Tesi Gaiani Silvia

Tesi Gaiani Silvia
Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna
International Cooperation and Policies for
Sustainable Development
Ciclo XX
Settore scientifico disciplinare di afferenza: AGR/01
Presentata da:
Silvia Gaiani
Coordinatore Dottorato
Prof. Andrea Segrè
Prof. Andrea Segrè
Prof. Roberto Grandi
Esame finale anno 2008
Given the chance to do research in India, I felt a mix of high
expectations and weak knees.
The theme and setting were very appealing: the challenge was to
combine aspects of rural development and communication into a single
investigation. The cross-disciplinary character of doing this research in
an exotic setting often puzzled me – and it certainly puzzled others I
tried to explain the multiple facets of land and livelihoods of Indian
rural villages.
Although India can be a tough place, my stay there was very pleasant.
The villages – or at least those I had the chance to visit - have retained
that warm hospitality that characterises rural India. Almost all the
people I met and worked with have been generous and helpful.
Therefore, first and foremost, my sincere thanks go to the villagers and
others who have welcomed me with tea, local sweets, lunches but, most
importantly, with insightful and usually honest answers to my
questions. Without them this research would have not been possible.
Then, I am very grateful to my academic supervisors in Bologna for the
important roles they have played before and during the writing of this
thesis: a special thanks goes to Prof. Andrea Segrè for always believing
in what I was doing and to Prof. Roberto Grandi for his continued
capable and committed guidance and for providing practical feedback.
I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Mukul Srivastava from the
Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University
in Lucknow for sharing his vast experience and helping me to get to
know and love India. I was lucky to be accompanied to the field by him
and his colleagues, who assisted me in the interpretation – and I don’t
only refer to their help in crossing the language barrier. I could count
on them for feedback and suggestions about the research approach.
Thanks also to Prof. Tripathi for having accepted a totally unknown
Italian researcher at his Department in Lucknow and to Prof. Tim
Unwin, from the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway,
University of London for having shared with me his passion for ICTs
and having transmitted curiosity and passion.
I am grateful to Dr. Mario Acunzo, from the Education and
Communication Division at FAO in Rome, for some precious advices
about the bibliography.
Doing a PhD research can be a lonely affair. Happiness and peace of
mind are necessary preconditions for preserving such an unnatural and
long process as writing a dissertation. The support of my family was
crucial in helping me overcome the dips and insecurities of this longdistance run – especially in the final stages: thanks! My gratitude also
goes to Sandro - your trust, and the comfort you have so generously
given have been essential for finishing the thesis and to Sandra – for
her unfailing kindness, interest, support and patience.
Abbreviations & Description
Advertising Standards Council of India
Agricultural Technology Management Agency
Block Development Office
Bankers Institute of Rural Development
Bharatiya Janata Party
Below Poverty Line
Central Board for Film Certification
Communication for Social Change
District Magistrate
Drought-Prone Areas Programme
Employment Assurance Scheme
Farmer Advisory Committee
Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Food Corporation of India
Farm Information and Advisory Centres
Government to Citizen
Government to Government
Gross Domestic Product
Government of India
Government of Uttar Pradesh
Gross State Domestic Product
High-Yielding Varieties
Internet & Mobile Association of India
Information and Communication Technology
Infant Mortality Rate
Integrated Rural Development Programme
Integrated Rural Development Programme
Internet Service Providers
Information Technology
Information Technology Enterprise Solutions
Jahwar Rozghar Yojna
Millenium Development Goals
Maternal Mortality Ratio
Madhya Pradesh State
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development
Non-governmental Organization
National Sample Survey Organisation
Other Backward Castes
Punjab Agricultural University
Public Distribution System
Project Support Communication
Public Works Department
Regional Transmission Organizations
Scheduled Castes
Scheduled Tribes
Training & Visit system of extension (World Bank)
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh Khadi and Village Industries Board
Table of Contents
Context and Research Questions.......................................................XI
Data Sources and Methodology......................................................XIII
Structure of the Thesis...................................................................XVII
Glossary of Terms..........................................................................XVII
I - A PREMISE ON DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA............................1
1.1 India 2008: High Growth, Low Development...............................1
1.2 The Developmental Challenge of Rural India..............................5
1.3 Communication, Connectivity, Participation: a Response to
II - RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA..........................................9
2.1 What is Rural India?......................................................................9
2.2 The Village Dimension in India...................................................12
2.2.1 The Village Community................................................................14
2.2.2 Caste and Class in Rural India....................................................16
Box 1 - Untouchability in Rural India...................................................18
3.2.3 Panchayati Raj: the Village Local Government..........................19
2.3 Land Tenure and Land Reform...................................................20
2.4 Agriculture.....................................................................................22
Box 2 – The Green Revolution.............................................................25
2.5 Occupational Change in Rural Areas.........................................25
2.6 Causes for Backwardness of Rural Areas..................................27
2.6.1 Lack of Information in Rural Villages.........................................32
2.7 Governmental Rural Development Policies for Poverty
Box 3 - Rural Development in India: Chronological Highlights.........40
2.7.1 Rural Development Initiatives in the Union Budget 2007- 08....41
2.8. Rural Development Initiatives by the Corporate Sector and
2.9 Communication in Rural Development Programs....................47
Appendix 1 The Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012) at a Glance...51
III - COMMUNICATION IN RURAL INDIA...............................53
3.1 A Historical Evolution of Mass Media in India........................54
3.2 India Media Index: Urban vs Rural..........................................59
3.2.1 Print Media in Rural India.........................................................62
3.2.2 Television in Rural India............................................................65
Box 1 – A Famous Experiment of Rural TV for Development...........69
3.2.3 Radio in Rural India...................................................................70
3.2.4 Traditional theatre in Rural India..............................................73
3.2.5 Telecommunications in Rural India...........................................73
3.2.6 Internet in Rural India................................................................75
3.3 The Correlation between Media and Development in India....79
3.4 Community Media: is Local Focal?............................................82
3.4.1 The State of the Art of Community Media in India.....................85
3.5 Evaluation of Community Media Projects for Rural
4.1 Uttar Pradesh Government and Governance.............................97
4.1.2 Administrative Divisions and Districts......................................100
4.2 Western, Central and Eastern Uttar Pradesh: Intrastate
4.3 Social Indicators of Uttar Pradesh............................................106
4.3.1 Health.........................................................................................106
4.3.2 Education...................................................................................108
Box 1 - Health and Education for the Poor.........................................109
4.4 Macro-economic Trend..............................................................109
4.5 Agriculture..................................................................................111
4.5.1 Investment in Agriculture and Allied Sector..............................114
4.5.2 Size of Holdings.........................................................................116
4.5.3 Indebtedness of Farmers...........................................................116
4.5.4 Agriculture Credit.....................................................................117
4.5.5 Presence of Farming Cooperatives..........................................119
4.5.6 Agriculture Extension...............................................................120
4.5.7 Western & Eastern Uttar Pradesh: Differences in Agriculture.122
4.6 The State of Rural Villages in Uttar Pradesh ..........................125
4.7 Poverty in Rural Uttar Pradesh and its Measures...................130
4.8 Uttar Pradesh Rural Development Institutions, Projects and
4.8.1 Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI)..............................................134
4.8.2 Uttar Pradesh Departments and Boards....................................135
4.9 Communication: a Way to Rural Development in Uttar
4.9.1 ICT for Rural Development in Uttar Pradesh............................144
Appendix 1 - Economic Profile of Uttar Pradesh..............................150
Appendix 2 - Uttar Pradesh Budget 2007-2008.................................151
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK..................................................153
5.1 The Link between Communication and Development............153
5.1.1 An Overview of Communication for Development Theories.....155
5.1.2 Recent Approaches in Communication for Development..........164
5.1.3 Communication for Development in International Agencies.....171
5.2 Effective Communication in a Rural Context..........................174
Box 1 - The Lack of Communication in Rural India..........................174
5.2.1 Rural Communication vs. Rural Information............................175
5.2.2 Challenges to Rural Communication.........................................178
5.3 A Framework for Successful Rural Communication in
Development Projects.......................................................................179
5.4 Rural Development and Communication Strategies in Current
Development Programs....................................................................190
5.4.1 Selecting Communication Approaches and Modes to improve the
Spread of Information ........................................................................194
5.4.2 Identifying Appropriate Communication Tools.........................196
5.5 Rural Development and Media Selection..................................197
5.6 Planning and Implementation of a Communication Programme
for Rural Development.....................................................................206
5.6.1 Planning the Follow-up of the Activities...................................209
5.6.2 The Support Budget....................................................................211
5.7 Impacts of Communication by Types of Outcome...................212
6.1 Background of the Project..........................................................213
6.2 My Role as Western Researcher................................................215
6.3 Methodological Overview...........................................................217
6.3.1 Baseline Survey Methodology....................................................218
6.3.2 Field work Methodology ...........................................................219
6.3.3 Training Methodology ..............................................................222
6.3.4 Outcome Evaluation Methodology............................................222
6.3.5 Ethical Considerations..............................................................225
6.4 Limitations of the Study............................................................226
6.5 The Community Media Project at a Glance...........................227
6.5.1 The Department of Journalism & Mass Communication of the
Faculty of Arts of the Lucknow University........................................228
6.5.2 Local NGO Bharosa.................................................................229
6.5.3 Budget.......................................................................................230
6.6.First Phase of the Community Media Project.........................231
6.6.1 Justification for the Selection of the Villages...........................231
6.6.2 Villages Survey.........................................................................233 Barhi Gaghi Village Profile..................................................234 Kumhrava Village Profile.....................................................236
6.6.3 Outcomes of Household Interviews: Socio-economic Features and
Ways of Village Communication prior to the Project......................239 Common Means of Communication prior to the Project...242
Box 1 - What does the term “Community” refer to?.........................243
6.7 Second Phase of the Community Media Project.....................244
6.7.1 Planning of the Community Media Activities...........................244
6.8 The Rural Community Newspaper in Barhi Gaghi...............246
6.8.1 Objectives.................................................................................246
6.8.2 Budget .....................................................................................247
6.8.3 Location of the Rural Community Newspaper.........................247
6.8.4 Local Support and Participation.............................................247 Identification of Information Needs..................................248 Team Building ………………………………………......250 People involved ………………………………………....251
6.8.5 Training for the Community (January 2005- June 2005).......251
6.8.6 Information gathering and transmitting (September 2005 – March
Box 2 - A Day in Barhi Gaghi............................................................253
6.8.7 General Content ......................................................................254
6.8.8 Content of the First Issue ........................................................255
6.8.9 Language .................................................................................256
6.8.10 Distribution.............................................................................256
6.8.11 Technical Infrastructure ........................................................256
6.8.12 Problems encountered............................................................257
6.9 The Rural Community Internet Centre in Kumhrava..........257
6.9.1 Objectives.................................................................................257
6.9.2 Budget......................................................................................258
6.9.3 Location of the Internet Centre...............................................258
6.9.4 Local Support And Participation............................................258 Identification of Information Needs.................................259 Team Building .................................................................261 People involved …………………………………………262
6.9.5 Training for the Community (January 2005- June 2005).......262
6.9.6 Information gathering and transmitting (September 2005 – March
Box 3 - A Day in Kumhrava...........................................................266
6.9.7 Language ..............................................................................266
6.9.8 Technical Infrastructure .......................................................267
Box 4 - Things to consider in launching a Community Internet Centre
6.9.9 Problems encountered............................................................268
6.10 Third Phase of the Community Media Project - Evaluation of
the Community Media Activities..................................................269
6.10.1 Outcomes of the Evaluation of the Community Rural
6.10.2 Outcomes of the Evaluation of the Community Internet
6.10.3 Final Survey...........................................................................278
6.11 Sustainability............................................................................280
6.12 The Relationship between Trust and Communication........281
6.13 Final Considerations................................................................282
Annex 1 - Pehal: the Rural Community Newspaper
Annex 2 - Evaluation Questionnaire for the Audience of the
Community Rural Newspaper (English Version)
Annex 3 - Evaluation Questionnaire for the Audience of the
Community Internet Centre (English Version)
"How can one define India? There is no one language, there is no one
culture. There is no one religion, there is no one way of life. There is
absolutely no way one could draw a line around it and say, 'This is
India' or, 'This is what it means to be Indian.'" (Arundhati Roy 1)
It couldn’t be said better. At first, when you arrive in India, you are hit
by a whirlwind of India’s charm, its people so full of life and
friendliness, the beauty of the bright-eyed children and young people,
the dignity of the women dressed in colorful saris, the impeccably
dressed men in Kurta or more western style jackets, the streets teeming
with rickshaws, bicycles, cars, cows and people. Then, after the first
enthusiasm, you experience a kind of cultural shock.
India lives in both the past and the present. India is a snake with its
head in the 21st Century and it’s tail in the 17th century.
It is a country of contrasts where the “privileged” use luxury,
air-conditioned trains with tinted windows and curtains while the poor
work for a precarious existence, where camels share the roads with
BMWs and women in a full burka walk past teenagers in blue jeans.
India is not a paradise. Poverty remains a harsh fact of life for over
40% of the Indian population: malnourished children, uneducated
women and homes without access to clean water or waste disposal are
too common a sight and one of the most confronting aspects of this
country. Fending off beggars is an integral part of daily life for the
Western traveller and coping with the pleading eyes can be
But India can also be an enchanting, inspiring, thrilling,
confusing, captivating, challenging, confronting and beautifully
kaleidoscopic country.
With more than 1 billion people spread throughout the diverse States,
India hosts a multitude of ethnic assemblages, social standings, castes
and out-castes. The people combined with their deep rooted culture are
the spirit and flavour of this intoxicating cocktail. Indian people are
curious, friendly, and wanting to strike up a conversation at every
1 Arundhati Roy, ''The Cost of Living”, Essay, Modern Library, 1999.
opportunity. The concept of personal space - very dear to our European
upbringing - is virtually unknown here because it is common for locals
to jostle, touch, or even shove as you walk along.
Despite increasing Western influence, India still retains a huge
historical heritage and preserves some of the world’s most beautiful
monuments and temples.
The area where I carried on my PhD research is Uttar Pradesh, the
largest and poorest State of India.
Uttar Pradesh is like a microcosms inside India: it is a
substantial regional society within India, occupying a large part of the
fertile Indo-Gangetic plain, with a population of 162 million,
accounting for 16.4 per cent of the entire country’s population.
It is normally referred to as India’s “political heartland” or “the
rainbow land” where the multi-hued Indian Culture has blossomed
from times immemorial.
Due to its peculiar characteristics and to the fact that it lags
behind other parts of the country in terms of well being and social
progress, Uttar Pradesh is often seen as a case study of development.
It is estimated that 31.15% of Uttar Pradesh’s population is living
below the poverty line and that almost 80% of the poor is concentrated
in the rural areas.
Precisely the rural villages around the capital Lucknow were the
setting of my research: to investigate the role of communication and in
particular to evaluate the impact of a community media project on the
rural development of two villages were the main arguments at the
center of my thesis.
Context and Research Questions
After some introductive chapters, whose function is to provide a
comprehensive framework – both theoretical and practical - of the
current rural development policies and of the media situation in India
and Uttar Pradesh, my dissertation presents the findings of the pilot
project entitled “Enhancing development support to rural masses
through community media activity”, launched in 2005 by the
Department of Mass Communication and Journalism of the Faculty of
Arts of the University of Lucknow and by the local NGO Bharosa with
the financial support of the Delhi University Grants Commission.
The project scope was to involve rural people and farmers from
two villages of the district of Lucknow (namely Kumhrava and Barhi
Gaghi) in a three-year participatory community media project.
In Kumhrava a community rural newspaper was conceived, written and
In Barhi Gaghi a multipurpose community internet centre was
established and informative activities were carried out. Basically two
different media (the “traditional” newspaper and the “innovative”
internet) were used in a participatory way with the aim to achieve an
over-all rural development of the selected areas.
The final goals of the project were to empower underprivileged
rural villagers to use media to research, collect, analyse data, document
and disseminate information to their communities on current issues like
agriculture, education, commerce and governmental schemes. Rural
villagers were supposed to become innovators for the benefit of their
local communities and the improvement of their living conditions.
This study represents an attempt to provide answers to three
main research questions:
1) What defines a meaningful community media practice?
2) Do community media & technology practices contribute to empower
3) Is the community media sector sustainable, effective and viable in
the Indian rural context?
The answers to these questions were searched by combining theoretical
assumptions – mainly derived from reports and books - with extensive
research on the field which included face-to-face interviews,
questionnaire-based analysis on people’ awareness and response to
media use and training.
The management of the project was under the supervision of the
staff of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism (who
was responsible for the ex-ante baseline survey, the development of
contextually relevant community media applications, the training of
local villagers and the ex post evaluation) and the local NGO Bharosa
(who was responsible of some activities on the field).
The two initiatives were carried on simultaneously therefore the
planning and the coordination of the different activities, as well as the
evaluation, required extensive preparation, accurate care and welltimed actions.
Community media projects like this one have been rarely carried out in
India because the country has no proper community media tradition:
therefore the development of the project has been a challenge for the all
stakeholders involved.
As far as my role as researcher was concerned, my work
consisted in following - and partially organizing - the different phases
of the project, mainly the training of local people and the elaboration of
the evaluation methodology.
I personally created the questionnaire which was distributed to the
villagers at the end of the activities and helped the staff to elaborate an
analyses of the project outcomes. I kept field notes during all my visits
to the rural villages.
Data sources and Methodology
In order to draw upon a comprehensive range of information, the study
makes use of a variety of resources and methods. Preliminary data –
those contained principally in the first chapters - have been gathered
from census data, local land records, reports and books, government’s
sites, and newspapers. Original data have instead been gathered and
produced during the project, using different methodologies.
Preliminary data
- Census data
Census data provide useful information at the village level and, more
generally, about the land and population in India and its States. Census
data were used to categorise the research villages within the rural-tourban continuum on the basis of land use and occupational
characteristics. The Indian census takes place every 10 years. The
census figures mostly used in this study are from 1991 and 2001, and
occasionally from 1981.
However, to rely exclusively on the census was not enough. Census
data on land use in particular can be inaccurate and confusing and they
might contains errors in enumeration as well as inconsistencies in the
application of definitions of variables.
- Local land records
Data on crop patterns and on use and ownership of land at the village
level were used to supplement the village description and to sketch the
- Reports and books
Some background information about rural development in India were
derived from books and governmental publications, as they provide a
historical perspective. Reports from the World Bank, UNDP, FAO and
UNESCO have been vastly used, since they are updated and contain
important data and investigations. PhD and MA theses available in
Delhi have also been used in combination with several books accessible
only Lucknow’s libraries because written by local researchers. These
sources have been used to depict the local situations and to describe the
villages and surrounding areas.
- Governmental sites
They have been accessed in order to acquire official data (even though
some of the documents reported in the sites were in Hindi). The most
used ones were the sites of the Planning Commission of India, of the
Ministry of Rural Development and of the Ministry of Information and
- Newspapers
Articles from various newspapers (above all from the Times of India)
have been collected throughout the research period. This was a way to
keep track of important events, policy measures, conflicts,
environmental issues, and political developments.
Unfortunately – up to now (February 2008) - there is very little
information available in English on community media practice in India
and particularly in Uttar Pradesh.
Although quite a number of media projects for development have been
launched, some of them lack the evaluation part or provide little
information on the links between media and the social determinants of
rural development, like involvement, inclusion and participation.
The gathering and the critical selection of data have therefore been
complex and time extensive.
Original data
They have been collected through different methodologies which
combined qualitative and quantitative data:
- A Baseline Survey Methodology
A baseline survey was employed in order to have a comprehensive
picture of the socio-economic conditions of the two villages.
Quantitative data (number of inhabitants, of households, of
infrastructures) were gathered together with qualitative data (for
example the quality of current information at disposal of rural villagers
to meet their needs).
Part of the quantitative data were collected through the Census of India
2001 and part through a simplified version of the “village development
index” (VDEVELOP).
100 household surveys (50 in Barhi Gaghi and 50 in Kumhrava) were
also carried out in order to understand household composition, income,
religion, language, media use and information sources of the local
- A Field work Methodology
During the field work a qualitative ethnographic action research
approach was used.
Participant observation, the keeping of fieldnotes, face-to-face
interviews and group discussions were central aspects of this method.
Supplemented by questionnaire surveys, content analysis and
information sharing exercises, we selected, mixed and matched the
approaches depending on the research needs which in turn was
dependent on the needs of the project and its development.
- A Training Methodology
During the training period a kind of social constructivism approach was
used. Learning was viewed as a social process occurring through
interaction and reflection with the others.
- An Evaluation Methodology
The evaluation was carried out by the staff on free voluntary base and I
personally gave my contribution by elaborating and writing the
questionnaire that was distributed to the villagers at the end of the
project. The questionnaire implied multiple choice answers and was
divided in three main sections (the first one regarding content issues,
the second one regarding the general level of satisfaction of the users
and the third one regarding benefits and negative aspects of receving
more information).
Both the primary and the original data are meant to provide an
overview of the interdisciplinary nature of this research; they are all
linked to one another with the aim to contextualize and explain the
participatory approach to community media used in the project.
Structure of the thesis
This thesis consists of an introduction, six chapters and a conclusion.
It is basically made up of two parts: the first four chapters introduce
India, its rural development policies, the state of communication and
Uttar Pradesh. The last two chapters provide a theoretical framework of
communication for rural development and present the community
media project I followed.
In details:
The current section introduces the topic of the dissertation,
formulates the research questions, identifies the most important data
sources and outlines the methodologies applied to the study.
Chapter 1 presents a preamble on development in India and
focuses on the country’s economic high growth, despite low
development. The chapter intends to investigate whether
communication, connectivity and participation might provide a
response to the Indian developmental challenges.
Chapter 2 reviews the current rural development policies in
India: after investigating the significance of rurality in India and
providing a glimpse into Indian villages, the chapter identifies the
causes for backwardness of rural areas (among which the lack of
information is one of the principal ones) and reports about
Governmental and NGOs rural initiatives for poverty alleviation.
Chapter 3 provides a framework of the state of the art of
communication in rural India. It focuses on the differences between use
and penetration of mass media in urban and rural India and analyses the
possible impact of community media on local development.
Chapter 4 presents Uttar Pradesh, the State where the project
was launched and completed.
An analysis of the social indicators and of the macro-economic trends,
as well as of the state of agriculture and rural development is portrayed.
The focus is on U.P. Rural Development Institutions, projects and
policies and on the role that communication plays in rural development
in this State.
Chapter 5 provides a theoretical framework on communication
for development: the assumptions are based on FAO’s publications:
some criteria for media selection and for the planning of
communication activities are suggested. The chapter constitutes the
theoretical background at the base of the community media described
in the following chapter.
Chapter 6 presents the findings of the pilot project entitled
“Enhancing development support to rural masses through community
media activity”, launched in 2005 by the Department of Mass
Communication and Journalism of the Faculty of Arts of the University
of Lucknow and by the local NGO Bharosa. The chapter illustrates my
role in the project, the methodologies used, the different phases,
outcomes and limitations of the project.
A conclusion, which attempts to summarise the
findings of the study and reflect on the three research
questions, constitutes the last part of the thesis.
Glossary of Terms
Bahujan Samaj Party Political party of Mayawati Kumari, the Chief
Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Bharat Nirman Governmental plan for action in rural infrastructure
Bharatiya Janata Party Indian Popular Party, which is a major centreright Indian political party
Bigha A measure of land equivalent to two thirds of an acre
Brahmin The highest caste group, landowners in the region (priests)
Casbah A road-side village or peri-urban settlement
Chamar Traditionally leather workers and thus considered polluting,
classified as SC
Charvah An attached labourer who looks after cattle
Crore A unit in the Indian numbering system, equal to 100 lakh or 10
Dalit The political term for a member of a SC, formerly known as
‘untouchable’ or ‘harijan’
Dharkar A low caste group (basket weavers)
Doordarshan The national television network
Garibi Hatao Rural development in Hindi
Gram Panchayat The lowest tier of the Panchayat
Gram Panchayat Village council of elected representatives
Gram Pradhan Elected representative of a panchayat (a village and its
surrounding land)
Gram Sevak Key government official from the block development
Harijan Gandhi’s term for the ‘untouchable’ castes or dalits, also the
local term used in Koraon
Indira Awaas Yojana Governmental programme which aims at helping
rural people below poverty-line belonging to SCs/STs
Jajmani A caste-based system of exchange whereby landlords and
higher caste villagers pay service
Jatav A sub-caste within Dalits
Kharanjas Brick roads
Kharif The main agricultural season (June–Nov) during which paddy is
Kisani The name given to the regular payments made between clients
and patrons
Lacs (or Lakh) An Indian term for the number 100,000
Mandi A government mandated market-yard where farmers sell their
Meths Informal, village-based labour gang leaders
Munadi Traditional drum beaten to draw people’s attention to any
announcement to the village
Nyaya Panchayat System of dispute resolution at village level
Panchayat Samiti Block Advisory Committee (in tribal areas)
Panchayat The third (local) tier of government, strengthened through
the 73rd Constitutional
Patel A middle-high caste group, landowners in the region
Patwari Government official responsible for land records
Pradhaan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana Governmental programme
which aims to provide connectivity to all unconnected habitations with
a population of more than 1000
Pukka Road Brick roads
Rojgar Yojana Scheme for the educated unemployed youth
Rupee (Rs.) Official Indian currency. 1 Rs. is equal to 0,0163013 euro
Samajwadi Party Socialist Party which describes itself as a democratic
socialist and anti-English language party
Sarpanch Head of a Panchayat, Village Chief
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan School education programme
Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana which aims at establishing a
large number of micro-enterprises in the rural areas
Swarnajayanti Grameen Swarojgar Yojana Governmental programme
which is designed to provide assistance to Self Help Groups
Tehsil The smallest administrative unit of the government for law and
revenue collection
Tola Hamlet
Tripura Panchayat Election of office bearers
Vidhan Parishad The Upper House of the Parliament in U.P.
Vidhan Sabha The Lower House of the Parliament in U.P.
Yadav One of several lower-middle class groups who migrated from
central Bihar in 1970s
Zaminder Landlord contracted to raise tax (derived from ‘tenants’ or
peasants) for the British.
Zilla Parishad The highest tier of the Panchayat
“...Development is a process that should not divide but unite. I am confident that
India will become a developed nation by 2020. Come, let us strive together to turn
this resolve into reality."
Dr Manmohan Singh, Indian Prime Minister
1.1 India 2008: High Growth, Low Development
“…India is a poor country that is rapidly becoming wealthier”.
These words pronounced by India’s Prime Minister Singh 2 summarise
the recent shift of the country towards a dynamism, rarely associated
with India in the past.
Over the last two decades, India has moved away from its former
dirigiste model (where the State was the principal driver of the
economy and the economy itself was closed to the rest of the world)
and has become a market-based system.
Its economy is experiencing at moment an average annual
growth rate of around 6% per annum which is quite impressive if
compared to the performance of Indian economy during the last thirty
years when the average growth logged 3.5% per annum.
By 2012 it is expected to generate 70 million new jobs, reduce
unemployment to less than 5%, lower poverty by 10%, and promote an
inclusive growth 3.
2 India’s fourteenth Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh is rightly acclaimed as a thinker and
a scholar. The sentence which I reported was pronounced by him in May 2006 during a meeting
with President George Bush in New Delhi.
3 Prevision reported in the Governmental Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012).
India’s ascending trajectory is marked by rising foreign exchange
reserves, reduced inflation rates, global recognition of technological
competence, energy of 540 million youth, umbilical connectivities of
20 million people of Indian origin abroad, and the interest shown by
developed countries to invest in Indian engineers and scientists, all this
driving the Indian economy to become one of the largest in the world.
Despite these impressive achievements and the consistent
efforts by the State to make the centralized planning more people
oriented and people centric, the growth pattern is not uniform and the
meaning of “development” is not the same for all sections of Indian
Development through large-scale industrialization, urbanization and
modernization, designed to alleviate poverty and debt seems to have
ironically helped elite and urban sections of India with residual impact
on rural populations.
Economic plans adopted to propel India’s development in industry and
agriculture have been found increasingly capital, technology and
energy intensive, environmentally exacting and positively assisting
capitalist merchants, industrialists, rich farmers and the technical and
administrative bureaucracy.
If on one hand development actions have exponentially
increased India’s industrial production, on the other they have
generated forms of poverty through devastating the livelihood base of a
large number of subsistence communities.
350 million people 4 - nearly 35% of the country’s population - continue
to live in poverty.
For them development has remained unattainable.
In 2008, almost sixty-one years after independence, people continue to
struggle within the violence of deprivation and powerlessness,
burdened by the dilemmas of everyday existence.
It is not a case if India is ranked ranks 128 out of 177 countries in the
last Human Development Index released by the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) in 2007.
This index looks beyond GDP to a broader definition of well-being and
seeks to capture the three dimensions of human development: quality of
life (measured by life expectancy at birth), education (measured by
4 www.economywatch.com/indianeconomy/poverty-in-india.html
adult literacy and enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary
education) and GDP per capita measured in U.S. dollars at Purchasing
Power Parity (PPP) 5..
While there has been progress – especially in the eradication of some
endemic diseases – India’s low score on human development indicators
is alarming. The infant mortality rate is 57 deaths per one thousand live
births; the maternal mortality rate is 301 per one hundred thousand live
births; life expectancy at birth for Indians is between 60 and 61 years,
adult literacy is as low as 57.2% and the GDP per capita is $3,100.
Both in terms of per capita incomes and socio-economic
markers, India is characterized by a strong regional disparity which has
gone up since the 1960s.
Geographically, the forward group of States (Andhra Pradesh,
Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil
Nadu) fall in the Western and Southern parts of the country, account for
40.4% of the population of the country and are contiguous except for
Punjab and Haryana which are separated by Rajasthan from the rest of
the States in this group.
The group of backward States (Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa,
Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) are in the Eastern and
Northern parts of the country, account for as much as 55.17% of the
population of the country and are geographically contiguous.
Table 1 below presents the map of the Poverty Headcount Index of
India –which reports the proportion of the population with a standard
of living below the poverty line - and the trend in percentage share of
poor in the two groups of States individually and collectively.
5Each year since 1990, the Human Development Report (HDR) of the UNDP publishes the
Human Development Index (HDI).
Table 1: An overview of poverty in India according to States
Forward Group
Andhra Pradesh
Tamil Nadu
Total for forward States
Backward Group
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
Total for Backward States
Source: Planning Commission, Govt of India and “Poverty in India. A Regional Perspective”,
World Bank Working Paper 2003
The table indicates that the share of the poor in the seven backward
States – except West Bengal 6 - has gone up significantly. Now they
account for about 70% of the country’s poor.
Spatial disparity in development has encouraged migration toward
developed states and regions and has contributed to the widening of the
gap between urban and rural India.
Therefore, despite its continuous progress, India is challenged.
1.2 The Developmental Challenge of Rural India
The main Indian developmental challenges concern not only the human
development front, but also education, health care, the removal of
barriers to trade and investment 7, and, in particular, the urban-rural
Data collected by the National Sample Survey Organisation8
(NSSO) show that the average per capita expenditure in rural India
during 2000-01 amounted to Rs.499.90, nearly the half of the
corresponding figure of Rs.914.57 for an urban dweller.
In 2003 rural literacy rate was 49.21% while urban literacy rate was
70.06%; life expectancy at birth in rural areas was 58 years, while in
urban India it was 64.9 years.
Nowadays only 30.54% of rural households have electricity, compared
to 75.78% of the urban households and only 18.7% of the rural people
have access to piped water while 70.1% of urban dwellers have access.
The bias of the state in favour of urban areas is also evident from the
per capita expenditure on basic services. According to the estimate of
the Eleventh Finance Commission, per capita expenditure on basic
services in rural areas during 2001-2002 was Rs.24, but in urban areas
it was Rs.49. Rural India contributes 27% to the GDP, but gets back
only 5%, which is less than one-fifth of its contribution.
6 West Bengal’s exceptional experience was due to the fast growth in agricultural production
and the associated rural prosperity.
7 This last aspect is particularly challenging, as India has a high fiscal deficit, currently around
11 percent of GDP, constraining any new spending. India's new leaders will need to make some
difficult decisions about how to reduce the cost burden of the government and free up the
necessary funds for its social agenda.
8 National Sample Survey Organisation Report, 1998, 5th round.
Abusalef Shariff 9and others, in an article in the Economic and
Political Weekly 10 have shown that while the share of expenditure on
urban poverty alleviation programmes in the total budgetary allocation
by the Central government declined from 1% to 0.8% during the period
between 1990-91 and 2000-01, the per capita expenditure for urban
poor increased from Rs.11 to Rs.28 during the same period. But for the
rural poor, the per capita expenditure it is just one-eighth of this.
While it is almost impossible to bring rural-urban disparity to an
end, it is possible to reduce the disparity to a tolerable level. It may be
recalled that Gandhi emphasised on rural growth and pleaded for
village swaraj (self-government). He wanted the engine of India's
development to start rolling down from the villages.
Apart from taking steps to increase human development facilities in the
villages, such as health and education, and develop appropriate
infrastructure such as roads and marketing facilities, there is the need
for generating employment and improving the living conditions of the
Since rural development essentially encompasses a multidisciplinary approach, there should be an in-built mechanism to involve
people's representation in the conceptualization, planning, and
management of rural development programmes.
It seems that the real developmental challenge in India is about finding
the right balance between the imperatives of industrial development
and the compelling need to help the rural sector realize its own
potential by using the gains of modern science and technology. India
stands at a turning point and has the potential to bring rural areas into
the mainstream of economic development.
1.3 Connectivity, Communication, Participation: a Response to
When I first confronted myself with the causes of the rural
backwardness - at the preliminary stage of this PhD thesis - I
9 Abusalef Shariff is the principal economist and head of the Human Development Programme
Area in India.
10 “Liberalisation with a human face”, Economic and Political Weekly, Delhi, March 1, 2002.
discovered that the lack of connectivity - intended in its broader sense has been a major factor in perpetuating economic and social divides in
the past.
I started therefore my research from the assumption that if it is true that
there are numerous opportunities in the rural areas, then connectivity
and improved communication might multiply them.
The research on the field gave me further evidence of this first
hypothesis. From the general baseline survey conducted in the villages
previous to the launch of the project, it emerged that people of the rural
areas lack both generic and specific information on matters relating to
farm operations, markets, governmental schemes, health, education.
In a general sense it could be affirmed that villages lack
connectivity, which instead might provide economic opportunities to all
segments of people in urgent need. When I use the term “connectivity”
I refer to four connectivities in particular:
- physical connectivity (roads and transport);
- electronic connectivity (telecom and high bandwidth fiber optic
- knowledge connectivity (education and training);
- economic connectivity (micro-credit and marketing of products).
Villagers have basic information needs but often the absence of
connectivity prevents them from being informed about the most
elemental data.
But if the situation is as such, is the simple provision of
communication, technology and infrastructures enough to achieve a
paradigm shift and to transform poor and unskilled rural workers into
empowered people, endowed with the possibility to decide what is best
for them?
With such a question in my mind, I followed and organized the
activities of the project and tried to focus on “participation” and its
companion concepts of “sustainability” and “empowerment”, thinking
to find a proper answer in their application. In fact, as White (1996)
writes, “no respectable project can be funded without provision for
participation because participation is a process by which people,
especially disadvantaged people, influence decisions that affect them”.
