The Void: Communication in the Rural Belt and India’s Developmental Failure

Posted on September 1, 2009 in Specials

Anshul Tewari [Read original article at The Rural Bharat Project.]

The meaning, nature and content of information, education and communication as supportive inputs for rural development have not been clearly spelt out or put into practice till recent times in the context of their relevance to the Indian social structure and cultural ethos and the huge practice for transforming the socio-economic scenario.

Such policies are coherent sets of principles and norms designed to act as general guidelines for communication organs and institutions in individual countries.

They provide a frame of reference for the elaboration of national strategies with a view to the setting up of communication infrastructure that will have a function to fulfill in all kinds of development.

In countries like India, planning has been done by sub-systems like print, broadcast, films, advertisements; but there is a serious lack of guidelines for prioritizing resource allocation. This is where we need a holistic approach towards development.

Development is a word which we have been hearing since Independence. We needed development in 1947 because we were an underdeveloped nation, we need development today because we are a developing nation. But the concept of development has often failed when it comes to the Indian scenario.

India has had a new paradigm of development with its thrust on basic needs, alternative development & sustainable development. This has facilitated with its focus on consumers, local activities, consumer initiated change, participation of the villagers in the planning and decision making process at low cost, local oriented little media, such as radio and transistors. But what is the need of the hour? Youth Ki Awaaz analyzes.

It is important that India should develop its own communication pattern in accordance with its own conditions, needs and traditions.

It should strengthen it integrity, independence and self reliance.

Development must now be regarded a total holistic process, which involves economy, social, political and cultural elements.

There must be a realization of human potential.

There is a need for comprehensive yet strategic re-orientation of the rural development policy which must aim at the creation of a new economy and a new social order.

There must be more research on rural development and the youth must be inducted in it.

The THREE major reasons that have gone into the FAILURE of India’s development path are:

1. The role of a colonial bureaucracy to shape and form meaning and direction to new trends in development thinking. India has not been able to come out of its 62 year old colonial hangover.

2. A failure to introduce a communication thinking, a failure to introduce a communication component in our development plans and programs in specific sectors.

3. The failure to develop an Indian model of development that would not only take into account the paradigm shifts in development but would also keep in mind the development need, aspirations of the vast multitude of the deprived, disadvantaged, poverty stricken people who have all along been at the receiving end of our policies and programs, or have been victims of misplaced priorities and lopsided implementation.

I think that it’s time to re-think our strategies and strengthen the wall from the grass root level onwards.