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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Rural migration, agriculture and rural development

Vethaiya BALASUBRAMANIANFreelance ConsultantIndia

The drivers of rural to urban migration are: poor rural infrastructure (health, education, transport, services & entertainment, etc.); lack of employment opportunities; growing agrarian crisis and indebtedness; climate change and natural disasters. If we allow free flow of able bodied, but not fully trained and equipped people to urban areas, the productivity, economy, environment, housing, and health problems will mount in both rural areas and urban centers. We need a complete paradigm shift in national development:

(1) What we need urgently is to build smart villages rather than smart cities. This will help improve the rural infrastructure which in turn will help distribute the population evenly over the entire country, avoiding over crowded slums and the related problems in cities.

(2) In population-dense countries like India, the economic growth must be decentralized with labor intensive micro-small-medium enterprises and distributed components manufacturing at homes and assembly units at strategic locations will help generate the much needed jobs in the rural and urban sectors and will help reduce the overall poverty in any country. Jobless growth is the curse of the modern economy producing billionaires and a decent national GDP, but increasing rural and urban poverty and disempowering hundreds of millions of people.

(3) Farming and the related processing and value addition industries must be developed fully in rural areas to enhance the rural economy, REDUCE RURAL POVERTY AND TO MITIGATE THE AGRARIAN CRISIS and reduce the rural indebtedness, reduce rural to urban migration, and to build the national economy in a sustainable manner.