However, my general feeling was that connectivity, communication,
empowerment, sustainability and participation were still not enough to
achieve rural development. Luckily, I found the answer to my many
questions at the end of the project.
My reflections and findings are exposed in the conclusion.
"...India is poor because the villages of India are poor. India will be rich if the
villages of India are rich.”
Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India
2.1 What is Rural India?
The concept of rurality is the subject of long-standing debate and
controversy: until now there is not one universally accepted definition
of "rural”. To some, "rural" is a subjective state of mind and to others it
is an objective quantitative measure.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD), in an attempt to define rurality, has identified three main
- population density and the size of human settlements (typically rural
areas have low population density and small, scattered human
- land use and the predominance of agriculture and forestry (limited
area covered by buildings);
- “traditional” social structures and community identity and heritage
In the case of India the most suitable definition is the one given by
Omkar Goswami. 11 He writes that:
"Rural India is a huge, heterogeneous entity that many of us know little
of. Consequently, we often think it as a vast tract of woefully poor
people, who labour under the scorching sun with rude ploughs and
11 Omkar Goswami is consultant to the World Bank, the IMF, the Asian Development Bank
and the OECD and the founder of CERG Advisory that specialises in corporate consulting and
economic advisory services.
emaciated bullocks. But rural India includes hundreds of millions of
people, living very different lives”.
One in 10 people on earth live in rural India. 74.27 % of India’s
population lives in rural India, while 25.73 % lives in urban India 12.
According to the Census of 2001, in India there are 28 States, 7 Union
Territories, 593 districts, 384 urban agglomerations, 5161 towns, 27
million-plus cities and 35 million-plus urban agglomerations and
638,365 villages, some of which are uninhabited.
Table 1: Administrative divisions of India
Census Data 2001 >> India At a Glance >> Administrative Divisions
No. of States
No. of Union Territories
No. of Districts
No. of Sub-districts
No. of CD Blocks
No. of Urban Agglomerations / Towns
No. of Urban Agglomerations
No. of Towns
No. of Inhabited Villages
No. of Uninhabited Villages
The Census of India 2001 has defined a village as:
“A cluster of houses with a local name. It may be made up of the chief
area of habitation and the surrounding area falling within certain
demarcated boundaries. Hamlets or scattered farm houses within such
areas are assigned to definite villages”.
The Indian village may be in general constituted by a group of
independent holdings, or it may be in one sense a unit, a share held by
12 Census of India 2001.
the resident owners who form the 'village community.' Or again it may
be a group of lands which has been almost accidentally formed, the real
area of 'collective ownership' (as far as the term is applicable) being
something much larger than a village.
In any case, the constitution may differ.
States with more than 40,000 villages are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The
average population in an Indian village is 1,161 and 91,555 villages
have population sizes less than 200.
Rural villages provide 27% of Indian GDP; they are dependent
on agriculture for much of their sustenance, even though agriculture is
growing at negligible rate of around 3.5% 13. Drought is a common
occurrence across much of India. As a result, villagers, for the most
part, remain a poor lot - the per capita income of India’s villages is
perhaps no more than Rs 12-18,000 (202,346- 303,519 euro) per
annum, as compared to the national average of Rs 25,000 (421,554
euro 14).
Poor living conditions and absence of economic opportunities
today are the main problems in the villages. Lack of basic facilities like
electricity, drinking water, telephone, roads, good schools and colleges
demonstrate that opportunities available to villagers are not
dramatically different from what they were many years ago. This is
causing migrant streams of petty farmers and unskilled labour from
rural areas to large cities, giving birth to the phenomenon of the
“megalopolitisation” of India. 15
Cities like Mumbai, Madras, Delhi and Ahmedabad are
coalescing to form a vast urban region wherein boundaries of
individual cities overlap each other.
Rapid urbanisation has led to increased stress on the urban system and
at the same time the migration of people from rural areas is changing
the very nature of India. Less visible than the heated consumerism or
western habits changing India, the consequences may be more
profound and, for a country weaned on the virtues of village life, more
13 Census of India 2001.
14 1 INR = 0,0168622 EUR - 1 EUR = 59,3044 INR
15 Misra, R.P, “Million Cities of India” (Vol. 2) New Delhi, Sustainable Development
Foundation, 1998.
There is an urgent need to workout policies and strategies to stop
migration from villages by involving various stakeholders from
Government, NGOs, village councils and civil society groups.
Studies have shown that the rural villages with better
infrastructure support of transport/roads, education, health and
communication have a low migration rate.
If India as a nation has to progress, there is little doubt that India’s
villages need to be empowered by providing services and
infrastructures while preserving, at the same time, the moral values, the
cultural forms and the ground roots that characterize Indian rural areas.
2.2 The Village Dimension in India
Viewed from a distance, an Indian village may appear deceptively
simple: a cluster of mud-plastered walls shaded by a few trees, set
among a stretch of green fields, with a few people slowly coming or
going, oxcarts creaking, cattle lowing, and birds singing - all present an
image of harmonious simplicity. Indian city dwellers often refer
nostalgically to "simple village life."
Social scientists of the past wrote of Indian villages as virtually selfsufficient communities with few ties to the outside world.
In actuality, Indian village life is far from simple.
Each village is connected through a variety of crucial horizontal
linkages with other villages and with urban areas both near and far.
Most villages are characterized by a multiplicity of economic, caste,
kinship, occupational, and even religious groups linked vertically
within each settlement.
Factionalism is a typical feature of village politics. In one of the
first of the modern anthropological studies of Indian village life,
anthropologist Oscar Lewis called this complexity "rural
Throughout most of India, village dwellings are built very close
to one another in a nucleated settlement, with small lanes for passage of
people and sometimes carts. Village fields surround the settlement and
are generally within easy walking distance. In hilly tracts of Central,
Eastern, and far Northern India, dwellings are more spread out,
reflecting the nature of the topography. In the wet states of West
Bengal and Kerala, houses are more dispersed; in some parts of Kerala,
they are constructed in continuous lines, with divisions between
villages not obvious to visitors.
In Northern and Central India, neighbourhood boundaries can
be vague.
The houses of Dalits (“the untouchables”) are generally located in
separate neighbourhoods or on the outskirts of the nucleated settlement,
but there are seldom distinct Dalit hamlets. By contrast, in the south,
where socioeconomic contrasts and caste pollution observances tend to
be stronger than in the north, Brahman homes may be set apart from
those of non-Brahmans, and Dalit hamlets are set at a little distance
from the homes of other castes.
The number of castes resident in a single village can vary
widely, from one to more than forty. Typically, a village is dominated
by one or a very few castes that essentially control the village land and
on whose patronage members of weaker groups must rely. In the
village of about 1,100 population near Delhi studied by Lewis in the
1950s, the Jat caste (the largest cultivating caste in north-western India)
comprised 60 % of the residents and owned all of the village land,
including the house sites.
In many areas of the south, Brahmans are major landowners, along with
some other relatively high-ranking castes. Generally, land, prosperity,
and power go together.
In some regions, landowners refrain from using plows
themselves but hire tenant farmers and labourers to do this work. In
other regions, landowners till the soil with the aid of labourers, usually
resident in the same village. Fellow villagers typically include
representatives of various service and artisan castes to supply the needs
of the villagers - priests, carpenters, blacksmiths, barbers, weavers,
potters, oil pressers, leatherworkers, sweepers, water bearers, toddytapers, and so on. Artisanry in pottery, wood, cloth, metal, and leather,
although diminishing, continues in many contemporary Indian villages
as it did in centuries past. Village religious observances and weddings
are occasions for members of various castes to provide customary ritual
goods and services in order for the events to proceed according to
proper tradition.
Aside from caste-associated occupations, villages often include
people who practice non-traditional occupations. For example,
Brahmans or Thakurs may be shopkeepers, teachers, truckers, or clerks,
in addition to their caste-associated occupations of priest and farmer. In
villages near urban areas, an increasing number of people commute to
the cities to take up jobs, and many migrate. Some migrants leave their
families in the village and go to the cities to work for months at a time.
Many people from Kerala, as well as other regions, have temporarily
migrated to the Persian Gulf states for employment and send
remittances back to their village families, to which they will eventually
At slack seasons, village life can appear to be sleepy, but
usually villages are humming with activity. The work ethic is strong,
with little time out for relaxation, except for numerous divinely
sanctioned festivals and rite-of-passage celebrations. Residents are
quick to judge each other, and improper work or social habits receive
strong criticism. Villagers feel a sense of village pride and honour, and
the reputation of a village depends upon the behaviour of all of its
2.2.1 The Village Community
Villagers manifest a deep loyalty to their village, identifying
themselves to strangers as residents of a particular village, harking back
to family residence in the village that typically extends into the distant
past. A family rooted in a particular village does not easily move to
another, and even people who have lived in a city for a generation or
two refer to their ancestral village as "our village."
Villagers share use of common village facilities - the village
pond (known in India as a tank), grazing grounds, temples and shrines,
cremation grounds, schools, sitting spaces under large shade trees,
wells, and wastelands. Perhaps equally important, fellow villagers share
knowledge of their common origin and of each other's secrets, often
going back generations. Interdependence in rural life provides a sense
of unity among residents of a village.
A great many observances emphasize village unity.
Typically, each village recognizes a deity as village protector,
and villagers unite in regular worship of this deity, considered essential
to village prosperity. They may cooperate in constructing temples and
shrines important to the village as a whole. Hindu festivals such as
Holi, Dipavali (Diwali), and Durga Puja bring villagers together.
People of all castes within a village address each other by kinship
terms, reflecting the fictive kinship relationships recognized within
each settlement.
In the North, where village exogamy is important, the concept
of a village as a significant unit is clear. When the all-male groom's
party arrives from another village, residents of the bride's village in
North India treat the visitors with the appropriate behaviour due to
them as bride-takers - men greet them with ostentatious respect, while
women cover their faces and sing bawdy songs at them.
A woman born in a village is known as a daughter of the village while
an in-married bride is considered a daughter-in-law of the village. In
her conjugal home in North India, a bride is often known by the name
of her natal village; for example, Sanchiwali (woman from Sanchi). A
man who chooses to live in his wife's natal village - usually for reasons
of land inheritance - is known by the name of his birth village, such as
Sankheriwala (man from Sankheri).
The solidarity of a village is always riven by conflicts, rivalries,
and factionalism. Villagers commonly view gains as possible only at
the expense of neighbours. Further, the increased involvement of
villagers with the wider economic and political world outside the
village via travel, work, education, and television, the expanding
government influence in rural areas and the increased pressure on land
and resources as village populations grow seem to have resulted in
increased factionalism and competitiveness in many parts of rural
2.2.2 Caste and Class in Rural India
Within Indian culture, whether in the North or the South, Hindu or
Muslim, urban or village, virtually all things, people, and groups of
people are ranked according to various essential qualities. Although
India is a political democracy, in daily life there is little advocacy of or
adherence to notions of equality.
Caste-based interaction have occurred for centuries and still continue to
do so, more in the countryside than in urban settings and more in the
realms of kinship and marriage than in less personal interactions.
Castes are ranked, named, endogamous (in-marrying) groups,
membership in which is achieved by birth. There are thousands of
castes and subcastes in India; each caste is part of a locally based
system of interdependence with other groups, involving occupational
specialization, and is linked in complex ways with networks that stretch
across regions and throughout the nation.
Many castes are traditionally associated with an occupation,
such as high-ranking Brahmans; middle-ranking farmer and artisan
groups, such as potters, barbers, and carpenters; and very low-ranking
"untouchable" leatherworkers, butchers, launderers, and latrine
cleaners. There is some correlation between ritual rank on the caste
hierarchy and economic prosperity. Members of higher-ranking castes
tend, on the whole, to be more prosperous than members of lowerranking castes. Many lower-caste people live in conditions of great
poverty and social disadvantage.
According to the Rig Veda, sacred texts that date back to oral
traditions of more than 3,000 years ago, progenitors of the four ranked
varna groups sprang from various parts of the body of the primordial
man, which Brahma created from clay. Each group had a function in
sustaining the life of society - the social body. Brahmans, or priests,
were created from the mouth. They were to provide for the intellectual
and spiritual needs of the community. Kshatriyas, warriors and rulers,
were derived from the arms. Their role was to rule and to protect
others. Vaishyas - landowners and merchants - sprang from the thighs,
and were entrusted with the care of commerce and agriculture. Shudras-artisans and servants - came from the feet. Their task was to perform
all manual labour.
Later conceptualized was a fifth category, "Untouchable"
menials, relegated to carrying out very menial and polluting work
related to bodily decay and dirt.
Since 1935 "Untouchables" have been known as Scheduled Castes,
referring to their listing on government rosters, or schedules. They are
also often called by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi's term
Harijans, or "Children of God." Although the term Untouchable
appears in literature produced by these low-ranking castes, in the
1990s, many politically conscious members of these groups prefer to
refer to themselves as Dalit, a Hindi word meaning oppressed or
downtrodden. According to the 2001 census, there are 138 million
Scheduled Caste members in India, approximately 16% of the total
90 % of Dalits lives in rural areas and more than 50 % of them work as
landless agricultural laborers.
State and national governments have attempted to secure more just
distribution of land by creating land ceilings and abolishing absentee
landlordism, but evasive tactics by landowners have successfully
prevented more than minimal redistribution of land to tenant farmers
and labourers.
In Indian villages, caste and class affiliations overlap.
According to anthropologist Miriam Sharma, "…Large landholders
who employ hired labour are overwhelmingly from the upper castes,
while the agricultural workers themselves come from the ranks of the
lowest--predominantly Untouchable--castes. 16"
She also points out that household-labour-using proprietors come from
the ranks of the middle agricultural castes. Distribution of other
resources and access to political control follow the same pattern of
caste-cum-class distinctions.
Despite modernization, the caste system continues to operate, but
changes are occurring.
The jajman system (consisting in the performance of various
tasks from members of low castes for their patrons) is slowly
disappearing. The growth of urbanization (an estimated 30 % of the
population now lives in cities) is having a far-reaching effect on caste
practices, not only in cities but in villages: restrictions on interactions
with other castes are becoming more relaxed and access to employment
often occurs through intra-caste connections. Several growing Hindu
sects draw members from many castes and regions, and communication
between cities and villages is expanding dramatically.
As new occupations open up in urban areas, the correlation of caste
with occupation is declining.
16 Sharma M., “Anthropology and Colonialism in Asia and Oceania”, The Journal of Asian
Studies, Vol. 59, No. 2, May, 2000.
BOX 1 - Untouchability in rural India
Despite many strong social, cultural and political movements aimed at improving the
status of dalits, and several laws to protect their rights, untouchability is widely
prevalent in rural India, in several clearly visible and subtle ways.
A recent study conducted by ActionAid 17 in 2006, in 565 villages of 11 States (Punjab,
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra,
Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu), shows that:
In 73% of the villages, dalits cannot enter non-dalit homes.
In 70% of the villages, dalits cannot eat with non-dalits.
In 64% of the villages, dalits cannot enter common temples.
In 53% of the villages, dalit women suffer ill-treatment at the hands of non-dalit
The study also found that in 37% of villages, dalits were denied wage employment in
agriculture; in around 25% of villages, they received lower wages than non-dalit
workers. Dalit workers were excluded from housing construction in around a third of
the villages; and in 46% of the villages they were not allowed to sell to milk
cooperatives. In 32% of the villages they were denied access to irrigation facilities; in
nearly 21% of villages they were denied access to common property resources.
Untouchability is no longer a major political issue. While atrocities against dalits are
highlighted in the media and taken up by political parties, everyday discrimination
against dalits is often simply accepted as an aspect of Indian reality that will not
change easily or soon.
17 “Untouchability in Rural India”, ActionAid Report, Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2006.
2.2.3 Panchayati Raj: Village Local Government
Traditionally, villages often recognize a headman and listen with
respect to the decisions of the Panchayat , an ancient form of local
government composed of important men - five (panch) elders - from
the village's major castes, who have the power to levy fines and exclude
transgressors from village social life.
Village Panchayats have a long history in India. They represent
a system of governance prevalent in ancient India. Gandhiji had aptly
remarked that independence must begin at the bottom: every village
ought to be a republic or panchayat with the authority and resources to
realize the potential for economic and social development of the
Gandhiji's views found articulation in Article 40 of the Constitution. It
enjoins that `the States shall take steps to organize village panchayats
with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to
function as units of self-government’.
However, it is not until 1992, with the 73rd Constitutional
Amendment Act, 1992 that Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are
conferred Constitutional status.
The Constitution provides for devolution of powers and responsibilities
upon panchayats at appropriate levels and envisages the establishment
of a democratic decentralized development process through people's
participation in decision-making, implementation and delivery.
Panchayati Raj Act underlines the village self-governance, where the
people in the form of an organisation think, decide and act for their
collective interest. The self-reliance means that every village must
produce according to its capacity and try to increase its capacity, which
can be achieved in following ways:
- by identifying economic and human resources of the Panchayat area,
- by estimating the capacity of these resource,
- by making decision for utilizing these resources,
- by formulating and implementing plans,
In present-day, States have initiated action to devolve
administrative and financial powers and resources to PRIs to enable
them to discharge their Constitutional role. It is expected that once the
process of devolution is effectively operationalised, resources from the
Central and State Governments meant for programmes falling within
the jurisdiction of the PRIs would directly get allocated to them.
It is however observed that a number of Ministries of Central
Government have not taken – so far- any concrete steps to integrate
PRIs in their strategy of planning and implementation of various
programmes, which essentially fall in their jurisdiction. At best the
Ministries issue general directions for involvement of panchayats in
their programmes without suggesting concrete modalities or
institutional arrangements with specified roles for them consistent with
their jurisdictional status.
2.3 Land Tenure and Land Reform
India is a land of small farms; about 19 % fell in the one-to-two hectare
range, 16 % in the two-to-four hectare range, and 11 % in the four-toten hectare range. Only 4 % of the working farms encompassed ten or
more hectares. 18Factors influencing this range include soils,
topography, rainfall, rural population density, and thoroughness of land
redistribution programs.
Many factors - historical, political, economic, and demographic
- have affected the development of the prevailing land-tenure status.
Independent India inherited a structure of landholding that was
characterized by heavy concentration of cultivable areas in the hands of
relatively large absentee landowners (zamindars), by the excessive
fragmentation of small landholdings and by the lack of any generalized
system of documentary evidence of landownership or tenancy.
From one generation to the next, there was a tendency for an
original family holding to be progressively subdivided; this
phenomenon resulted in many landholdings that were too small to
provide a livelihood for a family. Borrowing money against land was
almost inevitable and frequently resulted in the loss of land to a local
moneylender or large landowner, further widening the gap between
large and small landholders. Moreover, inasmuch as landowners and
moneylenders tended to belong to higher castes and petty owners and
18 Besley T. and Burgess R., “Land reform, poverty reduction and growth: evidence from
India”, Working Paper, London School of Economics, 1998.
tenants to lower castes, land tenure had strong social as well as
economic impact
By the early 1970s, after extensive legislation, large absentee
landowners had, for all practical purposes, been eliminated; their rights
had been acquired by the state in exchange for compensation in cash
and government bonds. More than 20 million former zamindar-system
tenants had acquired occupancy rights to the land they tilled.
Whereas previously the landlord collected rent from his tenants and
passed on a portion of it as land revenue to the government, starting in
the early 1970s, the state collected the rent directly from cultivators
who, in effect, had become renters from the state.
Large landowners were divested not only of their cultivated land but
also of ownership of forests, lakes, and barren lands. They were also
stripped of various other economic rights, such as collection of taxes on
sales of immovable property within their jurisdiction and collection of
money for grazing privileges on uncultivated lands and use of river
water. These rights also were taken over by state governments in return
for compensation.
By 1980 more than 6 million hectares of waste, fallow, and
other categories of unused land had been vested in state governments
and, in turn, distributed to landless agricultural workers.
Now matters concerning the ownership, acquisition,
distribution, and taxation of land are, by provision of the constitution,
under the jurisdiction of the States, which has initiated a
computerisation of land records in all districts of the country except
those where land records are not maintained.
At the moment there is relatively little evidence from secondary data on
trends of landlessness in rural India. Those studies which have been
undertaken have often come to conflicting conclusions regarding this
issue 19; landlessness is rising in some areas, and declining in others.
Landlessness at the village level has a whole range of causes, and
impoverishment is only one of these: other causes include changes in
household structure, population growth, migration, and occupational
19 See for example, Raj (1976) and Vyas (1979).
2.4 Agriculture
Although in decline, the agricultural sector accounts for 30% of India’s
GDP and employs over 60% of the workforce.
The Green Revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s has
modernised agriculture and raised productivity levels. The introduction
of new equipment, farm technology and better fertilisers led to high
yielding varieties and a remarkable increase in the production of crops
such as wheat and rice. However, the growth was uneven across
regions and widened income differentials between rich and poor
farmers 20.
The liberalisation of the economy in the 1990s and the growing
importation of agricultural and related products from international
markets has impacted negatively on the primary sector by lowering the
prices of its products.
Despite reforms, agricultural growth remained moderate at an average
of less than 3% for 1992 to 2001. Food grain production increased by
only 2.4% over the same period 21.
Production levels increased by a mere 2.1% for rice and 2.7% for wheat
between 1991 and 2002, compared to 5.1% and 5.8% respectively in
the 1980s.
Other food crops also witnessed a deterioration in production growth
compared to earlier decades.
Recently there has been a sharp increase in the rural
unemployment rate and a slow down in the inter-sectoral shift of
workers from agriculture to high profit industrial and tertiary activities.
Agriculture and low productive non-farm activities have come under
serious stress, sharing limited income among larger number of workers.
One reason for the slower growth rate may be the liberalisation of input
prices; another factor may be the decline in public sector investment in
agriculture from Rs1.8bn in 1980 to Rs1.1bn in 1993.
An analysis of the population census in India confirms that the rural
economy is experiencing a process of diversification. At the moment
20 http://www.itd.org/issues/india2.htm
21 Statistical Pocket Book of India.
there is a steady increase in the share of non-farm sector in
employment 22.
According to 55th of National Sample Survey (NSSO, 2001),
agricultural labour households constitute nearly 32.2 % of the total
rural households.
In village studies, the household is the most frequently used level of
analysis. It is the “lowest level unit within which individuals are
collectively organised 23”.
In India the proportion of agricultural labour households increased from
30.3% in 1993-94 to 32.2% in 1999-2000. While that of cultivating
(self-employed) households declined from 37.8% in 1993-94 to 32.7 %
in 1999-2000.
Nearly 62.6% of the rural households belonged to less than Rs. 470
monthly per capita expenditure class. Nearly 4.6% rural households
reported that none in the family was having any work, 27.7% reported
that only one male member was usually working, while 27.8%
households indicated that one male and one female member were
usually employed.
According to the Census of India (2001), there are nearly 127
million cultivators, 107.5 million agricultural labourers and 6 million
other farm workers engaged in livestock, forestry and plantations. Of
the total agricultural labourers, 38% are female and 61.9% male
workers. Also among livestock, forestry and plantation workers, 78.3%
are male workers and 21.7% female workers. About 99.2% of
agricultural workers are reported to be unorganized and unprotected.
22 Kundu A. “Changing Agrarian System and Rural Urban Linkages in India in the context of
social viability”, http:/fao.org/es/ESA/Roa/pdf/6_Social /Social Viability_India.pdf
23 Census of India 2001: “A household is an entity of people living in the same house or room
who have all eaten meals from the same kitchen at least four times per week during most of the
past one year”.
Table 2: Population and Agricultural Workers (in millions)
Source: Registrar General of India, New Delhi, 2001.
The Census data clearly bear out the fact that Indian agriculture is
dominated by basically subsistence farmers. They provide mainly for
self consumption.
However, some of these farmers have to sell their produce immediately
after harvest at low prices and buy the same products later at high
There are large disparities among India's states and territories in
agricultural performance, only some of which can be attributed to
differences in climate or initial endowments of infrastructure such as
Realizing the importance of agricultural production for
economic development, the central government plays an active role in
all aspects of agricultural development.
Planning is centralized, and plan priorities, policies, and resource
allocations are decided at the central level. Food and price policy also
are decided by the central government. Thus, although agriculture is
constitutionally the responsibility of the States rather than the central
government, the latter plays a key role in formulating policy and
providing financial resources for agriculture.
In order to achieve long-term national stability and growth in
India it is necessary to address agricultural productivity. Achieving
agricultural productivity means tackling the constraints faced by
farmers in the current rural context of inadequate irrigation facilities,
fragmented land holdings, low technology application, increasing input
costs, and high levels of debts incurred by farmers and owed to rural
BOX 2 - The Green Revolution
The term "Green Revolution" is applied to the period from 1967 to 1978. The
introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of fertilizers and
irrigation provided the increase in production needed to make India self-sufficient in
food grains.The program was started with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation and
was based on high-yielding varieties of wheat, rice, and other grains that had been
developed in Mexico and in the Philippines.
Three were the basic elements of the Green Revolution:
(1) Continued expansion of farming areas;
(2) Double-cropping existing farmland (nstead of one crop season per year, the
decision was made to have two crop seasons per year)
(3) Usage of seeds with improved genetics.
Of the high-yielding seeds, wheat produced the best results.
By 1980, almost 75% of the total cropped area under wheat was sown with highyielding varieties.
For rice the comparable figure was 45%. In the 1980s, the area under high-yielding
varieties continued to increase, but the rate of growth overall was slower.
The Eighth Five-Year Plan (1992-1997) aimed at making high-yielding varieties
available to the whole country and developing more productive strains of other crops.
Despite all this, the Green Revolution cannot be considered to be a 100
percent success.
It created wide regional and interstate disparities, since it was implemented only in
areas with assured supplies of water and the means to control it, large inputs of
fertilizers, and adequate farm credit. These inputs were easily available in at least
parts of the states of Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh; thus, yields
increased most in these states. In other states, such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil
Nadu, in areas where these inputs were not assured, the results were limited or
The Green Revolution also increased income disparities: higher income growth and
reduced incidence of poverty were found in the states where yields increased the most
and lower income growth and little change in the incidence of poverty in other states.
2.5 Occupational Change in Rural Areas
In general, it seems to be the case that villages which continue to have a
predominantly agrarian base tend to be more reliant on traditional
labour relationships than those which have experienced more
occupational diversification, and greater market integration. But it is
difficult to single out a specific cause for observed changes in labour
relationships. In addition, it is important to realize that "decline" is not
the same as "demise".
In some cases, the traditional farm servant arrangement has
been replaced by the so-called "right of first call", whereby the workers
first check in at their patron's house to see if there is any work
available, before seeking employment elsewhere. Thus village studies
indicate that "traditional" labour relationships is no longer rigid or
As another manifestation of the "depatronization" of labor relations,
Gough 24 observes a movement away over time from in-kind payments
in rural India. More specifically, attached labourers receive now
income in cash, and are less likely to be given clothing and life cycle
rites goods.
Epstein 25 reports on the movement of entrepreneurs to the
tertiary sector; cafes, shops, and cattle trading posts, cane crushers, and
rice mills have emerged where they had not existed before.
Moreover, the new labour market and self-employment opportunities
tend to be rather caste
heterogeneous, thus compensating at least in part, for the contraction in
the market for traditional labour services. Additionally a growing
scarcity of land and natural resources in the countryside as a result of
population growth, over-exploitation of land and water and the rapid
marginalisation of craft based occupations, along with poor state of
basic services including health, education, communications and health,
have steadily led to large flows of population from rural to urban areas.
Seasonal and circular migration of labour for employment has
become one of the most durable components of the livelihood strategies
of people living in rural areas.
Migration is not just a strategy used by the very poor during times of
crisis for survival and coping, but has increasingly become an
accumulative option for the poor and non poor alike: i.e. migration is
being undertaken to improve the economic position of the household.
The Indian government has concentrated its investment in cities
to the neglect of rural areas.
24 Gough, K. “Rural Society in Southeast India”, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
25 Epstein S, “Village Voices”, Sage Publications, 1998.
Most government expenditure at the village level is allocated to
microeconomic interventions to help individual villagers and not to the
macro-economy of the village as a whole.
Efforts have been made to improve employment generation
opportunities within villages, but these tend to be in low paying
employment. There may be a need to reorient policy toward tackling
poverty at the village level rather tackling the poverty of individual
villagers. There is inadequate policy orientation to promote non
agricultural employment in villages at a larger scale.5
Although millions of poor labourers are on the move for a large part of
the year, policy is ill-equipped to deal with this phenomenon. As a
result, migrants do not have entitlements to livelihood support systems
or formal welfare systems.34
Rural and urban populations are viewed as static and interdependencies
are not recognised and policy makers concerned about urban explosions
have discouraged urban migration.
2.6 Causes for Backwardness of Rural Areas
The main causes for backwardeness of rural areas are:
1) Poverty: India still has more than 220 million rural poor of whom
34.7% live below the poverty line of $1 a day and 79.9% below the
poverty line of $2 a day. India’s poorest people include mainly
members of scheduled castes, since the scheduled groups have
historically faced discrimination.
Poverty, which is mainly concentrated in three states (Bihar, Uttar
Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh) deprives people of the capability to live
decent and healthy lives and of the opportunities to develop their
potential to the maximum.
Table 3: Poverty indicators
Poverty Indicators
Number of rural poor (million)
Poor as % of total rural population,
Population living below US$1 a day
(%), 1990-2002
Population living below US$2 a day
(%), 1990-2002
Population living below the national
poverty line (%), 1990-2001
Poverty gap ratio (%)
Share of poorest 20% in national
income or consumption,(%), 19992000
Source: www.sdnp.undp.org/gender/links/Poverty/Indicators_Statistics_and_Measurement/Poverty/index
To the rural poor, deprivation is both economic and social, which in
turn is the direct result of exploitation and lack of opportunities. The
condition of life for the rural poor is characterized by malnutrition,
illiteracy, sufferings from diseases and long-term health problems,
inadequate shelter and unhygienic conditions, high infant mortality,
oppression of women, and social treatment devoid of human dignity.
Poverty and malnutrition are in particular strictly connected.
The labor productivity of the poor is currently impaired by nutrition
problems, including “hidden hunger” in the form of micronutrient
deficiencies. Agricultural research and production programs should
focus on addressing these deficiencies through supplementation,
fortification of foods (including complementary foods), and attention to
making low-cost foods that are rich in micronutrients. Rationed food
subsidies are often poorly targeted, and corruption prevents much of the
food from reaching the intended beneficiaries.
The dependence of 53 % of India’s rural poor on subsidized food is
only between 5 and 10 % of their total cereal consumption — too little
to make much difference in their food security. The costs associated
with public distribution of food are also often unnecessarily high.
The table below shows the incidence of malnutrition in the rural areas
on children under 5 and the percentage of undernourished population.
Table 4: Nutrition in rural India
Nutrition in rural India
Malnutrition prevalence, weight for age (% of children
under 5), 1998
Malnutrition prevalence, height for age (% of children
under 5), 1998
Prevalence of undernourishment (% of population),
Daily calorie supply per capita, 2000-2002
Source: www.fao.org/ag/Agl/swlwpnr/reports/y_sa/z_in/in.htm
As India aspires to become a developed country, with its own position
in the comity of nations, poverty removal should become the utmost
challenge. State governments are important participants in antipoverty
programs. The constitution assigns responsibility to the states in a
number of matters, including ownership, redistribution, improvement,
and taxation of land. The central government tries to establish programs
and norms among the States and Union Territories, but implementation
has often remained at the lower bureaucratic levels. Though there are a
number of programmes even now officially "operational", it will be
impossible to sustain economic development in the country if India
doesn’t cut the vicious circle of poverty.
2) Slow Down in Agricultural and Rural Non-Farm Growth: this is
mainly due to the poor composition of public expenditures, the overregulation of domestic agricultural trade which has increased costs,
price risks and uncertainty, undermining the sector’s competitiveness,
the government interventions in labour, land, and credit markets and an
inequitable allocation of water.
In addition, existing irrigation infrastructure has rapidly deteriorated as
operations and maintenance is given lower priority.
3) Indebtedness: the burden of indebtedness in rural India is great, and
falls mainly on the households of rural working people. The
exploitation of this group in the credit market is one of the most
pervasive and persistent features of rural life in India, and despite major
structural changes in credit institutions and forms of rural credit in the
post-Independence period, the famous statement, that "the Indian
peasant is born in debt, lives in debt and bequeaths debt," still remains
true for the great majority of working households in the countryside.
Rural households need credit for a variety of reasons. They need it to
meet short-term requirements for working capital and for long-term
investment in agriculture and other income-bearing activities.
Agricultural and non-agricultural activity in rural areas are typically
seasonal, and households need credit to smooth out seasonal
fluctuations in earnings and expenditure. Rural households, particularly
those vulnerable to what appear to others to be minor shocks with
respect to income and expenditure, need credit as an insurance against
risk. In a society that has no free, compulsory and universal education
or health care, and very few general social security programmes, rural
households need credit for different types of consumption. These
include expenditure on food, housing, health and education.
4) Unemployment: there are no reliable estimates of the real
magnitude of unemployment and disguised unemployment in rural
India- the official statistics of a 9.1% rate of unemployment is probably
a statistical fiction - but some estimates put the real proportion as high
as half the working-age population. And this appears very credible. In
India's villages - even a few tens of kilometres from the national capital
– there is a number of young people desperate to secure the dignity and
respect that a job or productive work brings.
In the organised sector, since 1997-98, employment has actually
declined. Total annual employment generation in the country has more
than halved, even as we celebrate the economic miracle of a sustained 7
per cent-plus growth rate.
But India is, today, increasingly a grotesque illustration of the fact that
wealth and great destitution can not only coexist, but can
simultaneously and immensely expand.
5) Lack of education: due to various social and economic problems
India's education program continues to be undercut. Of the biggest
victims of the educational system are those living in rural areas.
Allocation of government funds and the conditions of the destitute rural
schools contribute to the low quality of education by rural children.
Caste and geography also play a role in a child's access to education,
international agencies and researchers report. School fees, which can
range from 100-200 rupees (or 2-4 euro) per month in rural areas,
added onto the costs of books and possibly uniforms, can be costly for
impoverished families with several children.
Consequently many children living in rural areas receive a level of
education which is very poor.
50 % of children leave school early: some leave because of lack of
interest; most leave so that they can work in the fields, where the hours
are long and the pay is low. A large % of the dropouts are females.
Forced by their parents, most girls perform chores and tend the family
at home. These are some of the reasons why 60 % of all females in
India are illiterate, a figure much higher than those of males.
As these children grow into adults, many are still illiterate by the age of
forty. These uneducated adults are also reluctant to send their own
children to school because of their failure in the education system. This
in turn creates a problem for the next generation.
6) Lack of health facilities: primary health care is delivered to the
rural population through a network of over 150,000 primary health
centers (PHCs) and sub-centres, but the reality is that the system is
badly broken. Despite considerable financial investment in the PHCs
by the government, most of these centers are not meeting even the basic
needs of the population. Inadequate infrastructure, absence of
physicians, and lack of accountability have turned these centers into
ineffective institutions.
7) Poor infrastructure development in villages: rural infrastructure is
barely visible beyond those villages that are close to rural towns;
interior villages still wait for electricity, and their muddy roads get
washed away with each heavy rain.
After having neglected it since Independence, the government has at
last woken up to the imperative need for improving infrastructure, such
as power, transport, communication, etc. But there is no evidence of
urgency in adopting liberal policies, which would bring in the private
sector to complement and supplement state effort.
