Educational evidence from other developing economies suggests — such as Mexico’s tele-schools and Bhutan’s well-being-infused curriculum.

∙ The tele-schools provide lessons on subject matters as well as values, thereby providing a much higher level of access to value-based secondary education for remote areas where secondary schools are scarce.

∙ This has shown to have trickling benefits in the local economy with improved attitudes and increased aspirations among children and parents.

∙ By offering rural populations skills in fields like agricultural mechanisation, pollution monitoring, nursing and digital technologies via e-learning, rural India can boost employability in both traditional and non-traditional trades, leading to a vibrant economy.

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