There is no universally accepted definition of rural development. The term is used in different ways in vastly divergent contexts. As a concept, it connotes overall development of rural areas with a view to improve the quality of life rural people. As a phenomenon, it is the result of various physical, technological, economic, socio-cultural and institutional factors. As a discipline, it is multi-disciplinary in nature representing an intersection of agricultural, social, behavioural and management of sciences.
In short, rural development is a process that aims at improving the standard of living of the people living in the rural areas.
Rural development may be defined as overall development of rural areas to improve the quality of life of rural people. It is an integrated process, which includes social, economical, political and spiritual development of the poorer sections of the society.
Rural development can be defined as, helping rural people set the priorities in their own communities through effective and democratic bodies, by providing the local capacity; investment in basic infrastructure and social services, justice, equity and security, dealing with the injustices of the past and ensuring safety and security of the rural population, especially that of women.
According to Robert chambers, rural development is a strategy to enable a specific group of people, poor rural women and men, to gain for themselves, and their children more of what they want and need. It involves helping the poorest among those who seek a livelihood in the rural areas to demand and control more of the benefits of rural development. The group includes small scale farmers, tenants and the landless.
Thus, the term rural development may be used to imply any one of the above-mentioned connotations. The avoid ineffective floundering among the myriad definitions, we shall define rural development as A Process leading to sustainable improvement in the quality of life of rural people, especially the poor The Concept of Rural Development
The meaning of rural development has been the subject of much debate and little agreement. The definition of rural development varies from one point of view to the other. The definition or rural development may be centeredaround income criterion in which the concept is made to address the problem of rural poverty. Or it may be defined in sociological concept in which the rural poor represents a reservoir of untapped talent a target group that should be given the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of development through improved education, health and nutrition. This is one of the most important definitions of rural development as the provision of social infrastructures could provide the catalyst that would transform the rural areas.
Rural development may also be seen as an ideology and a practice. It may mean planned change by public agencies based outside the rural areas such as the national Government and International organization; It may also be the bringing of the countryside into an active state, as well as the transformation of the inferior nature of the country side into something more superior in terms of activities.
Rural development as the improvement in the living standard of the rural dwellers by engaging them in productive activities such as the establishment of rural industries that will increase their income. It is seen by these scholars as a means of raising the sustainable living of the rural poor by giving them the opportunity to develop their full potentials.
Rural development can be distinguished from agricultural development which it entails and transcends. In essence Rural Development may imply a broad based re-organization and mobilization of rural masses in order to enhance their capacity to cope effectively with the daily task of their lives and with changes consequent upon this. According to the World Bank Rural Development must be clearly...