Poor infrastructure in rural India leads to lack of services because
service providers find it difficult and expensive to provide service. Here
the word "services" includes everything, from government services to
market making, education, healthcare, entertainment etc. Lack of
services leads directly or indirectly to low incomes and therefore to the
low ability to pay for services and consequently to poor infrastructure.
8) Low bureaucratic accountability and inefficient use of public
funds: despite large expenditures in rural development, a highly
centralized bureaucracy with low accountability and inefficient use of
public funds limit their impact on poverty. In 1992, India amended its
Constitution to create democratically elected rural local governments
bringing governance down to the villages. However, the transfer of
authority, funds, and functionaries to these local bodies is progressing
slowly, in part due to political vested interests. The poor are not
empowered to contribute to shaping public programs or to hold local
governments accountable. A fairer and more efficient allocation of
resources would be to invest in rural infrastructure and agricultural
extension services, rather than subsidies.
2.6.1 Lack of Information in Rural Villages
Traditional methods of dissemination of information still persist in the
villages and are slow moving and time consuming. Not only that, there
is a loss of information due to the involvement of large numbers of
intermediaries in the process.
Generally government officials and NGOs are the main sources of
information for villagers 26. More than 50% of information comes to the
villagers by way of the Sarpanch 27 of the Panchayat or through the
Gram Sabha 28.
The Gram Sabha is conducted every month and villagers are asked to
attend. The Sarpanch reveals information about different government
26 International Journal of Rural Studies (IJRS) vol. 14 no. 1 April 2007 ISSN 1023–2001
www.ivcs.org.uk/IJRS Article 5 Page 1 of 5.
27 A sarpanch is a democratically elected head of a village level statutory institution of local
self-Government called the Gram (village) Panchayat in India.
28 It is an assembly of adult members of the village, who manages the affairs in accordance
with traditions and customs. The final rules say the Gram Sabhas shall be convened by the
Gram Panchayat, which is a bigger entity.
Apart from this, the Block Development Officer visits the village and
provides information about different activities taken up by the
Government and of how villagers could benefit by them.
The main problem in this model is that it is time consuming and less
information is actually communicated. Also some villagers feel that
they don’t need some kinds of information so they do not want to
attend the meetings.
Sometimes it happens that the village leader (school teacher,
unemployed youth, government officials etc.) gets information from
both government and non-government organizations and does not want
to reveal the full information because he desires to preserve his social
prestige and expects the villagers to come to him for information.
Sometimes it could be that the villager does not interpret the
information correctly and the information get biased. That biased
information is then spread throughout the village.
In this model the villagers get reliable information but the transaction
cost involved in this model is pretty high.
Figure 1: The system of information spread in rural villages
Some recent studies have shown that for higher caste people, business
men and village middlemen, the information need is high and the
availability of information also high.
For lower class business men, small and marginal farmers, SHGs 29 and
school students, information
need is high but information availability is low. For unemployed village
youth, village touts etc. the
information need is low but the information availability is very high.
29 Self Help Groups have been initiated by NGOs. These groups encourage the community to
participate and thus become self sustaining. There are many success stories of Self Help Groups
in India particularly in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Figure 2: Information need vs information availability
All types of information is readily accessed by the higher classes and
by higher caste people. Due to their high literacy level and higher
influence in the village, these people get information earlier than
the lower classes and lower caste people. These higher classes and
higher caste people act as a source of information to the lower classes
and lower caste people. In this process of information flow, some
information get lost. In a rural set up, these higher caste and higher
class people do not always give out one hundred percent information.
As most of the households are from the lower class, accurate
information and real time information is a major problem. Sometimes it
happens that the higher castes and the higher classes hide some
information because they do not want others to get full information;
they want them to always depend upon the higher classes.
It is therefore essential that real time information should be supplied to
the lower castes and classes and it should be supplied at their door steps
so that they can take the right decisions at the right time.
The Loss of Information: if we analyze the decision-making process,
we will find that the passive information-seeker is always
the active decision-maker. Generally the head of the household is the
decision maker. The head of the household may be a 50 year old man
who never goes any where to get information from any source but
rather waits for the information to come to him. He then makes
decision based solely on that information. Generally the active
information seekers are the young members of the household who go to
different sources to get information.
Village leaders get information from three different sources like
government officials, NGOs and private agencies.
As many village leaders are illiterate, they sometimes cannot receive
full information. Thus in the process of flow of information,
information gets lost at every step. By the time information reaches the
passive information seeker, most of it has got lost and become biased.
So the decision maker frequently takes wrong decisions on that basis.
Figure 3: Information seekers and information loss
The Lack of Information – the middleman’s reign: in most cases,
the villagers have ample resources of land, animals and forest and they
are also skilled artisans and blacksmiths with expertise in some special
skills such as mat-making. They have the ability to produce more
products than the current ones. The only problem is that they are not
aware of the markets for their products.
Sometimes a lack of market leads to under production of these special
products. For that, these illiterate villagers are highly dependent on
middlemen. These middlemen purchase their products at extremely low
prices for the producers have very little bargaining power and sell them
at very high prices in the urban markets.
Most of the time, the farmer can not understand what the agricultural
officer is talking about. Psychologically, the farmer feels that the
agricultural officer is less reliable. The farmer frequently stays away
from the pallisabha and gram sabha, partly because of the social
structure of marginal farmers and partly because of heavy work load.
For the illiterate farmer, TV and newspapers have less value as
someone else has to interpret the subject matter.
As agriculture is time-specific, most of the time the farmers get the
right information at the wrong time because the information gets
delayed. The farmer gets the right information about pest attacks and
their remedy but the information gets delayed and the whole crop gets
infested and damaged by the time he gets the information. The farmer
develops a common perception that whatever information he receives is
wrong and biased.
2.7 Governmental Rural Development Policies for Poverty
Rural poverty alleviation through economic and social development is
high on the state agenda of India. It could be affirmed that development
programs started already after 1947, in the post independence period,
when the Government of India committed itself to bring about a rapid
and sustainable improvement of rural areas through various
Since then, several development models have been
experimented with. These range from state-driven import substitution
to market-driven export promotion models, from agriculture focused to
infrastructure focused models and from the trickle-down approach to
directly focused programmes. Several other policies, such as effective
land reform, development of irrigation and drainage systems,
subsidized inputs and credit facilities, human resources development
and primary education and health care services have constituted the
basic premises upon which all the plans and blue-prints of development
were built.
Initially main thrust for development was laid on agriculture
industry, communication, education, health and allied sectors but later
on it was realized that accelerated development could be provided only
if governmental efforts were adequately supplemented by direct and
indirect involvement of people at the grass root level.
Accordingly, on 31st March 1952, an organization known as
Community Projects Administration was set up under the Planning
Commission to administer the programmes relating to community
The community development programme inaugurated on October 2,
1952. It represented the first organised attempt at rural development.
The programme focused on all round development of rural areas and it
touched upon nearly all facets of rural life. It emphasized on higher
agricultural production along with establishment of rural cottage and
small-scale industries. The programme underwent many changes and
was handled by different Ministries.
Within a decade, the entire country was covered by the community
development program, operating in over 5,000 community
development blocks, staffed with development professionals and
Holdcroft 30 (1984) provided a critical assessment of the positive and
negative aspects of the program.
He concluded that while the program was successful in providing basic
developmental needs to people in rural areas, the underlying goal of
social and economic amelioration of rural life was not accomplished.
Poverty and food scarcity were not reduced, rather they became
more widespread; disparities of wealth between large farmers and
peasants increased; the program was not accepted by and did not reach
the poor, and became a top-down bureaucratic empire that ignored
agricultural production.
The view most often expressed for the poor performance of the
program was that political leaders did not understand either the
complexity of the problem or the time required to transform traditional
rural societies. In short, both aspects of rural poverty - low productivity
30 Holdcroft, L. “The Rise and Fall of Community Development in Developing countries”,
Michigan University Press, 1984.
and unjust distribution of wealth and resources - were not significantly
changed by the community development program (Holdcroft, 1984).
The failure of the community development program shifted the focus of
planning and development in the 1970s toward Integrated Rural
Development (IRDPs), which promoted popular participation in the
mobilization and use of local resources. These strategies regarded the
underutilized "free labour" of the people as an important input for
sharing the process and cost of development activities, which in turn,
also ensured the "ownership" of the projects by the people. As a result,
a number of programs were initiated to address the problems of
neglected segments of rural society, namely landless agricultural
labourers, scheduled castes, native tribes and backward classes.
In October 1974, the Department of Rural Development came
into existence as a part of Ministry of Food and Agriculture. On 18th
August 1979, the Department of Rural Development was elevated to
the status of Ministry of Rural Reconstruction, and was renamed, after
various phases, Ministry of Rural Development in 1999.
The Ministry consists of the following three Departments:
- Department of Rural Development (which implements schemes for
generation of self employment and wage employment, provision of
housing and minor irrigation assets to rural poor, social assistance to
the destitute and rural roads).
- Department of Land Resources (which implements schemes to
increase the bio-mass production by developing wastelands in the
country and also provides the support services and other quality inputs
such as land reforms, betterment of revenue system and land records).
- Department of Drinking Water Supply (which implements the
provision of drinking water and the extension of sanitation facilities to
the rural poor. The major programmes of the Drinking Water Supply
Department are The Swajaldhara, the Accelerated Rural Water Supply
Programme (ARWSP) and the Total Sanitation Programme).
The Ministry has been acting as a catalyst effecting the change in rural
areas through the implementation of wide spectrum of programmes
which are aimed at poverty alleviation, employment generation,
infrastructure development and social security .Its work concentrates on
five elements of social and economic infrastructure, critical to the
quality of life in rural areas; health, education, drinking water, housing
and roads. Strong thrust has been given to social security programmes
for providing assistance to the poor families. The Ministry has
undertaken development of wastelands, desert and drought prone areas
and land reforms in the country. Assistance and encouragement to
voluntary agencies and training of functionaries of rural development
forms part of the emphasis on accelerated rural development. It also
promotes the decentralization of powers to strengthen the Panchayat
Raj Institutions.
The Constitutional (73rd) Amendment, Act 1992 has placed
enormous responsibility on the Panchayati Raj Institutions to formulate
and execute various programmes of economic development and social
justice, and a number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes are being
implemented through Panchayats.
On 25th December 2002 a major initiative, the 'Swajal Dhara' Program
aiming at empowering the Panchayats to formulate, implement, operate
and maintain Drinking Water Projects has been launched.
The programmes for poverty alleviation have a women's component to
ensure flow of adequate funds to this section. Thus, women Members
and Chairpersons of Panchayats, who are basically new entrants in
Panchayats, have to acquire the required skill and be given appropriate
orientation to assume their rightful roles as leaders and decision
BOX 3 - Rural Development in India: Chronological highlights
1952 Community Development Programme launched (October)
1958 Three-tier structure of local self-governing bodies (Panchayati Raj) launched
1969 Rural Electrification Corporation set up
1970-71 Drought Prone Areas Programme started (December)
1971 A Joint Consultative Council on Community Development and Panchayati Raj
constituted (December)
1971-72 Crash Scheme for Rural Employment introduced
1972-73 Pilot Intensive Rural Employment Project (PIREP) launched. Accelerated
Rural Water Supply Programme started
1977 Food for Work Programme started (April)
1977-78 Desert Development Programme started (April)
1978-79 Integrated Rural Development Programme launched
1984 NREP and RLEGP merged into one single rural employment programme to be
known as Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY)
1985-86 Indira Awaas Yojana started
1988-89 Million Wells Scheme started
1992 The Parliament passed the Constitutional 73rd Amendment Act to grant
constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj institutions (December)
1993 Employment Assurance Scheme implemented (October)
1995 National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) launched (August)
1999 Jawahar Gram Samriddhi launched (1 April), Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar
Yojana launched (1 April), Innovative Stream for Rural Housing and Habitat
Development Scheme launched (1 April)
Source: Kaushik (2005c: 328).
2.7.1 Rural Development Initiatives in the Union Budget 2007-08
India’s Budget 2007-08, introduced by Finance Minister P
Chidambaram in Parliament on February 28, 2007, claims to be aimed
at “faster and more inclusive growth”. Accordingly, increased outlays
have been made for rural infrastructure programmes, social sector
programmes and under various heads for agriculture. These
programmes are mainly implemented through government’s District
Rural Development Agency (DRDA), a professional agency capable of
managing the anti-poverty programmes of the Ministry of Rural
Development. It coordinates with the line department, the Panchayati
Raj Institutions, the banks and other financial institutions, resources
required for poverty reduction effort in the district. It shall be their
endeavour and objective to secure inter-sectoral and inter-departmental
coordination and cooperation for reducing poverty. The governmental
initiative are briefly presented as follows:
1) Bharat Nirman: to unlock the potential of rural India the
Government has launched a time bound business plan named Bharat
Nirman in 2005-06 to be implemented from 2005-2009. Six
components included under the Bharat Nirman are irrigation, drinking
water, electrification, roads, housing and rural telephone.
Physical targets under the each of the components have been firmed up
and they are as under.
Table 5: Bharat Nirman scheme
Source: www.bharatnirman.gov.in/download.pdf
Allocation for the Bharat Nirman programme for upgrading rural
infrastructure has gone up by 31.6% from Rs 18,696 crore to Rs 24,603
crore. In the two years since Bharat Nirman was launched, around
12,198 km of rural roads have been completed, 783,000 rural houses
have been constructed, and 914,000 houses are under construction.
Some 19,758 villages have been covered so far under the Rajiv Gandhi
Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, and 15,054 villages have been provided
with a telephone against the target of 20,000 villages.
2) Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA): School education has been given
primacy with an increase in allocation of 35%, from Rs 17,133 crore to
Rs 23,142 crore. Of this, Rs 10,671 crore will be for the SSA.
Teachers’ training institutions are to be strengthened with an increase
in budget from Rs 162 crore to Rs 450 crore. Around 200,000 more
teachers will be appointed in 2008, and 500,000 more classrooms
3) The midday meal scheme gets Rs 7,324 crore. Children in upper
primary classes in 3,427 educationally backward blocks will also be
covered. The transfer to Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh will increase from
Rs 8,746 crore to Rs 10,393 crore. To increase access to secondary
education, the outlay has been doubled from Rs 1,837 crore to Rs 3,794
4) Means-cum-merit scholarships: The SSA has increased the
enrolment rate in schools to 96%, but the dropout rate continues to be
high. To address this, a National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship will be
introduced. The selection of students will be through a national test for
students who have passed Class VIII. Each student will be given Rs
6,000 per year, and 100,000 scholarships will be awarded every year. A
corpus fund of Rs 750 crore will be created this year, and augmented
by a similar amount annually over the next three years.
5) Drinking water and sanitation: Some 55,512 habitations and
34,000 schools have been provided drinking water till December 2006,
under the Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission. More ambitious
targets have been set for 2007-08 to deal with both non-coverage and
slippage. Out of 1.43 million rural habitations in the country, 1.40
million habitations have now access to safe drinking water. Special
efforts are being made for ensuring sustainability of the facilities
provided under the
Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme by initiating action to
institutionalise community based rural water supply programme.
Allocation for the Mission has been enhanced from Rs 4,680 crore in
2006-07 to Rs 5,850 crore in 2007-08. For the Total Sanitation
Campaign, the allocation has gone up from Rs 720 crore to Rs 954
6) National Rural Health Mission (NRHM): All districts had to
complete preparation of their District Health Action Plans by March
2007. There is to be a major emphasis on mother and child care and on
prevention and treatment of communicable diseases. Convergence is
sought to be achieved among various programmes such as
immunisation, antenatal care, nutrition and sanitation through Monthly
Health Days (MHD) organised at anganwadi centres. So far, 320,000
Associated Social Health Activists (ASHAs) have been recruited and
more than 200,000 have been given orientation training. Already
90,000 link workers have been selected by the states. AYUSH
(alternative) systems are being mainstreamed into the health delivery
system at all levels. Allocation for the National Rural Health Mission
(NRHM) has been increased from Rs 8,207 crore to Rs 9,947 crore.
7) HIV/AIDS: NACP-III (third National AIDS Control Programme)
will start in 2007-08, to target high-risk groups. Access to condoms is
to be expanded and universal access to blood screening and safe blood
is to be ensured. More hospitals are to provide treatment to prevent
transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child. Provision for the
AIDS control programme will be Rs 969 crore.
8) Polio: the polio-eradication strategy is to be revised since the
outbreak of polio in Uttar Pradesh last year was a setback. Thus the
number of polio rounds will be increased and the monovalent vaccine
introduced with intensive coverage in 20 high-risk districts of Uttar
Pradesh and 10 districts of Bihar. The programme has been integrated
into the NRHM. ASHAs and anganwadi workers will visit every
household and track down every child for the immunisation
programme. To achieve the goal of eliminating polio, a provision of Rs
1,290 crore has been made for 2007-08.
9) National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS): it is
now the single wage employment programme being implemented at the
district/block level throughout the country with focus on areas suffering
from endemic labour exodus. The objective of the EAS is to provide
gainful employment in manual work to all needy able bodied adults in
rural areas during the lean agricultural season and the creation of
community, social and economic assets for sustained employment and
development. The EAS would be open to all adult rural poor. A
maximum of two adults per family would be provided wage
employment, subject to availability of funds. Allocation for the NREGS
is Rs 12,000 crore, but since it is a demand-driven scheme the budget
will be supplemented as required. The scheme has been expanded to
cover 330 districts. An additional amount of Rs 2,800 crore has been
provided for the Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana in districts not
covered by the NREGS.
10) Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY): it aims at
establishing a large number of micro-enterprises in the rural areas.
Persons assisted under this programme will be known as Swarozgaris
and not beneficiaries. A significant aspect of SGSY is that every family
assisted under this programme will be brought above the poverty-line
in three years and as such the programme aims at creating substantial
additional incomes for the rural poor. It is proposed to cover 30 per
cent of the rural poor in each block in the next five years.
11) Indira Awaas Yojana aims at helping rural people below povertyline belonging to SCs/STs, freed bonded labourers and non-SC/ST
categories in construction of dwelling units and upgradation of existing
unserviceable kutcha houses by providing grant-in aid. From 1995-96,
the IAY benefits have been extended to widows or next-of kin of
defence personnel killed in action.
Benefits have also been extended to ex-servicemen and retired
members of the paramilitary forces as long as they fulfil the normal
eligibility conditions of Indira Awaas Yojana. Three percent of funds
are reserved for the disabled persons living below the poverty-line in
rural areas.
12) Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (SC/STs): Allocation of
Rs 3,271 crore has been made for schemes benefiting only SCs and
STs, and Rs 17,691 crore for schemes with at least 20% of benefits
earmarked for SCs and STs.
13) Agriculture: taking into account all the significant factors that
affect growth, the 11th Five Year Plan has assessed that agriculture is at
the base of rural development and that it needs to growth at 4% per
annum. The main factors expected to contribute to the growth are
increased investment (2.5%) and higher area under fruits and
vegetables (1.0%), with greater use of fertilisers and other inputs
contributing the rest. The most significant factor will need to be public
investment, including on filling yield gaps. This requires that public
investment increases at a minimum of 12% per annum in real terms
from its 2006-07 level. This is, however, only a necessary condition
and longer-run issues should be addressed; the National Bank for
Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has been asked to
augment its resources for refinancing rural credit cooperatives and the
Insurance for rural landless households (a scheme called the Aam Admi
Bima Yojana) is to be introduced to provide death and disability
insurance cover to rural landless households.
The Ministry lays great emphasis on monitoring and evaluation of rural
infrastructure development programmes in general and poverty
alleviation and employment generation schemes in particular.
The comprehensive system of monitoring and evaluation includes
various mechanisms such as Progress Reports, Financial Returns, Audit
Reports, Intensive inspections by officers of both Central government
and the State governments, Area Officers Scheme, Review by various
Committees, namely Parliament Committees as well as Standing
Parliamentary Committee and Concurrent Evaluation Reports and
impact research studies of the programmes of the Ministry.
The Monitoring Division has introduced a high tech review system
through the Video-conference as an instrument to monitor the
implementation of the programmes. A Home Page regarding the details
of programmes of the Ministry has been put on internet so that
transparency is ensured to the programmes.
The State governments have been directed to constitute Vigilance and
Monitoring Committees at the district, block and village levels to
monitor the implementation of the programmes. A schedule of
inspection prescribing minimum field visits for each functionary at the
supervisory level from the
State government to the block is drawn up and strictly adhered to.
Review Committee at Central/State/District/Block and Village level
undertake detailed review of the overall performance of the rural
development programmes.
2.8 Rural Development Initiatives by the Corporate Sector and
The corporate sector has not lagged behind in contributing its bit for
achieving rural development in India. Some of the current initiatives in
this regard are e-Choupal by ITC, Rural BPOs by Lason India and
Byrraju Foundation, GramIT by Byrraju Foundation etc. Similarly,
numerous NGOs are giving a significant contribution to rural
development in the country. Notable amongst these are MV Foundation
(abolition of child labour), Naandi Foundation (education for girl
child), Basix India (micro-finance), Byrraju Foundation (rural
transformation), Sanghamitra (education) etc.
Once again, the underlying principle is formulation of suitable policy
and pursuing it for successful implementation.
The national government's economic policy is favouring privatization
in recognition of the important role of the private sector in the nation's
economic development. A number of economic measures were taken to
encourage private sector participation in development programs.
At the international level, export and import policies were liberalized to
attract foreign investment.
As a result, several multi-national companies and western countries
began investing in India.
However, private sector involvement in agriculture has been small and
sporadic compared with the manufacturing sector.
2.9 Communication in Rural Development Programs
In the Union Budget Plan 2007-08, as well as in the more
comprehensive Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12), the improvement of
communication infrastructure and the use of Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) are emphasised as factors
contributing to rural development.
A faster and more inclusive growth can in fact be reached by
- the rural telephony (6. 90% of the villages have already been
provided with Village Public Telephone (VPT), under Bharat Nirman
programme. A focused programme to provide VPTs in 66,822
uncovered villages has been undertaken).
- the rural tele-density compared with urban through private sector and
mobile telephone expansions (the number of wireless telephone
connections has doubled in the past two years, to about 150 million,
and Indians are signing up for mobile-phone service at an extraordinary
five million new wireless connections a month. The Ministry of
Telecom has set a target for India to have mobile coverage for 85% of
the country—from about 30% today—by 2008.);
- the Internet connectivity for text, data and image communications
and larger and speedy connectivity through wireless technology and on
fibre optic cables both in urban and rural areas.
Over the past few years several initiatives have helped demonstrate the
potential to use ICT in working towards developmental goals such as
poverty alleviation, access to education and health services and gender
Poverty alleviation programs have leveraged ICT to increase
opportunities for wage employment and micro-entrepreneurship. Use of
technology has also helped raise the magnitude and reduce the
vulnerability of returns earned by small producers from the economic
activities by providing timely access to relevant information (e.g.
details about the best prevailing prices for farmers, location of fish
shoals for fishermen, weather reports etc.) ICT in particular can play a
role in bridging gender disparities by directly benefiting the women
who use technology as well as by improving the delivery of services for
fishermen, weather reports, etc.
A National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) has been launched. EGovernance has been identified as a priority item and NeGP seeks to
create the right governance and institutional mechanisms, set up the
core infrastructure and policies and implement a number of Mission
Mode Projects at the Center, State and Integrated Service levels to
create a citizen-centric and business-centric environment for
The emphasis has been to ensure integrated access to government
services and to provide services at the doorstep with substantial rural
outreach and improved reliability.
The main components of the NeGP are:
- State Wide Area Network (SWAN) which involves 29 States and 6
UTs and is envisaged to connect all the State Headquarters up to the
block level with a minimum bandwidth capacity of 2 Mbps per link.
- Common Service Centres (CSCs) which is an ICT-enabled Service
Delivery outlet providing a range of services to the people in the
village/town in which it is located. The CSC Scheme would be a
bottom-up model for delivery of content and services like egovernance, education, entertainment, telemedicine, agriculture etc.
The CSC scheme envisages the establishment of 100,000 rural CSCs
and another 10,000 semi-urban/ urban CSCs in a honeycomb pattern
covering all the 600,000+ villages in the country, i.e., one village
surrounded by six villages. This proposal would imply that each village
would have a CSC either within its area or in the adjoining village. All
CSCs would be broadband and Internet-enabled, primarily through
wireless connectivity and are expected to give a boost to development
by helping to bridge the digital divide.
India’s prosperity lies in the well being of the rural population. As a
nation, India should accord suitable priority for all sectors of rural
development as highlighted in this chapter.
Well articulated policy after due discussions with the agencies
responsible for its implementation, needs to be converted into workable
The first strategic decision should be to raise the level of public
investment in agriculture and in rural India. This move would also help
unleash private sector investment, which complements public
investment. The strategy should be to contain and target subsidies and
plow the savings back into agriculture as investment.
The connection of India’s villages to information and
communications technology is another important aspect. The private
sector can be the key driving force, and many corporate giants have
already entered rural areas with a view to expanding business. But
public policy should facilitate these investments in rural areas by
removing controls on private investment as well as by offering tax
concessions for investing in rural areas, in order to improve poor
communities’ access to education, market information for farmers and
other small businesses, and service information.
Community participation should also be ensured. Community
participation in constructing and maintaining rural infrastructure is
crucial for the efficient operation of financial incentives and the
establishment of a legal framework. The typical top-down approach
followed so far in public investments will not give the desired results.
The Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012) at a Glance
The economy and the development of India are based on five-year plans, developed,
executed and monitored by the Planning Commission. The transition from a traditional
and subsistence economy of the 50s to a modern, industrial and knowledge economy
has largely been the outcome of such plan exercises spanning a total of ten five-year
plans and a few annual plans. Planning is far more than a mere allocation of resources
among competing uses: it prescribes a direction towards which the economy is sought
to be moved with a view to attaining pre-determined goals and objectives. And given
the federal character of our polity, it is the combined effort of both Union and State
governments towards achieving plan objectives.
The First Five Year Plan was launched in April 1951. Currently, the 11th Five Year
Plan(2007-2012), is underway. It aims at putting the economy on a sustainable growth
trajectory with a growth rate of approximately 10% by the end of the Plan period. The
revised outlay is of Rs 36.44 trillion (US$ 910 billion).
The plan should seek to reduce disparities across regions and communities by
ensuring access to infrastructures as well as health and education services to all.
The main features of the Eleventh Plan are:
- Income & Poverty • Accelerate growth rate of GDP from 8% to 10% in order to
double per capita income by 2016-17
• Increase agricultural GDP growth rate to 4% per year to ensure a broader spread of
• Create 70 million new work opportunities.
• Reduce educated unemployment to below 5%.
• Raise real wage rate of unskilled workers by 20 %.
• Reduce the headcount ratio of consumption poverty by 10 %age points.
Education • Reduce dropout rates of children from elementary school from 52.2% in
2003-04 to 20% by 2011-12.
• Develop minimum standards of educational attainment in elementary school, and by
regular testing monitor effectiveness of education to ensure quality.
• Increase literacy rate for persons of age 7 years or more to 85%.
• Lower gender gap in literacy to 10 %age points.
• Increase the %age of each cohort going to higher education from the present 10% to
15% by the end of the 11th Plan.
Health • Reduce infant mortality rate (IMR) to 28 and maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to
1 per 1000 live births.
• Reduce Total Fertility Rate to 2.1.
• Provide clean drinking water for all by 2009 and ensure that there are no slip-backs
by the end of the 11th Plan.
• Reduce malnutrition among children of age group 0-3 to half its present level.
• Reduce anemia among women and girls by 50% by the end of the 11th Plan.
Women and Children • Raise the sex ratio for age group 0-6 to 935 by 2011-12 and
to 950 by 2016-17.
• Ensure that at least 33 % of the direct and indirect beneficiaries of all government
schemes are women and girl children.
• Ensure that all children enjoy a safe childhood, without any compulsion to work.
Infrastructure • Ensure electricity connection to all villages and BPL households by
2009 and round-the-clock power by the end of the Plan.
• Ensure all-weather road connection to all habitation with population 1000 and above
(500 in hilly and tribal areas) by 2009, and ensure coverage of all significant habitation
by 2015.
• Connect every village by telephone by November 2007 and provide broadband
connectivity to all villages by 2012.
• Provide homestead sites to all by 2012 and step up the pace of house construction
for rural poor to cover all the poor by 2016-17.
Environment • Increase forest and tree cover by 5 %age points.
• Attain WHO standards of air quality in all major cities by 2011-12.
• Treat all urban waste water by 2011-12 to clean river waters.
• Increase energy efficiency by 20 %age points by 2016-17
Source: Planning Commission of India, 2007.
“...The true function of media is to educate the public mind, not to stock it with
wanted and unwanted impressions”.
M. K. Gandhi
In order to understand and analyse the role of media in development with a particular focus on the Indian rural areas - it is first necessary to
delineate the current media scenario in India: being aware of the
penetration of newspapers, TV, radio and ICTs as well as of the recent
legal reforms which have marked the proliferation of more
communication channels, might help to comprehend the state of
information in such a controversial country.
The diffusion of media started recently in India but it's
overwhelming how quickly changes have occured over the last few
In such a framework, the present chapter intends to be a supportive tool
for the understanding of the complex Indian media panorama: after a
short introduction on the historical evolution of the media in the
country, traditional and modern means of communication are presented
in terms of diffusion and impact with a deep focus on their influence in
the rural areas and a glimpse into the potentialities of the use of
community media for development.
Gathering relevant data on the diffusion of media has not been
an easy task: I constantly had to face the problem of inaccessible, out
of date, inconsistent data, or a combination of all of these.
Most of the information presented in this chapter come from reports of
the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and from articles of the
Times of India, one of the most read newspapers of the country.
The flow of information - despite the existence of laws in favour of the
freedom of editing and broadcasting - is still much in the hand of the
Government and the recent statistics about the state of media in the
country are not always updated. Moreover, the fact that each media has
its own regulatory authority makes the panorama fragmented: the press
is monitored by the Press Council of India, telecommunications are
regulated by TRAI (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of
India), cinema by the CBFC (Central Board for Film Certification),
advertising by the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India),
broadcasting media, though operating under the AIR Code and the
Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act (1995), do not have
similar regulatory or monitoring bodies.
The result is a vast array of recommendations, norms and principles
guiding media operations and the basis of media information
The final section of the chapter is dedicated to an overview of
the state of the art of community media in India. Although generally
considered an outstanding example of participative means of
communication which could be effective in responding to development
objectives and community service requirements, community media
projects in India remain isolated initiatives, struggling to receive
legitimacy and recognition from the State; this is one of the many
reasons that convinced me to focus my research on an initiative
launched in Uttar Pradesh and based on the use of community
newspapers and ICTs in the rural areas around Lucknow, the capital
Addressing, monitoring and evaluating the proceeding and the impacts
of such an innovative project for the rural areas of this State was a
challenging task. The project and its outcomes will be presented and
analysed in chapter 6.
3.1 A Historical Evolution of Mass Media in India
Prior to 1947, the year of India’s independence from the British rulers,
media couldn’t really develop.
Newspapers were not permitted the freedom of writing, radio was
under the control of the Government, television had not even been
conceived - although Britain had a well established television and radio
network at home - black and white cinema was unaware of
developments in colour techniques in the West and mass media did not
progress in any systematic, planned directions to assist the country
The advent of independence in 1947 removed the shackles of
the colonial era and a new horizon breathed in all aspects of country
The media of mass communication also rose to the occasion. There was
a tremendous progress in the field of print and the broadcast media, the
rate of literacy rose and more people came in contact with one another
in urban as well as in rural areas.
Most of the law restricitions or controlling the activities of journalists
and writers were either suspended or withdrawn.
Freedom of speech and expression (including thereby the freedom of
the press) was guaranteed by the Constitution as a fundamental right
(Article 19A). The Constitution also granted freedom of movement,
right to profession and property and also to held meetings and social
All this contributed to the diffusion of mass media.
Since the Indian Constitution recognizes 15 provincial and
regional languages, equal opportunities were available to all of them for
instituting newspapers and periodicals in their respective regions for
their proliferation and development, even though Hindi (spoken by
40% of the population) and English remained the dominat languages.
In 1976, thirty years after independence, India had 13, 320 newspapers:
in the same period 155 radio stations were working, broadcasting in
several foreign languages, national and regional languages.
Television arrived in India in 1959: UNESCO, the Usa, West
Germany, Yugoslavia and Japan helped India in establishing, extending
and programming of the television network.
Reported below are the most important historical key features of the
media development in India.
1960s- 1990s: Government efforts at using radio and TV for
development communication met with varying degrees of success.
Major projects included rural radio forums for agricultural development
(1967), SITE 31 (75-76), the Kheda project 32 (1976-1989) and the 1995
31 SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment) was designed to test whether satellite
based television services could play a role in the socio-economic development. Using a U.S.
GRAMSAT experiment using radio for training of women panchayat
(local village level governance) members. These large-scale projects
were meant to meet core development needs.
1981-1985: Rapid increase in the number of TV transmitters from 21 to
over 400, and a corresponding commercialisation of Indian television
by the mid-80s.
1984-85: India's first major pro-social soap opera Hum Log (We the
People) was launched. The much-studied 156-episode, 17-month series
promoted issues such as family planning and education for the girl
child. This coincided with the rise of the middle class as a dominant
force in the country, with an increase in film-based entertainment
programming, private sponsorship and consumerism.
1985-90: Doordarshan, the national television network, outpaced radio
and print media as the first choice for advertising, hiking its ad rates
thrice between 1985 and 1988. By 1987, there were at least 40 serials
on air. A media boom saw an increase in the number of publications
and a preponderance of TV and cinema-based reporting.
1990: The Government of India initiated an economic reform process,
heralding an era of privatisation and liberalisation. The Prasar Bharati
Act was passed, delinking broadcasting from direct Government
control. The act was notified only in 1997.
February 1991: The Gulf war created an unprecedented demand for
cable television among Indian viewers wanting to follow the CNN
coverage of the war. The demand for cable television continued after
the war ends.
ATS-6 satellite and up-link centers at Ahmedabad and Delhi, television programs were beamed
down for about 4 hours a day to about 2,400 villages in 6 states. The programs dealt mainly
with in- and out-of-school education, agricultural issues, planning and national integration.
32 The Kheda project was an exceptional example of the combining of modern technologies
with a participatory approach to communication. The project employed traditional cultural
expressions of a rural community in the creation of its audiovisual programmes, while using
modern evaluation techniques for its programme planning.
May 1991: Satellite television was launched in the form of the HongKong based Star TV with its 39-nation footprint. Star TV transformed
the face of Indian television, with its multiple channels and aggressive
market-driven entertainment programming. Other private channels
follow such as Zee TV, Sony TV, Sun, and Gemini. Doordarshan's
revenues were fast depleted.
February 1995: A landmark Supreme Court judgement ruling declared
that " airwaves are a public property”. They have to be controlled and
regulated by a public authority in the interest of the public and to
prevent the invasion of their rights. The judgement outlines autonomy
for Prasar Bharati and opens broadcasting to private players.
1996: A Broadcasting Bill is drafted which is an apex legislation on
broadcasting. The Bill subsumed the Prasar Bharati Act of 1990 by
spelling out autonomy for the Broadcasting Authority of India (to
replace the role of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) to
regulate public and
private broadcasting. The Bill also layed down guidelines for granting
licenses to satellite, terrestrial and cable broadcasters to establish and
operate radio and TV channels to the "highest techno-commercially
acceptable bidder."
