Rural India represents around 70 per cent of the Indian population. It is very important to engage the rural youth in a productive way in tandem by providing them credible opportunities for the growth and development. Agriculture is losing the attraction among the rural youths due to less profit. If the youths will generate extra income in agriculture then the interests of the youths in agriculture can be retained. There is need to make agri-based industries in the rural areas so that employment opportunities can be generated for the rural youths. India is having the youngest workforce in the world and our nation can become the human resource capital in the world by creating skill among the youths and convert the trained manpower for the growth of the Indian economy. In India around 51 per cent of the households survive on income from manual casual labour, 30 per cent from cultivation and 19 per cent from other sources. Around 74 per cent of the rural households earn less than Rs.5000/- per month. Around 35. 73 per cent of the rural people are illiterate and about 67 per cent have education below or till primary. Women constitute about 48.5 per cent of the population and play important role in the Indian economy. According to NSSO Employment-Unemployment Survey (EUS) 2011-12, due to low level of education and skill, around 49 per cent of the workforce is engaged in agriculture, 12.60 per cent in manufacturing, 10.60 per cent in construction and 27 per cent in the services sector. Presently around 10 per cent of the workforce is trained which include about 3 per cent formally trained and 7 per cent informally trained. Large number of the workforce does not get opportunity for trainings.
It has been observed that around two million people are shifting from rural to urban areas annually. From 2001 migration from rural to urban areas has increased from 27.8 to 31 per cent. Rural migrations to the urban areas have direct impact on agricultural productivity. Rural India remains in the focus of the policy makers as 10. 1 per cent of its labour force is unemployed as compared to 7. 3 per cent in the urban areas. Agriculture is the dominant employer in the rural areas followed by construction, manufacturing and community services. Rural areas are also the source of workforce in the adjoining towns and cities. In rural areas income from the agriculture is not sufficient especially for the small and marginal farmers who constitute 85 per cent of the farm holdings and for the dry land farmers who constitute more than half of the cultivated land. There is dire need to increase the employment opportunities for the rural youths to stop the rural migration. Rural youths migrate from rural areas to urban areas in search of employment as the agriculture in the rural areas does not suffice their basic needs. In urban areas they face the problem of housing, language and skill especially in the beginning. Due to these factors they are under paid and their growth is hampered. There is need to address the issue of rural migration. There is need to establish youth hostels in the urban areas which can give shelter to the rural youths especially in the beginning. There is also the need to change the set up of some departments to help the rural youths. The employment office established at each district should be changed for the career guidelines department. Some states in the country have taken initiative in this direction. From thousands of years farming has been sustaining life on the earth. We observe various success stories of the progressive farmers across the nation. Some success stories from Reasi district of J&K where organic vegetables growing, poultry farming, floriculture and diversified farming have transformed the lives of the farmers. These farmers have achieved the great success with the adoption of innovative technologies. With the adoption of innovative technologies they have increased their crops production and productivity. It occurred because of their consistent and arduous efforts. The scientific approach adopted by these farmers has resulted maximum output with the minimum inputs. There is need to make our agriculture more entrepreneurial and profitable. Value addition in the agricultural crops can create more income and employment for the rural youths. Farmers need to adopt the modern agricultural technologies to make farming more profitable. Protected cultivation is high-tech cultivation which produces 5-12 times higher output than cultivation in open fields. The demand of mushroom is increasing in the market and mushroom cultivation has become the profitable business. Important species of mushrooms are button, oyster, wood ear, shitake and paddy straw. India produces only 0.12 million tonnes of mushrooms out of which button mushroom contributes about 85 per cent of the total mushroom in the country. Out of the total agricultural residue, if one per cent is utilized for mushroom cultivation, the country can produce over three million tonnes of mushrooms and 10 million tonnes of organic manure annually. Production and supply of inputs required in the agriculture is the commercial ventures with lot of scope especially for the rural youths. Farm machinery can also create employment for the rural youths. In addition repair of farm machinery can also provide commercial ventures to the farmers. Farm machinery on the one hand will benefit the individuals engaged in the different ventures and on the other hand will help to increase our farm incomes. There is need to combine the farm and non-farm income at the household level which will provide resilience against adverse situations. If the present trend of migration continues then it is estimated that over 50 per cent of our population will be living in the urban areas. People will prefer to live in rural areas, semi-rural area or a small town if there is good telecom connectivity, a good road network and proper education and health care facilities. Rural areas need to be equipped with technical and educated manpower by expanding the network of industrial training institutes with better facilities. Industries like software, textiles, leather, electronics, pharmaceutical and many others can create such infrastructure. Such efforts can also restrict the migration of rural youths from the rural areas.
Tourism contributes around 11 per cent of the world work force and 10.2 per cent of the global gross domestic product. Our nation has a vast and varied agriculture landscape with natural beauty of blooming mustard fields of the northern India to blooming horticultural trees in the hilly areas to the tulip garden in Kashmir. Our rural areas have immense scope in agri-tourism which can help to create new employment for the rural youths. Tourism industry in India is growing at a rate of 10.1 per cent. Some states are making some strenuous efforts for rural tourism. In Maharashtra, people residing in the rural areas have formed Maharashtra State Agri and Rural Tourism. There are 150 agri-tourism centres in the state and all these centres are running without the aid of Government. In Kerala rural tourism is attracting tourists across the globe. Similarly Rajasthan has also some rural tourism destinations. Our adjoining state Himachal Pradesh is also promoting rural tourism and natural tourism in the hilly areas of the state is attracting the tourists. Gujarat rural areas are also attracting the tourists. Promotion of rural tourism needs conceptual convergence with rural tourism, health tourism, eco-tourism, adventure tourism etc. Rural tourism can flourish only when the rural infrastructure such as road connectivity, communication and sector is created in the rural areas. There is need to search the potential areas in the rural areas for the rural tourism and infrastructure required in these areas should be made. There is need to do every effort to make the lives of rural people comfortable and lucrative. There is need to launch some more rural centric schemes to enhance the rural infrastructure.
(The writers are Dr.Banarsi Lal & Dr. Pawan Sharma , Scientist and Head of KVK, Reasi and Scientist at KVK, Kathua (Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu) (SKUAST-J).
Source: Daily Excelsior