HS 819: Rural Development

The course aims to introduce students to the major characteristics, problems, and development issues of people living in rural areas. The course will acquaint students to general approaches for analyzing and understanding rural development, including examinations of: 1) rural structural changes and policymaking; 2) participatory processes for generating rural development; and 3) planning strategies as mechanisms for creating rural development opportunities.

The topics covered include: 

1.      introduction to basic concepts: 'rural', 'village', 'development';

2.      rural and agrarian social structure: class, caste, kinship and gender

3.      evolution of property rights: property debates, common property issues

4.      natural resources: use, access and management; technology issues

5.      rural economies and poverty: employment, livelihoods, and productivity increase issues and    approaches; agricultural and non-agricultural sectors

6.      land reform: legislation, land struggles, power and inequality

7.      local control in community and rural development: neopopulism, concept of 'community', participation, decentralization, panchayati raj, cooperatives

8.      profile of the history of rural development in India: experiences, programmes, policies and achievements

9.      role of NGOs, social movements, agrarian and peasant struggles


Robert Chambers, Rural Development: Putting the Last First, Prentice Hall, 1996.

A.R. Desai, Rural Sociology in India, Oxford University Press, 1978. 

Akhil Gupta, Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India.

L.C. Jain, Grass Without Roots: Rural Development Under Government Auspices, Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1985.

Michael Lipton, Why Poor People Stay Poor, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1977.  

S.R. Maheshwari, Rural Development in India: A public policy approach, Sage Publications, 1985.