August 1998: the Prasar Bharati Act was passed by the Lower House
of Parliament, with an amendment that the Broadcasting Authority
would be overseen by a 32-member parliamentary committee.
2000: The approval of the Convergence Bill generated considerable
expectations in the public domain, but soon frittered away into
cynicism: the objective of the Convergence Bill was to establish a new
“converged” regulatory framework to promote and develop the
communications sector (including broadcasting, telecommunications
and “multimedia”) in an environment of increasing convergence of
technologies, services and service providers.
The Convergence Bill proposed to repeal and replace existing sector
laws, including:
- the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885;
- the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933;
- the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995;
- the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
The main objectives of the Convergence Bill were to facilitate the
development of a national communications infrastructure, in order to
provide a wide choice of services to consumer, to establish a regulatory
framework that addressed the convergence of technologies, to define
the powers and roles of a single regulatory and licensing authority for
broadcasting, telecommunications and multimedia and to establish a
basis for codes and standards for broadcasting content.
2006: The new Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill is passed: it
gives sweeping draconian powers to the Government to effectively precensor and cripple media organizations, thus violating - if abused - the
fundamental right of free speech. The Broadcasting Services
Regulation Bill provides that the Government may at any time direct
the licensing authority (Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India) to
suspend or revoke a broadcasting service's license, if the service is
"considered prejudicial to public order, communal harmony or security
of the state."
From such a framework, it is easy to recognize how the media scenario
has changed in the last years.
The economic boom of the country (whose GDP growth recovered to
an estimated 8.5% growth in 2005/06), and the political reforms (which
have introduced the privatization of
telecommunications since 1994) have contributed to a proliferation of
means and programs of communication.
Better roads and transport, ameliorated infrastructures, the world-wide
web and computerised operation have made news-gathering and
transmission easier than ever. More competition and more options to
the consumer seems to be good news for everybody concerned.
Seldom there has been a more vibrant, promising and confusing
scene as in recent years.
Hundreds of television channels have come up to provide viewers
options they never had before.
FM radio stations in select cities appear to have done a reasonably
successful job of re-defining entertainment. Better films are being made
than ever before and short films, documentaries and even regional
films, thanks to TV, are increasingly making their mark.
India is the only country in the world where, at the same time,
newspaper readership and internet penetration are on the rise.
Tele-density in the country was 2% in 1999 but jumped to 9.5% in
2006. There were just about 50 TV channels in 1996 but the number is
close to 300 in 2006. India is the second largest television market in the
world after the United States.
Wireless subscriber base stood at 62 million in August 2005 and is
projected to reach 200 million by 2007. India adds thousands of new
cell phone subscribers every day.
The possibilities, therefore, look immense for expansion of the market
for goods and services. With the economy growing at a faster pace and
the country becoming demographically younger, it is scarcely
surprising that the Indian media are undergoing a period of renewal.
3.2 India Media Index: Urban vs Rural
Today Indian mass media comprises over 300 TV channels, 50,000
newspapers and magazines,
around 300 radio stations, a thousand feature films in 18 languages
made every year, and a plethora of print, electronic, digital and
telecommunications media.
According to the latest FICCI-Price-Waterhouse Cooper Report
(2007) 33, the Indian media and entertainment industry is worth over
two hundred billion dollars and is projected to grow at the rate of 1820% per annum.
A quick overview of the present Indian media scenario indicates: 34
- Radio having the maximum population reach (97.3%) followed by
television (425 million).
81 in 1000 people own a radio.
33 www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/IMG/pdf/KevalKumar.pdf
34 The following data have been provided by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
- The unmatched reach of Doordarshan – the public television
broadcaster of India - (350 million), especially in rural areas, despite
the rapid increases in satellite television reach (70 million).
61 in 1000 people own a television. 50 out of every 100 Indian women
watch TV or listen to the radio regularly.
- The very low reach of print media due to a literacy rate of 64% for
men and 39% for women, characterised by an almost exclusively
urban, educated readership profile. There are 31 newspapers per 1000
people in India. Average hours a week an Indian spends reading a
newspaper/magazine: 2.1.
- The low access to telephones (13 per 1000 inhabitants) and email.
- The flagging fortunes of traditional and folk media, street theatre.
15 out of every 100 Indian women watch a movie at a theatre once a
- An emerging role of ICTs.
The scenario varies from State to State and from urban to rural areas.
Press reach has stabilized in urban India at 45% while in rural India it is
at 19% 35.
Terrestrial TV has the widest reach among all media in rural India with
a huge 41.9% of the population watching TV at least once a week: in
urban areas the percentage reaches a huge 81.4%.
Radio has a share of 24.6%, followed by newspapers, which have a
17.3% penetration.
Cinema and Cable TV have roughly an 8% share each while the
internet has an insignificant penetration level.
In spite of the rapid technological advancements in communications,
which might convey an image of India as a global interconnected
country, the country carries a great disparity between media users.
India’s society is still strong characterized by a social divide
among classes that is also reflected in the unpair media reachness to
those strata of the populations which are more in need of information.
Many people still believe in the caste system and treat others based on
their caste. These problems lead to a more closed off climate where
media and ICTs can not flourish as greatly.
35 http://www.nri-worldwide.com/cgi-local/ts.pl?action=fetch&area=statisticsofindia
The social divide is made sharper by the predominat use of English in
the media programming. Today India has about 350 million people who
use English as a second language, but in a population of one billion,
they are not a majority, and the chasm between India's Englishspeaking elite and the rest of India has been hitherto great and
unbridgeable. Despite the fact that there are 15 national languages
recognized by the Indian Government and that only one-third of the
population is able to read, English alone accounts for roughly 40% of
all Indian editing, thanks partly no doubt to textbook consumption and
Government printing.
To the social and linguistic divide, it be should added the digital
divide between urban and rural areas.
Access to media and technology in rural areas is constrained by low
infrastructure parameters like electricity and telephone lines.
Rural India consists of about 127 million households of which only
54% comes in contact with any of the conventional media, like press,
TV, satellite, radio or cinema. That means roughly 238 million are
waiting to be tapped by the conventional media.
The following data shows that rural communities still rely to a
large extent on traditional means of communication which do not
adequately satisfy their information needs.
Table 1: Access to sources of information and communications for the rural poor in
India (per cent)
Not available
Source: Rao, S.S., "Knowledge management in India's rural community projects", Online Information 2002
Proceedings, Learned Information, Oxford, pp.29-38.
It could be affirmed that conveying information to the less developed
strata of the population is not a priority of the Government. The shift of
India from a state directed economy to one based on the market has
resulted in a shift of communication priorities from a pro-development
to a pro-market focus.
The accent today is on state support for the infrastructures of
globalization (e.g. the software economy, ICT development, the media
industries) and on the harmonization of the Indian communication
policies environment with externally generated global requirements.
Consequently there is little support for media practises or institutions
that are not pro-market oriented.
Moreover both media and governance in India suffer from serious
problems, which at times, even feed into each other.
Suspension of civil liberties, excessive militarisation, communal
assertions and homogenising tendencies have too often spelled doom
for Indian democracy and freedom of expression.
3.2.1 Print Media in Rural India
Nowadays India has the largest number of daily newspapers in the world (5364)
published in over 100 languages. Their combined circulation has increased from
20 million (1990) to 32 million (2005).
One Indian newspaper – The Times of India – ranks 10th among the top-selling
newspapers in the world (all other nine newspapers are Asian).
Cost of press advertising has increased by 906% since 1985.
The press accounts for 66% of total media ad revenue.
One out of every two publications is either in Hindi or in English.
70 % of the country's newspaper circulation is controlled by 7 families or
Rural newspapers are increasing in number.
Given national literacy rates as low as 51%, the very limited reach of
newspapers and magazines, and the distinctly urban educated
readership profile, the role of print media has been defined more in
terms of information dissemination and advocacy.
Leading dailies have over the last few years dropped their
special sections devoted to development and health. The low literacy
rates and high production costs have also stymied the possibilities of
smaller alternative publications that could potentially reflect the
concerns of the development sector. Indian publishers are making an
aggressive push to increase newspapers’ circulation in rural villages:
the urban press markets are in fact stagnating and advertising has been
mostly taken away by TV channels.
Thanks to increasing distribution centers, improved road network, and
the hiring stringers to send news from very local centers for separate
district pages, rural India is developing the newspaper reading habit.
While panchayats remain the main subscribers (they receive
newspapers because the Government foots the bill) there has been a
discernible increase in subscriptions from rural households as well
(even though the price of a rural daily newspaper is normally high around RS 3 36). Most of the subscribers are village dhabas, teashops,
Government employees, students, local businessmen, and traders who
mostly read information on mandi, the state market .
Rural newspapers have brought about a cultural revolution,
made possible by a complex of factors: growing literacy, improved
communications, increased purchasing power, and increased
information aspirations in a population that already gets some news
from radio and television.
Anyway, it is still not clear if rural newspapers are achieving
good outcomes on the development front.
If the big city press is obsessed with celebrities, the rural press is
obsessed with crime, usually petty crime, which finds an inordinately
amount of space in the local pages. The considered view is that while
newspapers are anxious to be local and to be read, they have no sense
of how to use their forum to provide purposeful coverage and they are
too much focused on local/regional news.
Moreover, while men of the rural villages have proved to read the
newspaper for crime news and gossip, normally women have a low
access to news: whatever little news they get, they get them from radio
and television.
Despite this, some outstanding examples of rural newspapers,
whose content is based on development issues, can be recognized:
- "Grassroots" published in English and Hindi by a non-profit trust of
the Press Institute of India (PII): it is a monthly selection of rural
reportage from a wide range of local and community newspapers from
different part of the country. Though the space given to human
development is limited and sporadic in individual newspapers, a
36 RS 56 are equal to 1 euro.
month’s selection in "Grassroots" provide model of coverage of urgent
rural issues that need to be brought to public attention. Regional
training workshops are organized to sensitize local journalists and teach
the special skills in making rural reportage. A considerable number of
mainstream newspapers are now using "Grassroots" as a source of
rural news features.
- “Janavani” (People's Voice) launched in Orissa in January 2007.
During the last three months of publication, the social daily has
highlighted the issues and problems of the rural poor, dalits (the
untouchables) and adivasis (indigenous people) in villages in Orissa.
The survey on coverage of development issues focus on five major
themes - social development and poverty alleviation, women and
development, child rights, dalits and tribal/indigenous people and
human rights. Priced at RS 1, the four-page daily's aim is to establish its
presence across the 50,000-odd villages in Orissa, though it only has a
50% presence so far.
3.2.2 Television in Rural India
65 million of the 170 million households in the country own televisions. Of this,
17 million homes have cable connections.
40 % of Indian homes in towns below 100,000 population are connected to cable
TV. Doordarshan, the state channel, has a population reach of 330 million.
Satellite channels reach a population of 70 million. Number of programme hours
increased from 1500 per month to 25,000 in the last 10 years. 50.8% of TV
programme content is entertainment, followed by 13.3% of news and 9.6%
Indian television system is one of the most extensive systems in the
world. Terrestrial broadcasting, which has been the sole preserve of the
Government, provides television coverage to over 90% of India's 900
million people. The total television viewership of 415 million is
amongst the world's highest.
Table 2: Tv penetration in India
Television sets
Cable connections
70 million 105 million
25 million 52 million
119 million
62 million
Source: New York Times, February 2007, CII-KPMG Report
Television was introduced as late as in 1959 and the broadcasts started
from Delhi.
The Government had been reluctant to invest in television until then
because it was felt that a poor country like India could not afford the
medium. Television had to prove its role in the development process
before it could gain a foot-hold in the country.
At the beginning programs were broadcasted twice a week for an hour
a day on such topics as community health, citizens duties and rights,
traffic and road sense.
In 1961 the broadcasts were expanded to include a school
educational television project. In time, Indian films and programs
consisting of compilation of musicals from Indian films joined the
program line-up as the first entertainment programs. A limited number
of old U.S. and British shows were also telecasted sporadically.
In these early years television, like radio, was considered a facilitator of
the development process and its introduction was justified by the role it
was asked to play in social and economic development.
Television was institutionalized as an arm of the Government, since the
Government was the chief architect of political, economic and social
development in the country.
In 1976, the Government constituted Doordarshan, the national
television network, as a separate Department under the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting.
Doordarshan was set up as an attached office under the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting - a half-way house between a public
corporation and a Government department. In practice, however,
Doordarshan operated much like a Government department, at least as
far as critical issues of policy planning and financial decision-making
were concerned.
International satellite television was introduced in India by
CNN through its coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. Three months later
Hong Kong based StarTV (now owned by Rupert Murdoch's News
Corp.) started broadcasting five channels into India using the
ASIASAT-1 satellite. Taking advantage of the growth of the satellite
television audience, a number of Indian satellite based television
services were launched between 1991 and 1994, prominent among
them ZeeTV, the first Hindi satellite channel.
By the end of 1994 there were 12 satellite based channels available in
India, all of them using a handful of different satellites.
The proliferation of channels has put great pressure on the Indian
television programming industry. With Indian audiences clearly
preferring locally produced program over foreign programs, the new
television services are spending heavily on the development of
indigenous programs. The number of hours of television programming
produced in India has increased 500% from 1991 to 2005 and is
expected to grow at an ever faster rate until the year 2010.
In a bid to give themselves a halo of social responsibility, some
channels broadcast programmes with a veneer of public interest:
edutainment soap like Hum Log that incorporate socially relevant
themes such as women's education and empowerment, interactive talk
shows on whether smoking should be banned, and open forums with
Government representatives responding to audience queries on human
rights abuses or consumer rights are getting more and famous.
Until fairly recently, most of the 75% of Indian rural population
were isolated from external media influence. As these villages
modernize and gain access to services once thought to be limited to an
urban environment, basic human needs began to change. Television,
once though as a luxury, has in the past 10-15 years become a
Television arrived in the rural villages in the mid-1980s and its initial
novelty has since worn off.
Indian villages have suddenly been propelled into electronic
information age. The communities that used to be defined by their own
oral traditions and stories are now being partially structured and
reorganized by the medium of television.
Family and community bonds are being replaced by national and
international corporate structures through advertising and other means.
The rapid increase in the consumption of goods and services marks a
new stage in the development and evolution of village India.
40% of all Indian are under the age of 15 and it is the group, in
urban as well as in rural areas, that watches television the most. Village
children and teenagers are exposed to a variety of TV programs and
advertising. This influence is mostly noticeable in their approach to
clothes, their concepts of beauty and their commitment to modern
The older generations have a different view of television as it relates to
consumerism in the village. The majority of the older villagers argue
that television is having a negative impact on the young people.
The influence of television on rural life is witnessed in many aspects:
-politically: traditionally one’s social standing was determined by
heredity and economic influence. The traditional elite monopolized
information and dispensed it selectively. This information was often
important not only economically but politically as well. Today,
television has ensured that information is no longer filtered down by
the elite but villagers of all strata of the community have access to the
same information. This has resulted in the younger, less powerful
villagers challenging the authority and position of the traditional elite.
-economically: though a class structures has always existed in the rural
villages, today the accumulation of consumer products including
television has created a new class climate. If in the past ownership of
the land, access to water and the ability to hire labour were important
indicators of one’s economic standing in the village community, today
the ownership of consumer products is a significant contributor to one’s
class position.
Television has contributed to expanding the entrepreneurial class, by
equally informing viewers about markets and methods.
-socially: television acts as a catalyst bringing together men and women
of all ages on a regular basis in close proximity for an extended period
of time. Such closeness has created new types of relationships among
people of different ages and genders. One does not have to be literate or
educated to watch TV.
-linguistic hegemony: India is considered one of the most diverse
nations in the world. It has more than 15 official languages and
hundreds of dialects. Television - just as the film industry - has opted
for Hindi as the dominant language. Moreover, with the introduction of
satellite television, Hindi and English are the predominant languages on
the air.
- migration: television encourages migration out of the villages to
regional urban environment. Most villagers who migrate to big cities
like Mumbai or Pune, do it for achieving a better life. Especially in
Western India, migration of young males (18-35) from the villages is
the norm.
According to data of the Ministry of Information, there are an estimated
22 million television sets in rural India. In terms of access to television
in their homes that means 122 million or 18% of the total estimated
rural population of 684 million are now able to do so.
The number of TV homes has been growing at the rate of 3-4 million
per year. Taking these figures into account, it is now estimated that the
total TV homes in India stand at 55 million.
A look at the market variations in rural TV ownership reveals some
interesting features. For instance, the striking differences across the
states surveyed. In some of the Northern States such as Punjab,
Haryana and Himachal Pradesh over 40% of the rural population have
access to TV at home. Eastern States like West Bengal, Orissa and
Bihar - which are the poorest - report a penetration of under 15%.
Analysing the data for growth in satellite television in rural India, it
was found that while television ownership may be decided by
economic prosperity, going for a cable connection was dictated by two
added conditions: an interest in language programming and the viability
of cable operation in the area. It emerged, only a tiny 2-3% of the
overall rural population watch satellite television at home. Change,
however, was breezing in on the tailcoats of channels with Tamil,
Telugu and Kannada programming. It was found that the availability of
long hours of film-based programmes had motivated a sizeable number
of rural homes in these language regions to acquire a cable connection.
Though television started in India as a limited developmental tool
orchestrated by the Government, the medium today has blossomed into
one of the largest competitive industries in the world.
BOX 1 – A Famous Experiment of Rural TV for Development
The Indian Satellie Instructional TV Experiment (SITE), conducted more than thirty
years ago in 1975-6, is still probably the largest communications experiment of modern
times. SITE was a totally indigenous collaborative project conducted by several
Ministries of the Government of India.
For the first time ever, a satellite transmitted programmes directly to TV sites in remote
rural villages, with great success. Four hours of locally made programming were
transmitted daily on agriculture, health, family planning, nutrition and education.
The project was undertaken to help shape a development support national TV system
for India that would be equally available both to urban dwellers and rural viewers. The
programmes were to provide non formal education in agriculture and health to village
communities: formal education for primary school children and teachers and, by
promoting Indian culture, to create a sense of unity and belonging among the nation’s
different linguistic groups. So the aim was to find out how to design a TV system for
both economic and politcal ends. The space agency hoped that SITE would provide
general guidelines on programme content, TV forms, organizational structures,
hardware, costs and project management systems for rural development.
Programmes were videotaped for six States in 4 languages at the specially set up
studios in Delhi, Cuttack and Hyderabad. List of the topics were specifies by the
respective ministries: i.e the Agriculture Ministry specified the agriculture topics, the
Ministry of Education specified the topics for the primary school broadcast and so on.
The satellite was NASA responsability: ISRO handled all hardware ground system for
trnasmission and reception. ISRO was also responsable for village TV receiver design,
deployment and mantainance. Each SITE state goverment was responsable for
electrifying the building which housed the TV set, paying the electricity bills and
appointing a paid caretaker to switch the TV set on and lock it up at the end of the day.
Day to day coordination of specific operations across Ministries was handled by setting
up groups of working-level people.
Four hours of programmes were transmitted daily during the SITE year. A typical
weekday consisted of 22 minutes of morning school programmes: one utility item, one
entertaining item, and one information item. In the first month of SITE only 70% of sets
were operational because of unexpected violent monsoon winds and floods that cut off
approach roads. The situationn improved rapidly and by the fourth month 94% of sets
were in operation.
The average audience was composed of about 300 people per set (30% children, 50%
adults, 20% adult females). The small farmers and landless labourers formed the
greater part of the audience. After the novelty wore off, attendance decreased and
farmers came only a week to watch drama, because they already new most of the
information fromother sources. TV viewing increased contact with the village-level
extension agent. The need for more than one community receiver was felt in big
villages. Level of improvements wer high after a year. There were significant gains in
knowledge of preventive health measures, of varieties of animal breeds, but there was
general no gains in general agricultural knowledge partly because techniques varies
from State to State.
In general the magnitude of gains was greater for lower castes, for illiterates, for
females, for low income groups and for those who reported regular TV viewing.
Children exposed to TV in the school showed increases in their language
The aim was not to achieve some hypothetical state of development after villagers had
been exposed to TV for a year: no one wondered whether such measures as the
improvement of teachng methods, could ever lead to changes in the unequal
distribution of wealth, power and privilege, which is at the root of the development
problem. Unwittingly, the glamorous media may have helped distract attention from the
need for more basic economic changes in the opportunities available for the havenots.
3.2.3 Radio in Rural India
There are 104 million radio households in the country, and approximately 111
million radio setsRadio covers 98.5% of the country's population and 91% of the
country's geographical area.
There are a total of 186 radio broadcasting centers (March 2005). There are 148
medium wave transmitters, 51 short wave transmitters and 94 VHF/FM
Radio broadcasting is done in 24 languages and 146 dialects. Listening hours
per week in 1991 as compared to 1995 are: regular (6-7 days) 54.1 and 49.3
hours; frequent (3-5 days) 23.2 and 27.3 hours; occasional (1-2 days) 14.8 and
15.7 hour.
Radio is still the basic media for mass communication in a developing
country like India with a penetration of 98.5%, according to recent
surveys. Radio as a medium has grown by 691%, and is the fastest
growing in India, besides the Internet.
The Government has indicated that its long-term plan is to have 150
FM stations across 40 cities; besides Mumbai, private FM is also
present in Bangalore, Indore, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Delhi,
Chennai and Kolkata.
Research has shown that radio offers effective penetration into certain
demographics like the youth and working men; the latter, in particular,
are upwardly mobile high spenders and light consumers of other media
like TV and print. Besides, radio is the only medium, besides outdoor,
which uses a consumer's "dead time" during a commute or another
activity, and offers the added advantage of interactivity.
Radio plays an important role. It can reach communities who
live in areas with no phones and no electricity. And it reaches people
who can't read or write. Even in very poor communities, radio
penetration is vast.
Private radio is a relative newcomer to India's broadcasting scene.
Since they were sanctioned in 2000, India's private radio stations are
only allowed to broadcast entertainment and not news and information
programmes. So music-based FM stations have proliferated in India's
cities. But only public All India Radio (AIR) was permitted to
broadcast news on the radio. However, in late 2002 the Government
gave the go-ahead to educational institutions to set up their own lowpower FM stations.
Some efforts have been made to use radio for social change, as in the
case of the state-supported radio rural forums for agricultural
communication in the 1960s, or to promote adult literacy in the 1980s.
More recently NGOs have helped broadcast programmes on women
and legal rights, emergency contraception and teleserials advocating
girls' education.
Rural radio are generally perceived as a force for good, providing both
education and entertainment where these might otherwise not exist.
A key need in India is for local broadcasting that reflects issues of
concern to the community.
In this regard, some communication experts believe that an increased
and accelerated commercialisation of radio will eventually drive down
the costs of FM radio sets, thus facilitating local radio. The increasing
devolution of political power initiated through the 73rd and 74th
Amendment to the Constitution in 1988-89 has also set a climate
conducive for the empowerment of communities and local governance.
A key area requiring attention, therefore, is advocacy for community
radio and the provision of training to NGOs and communities to use
this medium for articulating their concerns, as one Bangalore-based
NGO is currently doing.
Two outstanding examples of rural radio are the following ones:
- Panchayat Vani (People's Voice): it’s an innovative communitybased radio programme recently broadcasted on All India Radio (AIR)
Darbhanga, which has been spreading awareness about the functioning
of panchayati raj institutions in Muzaffarpur, Madhubani and Khagaria
districts of Bihar. In villages across nine Indian States listeners are
getting hooked on to radio shows featuring women sarpanches and
journalists fighting social and economic inequities through panchayati
raj institutions. In the process, listeners are spurred on to participate in
local institutions of self-governance themselves.
- Mana Radio: it’s a community radio station run by members of the
women's Self Help Groups (SHG) in Orvakal village, Kurnool district,
Andhra Pradesh. The SHG members actively involved in running the
station are all from rural poor families, mostly d alits and minorities.
Many of these women are minimally educated and have had no media
production exposure whatsoever. They, however, are now capable of
producing varied radio content. The women hope that the radio will
help them better deal with the issues facing them and in spreading
3.2.4 Traditional Theatre in Rural India
Traditional folk media forms, once a favourite for communication
efforts, are today precariously placed. Some agencies and NGOs
continue to use street theatre, magic, puppetry, traditional folk dances
and melas (fairs) especially in rural areas. Some of these efforts are
hugely successful in awareness creation, social mobilisation and in
facilitating interpersonal communication. However, the absence of
funding and technical support, their inherent fluid structure and the
difficulty in monitoring and evaluation have rendered them near-relics
in today's environment. So much so that a Bangalore-based NGO,
while using such traditional folk forms, also feels compelled to address
the basic survival needs of folk artistes such as provision of basic
wages, training, pensions and other schemes.
3.2.5 Telecommunications in Rural India
Telephones main lines in use: 49. 75 million (2005)
Telephones main lines in use density: 45 telephones- main lines in use per 1000
Telephones mobile cellular: 166.1 million (2006) Number of urban public call
offices (PCOs) from 338 to 400,000
Number of rural telephones from nil to 2,400,000
There are 23,406 telephone exchanges, 21,260,000 lines and 17, 800, 000
telephone connections (March 1998)
62855 villages have been provided with public telephones in 2005. 18.5 million
additional lines are planned by the year 2010; private operators are to provide
5.2 million of these lines.
Telecommunications have played a critical role in shaping India's
march towards progress and the importance they hold for the future of
India cannot be overstated.
Telecommunication Services were introduced in India soon
after their invention in late 19th century by the British, not for meeting
any socio-economic objectives but with the purpose of meeting the
requirements of the Government in matter of defense, law and order,
general administration and revenue collection.
The national investment in telecom in the first six five-year Plans since
1950 hovered between 1.4 and 2.7 % of the Gross Domestic Product
(GDP). Only after 1985 did things start looking up for telecom, with
the investments jumping up to 3.6 % of GDP in the Seventh Plan
(1985-90) and 11.9 % in the Eighth Plan (1992-97). The Eleventh Five
Year Plan (2007-2013) has a plan of 13 % of GDP to be invested on the
Telecommunications Infrastructure.
Telephone traffic in rural areas is mainly confined to villages
that are close by or to villages within the same telecom center itself.
DOT (Department of Telecommunications) along with C-DOT (Center
for Department of Telematics) has till date provided telephone
connections to about 0.2 million villages and a lot still needs to be done
because new rural economic development requires a reliable
infrastructure of enhanced telecommunications. The DOT has various
policy plans for the rural Telecom sector according to regions (like the
North East Region Plan for North Eastern States that are located on a
mountainous terrain and are in most need of proper communication
facilities) and programs (like the Tribal Sub-Plan which should
provide telephone facilities practically on demand in tribal and rural
Rural residents deserve an equal opportunity to participate in the
national economy and determine their own destiny. Particular emphasis
should be given to the role of telecommunications technology in
enabling rural citizens to integrate effectively in the Indian economy
and then the new Global Economy.
To such regard, the Government intends to link the country's huge rural
population, as well as its own district offices, to the telecoms network.
Only about 27% of India's 1bn people live in cities; the rest live in
more than 600,000 villages. At present, the telecoms network connects
only about 4,500 towns and cities and 65,000 villages. To address this
issue, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
has developed Vision 2010 to guide the telecoms sector.
The ten-point plan, released in December 2006, sets out a
number of goals focusing on "connecting the unconnected parts of the
country", in the words of the communications and IT minister,
Dayanidhi Maran. These include having 500m mobile phone
subscriptions, having 85% of the country covered by a mobile network;
having a mobile penetration rate of 90%; and having 80m mobile
connections in rural areas by 2010. To this end, the Ministry plans to
make available mobile handsets costing just Rs1,000 (US$25) by early
2008. The mobile industry players are eyeing rural India as their new
area of opportunity.
Although a huge market in the urban segment remains tapped, most of
the cellular operators have turned towards rural India to broaden their
base and reach. So the real growth is expected from this geography in
near future.
3.2.6 The Internet
India is now in the 4th place in terms of Internet users.
The percentage penetration is still low but has increased significantly from 0.1%
in 1998 to 4.5% in 2005.
The growing popularity of cybercafés has been playing a big role in fuelling
Internet development in India.
Low cost of broadband has also helped increase Internet usage.
E-commerce and high demand for “.in” domain registrations are also factors for
the increase in online users.
The ".in" domain registrations surpassed 150,000.
The Internet population is expected to grow to 100 million by 2007.
There are 60 milion Internet subscribers (2005).
"Information is critical to the social and economic activities that
comprise the development process. Internet, as a means of sharing
information, is not simply a connection between people, but a link in
the chain of the development process itself." [Hudson 1995]
Internet adoption is growing in India. According to the Internet
& Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) the low cost of broadband has
helped increase Internet usage.
E-commerce and high demand for “.in” domain registrations are also
factors for the increase in online users. The ".in" domain registrations
surpassed 150,000.
Broadband policy and other initiatives by the IT and Telecom Ministry
encourage increased adoption. A monthly broadband subscription costs
as little as 199 rupees (US $4.50).
A second factor is the IT Telecom Ministry initiative to make
computers available for purchase under 10,000 rupees (US $226). In
addition to working with hardware manufacturers to remove the
financial barrier for households in India, the organization continues to
push development of language fonts to remove language and
localization of content issues.
According to IAMAI, a trade association representing the online
content and advertising, e-commerce and mobile content and
advertising industry, Indians go online for a number of activities
including e-mail and IM (98%); job search (51%); banking (32%); bill
payment (18%); stock trading (15%); and matrimonial search (15%).
PC penetration in rural India is as low as 0.58% (Asia is at 3.31% and
world average is at 8.42%).
The cost of computers is still beyond the purchasing power of majority
of individuals.
Internet is usually available only in urban centres, where most
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have their market.
Accessibility is also hindered by language barriers - information
resources invariably require an ability to understand English - a lack of
suitable content and applications in local languages.
The telecom spread of basic services to rural areas is not complete.
Financing of the telecom sector has been traditionally through central
Government owned companies. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Lmited (BSNL)
and Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) held a monopoly until
March 2003. They provided services like basic telephone lines, telex
and leased lines but now private companies (Hutchinson and Reliance
Infocomm) dominate the market of value added services like internet
mobile and international long distance.
Village Public Telephones cover 80 % of rural villages. Village
people have little opportunity to connect to Internet, so they are
uninformed of the socio-economic benefits that connectivity might
bring. Also, due to the quasi-absence of demonstration projects in some
countries, very limited information is available to assess and to
advocate the impact of Information and Communication Technologies
for development.
Recognising that access to information and information
technologies play a key role in development, especially given the
constraints of the mass media, groups of non-profit documentation
centers in the country have developed communications systems such as
Indialink and Dianet that are focussed solely on development issues.
By providing connectivity to grassroots NGOs and emphasising the
documentation and information from within the country, these efforts
have facilitated greater grassroots involvement in development and
South-South dialogue. However, the extremely low access to internet –
there are a mere 90,000 internet subscribers in the country, bringing the
density to below decimal points – is a key aspect. A World Bank
funded project for National Agricultural Technology envisages a
similar democratisation through the establishment of "information
kiosks" in rural areas. The proposed project sees the expansion of
public pay-phone offices that have mushroomed all over the country,
including rural areas, into centers with computers for the inputting and
accessing of data relevant to rural populations.
Some of the immediate and discernible advantages that
improved telecommunications in rural areas would bring are:
-Reducing rural-to-urban migration by providing potential for improved
employment and livelihood in rural areas through small business and
microenterprise development.
-Enabling immediate access to assistance during civil emergencies and
natural disasters.
-Improving access to health extension services. For example,
telemedicine services, including remote diagnosis and treatment advice.
- Increasing access to up-to-date market and price information, greatly
reducing the opportunity cost of transactions for farmers and ruralbased traders.
- Aiding education services, including distance learning.
- Accountability, transparency, and efficiency of Government
operations can be increased through information systems developed in
rural areas.
The final solution for providing service to rural areas in India requires a
delicate blend of appropriate technological choices in combination with
management and financing mechanisms, initiated at the Governmental
level, to support the development of rural providers.
Community Computer and Internet kiosks have emerged as the
preferred medium for bringing the benefits of the information and
communication technologies (ICTs) to rural communities in developing
countries. These kiosks are being used to deliver a host of services such
as education, health care, agriculture, e-Government, and
communication (email, voice mail). The National E-Governance Action
Plan of the Government of India has placed great emphasis on these
kiosks as the main vehicle for delivering e-Government services in
rural areas.
Over the past few years, a large number of such rural kiosks have been
established in many States across the country. It is estimated that over
600 rural kiosks are functioning in Tamil Nadu alone.
Most of these are run by individual self-employed entrepreneurs and
NGOs; but now women self-help groups are also coming forward to
run them. The kiosks are mostly operated on a fee-per-service
commercial business model. They have developed partnerships with the
public and private agencies for delivering their services.
These kiosks are increasingly being seen as the most suitable medium
for bridging the urban-rural digital divide by bringing some benefits to
the hitherto unserved rural population.
However, recent worldwide research on their diffusion has shown that
they may be reaching only the socially, economically and educationally
better off sections within their communities. They may not be
effectively reaching the socially and economically disadvantaged
sections and women. Researches carried out in Tamil Nadu reveals that
though the technology itself is considered gender-neutral, women in the
households often lack independence, the decision making power and
financial resources to make use of the kiosk services fully.
Thus, unintentionally, they may be creating a new digital divide within
these communities and also leaving women behind in the information
Another attribute of the kiosks that affects their diffusion is the
perception that the technology is complex and therefore only the
educated people can understand and use it. The very image of a
computer which they can use only with the help of an external operator
is too complex for them.
Moreover in most cases, the kiosk operators personally contact the
households within the village to tell them about the kiosk. The mass
media has also been used to create awareness, but only sporadically.
However, the interpersonal communication by the operators has been
limited mainly to those households that belong to the relatively higher
socioeconomic strata within the village. The main reason for this is the
perception among the operators that only these users can afford to pay
for the services. The locations of these kiosks are in areas where the
upper strata households live. Though this has been done to make the
kiosks financially viable by attracting the relatively higher income
households, the SC/ST households find it difficult to come and use
them as these are located far away from their habitations.
More and more e-Government services are available through the
kiosks, which save time and costs, in terms of a reduced number of
visits to the Government offices and less corruption, to the users. The
same logic applies to other services such as for agriculture, health care,
education, communication, etc.
A related aspect is to design and deliver appropriate and localised
content through the kiosks. At present, the content provided is mostly
standardised content available from the web. Serious efforts need to be
made to make the content relevant and localised to attract a larger
number of users. It is especially true for women, for whom the relevant
content available at present is severely limited.
It is imperative that any benefits of ICTs are shared equitably by all
sections of society. As kiosks become more and more ubiquitous in our
countryside, it is important not to exclude large strata of the population
from their benefits.
3.3 The Correlation between Media and Development in India
The previous analysis has provided a picture of the Indian media
penetration, mainly focused on the rural areas.
Although some initiatives have successfully been carried on in
the rural context, it is evident that private and Governmental budgets as a consequence of globalisation and liberalization - are more focused
on “infotainment” and less on satisfying the demands of rural areas for
Media might help in bridging gaps, in innovating the existing social
equilibrium and in fighting against socio-economic problems towards a
knowledge-based society. But concrete development can only be
achieved thorough more inclusive practises in which people –and not
exclusively media - can be agents of their own changes; access without
inclusiveness is like information without communication.
Davis (2006) observes that “…even if we are presently unable to
measure and determine objectively media's influence within societies,
it’s clear that development can’t take place without information and a
legal framework that facilitates the circulation of news and ideas”.
In order to foster development through media, the Government of India
- develop a regulatory framework – up to now absent- that defines
public service broadcasting to include not only state-owned media
but all non-commercial broadcasting. This would empower nonprofit institutions such as community organisations, universities, local
bodies and NGOs to participate in development communication. This
was suggested in a privately drafted, more holistic, alternative to the
current Broadcasting Bill, the Prasar Sewa Bill, which was drawn up
by a group of communication and media experts in 1995. This draft bill
suggests that there should be three streams of broadcasting – public
service broadcasting funded by the State, market-driven satellite
broadcasting including cable, terrestrial and satellite services, and
community service broadcasting by autonomous citizens groups,
universities, trusts and NGOs to make more programmes reflecting
local realities. However, the draft bill has not been taken into
- develop better, need based media stories and programmes;
- decentralise the provision of training for communities to enable
local broadcasting and community media. Putting communication
resources in the hands of the community is a sine qua non for
participatory communication;
- sensitisation and training of media professionals from print, radio
and television (the broadcast media are often excluded from such
efforts) in social development issues;
- strengthening linkages between media trends and communication
investments of development organisations.
Small autonomous media, like for example the community media,
which are designed by and for the communities, have to struggle to
receive legitimacy by the Government. In many cases, such initiatives –
which are mainly promoted by NGOs and imply a bottom-up approach
to communication - remain isolated projects, struggling at periphery of
a contrasting and often iniquitous media landscape.
If in fact the Supreme Court Judgement 37 of 1995 has endorsed that
‘airwaves are public property’, in the practical realm lines between
public and privately remain conveniently blurred and community media
can’t find a proper position.
Moreover, community broadcasting licenses are still rare in India.
While the crux of the problem in several instances might lie
with a reluctant state, civil society needs to get its act together; priority
37 In February 1995, India's Supreme Court held the Government's broadcasting monopoly
unconstitutional and "totally inadequate [for the] broadcasting media."
should be given in issuing programmes especially intended for the
developing rural regions that are backwards in terms of various socioeconomic indicators. This is also based on the fact that the least
developed regions and communities of the country are also least served
by media.
If the denial of information aggravates the poverty gap, information
without communication could be dead wood. Producers of information
need to be able to communicate it in a manner they believe appropriate;
the usual pattern of delivering information should be reviewed by
conveying positive messages and directly encouraging people to
support development projects.
A participatory media approach does not deny the necessity for the
continuation of some the functions performed by private or
Governmental media, but there is a belief that media could and should
do more for development. Advocates of participatory media believe
that through involvement in the process of communications itself,
development can be progressed.
3.4 Community Media: is Local Focal?
Media, when placed in the hands of the community, might become the
machinery through which participation in the socio-political sphere is
Community media determine an exchange of views and news by
the communities for the communities, which is not restricted to the
single transmission of information from one source to another.
“...Community media are adaptations of media for use by the
community, for whatever purposes the community decides. They are
media to which members of the community have access, for
information, education, entertainment, when they want access. They
are media in which the community participates as planner, producer
and performer.” 38
Community-based media are media of, for and by the community.
While they may not have the reach of mainstream media, they certainly
have more depth and interaction because of their inherently
participative character. In many cases, the community members are
both producers and participants. Consequently, the media technology
used is also appropriately targeted by and for the community. These
factors enable substantial scope for sustained feedback.
Community media, according to Kevin Howley 39 (2002), are
distinguished from their commercial and public service counterparts in
three fundamental ways.
First, community media provide local populations with access to
the instruments of media production and distribution. They are an
exciting source of social innovation and practical 'joined up' outcomes.
They reach out to people and communities at risk of exclusion and
disadvantage and they enable people to become media producers, to
reinforce knowledge, dialogue and cultural expression at neighborhood
and community level.
38 Rensburg, R. “Community development: essential contribution or paternalistic
communication?” Dialogus on line, 1994 available at www.unisa.ac.za/dept/kom/d11radio
accessed on 1st of December 2007.
39 Howley, K. “Community Media : People, Places, and Communication Technologies”,
Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Second, the organizational culture of community media stresses
volunteerism over professionalism and promotes participatory
governance and decision-making.
Third, and perhaps most significantly, community media reject
market-oriented approaches to communicative practices and are
philosophically committed to nurturing mutually supportive,
collaborative, and enduring communal relations (Devine, 1991).
In sum, community media play a vital, though largely unacknowledged
role in preserving democratic forms of communication, defending local
cultural autonomy, promoting civil society and rebuilding a sense of
Media theorist Robert McChesney (1997) highlights the implications of
media for democracy on national and international levels.
"... the manner by which the media system is structured, controlled and
subsidized is of central political importance. Control over the means of
communication is an integral aspect of political and economic
Mainstream media are mostly owned and controlled by powerful and
influential elites that routinely have access to such media. As a
consequence, some groups are marginalized and disempowered by their
treatment in the mainstream media, treatment against which they
generally have no remedy.
Significantly, community media represent strategic alliances
between social, cultural and political groups mounting and organizing
resistance to the hegemony of dominant media institutions and
Community media publicize messages that are very often omitted from
mainstream media coverage. In this way they reduce the debilitating
effects of political systems that cater to well-heeled special interests by
enhancing the capacity of local communities to organize themselves
and participate in political processes.
Community media may contribute to:
- reduce the digital divide (as well as rural-urban, wealth and gender
divides) at individual, group and community levels
- give a voice to the voiceless (at household, community, national,
regional and global levels). For example, communication processes can
give rural women a voice to advocate changes in policies, attitudes and
social behavior or customs that negatively affect them
- foster and facilitate community decision-making and action and
empower them to take control of local development processes
- empower communities that should take charge of all aspects of media
initiatives, including deciding priority applications, content, training,
technical management and even financing
- ensure that media serve the purposes of local communities. Through
appropriation, communities select and transform the technologies and
content to fit their needs, rather than reflect the interests of external
Equally important, as a forum for local arts and cultural organizations,
community media support and encourage local cultural production. In
the face of the homogenizing influence of national media industries and
the encroachment of cultural forms produced and distributed by
transnational corporations, community media provide a measure of
local cultural autonomy in an increasingly privatized, global media
environment (e.g. music radios based on foreign music).
In this way, community media play an important cultural role by
encouraging dialogue between diverse components of a community
(this process is integral to community social structure) and by
promoting local appropriation of media. This happens in various ways through news and information programs, talkback, request shows etc.
In such a way, local media both produce and maintain the culture of a
community (Ewart 2000).
"When I think about local appropriation of media, I think of it in terms
of how people appropriate the tools of communication to express and
share ideas that would otherwise go unnoticed by their peers, families,
communities and societies. Community radio, home grown web sites,
participatory video, locally produced newsletters, etc. are great
examples of this. " 40 (Don Richardson, 2001)
40 Richardson D., contribution to the FAO e-forum "The appropriation of traditional and new
media for development - Whose reality counts", December 2001.
3.4.1 State of the Art of Community Media in India
Beyond reform of media organizations and media production
techniques, access and participation have a wide implication; if people
have access to communications media, they can use them to request
further information and convey their views to others.
The simple acquisition of information, of problem-solving and
communicative skills can be extremly useful for rural population, who
are often deprived of basic information.
Most educational programmes which do not focus on rural
concerns but which apply the 'transfer of information' mode have
contributed to rural disruption and to the increase of individual
passivity in relation to rural environment.
In India, for example, rural life has changed little for the better in recent
years, because of the imbalance between the cities and the countryside
and the lack of infrastructures and information that could empower
farmers’ condition.
Rural workers have no voice, and, as a consequence, they are very
often passive, fatalistic, ignorant and superstitious. Normally the
villages of India are reduced to being hapless consumers of media that
is irrelevant to them.
In such a framework, community media might play a significant
role and that’s why they are getting more and more adopted in many
development programmes committed to the empowerment of rural
populations in India.
Such programmes might imply the use of one or more media, according
to the need of the target populations and the budget at disposal, and the
training of local communities carried out by communication experts.
The following sections briefly introduce the state of the art of
community media in India.
- Community radio in India: in November 2006 41 an act has been
passed according to which registered non-profit organizations can
apply for a license to operate a Community Radio Station (CRS): the
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended
41 http://southasia.oneworld.net/article/view/142618/1/2285
news, current affairs and community and local information at the centre
of community radio programs: political and electoral news are not
allowed, but besides that, community radio stations can cover
everything else.
The new policy has not only opened up community radio to NGOs,
self-help groups and other community-based organizations, but has also
allowed them to become self-supporting through limited ad-revenue.
As a consequence there have been several universities (Anna
University in Tamil Nadu, Indira Gandhi National Open University)
across India which have not only evinced interest, but introduced
community radio as a part of their media pedagogy. At the same time,
several development NGOs at the grass roots level have initiated or
facilitated endeavours which demonstrate community participation in
Of course, there is much more to a CRS than just having a license;
there is the operational part that includes 'what' to broadcast, and then
there is the non-operational part, which includes project planning,
execution, and sustenance. Each one of these has sub-assignments like
community-institutional or vice-versa partnership, management,
funding, training, and so forth. All these at the end should converge
into a policy document agreeable to all those involved in the
community radio projects.
- Community Video: in some communities, participatory videos are
shown to spar reflection and discussion, itself part of a participatory
process, rather than as a simple instructional tool. The principle is
simple. Basic training and equipment are provided, and a number of
participatory sessions are run to explore village problems and possible
solutions to them. This enables people to articulate their stories in their
own way. Experience suggests that the various individual and group
communication skills developed for video are very close to leadership
skills and can strengthen local organizational capacity.
In India the most outstanding projects based on community video are:
the SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) project in
Ahmedabad, which has been training poor and illiterate women in the
production and use of video as a tool for empowerment, as an integral
part of their activities since 1984, and the Lok Jumbish education
project in Western Rajasthan, for rural village children who are not able
to attend school classes.
- Community newspapers: they are in the vernacular language, free of
cost and have immediate relevance to the local communities.
Editorially the focus is on the local geographical community issues
concerning a reader in his immediate surroundings and women’s issues.
The attempt is to supply readers with information on municipal,
Government, agriculture, nutrition, NGO’s and other organizations’
projects and programs. Members of the community or neighborhood
might use space in these newspapers for personal purposes. Classifieds
are inserted at very cheap rates or even free of cost: advertisements are
frequent and they are from small local suppliers like tutors, bakeries,
dry cleaners, auto-mechanics, plumbers and other independent
In South India, community newspapers are weekly or
fortnightly. The Adyar Times and the Anna Nagar Times are the bestknown examples of successful community newspapers. The papers are
free with an average of 16 pages, and almost 50 per cent of each paper
contains basic information for daily rural activities.
In the North, particularly in the national capital region of Delhi,
there are several free community newspapers - weekly, fortnightly, or
monthly like Samvada.
In a very recent experiment, children from Haiderpur and Lal Quan two slums of Delhi - have taken initiative to launch their newspapers
and raise issues of local concern. These children, trained in newspaper
reporting in a workshop conducted by two outstanding Indian
journalists, 42 have conceived a hand-written, 8-columns newspaper
with main lead story, interviews, anchor story and pictures. Even
though they live in impoverished conditions with little educational and
social opportunities, they are determined to establish 'credibility' of
their media in the community. They hope it would soon be able to
influence the decision makers so as to ensure better facilities for their
42 Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti.
- Community Traditional Drama, Dance, Song and Story telling:
they are still considered in many ways the focal opportunities for
‘knowledge exchange’; they are normally associated to social
occasions, local festivals, family gathering and religious ceremonies.
Thus, it is not surprising that in many Asian countries like India, theatre
groups can be hired to do shows that carry specific messages. However,
this tends to focus on getting a message out rather than on an
empowerment agenda.
An interesting example of the use of tradition for empowerment
is found in the combination of ‘yatra’ in India (an extended journey,
passing through many places) with traditional media (and even video)
as a means to promote ideas within a wide area. An example was the
Save Narmada campaign that organised a yatra of 6,000 people to tour
the area, which was joined by a total of eight theatre groups to
performed specially written plays. Reportedly, the arrival of the yatra
was a potent empowerment tool, for both participants and the local
communities. The campaign also made extensive use of media
- ICT Community Media: despite many positive aspects, like the
ICTs enabled opportunities for two-way and horizontal communication
and for opening up new communication channels for rural
communities, there are a limited number of cases of community-driven
ICT initiatives or projects mainly due to:
- scarce visibility and coverage of grassroots/community-driven ICT
initiatives (they are not always officially documented or publicised,
even more so if they are not donor-driven)
- many community-based ICT projects are still in a pilot phase and so
far few evaluations have been undertaken (the lack of M&E and impact
assessment is disquieting)
- the emphasis is more often on providing access than on innovative
ways of applying ICTs to the specific information needs of
communities and local groups
- target groups/beneficiaries are hard to identify (even when the project
sets out with good intentions to involve a broad community
representation, the reality is that in most of the cases only select groups
are involved and these tend to be the more advantaged ones)
- there is a lack of local participation in the creation of content and
selection of ICTs tools
- there is a profusion of information centers where computers, or other
ICTs, are available but where a lack of awareness, ICT skills, and
literacy hinder the process of local appropriation.
"At the local level, ICT can be used to alleviate poverty both directly
and indirectly. Here, ICT often follows existing opportunities. For
instance, the farmer who uses ICT to get information about prices is
already buying and selling from the market; the technology simply
allows to diversify his or her activities - the farmer can now choose to
sell to one or another market instead of being forced to accept the
middle-man's offer, for example. Local opportunities may be
aggregated to create scale to 'feed' a larger national market" 43
There is still much to be done before local communities and groups,
especially poor ones, can begin to realise significant livelihood
improvements from the new ICTs. However, the potential exists and
can be furthered by focusing on equitable access and meaningful use of
ICTs to improve livelihoods, quality of education and healthcare, and
to advance community economic growth.12 Access without local
capacity and skills for purposeful and meaningful use of ICTs, and
decisive control by local groups and communities over ICT resources
and applications, will most likely have little impact.
In India Telecenters, or "Information Kiosks", represent a good
example of shared information and communication facilities that
provide communities with telephone, fax and Internet services as well
as access to equipment such as cassette and video players, photocopiers
and computers. They are intended to make ICTs accessible to
communities, and/or the intermediary organizations that provide
services to these communities, many of which often are remote and
lack connectivity.
Among experiments with the use of ICTs for local rural communities,
the most well known are:
43 G. Accascina, “Information Technology and Poverty Alleviation”, FAO First Consultation
on Agricultural Information Management, 2000.
- TARAhaat.com 44: it is a project whose goal it is to bring
Information and Marketing Services using e-business to rural India.
Under the Development Alternatives Group 45, TARAhaat acts as a
social enterprise to promote effective e-commerce through access,
content, and fulfillment. TARAhaat provides access to a variety of
information resources (health, nutrition, agriculture, sustainable
livelihoods, market prices, etc.) and to a wide-range of market-based
opportunities in the local language and in an incredibly user-friendly
format (also accessible for low-literates). Users are able to buy seeds,
machinery, spare parts, and even household items. TARAhaat puts a
special focus on responding to the people's needs, making the network
highly participatory and responsive.
- Gyandoot Project 46 (in Madhya Pradesh): it is a unique form of
Government to Citizen (G2C) e-commerce activity being performed in
Central India wherein the local elected governing council is enabling
over half a million rural tribal citizens affordable access to various
Government and market related needs using state-of-the-art
Information Technology. Gyandoot is an Intranet that is communitybased, cost-effective, and financially self-reliant. The people have full
control of running, developing and supporting the network on a
sustainable basis. They also take charge of their own knowledge and
transfer of technology needs. By using the information kiosks and the
Internet service rural villagers are able to check market prices for
various commodities, send applications for income verification, caste
and domicile certificates, as well as requests for land demarcation and
details on loans taken. The villagers are willing to spend 5 Rupees (10
cents) to use the services of the Information kiosks because it allows
them to get reliable market.
- Akashganga (meaning 'The Milky Way'): it is an MS DOS based
computer system 47, which offers an information-kiosk service. The
service also offers the Dairy Information Services Kiosk, which
proposes a multitude of animal husbandry related services, besides
44 www.tarahaat.com/about.htm
45 It is a non-profit organization established in 1983 whose aim is to create large scale
sustainable livelihoods.
46 www.gyandoot.net
47 MS-DOS or "Microsoft Disk Operating System" or is an operating system commercialized
by Microsoft.
maintaining databases and offering Internet connectivity to the Dairy
Cooperative Society. The Dairy Cooperative Society is a farmerowned, grass-roots level unit in the co-operative structure. All the
farmers (members) of the DCS congregate twice a day at its premises
to sell milk. Before Akashganga, all the milk collection activities were
performed manually and due to the climatic conditions, milk would
often get spoiled, as producers had to wait in long queues. The simple
technology used in this product has enabled the timely collection of
milk and thus, generated higher profits for the producer.
3.5 Evaluation of Community Media Projects
It can be affirmed that there is no one single model for local
communication initiatives that can be applied universally, but that each
situation requires an approach to the development of projects tailored to
local needs, which take account of local lives and environments.
The ways in which people use technologies such as radio and the
Internet are defined in large part by their local everyday lives, the
social, political, economic and cultural environment in which they live,
and by the ways in which they appropriate these technologies (Slater
and Tacchi 2003).
It is also recognised that projects imposed from the outside are less
likely to tap into existing communication networks and that a lack of
understanding of and engagement with the local social, cultural,
economic and political milieu will not bode well for community media
projects that seek to bring about change (e.g. giving greater access to
civil society, reducing poverty, improving information and
communication flows).
With this in mind, my research approach - which will be extensively
presented in chapter 6 - is designed not simply to research a community
media project, but to gain a level of understanding of the local context
and thus, to assist in project design, ongoing evaluation and monitoring
and in a continual cycle of research and project development.
In effect it seeks to overcome any separation between research and
project development, placing the evaluation of project work at the
centre of project practice, making that evaluation at the same time both
more relevant and more useable. Evaluation according to me is not
simply about measuring predetermined impacts - it is about awareness
and adaptability.
Thus, I developed a methodological approach based on the combination
of quantitative and qualitative data and of various research approaches
according to the different phases of the projects
The project, the methodological approach and the outcomes will be
presented in chapter 6.
“I had been to other countries - in Europe, Asia and the Middle East - but none of
them had provided even half as much variety, or so much to see and experience
and remember, as this one State in northern India. You can travel from one end of
Australia to the other, but everywhere on that vast continent you will find that
people dress in the same way, eat the same kind of food, listen to the same music.
This colorless uniformity is apparent in many other countries of the world, both
East and West. But Uttar Pradesh is a world in itself."
Ruskin Bond (India's best-loved children's author)
Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) is considered by the Indians “the rainbow land”
where the multi-hued Indian Culture has blossomed from times
Blessed with a variety of geographical land and many cultural
diversities, Uttar Pradesh, has been the area of activity of Hindu
mystical heroes like Rama, Krishna, Buddha and of Mahatma Gandhi:
dotted with various holy shrines and pilgrim places, full of joyous
festivals, it plays an important role in the politics, education, culture,
industry, agriculture and tourism of India.
Garlanded by the Ganga and Yamuna, the two pious rivers of Indian
mythology, Uttar Pradesh is surrounded by Bihar in the East, Madhya
Pradesh in the South, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana
in the West and Uttaranchal in the North; since it touches Nepal in the
North, Uttar Pradesh assumes strategic importance for Indian defence.
Figure 1: Uttar Pradesh’s location
Source: http://www.mapsofindia.com/maps/india/india-political-map.htm
Area wise it is the fourth largest State of India. In sheer magnitude it is
half of the area of France, three times of Portugal, four times of Ireland,
seven times of Switzerland and ten times of Belgium.
Uttar Pradesh is the most populous State of India; one-sixth of
India’s population lives in U.P., i.e. more than 175 million people. Only
five countries of the world – namely China, the United States,
Indonesia, Brazil and India itself - have populations larger than that of
U.P. (and if the population growth rate in the State continues at the
current rate, in 30 years, U.P.’s population will most probably reach
340 million, which was the number of the total population of India after
partition in 1947).
By most of the social key indicators, such as health and education 48,
Uttar Pradesh is the most backward regions in India: it has high levels
of poverty combined with low levels of social and economic
development. Its rapidly expanding population makes it more difficult
48 The per capita government expenditure in Uttar Pradesh on education and health was in
2007 around 23% less than the corresponding figures for South Indian States.
for development gains to be felt in the State, although poverty levels
have been slowly decreasing over the years (in 1973-74, about 57 % of
U.P.’s population lived below poverty line and by 2003-04 this had
decreased to 40 %).
Among the reasons commonly put forward to explain this poor State
performance are poor infrastructure, low public expenditure and a
diffuse corruption.
In a study, Uttar Pradesh: The Burden of Inertia published in India
Development: Selected Regional Perspectives and edited by Jean Dreze
and Amartya Sen; in 1997, economists Jean Dreze and Haris Gazdar
advance two more reasons for its backwardness: the apathy of the State
and the failure of civil society to challenge oppressive patterns of caste,
class and gender relations.
A strong cast separation - Uttar Pradesh is the core State of the ‘Hindi
Heartland’, where the upper castes are much more numerous than in
other Indian States -, the rural-urban divide, the backward condition of
women – often deprived of basic rights - are factors limiting the growth
and progress of U.P.
I first visited Uttar Pradesh in December 2006: although I had heard
stories and seen the pictures of this region, none of it prepared me for
its intensity.
My first days in U.P. had a tendency to chase me back into my hotel
after a few hours, simply overwhelmed: U.P. is a land of chaos,
pollution, extreme poverty and hot daily temperatures.
Most nights had power blackouts, so the narrow streets of Lucknow,
where I used to stay the first time for 2 weeks and the second one for
more than 2 months- were full of sleeping bodies and cattle,
illuminated only by the flicker of candles in windowsills and rubbish
fires in the road; an eerie aura.
As time passed by, my impressions of U.P. evolved drastically. I started
to get acquainted to the daily buzz, I had time to visit Varanasi - one of
Hinduism's holiest sites - and Agra, represented by the Majestic Taj
Mahal – as well as the countryside around Lucknow.
But what made me definitely fell in love with U.P. was the people:
professors and students I met at the Department of Journalism and
Mass Communication of the University in Lucknow, professors at the
Indian Institute of Management, rural people I interviewed for the
scope of my research. I was completely overwhelmed by their
politeness, their commitment to being helpful and their smiling faces.
I think people was the reason that made my stay and my work
enjoyable and enriching.
As far as the data reported in this chapter are concerned, it has been a
hard task to find appropriate and reliable information: even though
most of the data come from the State Development Report, drafted by
the Planning Commission of India and representing the most important
official document of the State, most of the detailed information I
needed were in Hindi.
The site itself of the Department of Rural Development displays nearly
all documents in Hindi, which made my data gathering more complex
and time extensive.
Therefore I am particularly grateful to Dr. Mukul Srivastava from the
Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University
in Lucknow for the time he spent with me and for all the help he
provided. He has translated most of the documents and helped my
research with good hints and precious advice.
4.1 Politics
Figure 2: Facts, numbers and a map of Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh: facts and
Coordinates: 26°51′N
80°55′E26.85, 80.91
Time zone: IST (UTC+5:30)
Area: 238,566km²
Capital: Lucknow
Largest city: Kanpur
Districts: 70
Population: 186,755,000
Density: 783/km²
Languages: Hindi, Urdu
Governor: T. V. Rajeswar
Chief Minister: Mayawati
Legislature (seats):
Bicameral (404 + 108)
Source: http://www.mapsofindia.com/stateprofiles/uttarpradesh/m053101.htm
Uttar Pradesh is called the heart of Indian political body; in this State,
events that changed and revolutionized the course of the political
history of the whole country have taken place.
The people of U.P. have always contributed to the fullest of their might
right from the First War of Independence in 1857, till the achievement
of freedom in 1947: that’s why U.P. has long been considered the
political barometer of India, having its politics a long-term impact at
the national level.
From the legislative point of view, U.P. Government is
constituted by a Governor and a bicameral Legislature.
The executive power of the State is vested in the Governor and it is
exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him
according to the constitutional provisions. The Governor is appointed
by the President of India, has to be a citizen of India and must be older
than 35.
The term of the Governor is five years from the date he assumes office,
but he can hold office even after the expiry of his term till the
assumption of his successor. He cannot hold any office for profit and
can use his official residence without payment of any rent.
The Governor cannot also be a member of either of the two Houses of
Parliament or any House of the Legislature.
The Lower House of the Parliament is called Vidhan Sabha; it
includes 404 members nominated by the Governor whose main
businesses are to enact laws, grant money for Government expenditure
and exercise control over the activities of the Government through
debates and raising matters of urgent public importance.
The Upper House, Vidhan Parishad, has 108 members, 12 of
whom are nominated by the Governor. No bill can become a law unless
passed by both the Houses.
The State has also a High Court at Allahabad with its bench at
There is a Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister to
aid and advise the Governor in conduct of the business of the
Government. The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor who
also appoints other ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister.
The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Vidhan
In the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party 49 of
Mayawati Kumari achieved unexpected majority status leading to her
emergence as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
49 The Bahujan Samaj Party is a National Political Party in India with socialist leanings. It was
formed to chiefly represent Dalits, who are thought by some to be at the bottom of the Indian
caste system, and claims to be inspired by the philosophy of Ambedkar. The BSP was founded
by the high-profile charismatic leader Kanshi Ram in 1984. The party's political symbol is an
elephant. In the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004) it had 14 (out of 545) members and currently in
the 14th Lok Sabha has 19. The party has its main base in Uttar Pradesh , where it has formed
government several times. Mayawati is the President of the Party and has been so for many
years. The deep and mutual hostility between the BSP and the Samajwadi Party – the other
leading State party in Uttar Pradesh, whose support is mainly obtained from the OBC, has led
the BSP into allying itself many times with its erstwhile ideological enemies, the BJP.
Currently the party sU.P.ports a Congress led alliance called the United Progressive U.P.A in
the Indian Government. On 11th May 2007 the State Assembly Election results made BSP the
This was the first time since 1991 that a single party gained absolute
majority, the last two decades having been dominated by various
coalitions among the Samajwadi Party 50, Bharatiya Janata Party 51, and
the Bahujan Samaj Party.
The BSP won in 2007 thanks to the amalgamation of Brahmin votes
into the Dalit dominated party, as opposed to the decades-old trend of
exploiting deep-rooted caste divisions in the State between Dalits,
Upper Castes, Muslims and different OBC (Other Backward Classes)
groups, which tend to vote in blocks.
Mayawati, having won 206 seats, became Chief Minister for the fourth
time along with her 19 cabinet rank ministers. Former Chief Minister
Mulayam Singh Yadav's party SP stood second in State with 97 seats.
Mayawati 52, who herself is a Jatav, a sub-caste within Dalits, has been
often accused to use caste as a mobilizer, building on a social and
political revolution 50 years in the making.
Often referred to as a “whimsical tyrant ruler”, she has also been
accused of using public money - which should be going into
development work of the masses - for the development of her image,
for immortalizing her name in the U.P. politics, for raising her image
of dalit icon.
single majority party since 1991. After 15 years of hung assembly, BSP has won a clear
majority in India's most populated State U.P.
50 Samajwadi Party (Socialist Party) describes itself as a democratic socialist and anti-English
language party. It was founded on October 4, 1992. It is one of the several parties that emerged
when the Janata Dal (People's Party), India's primary opposition party prior to the BJP, was
fragmented into several regional parties. Samajwadi Party is led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, the
former Chief Minister of the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh.
51 The Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] (Indian Popular Party), created in 1980, is a major centreright Indian political party. It projects itself as a champion of the socio-religious cultural values
of the country's majority, conservative social policies, self reliance, strong enconomic growth,
foreign policy driven by strong nationalist agenda, and strong national defense. Since its
inception, the BJP has projected itself as a prime alternative to the existing family based
politics of the Indian National Congress.
52 Mayawati has been active in politics for well over two decades. Well educated, Mayawati
holds multiple degrees including a B.A., a degree in education and a law degree. She worked as
a teacher in Delhi for several years. She owes her political career to her mentor Kanshi Ram,
the founder of the BSP. She was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh thrice. On the first occasion,
she was Chief Minister from 3 June 1995 - 18 October 1995, then from 21 March 1997 - 20
September 1997 and from 3 May 2002-29 August 2003. When she became Chief Minister,
Mayawati was the first Dalit woman to hold that high office in India.
The media has often lampooned Mayawati for her imperious style,
luxurious living, extravagant spending, and as a politician who would
ally with any party to get to political power.
Having tasted blood with her Dalit-Brahmin-Muslim political alliance,
securing a majority in the U.P. assembly, she has gone ahead in an
aggressive bid to keep her party’s caste alliance together.
Addressing her maiden press conference after being sworn in as the
chief minister, she said, “We would welcome any move by the central
government to provide reservations to the minorities and the
economically-weaker sections from the Upper castes. 53”
Her government is supposed to work for the development of these
weaker sections, a corruption free U.P., a socially just government,
and an economic development of the State.
She now has 5 years to govern one of India’s most complex States
where law and order have become a huge problem.
4.1.1 Administrative Divisions and Districts
The past boundaries of the State came into existence with the
reorganization of the States on a linguistic basis in 1956, after the
independence from the British dominance 54.
Uttar Pradesh State now consists of 70 districts, which are
grouped into 17 divisions: Agra, Azamgarh, Allahabad, Bijnor, Kanpur,
Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Chitrakoot, Jhansi, Devipatan, Faizabad,
Bahraich, Bareilly, Basti, Mirzapur, Moradabad, Mathura, Meerut,
Lucknow, Varanasi, Sultanpur, Farrukhabad, Vrindavan, and
The largest district in terms of area is Lakhimpur Kheri. The largest
district in terms of population is Allahabad followed by Kanpur Nagar
(Census 2001).
A district is an administrative division of an Indian state or territory.
The majority of districts are named after their administrative centre.
Some are referred to by two names, a traditional one and one that uses
53 www.thehindubusinessline.com/2007/08/16/stories/2007081650260700.htm
54 It was in the Uttar Pradesh (the period between 1857-58) that the first struggle for liberation
from the British yoke was unleashed.
the name of the town that is the headquarters. Since most of the
districts are named after a town, the word "district" is appended to
distinguish between the town and the district.
Each district is under the administrative charge of a district officer who
is also called the District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner. The
District Officer is fully responsible for the law and order in his district
and has extensive administrative, police and revenue powers. Besides
maintaining revenue records, he has also to look after works relating to
planning and development and land reforms.
In a percentage-wise distribution of districts ranked on the basis of a
composite index of socio-economic and demographic indicators, none
of U.P.’s districts fell in the best Indian ranking of 0-100, while over
90 % of districts in Kerala and Tamil Nadu fell into this ranking. There
are five divisions in the rankings, and about 83 % of U.P.’s districts
were in the lowest two levels, with over 55 % falling in the lowest
category. Of the major States, only Rajasthan and Bihar had a larger
percentage of districts (72 % and 93 % respectively) in the lowest
ranking category.
Table 1: Structure of U.P. administrative division
City Councils
Source: http://www.u.p.gov.nic.in
As can be deducted from the above figure, local Governance in U.P - as
in all other States of India - is divided into urban and rural local
Large urban areas are governed by municipal corporations,
often simply called corporations.
The area under the corporation is further divided into wards. Individual
wards or collections of wards within a corporation sometimes have
their own administrative body known as ward committees.
Smaller urban areas are governed by municipal councils or municipal
boards, which are often referred to as municipalities. Municipalities are
also divided into wards, which may be grouped together into ward
councils. One or more corporations are elected to represent each ward.
Rural governance in India is based on the Panchayati Raj system:
Panchayati Raj is the assembly (yat) of five (panch) wise and respected
elders chosen and accepted by the village community. Traditionally,
these assemblies settled disputes between individuals and villages.
For administrative and fiscal purposes, U.P, is further divided into 294
tehsils 55 and 907 community blocks. In total there are 112,803
inhabited villages, 710 statutory towns and 43 census towns. Nearly 19
% of Indian inhabited villages are in U.P.
Districts are the basic units for implementation of all schemes
whether funded by the Centre or the State Government. It is imperative
that funds received in the districts for development works are
monitored and the District Administration held responsible for proper
utilization of the funds made available. This can become possible if
there is a proper monitoring of the funds released and expenditure
incurred by various departments and construction agencies.
With the successful completion of Treasury computerization in the
State, it is now possible to have scheme wise details of funds released
and expenditure incurred at the District level every month.
At http//koshvani.up.nic.in, one can access all relevant information
regarding receipts and expenditure. Important thing is the proper use of
this information by the District officials.
If the focus of Governmental efforts is to shift from expenditure
(which in several cases may just mean release of funds from one
55 The term derives from the Urdu language. Generally, a tehsil consists of a city or town that
serves as its headquarters, possibly additional towns, and a number of villages. As an entity of
local government, it exercises certain fiscal and administrative power over the villages and
municipalities within its jurisdiction. It is the ultimate executive agency for land records and
related administrative matters. Its chief official is called the tehsildar or talukdar.
account head to another or from one agency to another and not really
completion of the ‘intended work’) to outcomes wherein focus is not
only on physical completion of work but also the quality of service
delivery in the post-completion phase, then it is imperative that officers
at the District and State level are trained to monitor works accordingly.
A typical district receives funds from following sources:
• Under District Plan through the State Budget
• Under State Plan through the State Budget
• Under Centrally Sponsored Schemes through the State Budget
• Directly into Bank Accounts from Government of India under
Centrally Sponsored Schemes
• Through transfers under the award of Twelfth Finance Commission
through the State Budget
• Through transfers under the award of State Finance Commission
through the State Budget
An analysis of development expenditure reveals that during 2005-06, a
sum of Rs.24765.31 crore was available in the districts.
4.2 Western, Central and Eastern Uttar Pradesh: Intrastate
On the basis of natural geographic considerations and cultural
differences, U.P., which occupies 7.3% of the total India’s area, is
divided geographically into 5 distinct zones namely: Hill, Western
U.P. 56, Central U.P., Eastern U.P. 57, and Bundelkhand (Southern). 58
Within these regions there are wide variations.
In 2000, there were 49.5 million inhabitants in Western U.P. and 52.7
million in Eastern U.P.; the land area of Western U.P. was 82,191 sq.
km., slightly smaller than the 85,844 sq. km that comprised Eastern
56 Western U.P. is made up of 26 districts.
57 Eastern U.P. is made up of 27 districts.
58 In 2001 in response to the long term movement of the hilly region for the creation of a
separate hill State, U.P. was bifurcated and a new State, Uttaranchal, comprising 13 districts of
the hilly region, was created (Mawdsley, 2003).
The population density varies from a high of 614 in the Eastern region
to a low of 116 in the Hill region. Percent of urban population is the
highest in the Western region (26%) and the lowest in the Eastern
region (12%).
The total literacy rate is the highest in the Hill region (60%) with 76%
for males and 43% for females; the Eastern region has the lowest
literacy rate of 39%, with a male literacy rate of 55% and a female
literacy rate of only 21%.
Table 2: Regional Differences in Uttar Pradesh
Source: http://www.policyproject.com/pubs/countryreports/IND_u.p._pp.pdf
Schedule Caste population to total U.P. population in 2001 was 21 %,
and this proportion was slightly higher in the East (20.7 %) than in the
West (18.6%).39
In 2000, residents of Western U.P. consumed about 18% more
electricity than those in the East, as per capita consumption in the West
was almost 207 kwh, while in the East, consumers used about 169 kwh,
less than the average 185 kwh per capita in all of U.P.
In 2000, almost 90% of villages in the West were electrified, as
opposed to less than 80% in the East and 79 % in the entire State.
The number of post offices per 100,000 people was 13.1 in the East and
9.8 in the West and similarly, there were 0.8 telegraph offices per
100,000 people in the East, while there were 0.4 such offices serving
the same number of people in the West.
At the same time though, the number of telephones (per 100,000
people) was about 50% higher in the West than in the East, as there
were 1520 telephones (100,000 people) in the West, while there were
only 778 in the East serving the same number of people.
Metal road length under Public Works Department per 1000 sq km was
slightly higher in the West than in the East, at 422 km versus 410 km,
but both the East and West had more roads of this type than the
national average of 370 km per 1000 sq. km.
The credit deposit ratio and number of scheduled commercial
banks (per 1000 people) were roughly the same in 1998-99. The main
differences in terms of credit facilities between East and West was seen
in the number of cooperative agricultural marketing centres, as there
were 3.1 (per 1000 people) in the West in 1999-2000, while there were
only 1.8 in the East.
Inter-State disparities in U.P. have been studied in a number of
contexts, like for example in the distribution of income (Pant 2004), in
the rural-urban areas (Mishra & Parikh, 1997), in the human
development indicators (Dholakia 2003).
What has generally emerged is that U.P. is a State made up of two
different realities; a rich and more developed West and a poor and
badly administered East. The differences in infrastructures are
persistent and neither Planning Commission Funds nor Governmental
sponsored schemes have so far been successful in solving such regional
4.3 Social Indicators of Uttar Pradesh
Almost all social indicators of the State show that the State stands on
13th or 14th position among the 15 major States.
Bihar and in some cases Orissa, are the only two States which lag
behind U.P. in terms of social development indicators like medical
facilities, teacher-pupil ratio in primary schools, birth rate, death rate,
infant mortality rate, literacy, per capita income, electrification of
villages, per capita power consumption etc. Uttar Pradesh is often seen
as a case study of development in a region of India that currently lag
behind other parts of the country in terms of well being and social
4.3.1 Health
Of the 15 major States in India, Uttar Pradesh has the highest maternal
mortality ratio (MMR), the highest fertility rate, the second-highest
infant mortality rate (IMR) and one of the lowest female to male ratios.
In 1999, U.P.’s public expenditure on health as a percentage of GSDP 59
was 0.7, the same level of spending as in 1981. India as a whole spends
only 0.89% of its GDP on health, as compared to 3% spent by
developing countries.
In 1998, the MMR in U.P. was 707 (per 100,000 births), well above the
national average of 407-This is an improvement from the 1982-86
maternal mortality rate in the State, which was 931 (per 100,000
births), but the reduction of maternal mortality was greater in other
States, such as Orissa, where MMR decreased by almost half, to 367 in
1998, from 778 in 1982-86 (UNDP, 1997). Rajasthan and Madhya
Pradesh also suffer from high maternal mortality rates, as theirs were
670 and 498 respectively in 1998. In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the
MMRs in 1998 were significantly lower, at 198 and 79 respectively. 60
Children between the ages of 12 to 23 months in U.P. are roughly four
times less likely to have been fully vaccinated than children in Kerala,
Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. 61
Vaccination rates in 1998-99 were 21% in U.P., 79% in Kerala
and 78% in both Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Within the major States,
only children in Bihar and Rajasthan, where vaccination rates were
about 11% and 16%, were less likely to be vaccinated than in U.P.
(NFHS I & II).
59 Gross State Domestic Product
60 For comparison, the average maternal mortality ratio for high-income OECD countries was
12 (per 100,000) in 1995, and for developing countries the average was 463 (per 100,000)
(HDR, 2003).
61 Children are fully vaccinated if they have received BCG, Measles and three doses of DPT
and Polio vaccines.
The infant mortality rate (IMR) in U.P. is among the highest in
India, at 82 deaths per 1000 live births in 2000, while the average IMR
in the country was 66 (per 1000 live births). The IMR in U.P. was
higher in rural areas, at 86, than in urban areas, at 62.
In 2001, fertility rates in India were highest in U.P., at a level of
4.7, while the national average was 3.2. Of the 15 major States, Bihar
had the second-highest fertility rates, at 4.5 and Kerala and Tamil Nadu
had the lowest fertility rates, at 1.8 and 2, respectively.
Average life expectancy in U.P. in 1996-2001 was 61.2 years
for males and 61.1 years for females. In only two other major States –
Bihar and Orissa—was the female life expectancy lower than the male
life expectancy. In Kerala, females could expect to live 4.3 years longer
than males (75 years compared to 70.7 years). Typically, life
expectancy for females is higher than for males.
Along with a lower life expectancy for women, another
indicator of gender disparity in the State is the low sex ratio. In 2001,
there were 898 females per 1000 males, as against the national average
of 933 females per 1000 males. India’s sex ratio is among the lowest in
the world and U.P.’s sex ratio in this context is strikingly low.
Some researchers 62, attribute the low sex ratio in U.P. to female
disadvantage of survival from birth until the mid-thirties. In 1991, the
female death rate in the age group of 0-4 years was 16% higher than the
male death rate. Typically, female children in this age group have an
advantage over males and the link between parental neglect of female
children and their high mortality rates has been well documented in this
region. High fertility rates, coupled with high maternal mortality rates
negatively affect chances of female survival during child-bearing years
and these factors taken together affect female life expectancy and in
turn, the sex ratio, which reflects tangible anti-female discrimination in
4.3.2 Education
Uttar Pradesh does not fare much better in terms of education than it
does in health.
62 Dreze and Gazdar, 1998.
Merely 57% of the population of U.P. was literate in 2001 (RGI, 2001).
Of the 15 major States, only Bihar’s literacy rate was lower than U.P.’s,
at about 47.5%.
Even though the State has made investments over the years in
all sectors of education and has achieved some success, the female
literacy situation remains dismal. Only one out of four in the 7+ age
group. was able to read and write in 2001. This figure goes down to
19% for rural areas, 11% for the scheduled castes, 8% for scheduled
castes in rural areas, and 8% for the entire rural population in the most
educationally backward districts.
One other notable feature of the Uttar Pradesh education system is the
persistence of high levels of illiteracy in the younger age group. Within
that age group., illiteracy was endemic in the rural areas. In the late
1990s, the incidence of illiteracy in the 10-14 age was as high as 32%
for rural males and 61% for rural females, and more than two-thirds of
all rural girls in the 12-14 age never went to school.
The problems of education system are exacting. Due to public
apathy the schools are in disarray. While privately run schools
(including those run by Christian missionaries) are functional, they are
beyond the reach of ordinary people.
To find a solution to illiteracy problems, the State Government
has taken steps to make education more available to the population.
International agencies like the World Bank and some local NGOs have
launched special programs to raise participation.
As a result, some progress in adult education has been made and the
census of 2001 indicates a male literacy rate of 70.23% and a female
literacy rate of 42.98%. The differential between female and male
literacy is still very high.
At the level of higher education and technical education, Uttar
Pradesh has several universities and other institutions, among which are
Bundelkhand University, M.J.P Rohilkhand University, Lucknow
University, Allahabad University, Dayalbagh Educational Institute,
Uttar Pradesh Technical University, the prestigious Indian Institute of
Technology Kanpur, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow,
Banaras Hindu University, Indian Institute of Information Technology
Allahabad, National Institute of Technology Allahabad, the world
famous Asian Academy of Film & Television and several other
polytechnics, engineering institutes and industrial training centers.
Box 1 - Health and Education for the Poor
A World Bank study of villages in U.P. and Bihar revealed that health problems
emerged as one of the most common causes of persistent poverty. Illness of the
breadwinner or other members of the family not only reduced their daily incomes but
also led them to indebtedness and even loss of assets as treatment from government
services was simply not available.
Nearly all the informants said that transport costs to government centres was too high
when outcomes were so uncertain. Medical staff assigned to public health centres are
usually absent, and therefore a trip to the centre results in waste of transport money.
The quality of care was not mentioned as an issue; if care is generally unavailable, its
quality is hardly relevant. Even when primary health care staff are on site, they only
give prescriptions, as they do not have medicines on hand. Poor patients then must
visit the market and incur a second transport expense.
A similar study of the schools showed that in most places either teachers were absent,
or teaching was being conducted by proxy teachers who were hired by the regular
teachers on very low wages.
Source: Saxena (2002)
4.4 Macro-economic Trend
U.P. has witnessed rapid industrialization in the recent past, particularly
after the launch of policies of economic liberalization in the country.
As of March 1996, there were 1,661 medium and large industrial
undertakings and 296,338 small industrial units employing 1.83 million
persons. The per capita State domestic product was estimated at Rs
7,263 in 1997-98, and there has been some decline in poverty in the
Yet nearly 40% of the total population lives below the poverty line.
Uttar Pradesh's Gross State Domestic Product for 2004 was $339.5
billion by PPP and $80.9 billion by Nominal.
Uttar Pradesh is the second largest economy in India after
The industrialization pattern in the State is highly skewed with the
Western region of the State accounting for most of the industries.
The main industries in the State are cement, vegetable oils, textiles,
cotton yarn, sugar, jute, and carpet. The sectoral break-up of the State's
GSDP in 2002-03 was 32% from agriculture, 22% from industry, of
which merely 11% came from manufacturing, and 41% from services.
This is a chart of trend of Gross State Domestic Product of Uttar
Pradesh at market prices estimated by Ministry of Statistics and
Programme Implementation with figures in millions of Indian Rupees.
Table 3: Gross State Domestic Product in Rupees
Source: www.unsystem.org/SCN/archives/india/ch06.htm
Economy is in certain ways hindered by the poor condition of
In 2004, U.P. had a total of 248,481 km. of roads, of which 67% were
surfaced. This is a dramatic increase in the proportion of surfaced to
unsurfaced roads in 1998, which was about 44%.
At the same time though, the total road network in U.P. actually
decreased by 11% between 1998 and 2004 and the increase in surfaced
roads between those years was about 6%. Of the 15 major States,
Haryana had the highest proportion of surfaced roads.
Electricity consumption per capita in U.P. in 2002-03 was only 175.80
kWh, which was almost 80% less than the per capita consumption in
Punjab of 837 kWh (Indian Infrastructure, 2003).
In terms of water and sanitation, about 33% of households in U.P. had
access to toilet facilities in 1997, while the India average was 49%.
About 62% of households had access to safe drinking water, the same
as the all-India average.
4.5 Agriculture
Uttar Pradesh is a very fertile region and this partly due to the regions
of the Indo-Gangetic plain it occupies, and partly to irrigation measures
such as the Ganga Canal: agriculture is consequently the major
economic activity 63.
During the Green Revolution 64 the area of Western U.P., which
is richer in natural resources and possess good physical and
institutional infrastructure, was a natural entry point for the highyielding varieties of wheat seeds, whose introduction in India preceded
those of rice.
The spectacular growth in agricultural production in Western U.P.
during the Green Revolution period is attributed to several natural and
man-made factors.
Among the natural factors, (Roul, 2001) the following ones can be
1) nature’s bounty in fertile alluvial soil of the Indo-Gangetic river
systems of Northern India;
2) geographical and geomorphologic advantage of perennial Himalayan
rivers amenable for multipurpose dams;
3) topographical advantage to lay canal systems and road networks at
considerably lower costs as against those in peninsular India.
The man-made factors, on the other hand, included:
1) consolidation of landholdings 65;
2) assured irrigation 66;
63 The fertile Gangetic plain in U.P. is characterized by alluvial soil and is intensively
cultivated. The perennial Ganga and Yamuna Rivers, rising from the Himalayas, flow roughly
parallel to each other through the State until they join in Allahabad, in the South East. The plain
is also watered by the major tributaries of the Ganga and Yamuna, namely the Ramganga,
Gomti, Ghagra, Saryu and Gandale (Pant, 2003).
64The Indian Green Revolution refers to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds
after 1965 as well as the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation, which provided the increase
in production needed to make India self-sufficient in food grains. The program was started with
the help of the United States-based Rockefeller Foundation and was based on high-yielding
varieties of wheat, rice, and other grains that had been developed in Mexico and in the
Philippines. Of the high-yielding seeds, wheat produced the best results. Production of coarse
grains -the staple diet of the poor -and pulses -the main source of protein -lagged behind,
resulting in reduced per capita availability.
65 With this, private investment for digging tubewells was made viable. With cheap electricity
from hydroelectric projects, as well as diesel-powered wells, U.P. could irrigate 60 % of its net
cropped area using tube wells.
3) rural electrification and of cheap power to agriculture 67;
4) agricultural research and extension network 68;
5) less exploitative agrarian structure.
Between 1962-65 and 1970-73, the introduction of the new technology
in the irrigated, wheat-producing North -West region of Western U.P.
had an intense impact on wheat production in this region and
consequently, at the all-India level.
At the India-wide level, wheat yield increased from 811 kg/ha in 196265 (pre HYV introduction) to 1322 kg/ha by 1970-73 (post HYV
introduction) and wheat output rose from 10.9 million tons to 24.3
million tons within the same time period.
In 1972-73, U.P.’s production of wheat made U.P. 28% of the county’s
wheat output, while
Punjab contributed 22% and Haryana 9% to India’s wheat output.
Combined, the three States provided 59% of India’s wheat. The annual
compound rates of yield growth, with the introduction of the new seed
technology in Punjab, Haryana and U.P. during this period were higher
than the national average, at 4.2%, 3.3% and 1.8%, respectively.
The increase in U.P. in terms of growth of yield and output was, as
mentioned above, a result of spreading of new technology to the
Western part of the State (Bhalla and Singh, 2001).
The most dramatic change in agricultural growth in India was
registered in the 1992-95.
The compound growth rate of yield/ha for all-India increased from
1.8% per annum to 3.1% per annum, and the compound growth rate of
output for all-India increased from 2.4% to 3.4% per annum. During
this time, the rice and wheat technology spread further eastward and a
major breakthrough in oilseed technology spread southward, resulting
66 In the mid-1960s, Punjab had already achieved 64.3 % of irrigation of gross cropped area as
against the 19.9 % for all India. By 1983-84, Punjab had 90 % of gross cropped area under
assured irrigation (Chadha, 1986).
67 In the mid-1960’s, the per capita power consumption in Punjab was 98.3 kWh as against the
all-India consumption of 61.4 kWh. By 1975, all villages in Punjab were electrified.
68 The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) played a critical role in this area. Researchers at
the university modified and further developed the Mexican dwarf wheat varieties and the
Philippine high yielding rice varieties to suit local conditions and requirements. Since 1963,
PAU has released 38 high yielding varieties of wheat and 19 varieties of rice.
in a change in cropping patterns from low-value coarse cereals towards
the higher-value oilseeds.
Since 1972-73, U.P. has increased the land area under wheat
production by roughly 37%.
Along with its status of top producer of wheat in India, U.P. is the
second-largest producer of rice in the country, between West Bengal
and Punjab, which are the first and third largest producers. In 2001-02,
U.P. produced 13.4% of the country’s rice, or 12.5 million tons, with a
yield of 2120 kg/ha in an area of about 5.9 million hectares.
In 1991, 73% of the U.P. population was engaged in agriculture and
46% of the State income was accounted by agriculture. The production
of food grains has increased from 14.5 million metric tons in 1960-61
to 42.5 million tons in 1997 showing an average annual growth rate of
3%, which is much higher than the population growth rate.
Still now (2007) – even if the agricultural growth is approaching
stagnation - U.P. is retaining its pre-eminent position in the country as a
food-surplus State: the main agricultural crops are wheat, rice,
sugarcane, pulses and vegetables.
Lakhimpur Kheri is the largest sugar producing district in the country.
It is also home to 78% of national livestock population. The chart
below – which I personally elaborated from the U.P. State
Development Report- shows the national share of major food
commodities from Uttar Pradesh.
Table 4: National Share Of Major Food Commodities From Uttar Pradesh
National Share
Source: http://www.u.p.gov.nic.in
As explained before, currently agriculture is undergoing a period of
The average annual growth in agriculture was of 2.7% during the Sixth,
Seventh and Eighth Five Year Plans.
In the last two Five Year Plans (1997-2002 and 2002-2007) there has
been a unique stagnation: the dependence of the U.P. economy on
agriculture on the one hand, and the poor performance of agriculture on
the other, is thus a matter of concern for the State development.
4.5.1 Investment in Agriculture and Allied Sector
At all India levels, the present actual investment in the agriculture
sector is only 1.3% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Position is not much better at the State level either.
As shown in Table 5 below, the percentage expenditure in Agriculture
& Allied sector has declined over the Plan period from a high of about
29% during Second Five Year Plan and the Annual Plans of 1966-69 to
a low of 5.47% during Sixth Five Year Plan and about 8.6% during
Tenth Plan.
Table 5: Trend of investment in agriculture at 1993-94 prices (Rs. Crore)
Source: http://planning.u.p.nic.in/articles/Note_on_Farm_Sector.pdf
In the case of Uttar Pradesh, gross capital formation in Agriculture at
current prices in the year 2000-01 was Rs.16, 906 crore of which 23.2%
was Public investment and 76.8b% Private investment. Gross capital
formation in agriculture in Uttar Pradesh in 2000-01 was just 13.71
percent of gross capital formation in the State.
Private investment in the State in agriculture and allied sector is
considerably lower than the all India figures.
Public Sector investment in agriculture mainly consists of
investment in irrigation projects (90%) while expenditure on soil and
water conservation etc. are included as capital formation under Public
Administration. With the adoption of new strategies for agricultural
growth and diversification of agriculture from traditional crop
cultivation to horticulture - which would require more investments on
cold storage, rural roads, communication, marketing network and
facilities, warehouses – these data need to be taken into account while
determining ‘capital formation for agriculture’ instead of ‘capital
formation in agriculture’.
Expeditious development of Agriculture and Allied sectors such as
Animal Husbandry, Dairy, Horticulture, Fisheries is one of the main
goal of the State Government.
During 2005-06 a sum of Rs.2769.14 crore was spent in this
sector. This includes expenditure in irrigation, agriculture and allied
sectors and the National Horticulture Mission. It does not include the
power subsidy given by the State Government to agriculturists and
fertilizer subsidy given by Government of India. The natural outcome
of this expenditure should be increase in crop yield, crop productivity,
income of farmers, efficiency of irrigation facilities etc.
Concerned State Authorities would do well to examine the outcomes on
aforesaid lines ratherthan funds spent under schemes.
4.5.2 Size of Holdings
The average size of holdings is continually declining in the State. As
per latest available information, 75.4% holdings are of less than one
hectare and are marginal farmers. The average size of 90% of small and
marginal farmers is about 0.55 hectares.
4.5.3 Indebtedness of Farmers
The data released by NSSO 69 provide useful insights regarding
indebtedness of farmers in the country as a whole as well as Uttar
Pradesh. In U.P. - in 2005 - out of 17.16 million farmer households,
6.92 million (40.3%) were reported to be indebted while for the country
as a whole, 48.6% (43.42 million) of 89.35 million farmer households
were reported to be indebted.
Estimated prevalence of indebtedness among farmer households was
highest in Andhra Pradesh (82%) followed by Tamil Nadu (74.5%) and
Punjab (65.4%).
In U.P., households with one hectare or less land accounted for 74% of
all farmer households and about 39% of them were indebted.
At all India level, more than 50% of indebted farmer households
had taken loan for the purpose of capital or current expenditure in farm
business. Such loans accounted for 584 rupees out of every 1000 rupees
of outstanding loan.
69 The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) carries out socio-economic surveys in
India. “Indebtedness of Rural Households”, 2005 available at
In Uttar Pradesh indebted farmer households which had taken loan for
the purpose of capital or current expenditure in farm business
accounted for 609 rupees out of every 1000 rupees of outstanding loan.
Marriage and ceremonies accounted for 118 rupees per 1000 rupees of
outstanding loans of farmer households in Uttar Pradesh.
Banks (51%) followed by moneylenders (19%) were the most
important source of loan in terms of percentage of outstanding loan
amounts in Uttar Pradesh while for the country as a whole, the
corresponding figures were 36% and 26% respectively.
Average outstanding loan per farmer household is highest in the
State of Punjab (Rs.118495) followed by Kerala (Rs.100832), Haryana
(Rs.23555), Andhra Pradesh (Rs.12760) and Tamil Nadu (Rs.11023).
Average outstanding loan per farmer household in Uttar Pradesh is
4.5.4 Agriculture Credit
About 90% farmers in the State are small and marginal farmers. The
out reach of credit institutions, whether commercial banks or
cooperative institutions is very low. Out of 2 crore farmers in the State,
the actual coverage of farmers would be less than 20%.
Details of agricultural credit provided in the State in the last three years
has been indicated in the Table below.
Table 6: Agricultural Credit in Uttar Pradesh
(Rs. in crore)
Kisan Credit Card
(in lakh)
It may be noted that the agricultural credit in the country by
Cooperative banks, Commercial banks, RRBs and other agencies
increased from Rs.69560 crore during 2002-03 to Rs.86980 crore
during 2003-04 and was projected to touch Rs.104500 crore in 200405. Thus, despite the State contributing about 13% in the agricultural
gross domestic product of the country in 2002-03 and about 20% of the
total food grain production in the country, agricultural loan disbursed in
the State was only 5.58% of total agricultural loans disbursed in the
country during 2002-03, 4.72% in 2003-04 and 5.06% in 2004-05.
There are 7479 Cooperative Societies functioning at Nyaya
Panchayat level 70 in the State and they constitute the main point of
interface between the farmer and the Cooperative Society for
disbursement of short-term, long-term agricultural loans, provide HYV
seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, improved agricultural implements etc.
There are 50 District Cooperative Banks which have 124 branches.
However, data reveals that there is virtual stagnation in the functioning
of the Cooperative Societies in the State.
During 2002-03, these disbursed Rs.1249.38 crore as short-term
agricultural loan to the farmers and this came down to Rs.1243.12 crore
in 2003-04. Like wise the figures for long term agricultural loans
declined from Rs.716.51 crore in 2002-03 to Rs.711.04 crore in 200304.
It is also being seen that earlier Cooperative sector was meeting 6570% of the agricultural credit needs and the rest by the commercial
banks. But now the role has been reversed and presently commercial
banks are making available 70% of agricultural credit and only 30% by
the Cooperative banks.
The average loan being provided to farmers in the State is only to the
tune of Rs.2000/hectare which is clearly insufficient for meeting the
input cost of HYV seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. Thus, it can be
safely asserted that the agricultural sector in the State is under-financed.
Further, an examination of the role of cooperative societies reveals that
while earlier they were providing nearly 75% of the credit, their
disbursement has come down to about 30%. Data released by NSSO
further reveals that cooperative societies which used to play and still
play such a key role in disbursement of agricultural credit and other
agri-inputs, do not serve more than 13% of farmer households in Uttar
NSSO data reveal that in U.P. only 20% of farmer households included
a member of a cooperative society and just 13% had availed themselves
of services from a cooperative while at all India level, about 29% of
70 A Nyaya Panchayat is a system of dispute resolution at village level in India.
farmer households included a member of a cooperative society and
19% had availed themselves of services from a cooperative. Most of
these households availed themselves of either credit facilities or
services related to seeds or fertilizers.
4.5.5 Presence of Farming Cooperatives
Despite the obvious advantages and a record of successes in other parts
of the world, the concept of cooperative farming has never really taken
off in India.
Milk cooperatives are present in many parts of the country and a few
cooperatives have also had success in other fields like agricultural
credit, sale of fertiliser, sugar production, and handloom. But in the
core area of farming there has been no successful cooperative
movement in U.P.
While quite a number of service cooperatives have been set up
to arrange for marketing of produce, provide credit, and sell inputs like
seeds, the transition to joint farming has not taken place on a large
In parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, degraded or noncultivated lands have been made available by the government to special
groups of dalits, labourers or displaced people. The initiative and
motive for joint farming was imposed by the government, and the effort
was both expensive and unrewarding.
Government-sponsored cooperatives have become synonymous
with corruption. The cooperation department is totally out of sync with
its lofty objectives. Setting up a cooperative has become, for many, a
way of merely getting hold of government benefits, and ‘transaction
costs’ are involved in completing formalities.
4.5.6 Agriculture Extension
The term agricultural extension generally refers to the application of
scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through
farmer education. The field of extension now encompasses a wider
range of communication and learning activities organised for rural
people by professionals from different disciplines, including
agriculture, health, and business studies.
The main extension agency is the State Agriculture Department.
There is a separate Extension Directorate within the Agriculture
Department. Department of Horticulture, Soil and Water Conservation
and Watershed Development also have some extension workers.
In the 1980s, the State implemented the World Bank funded Training &
Visit system of extension. With external support drying up, the State
began to dilute the rigour of T&V system and the 90s witnessed many
States experimenting with new extension approaches.
Currently, a number of organizations are providing extension services.
These include State Agriculture Universities; Commodity Boards
(Spices, rubber, tea, coconut, coffee etc.); non-governmental
organizations; agri-business companies dealing with seed, fertilizer,
pesticides, farm machinery; media firms etc.
Since 1998, the Agricultural Technology Management Agency
(ATMA) has been implemented in 28 districts of 7 States as part of a
World Bank funded National Agriculture Technology Project. The
Project provided for pilot testing the following innovations:
− Establishment of ATMA as an autonomous agency at district level
and below for technology dissemination
− Moving towards integrated extension delivery
− Adopting bottom-up planning procedures for setting the research
extension agenda
− Making technology dissemination farmer driven and farmer
− Addressing gender concerns in agriculture
− Increasing use of information technology for effective dissemination
Programme interventions are based on a strategic research and
extension plan prepared in a participatory mode.
Farm Information and Advisory Centres (FIAC) are created at the
Block level to act as the operational arm of ATMA. A Block
Technology Team, comprising technical personnel at the block level
and a Farmer Advisory Committee (FACs) comprising all key
stakeholders and farmer representatives are also constituted at the
Block level.
Experience so far suggests that the integrated implementation of
field activities is workable but depends considerably on the State
Government’s commitment to internalize and practice these new
concepts. Further, internalization of diversification and intensification
of different farming systems by ATMA is absolutely essential.
BTT and FACs need to play a more active role in preparation of Block
Action Plans and involve NGOs in forming farmer groups. It has also
been seen that integrated package of exposure visit, training and
demonstration results in better technology adoption. The obvious
advantages of this system is the flexibility to quickly respond to
training and information needs of farmers, availability of a reasonably
good untied operational budget and participation of farmers through
FACs. However, the project suffered from weak process documentation
and internal Monitoring & Evaluation system. Utilization of IT facility
and progress in implementation of adaptive research through State
Agriculture Universities and KVKs has not been up to the mark.
Another innovation in agriculture extension is Agri clinics-agribusiness centres.
The main aim of the scheme is to provide accountable extension
services to farmers through technically trained agricultural graduates at
the village level. The programme is financed through bank loans and
Government of India provides 25% of the cost as subsidy. It is
proposed to establish 5000 agri-clinics to provide testing facilities,
diagnostic and control services and other consultancies on a fee-for
service basis.
The programme has attracted nearly 16000 agri-graduates. 57
institutions are involved in this massive training programme. By end of
2002, 2853 graduates had completed or were undergoing training and
235 agri-entrepreneurs had started agri-clinics or agri-business centres
undertaking a variety of agri-entrepreneurial activities in different parts
of the country. There is urgent need to revitalize agricultural extension
in the State and incorporate lessons learnt from State’s own experience
in running U.P. Sodic Land Reclamation Project and U.P.DASP apart
from those of other States such as Kerala, Rajasthan, Maharashtra,
Punjab Agriculture University and agencies like ITC.
In general, it can be affirmed that there is a need for a more
comprehensive approach comprising a series of well coordinated steps
that can break the current stagnation of agriculture.
In order to attain and sustain higher levels of growth in its agriculture,
the Government of U.P. has identified the following areas as the main
sectors in need of intervention and more public investments:
- Irrigation;
- Increased agricultural research and development;
- Capacity expansion in U.P.’s agricultural universities;
- Diversification of crops;
- Revamping of the agricultural extension system to assist farmers in
adopting new technologies;
- Rural infrastructure and promotion of agro-based industries
Moreover some other factors needs to be addressed like the lack of
proper and adequate marketing and storing facilities, less employment
in agriculture due to an increasing number of different more
remunerative economic sectors (the average income for agricultural
workers is Rs 30-50 for men and women during the season),
insufficient agro-processing units.
Apart from growth potentials, agriculture – as it is today- has little or
no potential of employment generation in this state (the share of
manufacturing sector has gone up from 7% to 8% and the share of
services from 15% to 19%).
4.5.7 Western & Eastern Uttar Pradesh: Differences in Agriculture
The regional differences within U.P. no doubt play a role in the wide
interstate disparities that have persisted between U.P. and its Green
Revolution neighbours.
Although Eastern and Western U.P. are both part of the same Gangetic
plain, the two regions are distinct from one another.
Eastern U.P. is flood prone, less developed than the West, and
experiences periodic occurrences of droughts. It has higher amounts of
rainfall than its Western counterpart, and in many areas lacks the
capacity to cope with excess water via drainage systems.
In 1999-00, less than 1% was affected by floods in the West, while
8.5% was affected in the East. The frequent flooding in Eastern U.P.
can be largely attributed to deforestation in the U.P. per catchment
areas, leading to soil erosion and riverbed silting (Sharma and Poleman,
1993). Water logging in these areas during rainy season affects sowing
and crop yields (Pant, 2003).
While the East receives higher levels of rainfall than the West, as
described above, the Western region has been able to rely on, to a much
greater extent than in the East, on irrigation in the form of canal
networks and the development of its groundwater resources.
Not only can flooding, which is seen more in the Eastern region,
damage and/or destroy crops and waterlog swathes of land, but this
problem makes it more difficult for farmers to effectively use
fertilizers, as floods can easily wash away an application of fertilizers,
leaving a farmer and his land without the benefits of his investment of
this input. This can lessen the incentive for farmers to invest in
Additionally, fertilizers that are washed off the land can lead to
contamination of rivers and water sources, creating a host of
environmental problems. Fertilizer consumption has been traditionally
higher in the West than in the East, and over time, the gap, which was
quite narrow in 1965-66, has been widening.
Historically, one of the greatest advantages that Western U.P.
had over Eastern U.P. was public investment in canal irrigation. In the
19th Century, the West received large amounts of public investment for
irrigation, while the East received very little.
Between 1830 and 1880, the Eastern Yamuna, Lower Ganga and Agra
canals were constructed in Western U.P., allowing for larger tracts of
land to be irrigated than via the traditional wells, ponds and tanks. As
human and animal labour was freed up from more labour-intensive
forms of irrigation, such as the Persian wheel, cultivators were able to
produce crops more efficiently and work the land more intensively by
engaging in multiple cropping, which allowed more crops to be
produced without necessarily increasing the area under production.
This resulted in greater levels of economic activity in the West than in
the East, which was visible in the forms of better-developed markets
and roads (Sharma and Poleman, 1993).
Over time, Eastern U.P. has made strides to help narrow the gap with
its Western counterpart.
At the beginning of the Green Revolution, the Eastern and
Western region had roughly the same amount of irrigated area, but the
difference between them was that over 90% of land under irrigation in
the East was watered from wells, ponds and tanks, while over 50% of
land under irrigation in the West received water via canal irrigation
(Sharma and Poleman, 1993).
Over time, not only has the net irrigated area as a percentage of net
cropped area grown to a greater extent in the West than in the East, but
the growth in tube well irrigated area as a percentage of net cropped
area has also been greater in the Western region than in the Eastern
Another difference between Eastern and Western U.P. can be
identified in different systems of landholdings, and although land
reforms have been put in place, Eastern U.P. still has a higher share of
marginal land holdings.
Under British rule, the Zamindari system 71 of tenancy in Eastern U.P.
estranged cultivators from the land, as it further stratified rural society
into layers of tenants, subtenants and renter landlords.
In Western U.P., the Bhaichara system allowed for peasant
proprietorship, which gave tenants a greater incentive to invest in land
and improve productivity, as is reflected by changes in cropping
patterns, increases in yield and capital accumulation (Stokes, 1978).
In 1960-61, marginal land holdings (<1 hectare) made up over 52% of
land holdings in Western U.P. in about 11% of operational agricultural
area. At the same time in Eastern U.P., 62% of land holdings were
marginal, and they were contained in about 19% of agricultural area.
By 1980-81, the share of marginal holdings had increased in the West
to 62% in about 20% of agricultural area, and in the East marginal
holdings increased to 79% in 34% of agricultural area. In 1995-96, the
proportion of marginal holdings U.P.-wide was about 75% and they
operated in about one third of the State’s operational agricultural area
(CMIE, 2004).
71 Zamindari or the Zamindari System was employed by the Mughals to collect taxes from
peasants. The practice was continued under British rule. After independence, however, the
system was abolished in India and East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh), but is still current in
Dreze and Gazdar 72 point out that in the Eastern and Central
regions of U.P., more so than in the Western region, land is
predominantly owned by high-ranking castes.
Female participation in the labour force is lacking throughout the State
and the class and caste system are resilient, even in relation to the rest
of northern India. The gap between landowning castes and the
dispossessed is sizeable throughout the State and this, combined with
U.P.’s patriarchal nature, continue the pattern of uneven development.
4.6 The State of Rural Villages in Uttar Pradesh
The typical U.P. village is on average characterized by:
• About 800 families and 3,000 people
• Most men have no jobs.
• Children do not have a good role model.
• After high school most young men and women leave the village to a nearby
metropolitan town in search of jobs.
• Only 30% of the people own the lands
• The other 70% work as day labourers
• Villager is trying to earn Rs 50.00 per day ($ 1.25)
• Caste system still very present
• Households Electrified: 26 %
•Telephone penetration: 12 %
• Bank Accounts: 10 %
A typical U.P. village has a resident population of around one
thousand. While the layout of one village is different from another, the
following description might be representative of a vast majority.
Most villages are small and dense, with huts on either side of narrow
lanes. Open drainage usually runs along those lanes, often clogged and
infested with mosquitoes. Except for those belonging to "Upper castes,"
homes are usually placed close to each other, especially when the
government builds housing for the poor.
Landlords have their ancestral homes consisting of several
rooms, one of which is set aside for storing grain and supplies. Often,
prominent families of the Upper castes live next to a courtyard and a
72 Dreze, J., & Gazdar, H. (1997). Uttar Pradesh: The Burden of Inertia. In J. Dreze & A. Sen
(Eds.), Indian Development: Selected Regional Perspectives (pp. 33-128), New York, Oxford
University Press.
temple, which is usually set aside for those same Upper castes. "Lower
castes" worship at a separate temple, a small decorated room with an
idol, in another section of the village or elsewhere. Most villages have
an open well or a bore-well, and separate times are set for Upper and
lower castes to fetch water.
Most villages have lower and upper castes living in separate
sections. People belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) 73 and Scheduled
Tribes (ST) are required to live in an area designated for them. Those
belonging to "Most Backward Classes," "Backward Classes" and
"Other Backward Classes" 74 -- as they are officially categorized -usually live in the same area where "Other Classes (Upper Castes)"
live, but they do not mix with even lower castes.
When the government builds homes for lower castes, it ensures this
caste separation. In many instances, the government sets U.P. housing
colonies exclusively for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and hence, an
entire new village might consist of families belonging to only those
castes. The rural poor live in huts and government-supplied "houses"
that are no more than 150-200 sq. ft. in floor area. Huts are usually
constructed from mud blocks, roofs are thatched and the floors are
covered with a mud and cow-dung paste that serves as a disinfectant.
Figure 3: Picture of a rural huts in Jhansi district
73 Scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs, Adivasi) are Indian communities who
owing to their large numbers are accorded special status by the Constitution of India. These
communities were considered "outcastes", and were excluded from the Chaturvarna system that
was the descriptive social superstructure of Hindu society in the Indian subcontinent for
thousands of years. These communities had traditionally been relegated to the most menial
labour with no possibility of upward mobility, and subject to extensive social disadvantage and
exclusion, in comparison to the wider community. Lacking opportunities for educational, social
and economic growth, they could not integrate with rest of the society. The scheduled-caste
peoples are also known as Dalits; scheduled-tribe people are also referred to as Adivasis.
74 The Other Backward Classes (or OBCs) in India are a group of citizens other than the
Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes as may be specified by the Central Government in
their lists. The list presented by the commission is dynamic (castes and communities can be
added or removed) and will change from time to time depending on Social, Educational and
Economic factors. The Constitution of India recognizes the need to extend positive
discrimination to this section. For example, the OBCs are entitled to 27% reservations in public
sector employment and higher education. In the constitution, OBCs are described as "socially
and educationally backward classes", and government is enjoined to ensure their social and
educational development.
Houses supplied by the government are constructed with cement blocks
or bricks, the floor is cement, and the roof is made of concrete or
asbestos. Usually there is only one room in the house, but in some cases
a half-wall may be built to separate out the kitchen.
These houses do not have their own toilets, but common toilets are
made available at some distance at one corner of the village for several
families to share. More often than not, these toilets do not function nor
are they maintained, doors are broken or absent, and there is limited or
no access to water close by.
Government-supplied houses are around 190 sq. ft. in floor area which
works out to 38 sq. ft. of floor space per person -- only slightly more
space than a full-size bed. Every house has two small windows, but
they are not sufficient to permit cross ventilation or cooking smoke to
escape freely. Those who have domestic animals such as cows or goats
usually keep them inside their houses during the night.
Larger villages might have a school, a panchayat 75(local
governing body) office and a small gathering room for meetings. One
or two huts might also serve as a shop-cum-residence, selling sweets
and small household supplies. A somewhat levelled area might serve as
a playground for children. There are no vegetable or flower gardens in
75 Started by Rajiv Gandhi, constitutional amendment, a village panchayat has economic,
constitutional and community powers to govern the village, collect taxes and administer
programs and projects in the village. 98% of India is now under panchayat raj
A “Gram Sabha” consists of all the eligible voters in the village and they elect the Panchayat
council and its leader. A panchayat leader or the “sarpanch” is all that is needed.
the village, and farms are generally outside on adjacent land owned by
landlords or a small number of people who might have been allocated
government land for cultivation.
The village organisation of society offers many facilities for
rural administration, for repression of crime, and gradually for bringing
about attention to simple systems of sanitation. The village system also
enables the agrarian districts to dispense with a poor law. Each village
will secure its infirm and pauper inhabitants at least from starvation,
without the intervention of any poor-rate machinery.
Villages are connected one to another by paved or unpaved
narrow roads. One paved road (often not well maintained) connects
several villages to a rural town nearby where the government has set up
a primary health centre to serve 25,000 people or more.
Figure 4: Picture of a typical rural road (on the way from Varanasi to Lucknow)
These towns have many shops that cater to the daily needs of people
living in the villages nearby.
Many of the rural poor work the fields in agriculture and are employed
by the few landowners who reside in their villages. Several others
pursue caste-associated occupations -- priests, carpenters, blacksmiths,
barbers, weavers, potters, oil-pressers, leatherworkers, sweepers and so
Lately, with increased economic activity in nearby towns, many
commute outside their villages every day to work as drivers,
construction labourers, packers and in other industrial jobs.
Some migrate to cities for months, leaving their families behind. But
despite the increasing demand in cities for labour met by rural
migration, and the income generated by such employment, the living
conditions for most rural people remain far from what can be called
The opening up of the village economy has irrevocably altered
rural livelihoods in U.P. villages. Structural change has occurred
primarily due to the expansion of the village economy and its increased
linkages to the external economy.
The three main sources of exogenous structural change, which
have had most impact on the village economies, are the increased
penetration of the free market and subsequent erosion of morally based
modes of exchange and the influx of consumer goods; government
intervention, in particular land reform; and technology, mainly in
agriculture. The other notable source of livelihood change has been an
increase in the population as resources are continually sub-divided
between generations. Structural change has opened up previously
economically isolated villages, in a project of modernization,
presenting agents with increased opportunities, within the village and
outside, through migration, cash cropping and improved farming
Simultaneously it has increased potential vulnerability, through
increased competition, increased capital investments, dependence on
the sale of goods with fluctuating market prices, increased dowries and
changes to the moral economy. Structural change can therefore
exacerbate the poverty gap, whilst additionally providing a route to
economic emancipation.
4.7 Rural Poverty in Uttar Pradesh and its Measures
Development in U.P. began in the 1940s and escalated during the post
independence era in the 1950s, with the introduction of planned
development (Pandey, 1998).
The State has been operating on the assumption that the
development of U.P. reserve of natural resources would lead to all
round development of the state and thereby also alter the conditions of
the marginalized and the poor. However, more than five decades later,
in 2007, U.P. still has a very large population of poor.
50% of the State’s population that live below the poverty line has lower
incomes than the average income of the population below the poverty
line nationally and the proportion of India’s poor living in U.P. has
risen from 17 percent in 1983 to over 20 percent in 1999-00.
Poverty, in India, has been defined by the Planning Commission in
terms of the level of per capita consumer expenditure sufficient to
provide an average daily intake of 2400 calories per person in rural
areas and 2100 calories per person in urban areas, plus a minimal
allocation for basic non-food items. In this definition focus is on
material deprivation and poverty has been defined in terms of incomes
or level of consumption.
But poverty is also the result of low level of assets, coupled with low
The poor have very few assets beyond their own labour, which is
inevitably spent in tedious, back-breaking, low paid work. They often
possess little or no land and also tend to lack education, skills and good
health. In addition, the poor have limited access to such public assets as
community infrastructure, basic services and government schemes. It is
seen that rural poverty is becoming increasingly concentrated among
households whose primary source of income is casual labour, both in
agriculture as well as the rural non-farm sector.
Based on 2001-02 prices, a household with an annual income of below
Rs.19984 per annum in rural areas and Rs.25546 in urban areas are
deemed to be living below the poverty line in Uttar Pradesh.
As in other parts of India, land is the most crucial asset for the rural
poor. It has been seen that poverty falls as land ownership rises.
However, over the years, per capita availability of land has been
declining in U.P. It stood at a meagre 0.10 hectare in 2001-02. The
average size of land holdings in the State in 1995-96 was only 0.86
hectare, with nearly three fourth holdings falling below one hectare. In
fact, by 1999-00, nearly half of the rural population (62% of the poor)
owned less than a half hectare of land, far less than needed to provide
for a family’s subsistence needs
If the State does not succeed at this critical stage in the war against
poverty, then U.P. will further slip on the growth path vìs a vìs other
States and, maybe, irrevocably. A proper poverty alleviation strategy
should include the following steps:
- Revival of Agriculture: agriculture is the largest sector in the State’s
economy with its share being the highest both in the State income as
well as in employment. 66% of workers still remain in agriculture &
animal husbandry sector as per 2001 figures while only 6% are engaged
in manufacturing and 28% in others sector. However, about 27%
agricultural workers have practically no work.
The average income per worker in agriculture sector is only Rs.6912
while it is Rs.21464 for workers involved in manufacturing and
Rs.27347 for workers involved in other activities.
Further, contribution of agriculture in State income has declined from
58.4% in 1971 to 42.4% in 1991 and has further declined to 31.8% at
current prices as per quick estimates of 2002-03.
Keeping in view the large number of workers employed in the sector, it
is imperative that steps must be taken to revive agriculture and allied
activities sector in the State if poverty alleviation is to be attained on a
sustainable basis. Steps need to be taken whereby there is significant
increase in the profitability of agricultural operations. As stated above,
a large number of holdings are of less than half hectare. Through the
traditional crop mix of food crops, it is difficult to make agriculture
very profitable. Cultivation of cash crops, vegetables, medicinal plants
etc. may be more profitable for marginal farmers. Similarly, cultivation
of bio-diesel plants like jetropha on wastelands need to be promoted.
Strategy should be to maximize income of the farmer from his meagre
land holding.
- Rural infrastructure: State Government will also need to step up
investment in rural infrastructure. A good road network in rural areas,
efficient and cost-effective irrigation system, rural electrification and
improvement in per capita energy consumption apart from upgrading of
marketing infrastructure are some of the critical areas wherein prompt
action is required. Likewise, there is urgent need to improve health
delivery system, improve quality of education and provide access to
safe drinking water and sanitation to all rural households. Both Central
and State Government have initiated action in this regard and it is
hoped that in the next 4-5 years there would be significant
improvement and upgradation of rural infrastructure.
- Wage Employment: since a large proportion of the rural poor are
unemployed or underemployed, it is imperative that the Poverty
Alleviation Strategy focuses on providing wage employment to the
needy. Sampoorna Gramin Rojgar Yojana (SGRY), Food for Work
scheme seek to provide 100 days employment to poor people. The
Employment Guarantee Act would further step up investment in this
sector. De-silting of ponds, watershed development, creation of
permanent community assets are some of the permissible activities
under these schemes.
- Self Employment: in order to enable poor households to come out of
poverty trap on a sustainable basis, it is essential that avenues of self
employment are opened up for them. Swarnajayanti Grameen
Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) is designed to achieve this goal by
providing assistance to Self Help Groups.
Experience suggests that poverty alleviation strategy can be effective
only if measures are simultaneously taken on several fronts with a view
to increase the income of the poor families. This cannot be achieved
through a single scheme or intervention. This approach would require
provision of wage employment to members of a BPL household,
inclusion of a member in the Self Help Group. so as to promote selfemployment and assistance under other schemes of different
departments so as to increase their income. This could involve help for
rural backyard poultry, improvement in nutritional status
/supplementary income through production of vegetables in kitchen
garden, cultivation of jetropha, developing bamboo groves (in eastern
U.P. and Terai regions) as insurance for meeting urgent social,
consumption or health needs, animal husbandry etc.
However, the poverty alleviation strategy cannot succeed if there is no
growth. Revival of agriculture and manufacturing will provide
additional opportunities to the poor to better their lot. Investment in
rural infrastructure is expected to kick start the rural economy.
Improved quality of education and health delivery system can
contribute towards improving the skill base and health status of the
rural poor, who, to a large extent, are dependent on their labour for
earning enough to make both ends meet.
Efficient and effective implementation of safety net programmes along
with disbursement of relief during natural calamities are hoped to
improve the ability of the poor to withstand shocks and recover
4.8 Uttar Pradesh Rural Development Institutions, Projects and
Development of rural areas has been at the core of planning process in
the country and also in the State.
Rural Development is a broad, inclusive term which takes in its
ambit socio-economic and political development of the rural areas. It
includes measures to strengthen the democratic fabric of society
through the Panchayati Raj Institutions and to provide the vast rural
multitude ‘voice and choice’ apart from measures to develop the rural
infrastructure, increase the income of rural households and delivery
systems pertaining to education, health and safety net mechanisms.
Poverty alleviation is a key component of rural development.
Each Indian State has independent agenda of investments and some
domains like rural development, education, urbanisation,
industrialisation, law and order are completely subject to the state’s
different departments, institutions and organizations which are in
charge of giving concrete application to the recommendations.
Garibi Hatao or rural development has been at the centre stage
of the Five Year Plans since the Fifth Five Year Plan.
In 2005-06, the State Government spent Rs.3201.51 crore on various
rural development schemes.
Altogether 25 out of 70 districts in the State received over Rs.50 crore
for rural development schemes during the last financial year (2006).
The District and State Authorities should try and examine the impact of
this expenditure in terms of lifting people above the poverty line and
increase in rural income.
4.8.1 Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI)
Panchayati Raj is a system of governance. It has 3 levels: village, block
and district. The 3 Tiers in the PRI are: Zilla Parishad the highest tier,
Panchayat Samiti/ Block Advisory Committee (in tribal areas) the
middle tier and Gram Panchayat/ADC Villages (in tribal areas) the
lowest tier.
Elections are being held at regular intervals of five years for all three
The panchayats receive funds from three sources:
- local body grants, as recommended by the Central Finance
- funds for implementation of centrally-sponsored schemes,
- funds released by the State Governments on the recommendations of
the State Finance Commissions.
State Government is also taking steps to ensure timely release of
grants received on Uttar Pradesh is likely to receive Rs.2928 crore
between 2005-10 for rural PRIs and Rs. 517 crore for urban PRIs the
recommendations of the Twelfth Finance Commission to PRIs.
State Government is committed to transferring funds, functions and
functionaries to the PRIs as per the constitutional mandate.
From 1994 onwards the State Government has been delegating
different powers and responsibilities with the 3-tires of the Panchayati
Raj Institution. The Panchayat (Administration) Rules 1994 and the
Tripura Panchayat (Election of office bearers) Rules 1994 have been
framed for effective decentralization of development activities and
determination of the responsibilities of Panchayat functionaries.
Powers and responsibilities delegated to Panchayats involve:
- the preparation of plan for economic development and social justice.
- the implementation of schemes for economic development and social
justice in relation to 29 subjects given in Eleventh Schedule of the
- to levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls and fees.
4.8.2 Uttar Pradesh Departments and Boards
In Uttar Pradesh, five are the main Governmental departments
concerned with rural development: the Department of Rural
Development, the Department of Panchayati Raj, the Department of
Health and Family Welfare, the Department of Agriculture and the
Department of Information Technology. In addition, a set of different
boards which sometimes cooperate and sometimes overlap, try to foster
a better management of the rural natural and human resources.
1) The Department of Rural Development 76 in U.P. is implementing
a number of programs aimed at the sustainable development of rural
areas with a focus on disadvantaged sections.
A strategic pro-poor policy, which is also part of both the 10th Five
Year Plan and the 11th Five Year Plan, has been adopted under which
the rural poor are treated as a net resource with their own ideas and
experiences in tune with the local conditions. A number of new
initiatives have been launched in the last two years.
Keeping in mind that rural roads are vital to economic growth
and poverty alleviation in rural areas, in 2000 the Department of Rural
Development launched a major initiative – the Pradhaan Mantri
Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) - with the aim of providing
connectivity to all unconnected habitations with a population of more
than 1000 by the year 2003 and similar such villages with a population
of 500 by the year 2007. It is an initiative sponsored entirely by the
Government of U.P. PMGSY seeks to provide road connectivity to all
1000+ habitations in the next three years.
To meet the shortage of houses in rural areas the Government
launched also a comprehensive plan for rural housing, envisaging the
construction of houses and up-gradation of unserviceable houses.
The Action plan is being implemented in various programs such as the
Indira Awaas Yojana (which is designed to provide houses to the
people below the poverty line for free – the programme has been
successful but the problem of housing in U.P. is often subject to
76 rd.up.nic.in
corruption), Innovative Schemes for Rural Houses, Rural Building
Another important initiative is the Total Sanitation Campaign
aimed at making the country ‘open defecation free’ by the end of
Eleventh Plan. All seventy districts of the State have been covered
under this programme. Gains made in providing access to safe drinking
water are sought to be consolidated by addressing the issue of source
and system sustainability apart from addressing problem of water
quality. Efforts are also being made to improve the efficiency of canal
system in the State through diligent use of State’s own resources as
well as External Funding.
Schemes to electrify all villages of the State in the next three
years have recently been approved by Government of India under the
Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Programme. The Rashtriya Sam
Vikas Yojana also seeks to address the issue of regional disparity in
selected districts of the country.
The Integrated Rural Development programme (IRDP) aims
to reduce poverty by creating self-employment opportunities for a
target group of beneficiaries below the poverty line. The programme is
funded by state and central government: 50% of those assisted should
belong to scheduled castes and 40% should be women (the income
eligibility criterion is complex and leads to considerably arbitrariness).
Studies in the state have found out that at least 30-40% of the
beneficiaries are generally non poor.
2) The Department of Rural Development works in close collaboration
with the U.P. Irrigation Department 77 which selects areas for
intervention and improvement in the poverty-stricken areas of the
Ghaghra-Gomti Basin. Its main objectives are:
- to increase productivity of water through: effective allocation of water
resources amongst sectors by integrated and environmentallysustainable river basin planning, development and management
process, including conjunctive use of surface and ground water.
- to increase and sustain agriculture productivity through: technically
appropriate irrigation and drainage operations, enabling institutional,
policy and legislative reforms, substantial user participation, modernize
77 www.irrigation.up..nic.in
irrigation and drainage infrastructure and improving linkage between
agriculture and water sectors.
- to improve the living standard of rural poor through: enhanced farm
incomes arising from agricultural intensification and diversification,
creation of enabling environment for improved access to clean drinking
water, sanitation and hydro-power, sustainable management of wetlands and improved equity in access to water.
At the moment there are three types of projects under
construction/completion by the U.P. Irrigation Department:
- Major & medium projects: like for example the Kishau Dam Project
which, once finished, will provide 1.015 maf of irrigation water and
500 maf of drinking water to the State. The estimated cost is 34.55
- Minor Irrigation projects: like Jarauli Pump Canal Project whose
aim is to feed Lower Ganga canal system to feed the tail end in
Fatehpur Distt. This project irrigates 64495 hectares of cultivable land
and extra 39748 hectares is the target to be achieved. The estimated
cost is 4792 Lakhs.
- Flood projects: Uttar Pradesh has 294-36 lac hectares land out of
which 73.36 hectares is flood prone area.
3) An important contribute, in matter of rural development, is also
given by the Uttar Pradesh Khadi and Village Industries Board
(U.P.KVIB) 78, a State Government owned organization, which is
charged with the mission of effecting rural industrialization in the State
of U.P. through the development of Cottage and Village Industries with
a view to create employment opportunities in rural areas.
The Board envisages bringing about rural industrialization by:
- creating opportunities of self-employment,
- imparting training,
- using traditional artisan skills,
- developing appropriate technology, products and processes and
devising effective marketing strategies to market the output.
The Board has adopted a holistic approach to effectively carry out these
tasks by identifying and selecting potential entrepreneurs, providing
78 www.up.kvib.com
them training, making available finance resources on easy terms,
guiding them to establish their ventures
The board has 10 village industries training centers to conduct business
management training and different trade training like - cutting &
tailoring, fashion designing, candle making, fruit preservation at district
4) The Uttar Pradesh State Agricultural Marketing Board 79 is
another agency that acts as a liaison between the Market Committees
and the Government of U.P. for the development of agricultural
marketing in the State. The important functions of the Board regard the
grading and standardization of agricultural produce, the general
improvement of the regulation of marketing in the state, propaganda
and publicity on matters relating to regulated marketing of agricultural
produce, giving aid to financially weak (or needy) market committees
in the form of loans and grants, to arrange for safety insurance on the
life of farmers, to organize seminars, workshops or exhibitions on
subject relating to agricultural marketing.
For every mandi area, one mandi samiti is established.
Main duties and responsibilities of mandi samiti are as given below:
- to ensure impartial behaviour between farmers and traders
- to categorize saleable agricultural produces & to sell the produces by
- to get weighing of the produces as per metric scale & to pay for the
produces immediately
- to gather information regarding market prices & other useful trends &
to publicize them
- to ensure the availability of the necessary stuff in mandi areas
- to play the role of negotiator in case of disputes between farmers and
traders and to resolve their problem
- to get land acquisition, to prepare the map for construction works to
prepare the accounts for income/expenditure for mandi area
construction works.
5) The Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD), based in
Lucknow, is a premier institute for providing training, research and
79 www.up.mandiparishad.in
consultancy services in the field of agriculture and rural development
banking in India. The institute was established in 1983 by National
Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the apex
development bank supporting agriculture and rural development in
In 1992, BIRD was reconstituted as a Society (under the Indian
Societies Registration Act, 1860), promoted and funded by NABARD.
Since then, BIRD made significant strides and carved out a niche for
itself in the training map of India. It is widely known in Banking,
Government and NGO sectors for the quality of its product and
services. The institute offers custom designed training solutions for
banks, government agencies, NGOs and other institutions connected
with agriculture and rural development banking to address the new
challenges concerning the sector.
Regional programs in U.P. are also sponsored by multilateral donor
agencies such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the European
Community. In general the aid ranges from 20.96% to 33.41% of the
Five Year Plans.
During the Tenth Year Plan (2002-2007) the main ongoing projects
sponsored by external agencies in U.P. were:
- Uttar Pradesh Sodic Land Reclamation Project: seeks to increase
agricultural productivity by reclaiming sodic lands in 10 districts of the
State. Active community participation and well-coordinated
government interventions are critical aspects in the project approach:
moreover the rehabilitation and maintenance of main drain components
will improve the drain network which will have positive environmental
impacts. The total cost of the project is Rs 1.469 crore.
- Uttar Pradesh Health System Development Project: intends to
develop a health project through the delivery of effective services,
stemming from policy reform, institutional and human development
resources in addition to investments in health services. The main
components of the project are: developing a strategic management
capacity, through formulation and review of health system performance
and pursuing policy reforms and improving the quality of clinical
practice in public health. The total cost of the project Rs 648 crore and
the total duration is intended to be of five years.
- Uttar Pradesh Diversified Agriculture Support Project: it intends
to increase the agricultural productivity, to promote private sector
development and to improve rural infrastructures. The main
components of the projects are supporting the technology development
and rural infrastructures development by improving rural roads in the
project area, rural markets and market information collection and
dissemination system. The total cost of the project is Rs 699 crore and
the duration is 3 years.
- Uttar Pradesh Rural Water Supply and Environmental
Sanitation Project: the main object of the project is to deliver
sustainable health benefits to the rural population by improving water
supply and sanitation services which will increase rural incomes
through time saving and income opportunities for women. The total
cost of the project is Rs 123 and the duration is of 6 years. The scheme
envisages the following important features: use of appropriate
technology (based on feasibility studies, consultation and agreements
with the communities), group formation by NGOs (selection of NGOs
is based on the criteria that they have to be local).
The State Government is also taking steps to involve the Private sector
in rural development. Rural Growth centres are proposed to be set up in
the State and a sum of Rs.100 crore has been earmarked in the State
budget for the current year 2007. Private sector and voluntary sector
can play a very effective role in dissemination of knowledge and
providing backward and forward linkages necessary for making any
economic activity viable.
State Government is taking steps to ease regulations which are curbing
free enterprise in rural areas. All curbs which stunt growth of rural
entrepreneurship must be identified and removed. These should cover
all sectors such as agriculture, horticulture, agri-marketing, fisheries,
dairy, cooperatives etc.
Further, health sector is another area where there is tremendous
scope for public-private partnership. Health Insurance schemes such as
the one launched in Karnataka covering 21 lakh farmers registered with
Karnataka State Co-operative Societies for surgical treatment wherein
farmers pay Rs.90 per year and are covered for all surgical treatments
for Rs.2 lakh per year. They receive cashless treatment at 90 network
hospitals with free out patient consultation and hospitals offer standard
subsidized tariffs for all surgeries. Such a scheme would go a long way
in reducing chances of poor falling back below the poverty line due to
The three-tier Panchayati Raj system has a crucial role in rural
development and implementation of poverty alleviation programmes.
Tension between the voluntary sector and PRIs has to be resolved and
greater transparency in the functioning of all agencies – government,
PRIs, NGOs and private sector – is essential for proper, efficient and
effective utilization of scarce resources. All U.P. inhabitants have to
come together and work as a team for realizing the goal of rural
development and poverty alleviation.
4.9 Communication: a Way to Rural Development in U.P.?
Rural development is the real challenge for Indian States like U.P.
where large sections of people reside in villages and smaller towns;
even though –as reported before – many projects have been undertook
and more money is being invested, satisfying reults in rural
development are yet to come.
People in the villages of U.P. – as results from some interviews
conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology- show a general
discontent about Governmental programs and relative budget
expenditures and they are often not aware of the outcomes of the
projects carried out in the areas where they live.
The last reported episode of discontent regards a protest which
started on November 13, 2007 in the busy market area of Kartal, an
important small town. The pradhans of over a dozen gram panchayats,
and several panchayat members and villagers sat on a relay hunger
strike at the bus-stand protesting against the inadequate and incomplete
development work of a bridge across a minor river called Pungri.
Connecting U.P. to M.P., the bridge had been left incomplete since
As in this case, projects frequently fail or can bounce back
without creating a significant impact: the main reasons for this are
ineffective public investments 80 being made in rural areas, the disparity
in rural-urban infrastructure, (in terms of roads, power, transport and
telecommunications) and the communication gaps, which happen
because the human element has been ignored or overlooked during
project planning.
While the first two issues required huge amounts of money to be
invested, communication gaps could be more easily addressed.
Communications gaps can be identified along two directions: one
functional, which links farmer’s aspirations and assets with potentially
useful policies and service provision which at the end fail to meet their
expectations, and another geographical, where learning is not shared
within and among neighbouring communities.
Communication gaps can hinder a project in various ways and can be
of different kinds:
- Gaps between those carrying out development work and those to be
affected by it. More specifically, this type of gap exists when a project
is misunderstood or mistrusted by the local population, or when broader
development activities such as family planning, health education, or
general rural development fail to enlist support and participation.
- Gaps between development projects and government echelons. This
type of gap can grow up when a long period of time elapses between
project formulation and project implementation: the officials
responsible for the original planning may have moved on to other
assignments or ministries and their sponsors may not understand, or
agree with the original objectives of the project.
- Gaps that occur in teaching, training or extension situations when no
audio-visual aids are available or when attempts are being made to use
audio-visual aids that are not entirely relevant to the situation.
Projects should be planned in co-operation with local people,
communications specialists and sociologists. It goes without saying, of
course, that the Government should also be closely involved.
80 The most important threat to U.P. State economy comes from the financial management of
the state government. U.P. is critically indebted and the debt is on the verge of becoming
unsustainable. Average primary deficit as a percentage of GSDP is more than the difference
between real growth and real interest rate. With such a high fidcal debt little is left for
development expenditure. What’s more, development programmes are treated by factional
leaders as useful channels for the recruitment and reward of supporters.
The Government of U.P. has only recently started to use media
and communication tools to reduce rural poverty. Empowering people
with information and the right to information is a way to improve
governance. The Government should give more autonomy to rural local
bodies, should involve media and independent NGOs in the
dissemination of information about policies and programmes of the
government and get more committed to provide the necessary
incentives for the spread of projects where communication is an asset,
fostering at the same time IT based education, health care and
agriculture and allied information in the rural areas.
The number of rural newspapers, rural broadcasting radio, ICT
programs in the rural areas is growing. Their purpose is to initiate a
dialogue among rural people, share information and also, give them an
opportunity to voice their opinion. The matters in these communication
tools range from local civic problems like conditions of the hand pumps
and the kharanjas (brick roads), local social issues like dowry,
intoxication, violence against women, and even murders and other
crimes. Household tips, gardening tips and details of the latest research
are the added features which are collected by the women themselves.
4.9.1 ICT for Rural Development in U.P.
In a special State level assessment on the use of ICT – the so called
Networked Readiness Index Framework - U.P. has emerged, in 200304, as an “average achiever” in terms of ICT relative development and
state’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to ICT.
Figure 5: Classification of the States according to the E-Readiness Composite Index
Source: http://www.mit.gov.in/download/EX_sum.PDF
The framework is based on parameters that evaluate:
- the environment for ICT offered by each Indian State and the
connected market, political/regulatory, infrastructure;
- the readiness of the community’s key stakeholders to use ICTindividual readiness, business readiness, government readiness;
- the usage of ICT among these stakeholders (individual usage,
business usage and government usage).
Since 2003-2004, even if there are not official data, the impression is
that U.P. has made further progress in achieving e-Governance and in
improving its ICT infrastructures.
Noida and Greater Noida – two cities in U.P. which are only 30
minutes away from New Delhi and very close to each other – are fast
emerging as the largest IT hubs in India for RIM, BPO, Call Center and
other related businesses. No wonder companies like Adobe, Intel,
Microsoft have either set up their bases in Noida or Greater Noida, or
are in process of doing so.
Uttar Pradesh, is one of the prime Indian States to have
developed the use fo ICTs for a better rural services delivery: its
mission is to take ICTs to every village, to every citizen, to every
business and to transform the way Government works using ICT.
Since all districts and most block headquarters have fibre (since 2006,
both government and private fiber should be available at all blocks), the
need is primarily to connect the villages to the blocks, a distance
usually less than 25km. For the ‘last-mile’, dial-up, cable/DSL and
wireless technologies are all possible options.
The importance of eGovernance arises from the prolonged absence of
self-sufficiency in rural areas, which has created an encompassing
dependency of rural residents on locally elected officials and
To achieve a better service delivery, recently the Government of
U.P. has undertaken a number of initiatives aiming at creating an
institutional framework for the development of IT industry81. A major
step had been the creation of a Department of Information Technology
which is meant to facilitate an efficient and effective delivery of
government services and to proactively provide a system of spreading
information on the Government schemes, planned developmental
activities and status of current activities.
Some of the most successful U.P. e-projects include :
Lokvani 82– launched in 2004, it is one of the pioneering initiatives of
e-governance in the State. A recipient of the Golden Icon award at the
9th National Conference of e-Governance in the service delivery
category, the project gives citizens of urban and rural areas an
81 IT Policy has been modified to incorporate special incentives for the IT industry, like
preferential allotment of land, continuous power supply, 100% exemption from stamp duty,
extended working hrs for women
82 Lokvani can be accessed on the Internet at www.sitapur.nic.in/lokvani (User Name: guest,
Password: guest).
opportunity to interact with the government without coming to any
government office.
Some of the services offered include online submission, monitoring and
disposal of public grievances/complaints, online land records,
information about various government schemes, application forms,
developmental works/schemes/expenditures/beneficiaries, information
about local employment opportunities in the district etc....
Treasury Computerization 83 - one of the few Government sector
projects to have been certified by ISO, the treasury computerization in
the State is one fine example of G2G (Government to Government) and
G2C (Government to Citizen) interfaces. Benefiting more than six lakh
pensioners of the state the software has been implemented in all 73
treasuries of the state, and provides information over IVRS and web. It
is used potentially by the Government officials, planners, economists &
researchers & provides relief to elder citizens-pensioners of the State.
Some of the salient features of the software include remittance
Accounting (CCL/DCL), pension Disbursement & Accounting, online
Cheque Generation, etc...
Bhulekh 84 – the land records computerization in U.P. started as an
application especially for farmers. The project has benefited
government, banks, NGOs and all other stakeholders. Implemented in
all the 305 tehsils of the state, the project has been instrumental in
bridging the digital divide to a great extent. Computer generated copies
of Record of Rights (RoR) are being distributed to farmers, land
owners and other institutions from the Tehsil Computer Centre.
Vahan 85 – The state has already computerized the major activities
(Registration, Tax Collection, Permits, etc) of 19 RTO (Regional
Transmission Organizations) offices. The project will be extended to all
the RTOs of the state in the next couple of years.
Telemedicine 86 – U.P. was among the first in the country to have
started the telemedicine project. Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute
of Medical Sciences and IIT Kanpur have successfully implemented the
project in rural areas of the State.
83 http://finance.up..nic.in/TreasManual/TMan/T-FHB-HEAD.htm
84 http://kannauj.nic.in/bhulekh.htm
85 archive.eci.gov.in/se2002/pollU.P.d/ac/states/s24/Acnstcand25.htm
86 www.onlinetelemedicine.com/HTML/about_otri/projects_north.htm
Tarahaat 87- Another success story exists in Jhansi where women have
been relying extensively on the internet to generate business inquiries
from interested customers based worldwide in their handicrafts. They
are able to use the Net to negotiate a fair pricing for their products
without an intermediary; and also get repeat business from the buyers.
Earlier these craftswomen were exploited by the middlemen who used
to retain bulk of the sale proceeds from the crafts, giving the women a
small share. Now they have started using the Internet for sourcing a
new variety of crafts that they are unable to make and in which their
buyers are interested. There has been an improvement in their living
standards and lifestyle for the last over two years now.
E-ditricts 88 - The Government has decided to take U.P. e-district pilot
project in six districts till August 2008 with the aim of improving
services in at least 10 fields.
The services include issuance of certificates for proof of income, birth,
death, caste and marriage and different types of pension, revenue
related matters and other utility services. It also includes procuring
identity cards, land revenue and pension records and services related to
the public distribution system (PDS) and licences. The Government has
decided in principle to provide 384 computers, which would be
equipped with Internet connection.
87 ruralinformatics.nic.in/files/4_12_0_229.pdf
88 www.egovonline.net
Table 7: Services under the e-district project
Selected Services under e-district
project, U.P.
S.No. Service
Old age
FIR Status
Character Verification
House Tax
Property Tax
Issuance of RTC (khatauni)
Dues from land revenue
Modifications in the RC
Generation of RC
Right to Information
Tracking of RC
RTI Applications for all
Electoral Services
Limited to 10 Selected
Services only
Public Distribution System
Case Listing
Cause list generation
Issuance of new ration cards
Surrender Certificate
Modification in ration card
U.P. data on of electoral rolls
Revenue Court Services
Progress tracking
Final issuance of order
Employment Services
Issuance of duplicate ration
Source: sitapur.nic.in/edist/data/UPeD%20AsIs%20Report%20-%20Ghaziabad.pdf
There are numerous other projects like Property and Land Registry
System, GIS based Planning Atlas, Online Counselling for U.P.
Technical University, Results on Web, Nagar Nigam computerization,
File Monitoring System and web based MPR, which are providing
better services to the citizens and MIS for the administrators and policy
The major achievements of such e-Governance initiatives have been the
development of an IT culture in government functioning, a quicker and
faster delivery of services to the people, a change in mindset and an
increase in transparency in government procedures.
It has to be kept in mind that a project, in order to be sustainable, must
be based on a strong business model; a program may touch
marginalized sections and/or add maximum value but at the same time,
it is important to ensure that the project is not transitory and for a short
period of time.
Policy planners should further implement the use of ICTs by:
- empowering and including marginalized sections through evolution of
networked states/provinces.
- sustainable/scalable/profitable rural development initiatives
- match potential of Indian states for IT application with actual level of
applications in the state with assistance from the Central government.
- developing a domestic market for IT applications to reduce
vulnerability from the external environment.
- increasing awareness of potential benefits of ICT in rural
The IT roadmap for enhancing e-Governance penetration in rural areas
is ready with projects that will give a boost to the IT infrastructure in
U.P. like State Wide Area Network, State Data Centre, Centre for
Excellence, etc, and with projects that will extend the fruits of ITES
(Information Technology Enterprise Solutions) to people of far-flung
and remote areas of the state like Community Service Centres, Citizen
Information Kiosks, etc...
The hope is that ICT will help to manage rural India’s social, political
and administrative challenges and become a viable technology for the
provision of health, education and other social services.
An additional expectation is that ICT will improve access to the large
underserved market that rural U.P. people represent. Indeed, there are
clear signs of empowerment as well. State governments and NGOs
have been stressing the benefits of ICTs endlessly. Yet, ICTs are not
the proverbial silver bullets that can be used to get rid of corruption,
poverty and inequality.
Economic profile of U.P.
POPULATION (2001 census)
SEX RATIO (females/1000 males)
LITERACY RATE (census 2001) in %
MALE LITERATE in numbers
BIRTH RATE (PER 1000) (2002)P
NSDP at current prices (2002-2003)* Rs Crores
170424 Rs Crores *(20022003)
PER CAPITA NSDP (2002-03) at current prices Rs
State Domestic Product (2002-03)
9895 Rs *(2002-2003)
Rs. 612670 mln.
Installed Capacity (96-97) :
5,575 MW
Production :
2,282 crore KWH
Consumption :
2,667 crore KWH
Per capita consumption :
209 KWH
No. of electrified villages :
Number of phones
People per phone
Phone services
DOT, HFC Bezeq
Cellular services
U.P.(East): Airtel, Koshika;
U.P.(West): Escotel, Koshika
Radio paging
IXL, Modi Tel
Railway track length
8,901 km
Source: Directorate of Economics & Statistics of respective State Governments (As on March 26, 2004),
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India
U.P. Budget 2007-2008
The size of the budget has gone up from Rs. 82,849.96 crore in 2006-07 to Rs.
1,00,911.41 crore in 2007-08. Thus there is an increase of 22 per cent.
An expenditure of more than Rs. 10,000 crore is estimated for infrastructure
development in the rural areas.
A target of linking 1000 villages with the roads has been set for the rural areas. To
achieve this target 3200 kms long pucca link roads would be constructed. An
arrangement of Rs. 800 crore has been made for the purpose.
• An arrangement of Rs. 400 crore has been made for the reconstruction of the link
roads and small bridges in the Dr. Ambedkar villages and also for the saturation of
such villages selected earlier.
• Rs. 377 crore earmarked for the electrification of the villages under the Dr. Ambedkar
Gram Sabha Vikas Yojana.
• An arrangement of Rs. 50 crore has been made for the electrification of the tubewells in the rural areas. From this amount almost 20,000 tube-wells would be
New hand-pumps would be installed in the rural areas under the Rural Drinking Water
Scheme during the year 2007-08 and old hand pumps would be re-bored. An
arrangement of Rs. 460 crore has been made under this head
Rs. 40 crore earmarked for the construction of under ground drainage system in the
rural areas.
• A provision Rs. 160 crore made under the Indira Awas Yojana.
• An amount of Rs. 200 crore proposed under the Scheduled Caste Housing Scheme.
For the Farmers
A strategy of extensive reform will be adopted to revolutionise the agriculture sector of
the State.
A proposal of Rs. 1,647 crore has been made for agriculture projects. Out of it, Rs. 490
crore earmarked for new projects.
‘Kisan Hit Yojna’ is being introduced for treatment of usar, banjar and beehar land
belonging to dalit and backward people so that their lands could become fertile and
their productivity increased. Under it, a target of re-claming 07 lakh hectare land in all
the districts has been set for the 11th Five Year Plan. An arrangement of Rs. 106 crore
has been made for this purpose in the budget.
A provision of Rs. 86 crore made for encouraging the use of bio-chemicals in farming
and for controlling insects and diseases of the crops. The farmers belonging to SC/ST
category and the marginal farmers will be specially benefited by the scheme.
New schemes of Rs.100 crore included in the budget to encourage enhanced
production of various crops.
Rs. 47 crore arranged for ‘Mrida Swasthya Sudhar Yojna’.
Rs. 36 crore arranged for Certified Seeds Production Scheme.
Rs. 15 crore earmarked for State Cooperative Federation for the storage of
chemical fertilizers.
Rural Development
Opportunities of self-employment will be provided under the Dr. Ambedkar Special
Employment Scheme in the rural areas. An arrangement of Rs. 20 crore made for this
By the end of 11th Five Year Plan, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
would be implemented in all the districts of the State. An arrangement of Rs. 200 crore
as state-share has been made.
The ‘Sampooran Gramin Gram Yojna’ would be implemented in 31 districts and
arrangement of Rs. 190 crore proposed.
An arrangement of Rs. 96 crore made under the ‘Swarn Jyanti Swarozgar Yojna’.
Panchayti Raj
Decision taken to free the State from nature’s call in open air by the year 2012.
The grant admissible for the construction of private latrines in the rural areas increased
from Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1500.
A target of Rs. 2,280 crore set for the distribution of short-term crop loan through the
Cooperative Banks. A target of distribution of Rs. 1,100 crore set for Kharif crop.
A distribution target of 30.50 lakh of fertilisers set under the fertiliser's distribution
scheme. A target of 13.33 lakh. set for Kharif crop.
An arrangement of Rs. 67 crore made under the 'Byaj U.P.adan Yojna' so that the
farmers could get crop loan at the rate of six per cent.
Source: indiabudget.nic.in/ub2007-08/bs/speech.htm
“…The main problem we encounter is their lack of a holistic, integrated, multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral approach in analyzing communication problems as
well as in designing and planning communication strategies in support of the rural
development objectives “
Ronny Adhikarya 89
5.1 The Link between Communication and Development
Knowledge and information are essential for people to successfully
respond to the opportunities and challenges of social, economic and
technological changes. But to be useful, knowledge and information
must be effectively communicated to people.
Communication for development commonly refers to the
application of communication strategies and principles in the
developing world, where more than 850 million people are nowadays
excluded from a wide range of information and knowledge.
It derives from theories of development and social change and has its
origins in post-war international aid programs to countries in Latin
America, Asia and Africa that were struggling with factors hindering
their progress like poverty, illiteracy, poor health and a lack of
economic, political and social infrastructures.
As a matter of fact, after the last remains of European empires
in Africa and Asia crumbled in the 1950s and 1960s, a dominant
question in policy and academic quarters was how to address the
89 Senior Training Officer at the Knowledge Networks and Distance Learning Division
(WBIKL) of the World Bank.
abysmal disparities between the “developed” and “underdeveloped”
The prospects that large parts of the post-colonial world could
eventually catch-up and resemble Western countries was at the center
of development theories; the process by which“Third World 90
societies” could become more like Western developed societies as
measured in terms of political system, economic growth, and
educational levels (Inkeles & Smith 1974) was therefore present in all
development programs.
In that historical period, development was synonymous with political
democracy, rising levels of productivity and industrialization, high
literacy rates, longer life expectancy, and the like.
The implicit assumption was that there existed only one form of
development as expressed in “developed” countries and consequently
the “underdeveloped” societies needed to replicate it.
Since then, numerous studies have provided diverse definitions
of development communication. Definitions reflect different scientific
premises of researchers as well as interests and political agendas of a
myriad of international organizations, NGOs and foundations in the
development field.
Recent definitions state that the ultimate goal of development
communication is to raise the quality of life of populations, including
increase income and well-being, eradicate social injustice, promote
land reform and freedom of speech and establish community centres for
leisure and entertainment (Melkote 1991).
The current aim of development communication is to remove
constraints for a more equal and participatory society.
Although a multiplicity of theories and concepts emerged
during the past fifty years, studies and interventions have
fundamentally offered two different diagnoses and answers to the
problem of underdevelopment. While one position has argued that the
90 The term “Third World” came into use during the 1960s (it was coined by the
economist/demographer Alfred Sauvy in 1952) to distinguish the rest of the world from the two
Cold War power blocks of the capitalist West (United States and Europe) and the Communist
East (Soviet Union, eastern Europe and China). These were the First and Second worlds,
respectively; the rest was the Third World. In recent times, terms like “underdeveloped
countries”, “less developed countries”, “countries in a process of development” or “newly
developed countries” are generally preferred.
problem was largely due to lack of information among populations, the
other one suggested that power inequality was the underlying problem.
Because the diagnoses were different, recommendations were different,
Running the risk of overgeneralization, it could be said that theories
and intervention approaches fell in different camps on the following
- Cultural vs. environmental explanations for underdevelopment
- Psychological vs. socio-political theories and interventions
- Attitudinal and behaviour models vs. structural and social models
- Individual vs. community-centred interventions development
- Hierarchical and sender-oriented vs. horizontal and participatory
communication models
- Active vs. passive conceptions of audiences and populations
- Participation as means vs. participation as end approaches
These divergences are explored in the examination of theories and
approaches below.
5.1.1 An Overview of Communication for Development Theories
Behaviour change models have been for a long time the dominant
paradigm in the field of development communication. Different
theories and strategies shared the premise that problems of
development were basically rooted in lack of knowledge and that,
consequently, interventions needed to provide people with information
to change behaviour.
The early generation of development communication studies
was dominated by modernization theory. This theory suggested that
cultural and information deficits lie underneath development problems,
and therefore could not be resolved only through economic assistance
(such as the Marshall Plan in post-war Europe). Instead, the difficulties
in “Third World” countries were at least partially related to the
existence of a traditional culture that inhibited development.
“Third World” countries lacked the necessary culture to move into a
modern stage. Culture was viewed as the blockage that prevented the
adoption of modern attitudes and behaviour.
McClelland (1961) and Hagen (1962), for example, understood
that personalities determined social structure. Traditional personalities,
characterized by authoritarianism, low self-esteem, and resistance to
innovation, were diametrically different from modern personalities and,
consequently, anti-development.
These studies best illustrated one of modernization’s central tenets:
ideas are the independent variable that explains specific outcomes.
Based on this diagnosis, development communication proposed
that changes in ideas would result in transformations in behaviour. The
underlying premise, originated in classic sociological theories, was that
there is a necessary fitness between a “modern” culture and economic
and political development. The low rate of agricultural output, the high
rate of fertility and mortality, or the low rates of literacy found in the
underdeveloped world were explained by the persistence of traditional
values and attitudes that prevented modernization. The goal was,
therefore, to instil modern values and information through the transfer
of media technology and the adoption of innovations and culture
originated in the developed world.
The Western model of development was upheld as the model to be
emulated worldwide.
Because the problem of underdeveloped regions was believed to be an
information problem, communication was presented as the instrument
that would solve it.
As theorized by Daniel Lerner (1958) and Wilbur Schramm
(1964), communication basically meant the transmission of
information. Exposure to mass media was one of the factors among
others (e.g. urbanization, literacy) that could bring about modern
This knowledge-transfer model defined the field for years to come.
Both Lerner’s and Schramm’s analyses and recommendations had a
clear pro-media, pro-innovation, and pro-persuasion focus. The
emphasis was put on media-centred persuasion activities that could
improve literacy and, in turn, allow populations to break free from
Communication was understood as a linear, unidirectional process
in which senders send information through media channels to
Consequently, development communication was equated with the
massive introduction of media technologies to promote modernization,
and the widespread adoption of the mass media (newspapers, radio,
cinemas, and later television) was seen as pivotal for the effectiveness
of communication interventions.
The media were both channels and indicators of modernization: they
would serve as the agents of diffusion of modern culture and also
suggested the degree of modernization of society.
The emphasis on the diffusion of media technologies meant that
modernization could be measured and quantified in terms of media
penetration. The numbers of television and radio sets and newspaper
consumption were accepted as indicators of modern attitudes (Lerner
1958, Inkeles & Smith 1974).
Statistics produced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) showing the penetration of
newspapers, radio and television sets became proxy of development.
Researchers found that in countries where people were more exposed to
modern media, more favourable attitudes towards modernization and
development were to be found.
Based on these findings, national governments and specialists agreed to
champion the media as instruments for the dissemination of modern
ideas that would improve agriculture, health, education, and politics.
The so-called “small” media such as publications, posters and leaflets
were also recommended as crucial to the success of what became
known as Development Support Communication, that is, the creation of
the human environment necessary for a development program to
succeed (Agunga 1997).
The “diffusion of innovations” theory elaborated by Everett Rogers
(1962, 1983) became one of the most influential modernization
theories. Rogers’ model ruled development communication for decades
and became the blueprint for communication activities in development.
Rogers’ intention was to understand the adoption of new behaviours.
The premise was that innovations diffuse over time according to
individuals’ stages.
Having reviewed over 500 empirical studies in the early 1960s, Rogers
posited five stages through which an individual passes in the adoption
of innovations: awareness, knowledge and interest, decision, trial, and
Populations were divided in different groups according to their
propensity to incorporate innovations and timing in actually adopting
them. Rogers proposed that early adopters act as models to emulate and
generate a climate of acceptance and an appetite for change, and those
who are slow to adopt are laggards. This latter category was assumed to
describe the vast majority of the population in the “Third World”.
According to Rogers, the subculture of the peasantry offered important
psychological constraints on the incorporation of innovations and,
consequently, development.
His view on development reflected the transmission bias also found in
Lerner and Schramm: development communications entailed a "process
by which an idea is transferred from a source to a receiver with the
intent to change his behaviour. Usually the source wants to alter the
receiver's knowledge of some idea, create or change his attitude toward
the idea, or persuade him to adopt the idea as part of his regular
behaviour" (Rogers 1962).
Rogers and subsequent diffusion studies concluded that the media had a
great importance in increasing awareness but that interpersonal
communication and personal sources were crucial in making decisions
to adopt innovations.
This revision incorporated insights from the opinion leader
theory (Katz and Lazarsfeld 1955) according to which there are two
steps in information flow: from the media to opinion leaders, and from
leaders to the masses. Media audiences rely on the opinions of
members of their social networks rather solely or mainly on the mass
In contrast to powerful media effects models that suggested a direct
relation between the mass media and the masses, Katz and Lazarsfeld
found that interpersonal relations were crucial in channelling and
shaping opinion. This insight was incorporated in diffusion studies,
which proposed that both exposure to mass media and face-to-face
interaction were necessary to induce effective change. The
effectiveness of field workers in transmitting information in
agricultural development projects also suggested the importance of
interpersonal networks in disseminating innovations (Hornik 1988).
Consequently, a triadic model of communication was recommended
that included change agents, beneficiaries and communicators.
Confirming Lerner’s and Schramm’s ideas, another important
finding of diffusion research was that what motivates change is not
economics but communication and culture.
This is what studies on how farmers adopted new methods showed.
Such studies were particularly influential because a substantial amount
of early efforts targeted agricultural development in the “Third World”
(Rogers 1983). Other applications targeted literacy programs and health
issues, mainly family planning and nutrition.
modernization/diffusion theories considered it necessary to review
some basic premises (Rogers 1976, 1983).
In a widely quoted article, Rogers admitted “the passing of the
dominant paradigm.”
Schramm and Rogers recognized that early views had individualistic
and psychological biases. It was necessary to be sensitive to the
specific socio-cultural environment in which communication took
place, an issue that was neglected in early analyses.
Other positions suggested that the traditional model needed to integrate
a process orientation that was not only focussed on the results of
intervention but also paid attention to content and address the cognitive
dimensions (not just behaviour).
Many of these observations were integrated into the diffusion
By the mid-1970s, Rogers’ definition of communication showed
important changes that partially responded to criticisms.
Development was theorized as a participatory process of social change
intended to bring social and material advancement. Communication
was no longer focussed on persuasion (transmission of information
between individuals and groups), but was understood as a “process by
which participants create and share information with one another
in order to reach a mutual understanding” (Rogers 1976).
Participatory theories criticized the modernization paradigm on the
grounds that it promoted a top-down, ethnocentric and paternalistic
view of development. They argued that the diffusion model proposed a
conception of development associated with a Western vision of
After decades of interventions, the failure to address poverty and other
structural problems in the “Third World” needed to be explained on the
faulty theoretical premises of the programs.
Any intervention that was focused on improving messages to better
reach individuals or only change behaviour was, by definition, unable
to implement social change.
Development theories also criticized traditional approaches for
having been designed and executed in the capital cities by local elites
with guidance and direction from foreign specialists. Local people were
not involved in preparing and incrementing development interventions.
Interventions basically conceived of local residents as passive receivers
of decisions made outside of their communities, and in many cases,
instrumented ill-conceived plans to achieve development.
Because programs came from outside villages, communities felt that
innovations did not belong to them but to the government and thus
expected the latter to fix things went they went wrong.
Experts learnt that development was not restricted to just
building roads, piping water, and distributing electricity. Nor was it
limited to efforts to increase farm yields nor switching farmers over to
cash crops. Many of the agricultural projects failed because farmers
were reluctant to abandon their traditional ways for foreign and
unknown methods.
The lack of local participation was viewed as responsible for the failure
of different programs.
Participatory theories considered necessary a redefinition of
development communication.
One set of definitions stated that it meant the systematic
utilization of communication channels and techniques to increase
people’s participation in development and to inform, motivate, and
train rural populations mainly at the grassroots. For others,
development communication needed to be human rather than mediacentred.
This implied the abandonment of the persuasion bias that development
communication had inherited from propaganda theories and the
adoption of a different understanding of communication.
Communication came to mean a process of creating and
stimulating understanding as the basis for development rather than
information transmission (Agunga1997).
Therefore, communication represents the articulation of social relations
among people.
People should not be forced to adopt new practices no matter how
beneficial they seem in the eyes of agencies and governments. Instead,
people need to be encouraged to participate rather than adopt new
practices based on information.
This understanding of communication was central to the ideas
developed by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire (1970), whose writings
and experiences became an influential strand in participatory
Freire offered the concept of liberating education that conceived
communication as dialogue and participation. The goal of
communication should be conscientization, which Freire defined as free
dialogue that prioritized cultural identity, trust and commitment.
His approach has been called “dialogical pedagogy”, defining equity in
distribution and active grassroots participation as central principles.
Communication should provide a sense of ownership to participants
through sharing and reconstructing experiences.
He diagnosed the problems in the “Third World” as problems of
communication, not information as persuasion theories proposed.
Solutions, then, needed to have an understanding of communication
that was not limited to the application of Western ideas.
Freire’s model and participatory models in general proposed a humancentred approach that valued the importance of interpersonal channels
of communication in decision-making processes at the community
level. Studies in a variety of “Third World” rural settings found that
marginal and illiterate groups preferred to communicate face-to-face
rather than through mass media or other one-way sources of
communication (Okunna 1995).
Community-based forms of communication such as songs, theatre,
radio, video, and other activities that required group intervention
needed to be promoted. More than mechanisms to disseminate
information, they could provide opportunities to identify common
problems and solution, to reflect upon community issues and mobilize
The value of participatory media was not in being instruments of
transmission but of
communication, that is, for exchanging views and involving members.
Community media dealt with various subjects: literacy, health, safety,
agricultural productivity, land ownership, gender, and religion.
There have been a number of paradigmatic examples.
In Latin America, miners’ and peasants’ radio in Bolivia, grassroots
video in peasant and indigenous movements in Brazil, tape recorders in
Guatemala, small-scale multimedia in Peru and other cases of lowpowered media offered as concrete examples of participatory
communication development (Beltrán 1993).
People, not agents or researchers, were central to community
participation. It downplayed the role of expert and external knowledge
while stressing the centrality of indigenous knowledge and aspirations
in development.
Communication was a horizontal process, diametrically different
from the vertical model that placed knowledge in the domain of
modern experts.
Participatory communication identified encouraging participation,
stimulating critical thinking, and stressing process, rather than specific
outcomes associated with modernization and progress, as the main
tasks of development communication (Altafin 1991). Participation
needed to be present in all stages of development projects.
Nowadays community empowerment has become one of the
main contributions of theories to development communication.
Certainly, participatory communication has not lacked critics. Even
though vindicating some tenets of participatory theories, other positions
argued that they were elaborated at a theoretical level and did not
provide specific guidelines for interventions.
One problem in participatory models is that it is not always
possible to involve communities when certain results are to be
achieved. In some cases, such as epidemics and other public health
crises, quick and top-down solutions are supposed to achieve more
positive results.
Participation might be a good long-term strategy but has shortcomings
when applied to short-term and urgent issues.
Another problem was that participation in all stages does not
have similar relevance. It
is not clear what participation entailed. If decisions are made outside of
the community and the latter is assigned the role of implementing and
evaluating results, some positions argue, participation is limited to
instances that depend on decisions previously made (McKee 1992).
An additional characteristic is that the focus on interpersonal
relations underplay the potential of the mass media in promoting
development as participation and process. Little attention is paid to the
uses of mass media in participatory settings, an issue that is particularly
relevant considering that populations, even in remote areas, are
constantly exposed to commercial media messages that stand in
opposition to the goals set by programs.
Moreover, people can be manipulated into participating. This
would violate local autonomy and the possibility that members might
not be interested in taking an active role.
Other critics, particularly in Asia, think that participatory models are
premised on Western-styled ideas of democracy and participation that
do not fit political cultures elsewhere.
Individualism rather than community and conflict rather than
consensus lie at the heart of participatory models developed in the
Participation can also promote division, confusion, and disruption that
do little to solve problems. It may privilege powerful and active
members of the community at the expense of the community as a
whole. Therefore, education and decision-making skills, rather than
participation for its own sake, should be promoted.
Keeping in mind what has been stated before, participatory
approaches, in order to be effective, need to:
- Be sensitive to the potential convenience of short-term and rapid
- Recognize that recommendations for participation could also be seen
as foreign and manipulative by local communities (just like
modernization theories)
- Translate participatory ideas into actual programs
- Be aware that the communities may be uninterested in spending time
in democratic processes of decision-making and, instead, might prefer
to invest their time on other activities
- Recognize that communities are not necessarily harmonious and that
participation may actually deepen divisions.
Servaes (1996) admits that “participation does not always entail
cooperation nor consensus. It can often mean conflict and usually
poses a threat to existent structures... Rigid and general strategies for
participation are neither possible nor desirable.”
To prevent some of these problems, it has been recently suggested that
it is preferable that projects are to be carried out in communities where
agencies already have linkages (McKee 1992).
Previous knowledge of problems and characteristics of a given
community are fundamental to identify activities and define projects.
Development communication requires a long-term perspective that is
usually missing among funding agencies and governments interested in
getting quick results and knowing whether efforts pay off.
5.1.2 Recent Approaches in Communication for Development
Despite its multiple meanings, development communication remains a
sort of umbrella term to designate research and interventions concerned
with improving conditions among people struggling with economic,
social political problems in the non-Western world.
Like development, communication has also undergone
important transformations in the past five decades that reflected the
ebbs and flows of intellectual and political debates as well as the
changing fortunes of theoretical approaches. The changing
communication approaches can be summerized as follows:
The Changing Communication
Vertical communication – from
agencies to people
Unipolar communication
Few information sources
Easy to control – for good
(accurate information to large
numbers of people) and ill
(government control)
Send a message
Horizontal communication –
from people to people
Communication networks
Many information sources
Difficult to control – for good
(more debate, increased voice,
increased trust) and ill (more
complex, issues of accuracy)
Ask a question
The absence of a widespread consensus in defining development and
communication conceptual ambiguity and confusion should not be
surprising considering that different disciplines and theories have
converged in the field of development communication.
There has been a confluence of overlapping traditions from a variety of
disciplines that imported vocabularies that had little in common. For
example, concepts such as “empowerment,” “advocacy engagement of
communities” and “collective community action” do not refer to
fundamentally different ideas.
Despite the diversity of origins, however, it is remarkable that
there has been a tendency towards having a more comprehensive
understanding of development communication.
The historic gap between approaches has not been bridged but,
certainly, there have been visible efforts to integrate dissimilar models
and strategies.
Similarly, different approaches have gradually adopted an
understanding of communication that is not reduced to the idea of
information transmission, but includes the idea of process and
The idea of “communication as process” has gained centrality in
approaches informed by both behaviour change and participatory
models. Moemeka’s (1994) words illustrate a widespread sentiment in
the field:
“Communication should be seen both an independent and dependent
variable. It can and does affect situations, attitudes, and behaviour,
and its content, context, direction, and flow are also affected by
prevailing circumstances. More importantly, communication should be
viewed as an integral part of development plans – a part whose major
objective is to create systems, modes, and strategies that could provide
opportunities for the people to have access to relevant channels, and to
make use of these channels and the ensuing communication
environment in improving the quality of their lives.”
Communication is understood as communities and individuals
engaging in meaning-making.
It has become a horizontal, deinstitutionalized, multiple process in
which senders and receivers have interchangeable roles, according to
participatory theorist Jan Servaes (1996).
From a perspective rooted in behaviour change models, Kincaid
(1998) has similarly argued that all participants are senders and
receivers. The difference lies in the fact that whereas approaches
largely informed by the dominant paradigm continue to think of
communication as a process that contributes to behaviour change,
participatory models are not primarily concerned with “behaviour” but
with transforming social conditions.
Notwithstanding important persistent differences among
theories and approaches, it is possible to identify several points of
convergence that suggest possible directions in the field of
development communication.
- The need of political will
One point of convergence is that political will is necessary in order to
bring about change
(Hornik 1988). Development communication should not only be
concerned with instrumenting specific outcomes as defined in the
traditional paradigm, but also with the process by which communities
become empowered to intervene and transform their environment.
Community empowerment should be the intended outcome of
interventions. This requires coming up with a set of indicators that
measure the impact of interventions in terms of empowerment.
Empowerment lacks a single definition, however it can refer to
communities making decisions for themselves and acquiring
knowledge (e.g. about health issues).
If development requires redressing power inequalities, then, it
conceivably takes longer time than interventions that aim to change
knowledge, attitudes and practices. The pressures for relatively quick
results and short-term impact of interventions are better suited for a
particular understanding of empowerment (and thus development
communication) which is more aligned with behaviour change than
participatory approaches. The slowness of policy and political changes
required for more equal distribution of resources and decision-making,
as advocated by participatory models, does not fit short-term
There continues to be a tension between approaches that are oriented to
achieving results as measured in behavior change and those that
prioritize the building of sustainable resources as the goal of programs.
- A “tool-kit” conception of strategies
Another important point of convergence is the presence of a “tool-kit”
conception of approaches. Practitioners have realized that a multiplicity
of strategies is needed to improve the quality of life of communities in
developing countries. Rather than promoting specific theories and
methodologies regardless of the problem at stake, there has been an
emerging consensus that different techniques are appropriate in
different contexts in order to deal with different problems and
priorities. Theories and approaches are part of a “tool kit” that is used
according to different diagnoses. There is the belief that the tools that
are used to support behaviour change depend on the context in which
the program is implemented, the priorities of funders, and the needs of
the communities.
For example, family planning programs in Egypt have been a case of
successful integration of different approaches (Wisensale & Khodair
1998). After the intervention, the use of contraceptives doubled and the
birth-rate dropped from 39.8 to 27.5 percent in ten years.
The achievements of the program have been attributed to fact that the
Information, Education & Communication Center of the State
Information Service used five tools, including the mass media,
interpersonal communication and entertainment-education.
The participation of the government, health organizations and religious
groups was also considered to be responsible for the success of the
There has been a growing sensitivity to the problems of the universal
application of strategies that were successful in specific contexts. In
countries where political and cultural factors limit participation and
maintain hierarchical relationships, participatory approaches might be
difficult to implement as they require a long-term and highly political
process of transformation. This does not mean that participation should
be abandoned as a desirable goal but that interventions that aim to
mobilize communities necessarily adopt different characteristics in
different circumstances.
- Integration of “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches
Faced with different scenarios and choices, the growing consensus is
that a multiple approach that combines “top-down” and “bottom-up”
Here it becomes evident that development communication has gone
beyond transmission models focused on implementing behaviour
changes through communication activities.
- Integration of multimedia and interpersonal communication
Much of the current thinking is that successful interventions combine
media channels and interpersonal communication. Against arguments
of powerful media effects that dominated development communication
in the past, recent conclusions suggest that blending media and
interpersonal channels is fundamental for effective interventions (Flay
& Burton 1990, Hornik 1989).
The media are extremely important in raising awareness and knowledge
about a given problem (Atkin & Wallack 1990). The media are able to
expose large amounts of people to messages and generate conversation
among audiences and others who were not exposed (Rogers 1998). But
it would be wrong to assume that development mainly or only requires
media channels. Because social learning and decision-making are not
limited to considering media messages but listening and exchanging
opinions with a number of different sources, as Bandura (1994)
suggested, interventions cannot solely resort to the mass media.
Although television, radio and other media are important in
disseminating messages, social networks are responsible for the
diffusion of new ideas (Rogers and Kincaid 1981, Valente et al 1994).
- Personal and environmental approaches should be integrated
The revision of traditional health promotion strategies and then
integration of social marketing and social mobilization are examples of
the tendency to integrate personal and environmental approaches.
“Communication for Social Change” (CSC) is another example of
recent efforts to integrate different theories and approaches in
development communication (Rockefeller Foundation 1999). Whereas
traditional interventions were based on behaviour-change models, CSC
relies on participatory approaches in emphasizing the notion of
dialogue as central to development. Development is conceived as
involving work to “improve the lives of the politically and
economically marginalized” (1998, 15). In contrast to the senderreceiver paradigm, it stresses the importance of horizontal
communication, the role of people as agents of change, and the need for
negotiating skills and partnership. Another important contribution of
CSC is to call attention to the larger communication environment
surrounding populations.
In contrast to behaviour change and participatory theories that, for
different reasons, pay little if any attention to the wide organization of
information and media resources, CSC calls attention to the relevance
of ongoing policy and structural changes in providing new
opportunities for communication interventions.
CSC offers a mixed evaluation. It recognizes that transformations open
possibilities for community-based, decentralized forms of participation,
but also admits that some characteristics of contemporary media are
worrisome in terms of the potential for social change.
Unlike participatory theories, CSC stresses the need to define precise
indicators to measure the impact of interventions. It is particularly
sensitive to the expectations of funding agencies to find results of
interventions, and to the needs of communities to provide feedback and
actively intervene in projects.
Here accountability, a concept that is also fundamental in contemporary
global democratic projects, is crucial to development efforts. Projects
should be accountable to participants in order to improve and change
interventions and involve those who are ultimately the intended
protagonists and beneficiaries. Because the intended goals are
somewhat different from prevoius approaches, it is necessary to
develop a different set of indicators that tell us whether changes are
achieved. The goals are not only formulated in terms that could
perfectly fit health promotion/social marketing/behavior change
theories (e.g. elimination of HIV/AIDS, lower child and maternal
mortality) but also in broader social terms such as eradicating poverty
and violence, and increasing employment and gender equality. These
goals express a more comprehensive understanding of development
that is not limited to “better health and well-being” but is aware of the
need to place traditional approaches in larger social and environmental
The concentration of information resources worldwide, the growing
power of advertising in media systems and the intensification of
inequalities that underlie the persistence of development problems
require more than ever to examine structural-political factors.
Media systems have changed dramatically in the last decades. These
changes, however, have been particularly revolutionary in the nonWestern world as privatization and liberalization of media systems
radically transformed the production, distribution, and availability of
information resources.
The realization that communities should be the main actors of
development communication may constitute a starting point for further
integration. Likewise, efforts to integrate theories and strategies that
recognize that media campaigns are insufficient without community
Community empowerment might be the ultimate goal to guarantee
sustainable development and promote dialogue among different
theories and traditions.
5.1.3 Communication for Development in International Agencies
The contribution in communication for development is notably
translated in the efforts undertaken by theoreticians, researchers and
communication professionals working in international agencies that
help to clarify the conceptual and methodological aspects of
communication for development.
In such framework, it is impossible to underestimate the
important advocacy work accomplished by the UN Agencies through
the years 91.
As far as in the early 70s, UNDP (the UN's global development
network) launched the concept of project support communication
(PSC). Agencies such as FAO and UNICEF followed suit and
established in time development support communication branches or
The intention was that operational communication components should
be worked into programme and project documents and budgets. Yet, it
soon became evident that the funding made available was not
commensurate with the verbal commitments. In the initial stages of
these programmes, too heavy an emphasis was placed on providing
communication equipment and producing films and other educational
materials without understanding their impact.
Later on awareness increased that oral cultures developed special
perceptual and conceptual skills in people and that transition to a
written culture required training in other such skills (Fuglesang, 1973).
During the same period, conscientization was introduced as the essence
in a process of communication with the poor. It was based on the idea
that the poor were unable to conceptualise and express their real needs
and that, therefore, they needed to be empowered.
Nowadays the UN agencies’ (FAO, UNESCO, UNICEF,
UNDP, etc.) activities in the field of communication for development
have inspired developing countries’ governments and have served as
models for the integration of communication for development in their
institutions and policies. This, has contributed to the validation of
communication for development as a teaching and research discipline
involving practitioners, academics and researchers.
All programmes and projects should foresee dedicated resources
for their communication component and award the same importance
given to the other sections.
91 The same working definition of communication for development shall be guided by Article
6, UN General Assembly Resolution 51/172, which “stresses the need to support two-way
communication systems that enable dialogue and that allow communities to speak out, express
their aspirations and concerns and participate in the decisions that relate to their development.”
Moreover communication for development, as a people-centred
approach, might have the potential to accelerate the achievement of the
time-bound and measurable Millenium Developemnt Goals 92 (MDGs)
that stress the responsibilities of ownership, participation and public
discourse to be successful.
The MDGs are based on global partnership, have unprecedented
political support and are embraced at the highest levels by developed
and developing countries, civil society, NGOs-- which have
emphasized communication as a tool for mediation-- and major
development institutions.
The role of communication is of utmost importance in meeting them.
Table 1: UN International Development Goals by 2015
Eradicate extreme
poverty and hunger
Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less
than a dollar a day
Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer
from hunger
Achieve universal
primary education
Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of
primary schooling
Promote gender
Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary
equality and empower education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by
Reduce child mortality Reduce by two thirds the mortality rates for infants
and children under five
Improve maternal
Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
Combat HIV/AIDS,
malaria and other
Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and
other major diseases
92 The MDGs were developed in response to the UN Millennium Declaration of 2000 as a
comprehensive and urgent development agenda for concerted action. The MDGs constitute a
framework for focusing on the most compelling global development goals and incorporate
time-bound, measurable and achievable targets and indicators to encourage stepped-up efforts
by the international community in support of them.
Ensure environmental Integrate the principles of sustainable development
into country policies and programmes reverse the loss
of environmental resources
Reduce by half the proportion of people without
sustainable access to safe drinking water
Achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least
100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
Develop a global
partnership for
Open trading system, special needs of least
developed countries (LDCs), debt, employment,
access to medicines, ICTs
Source: http://www.fao.org/rdd/mdg_en.asp
It is commonly thought that the efforts in achieving the MDGs can be
significantly improved at the condition that a participatory
communication structure is put in place together with the planning,
implementation and assessment of development activities. It is now
recognized that communication can root development programmes in
local communities and increase their impact.
Communication for development should systematically be taken
into account in programme and projects delivery at local, regional and
national levels in development context, where the entrance point, even
tough international, encompasses the regional and national levels in its
5.2 Effective Communication in a Rural Context
In developing countries, where the population is largely rural and the
agricultural sector plays a central role in the economy, agricultural and
rural development is a priority weapon in the battle against poverty and
food insecurity.
Agriculture is an information-intensive industry. The sector
draws upon infinite sources of widely dispersed ‘locally contextualized
knowledge’ and relies upon continuous flows of information from
local, regional and world markets.
Lack of access to and inadequate dissemination of the information
required to support agricultural and rural development activities are
therefore restricting the ability of stakeholders to respond to market
trends and make effective choices in terms of production and marketing
Box 1 - The Lack of Communication in Rural India
In a country like India where 72% of the population lives in its 640,000 villages,
agriculture is the only source of livelihood for a large majority of these people. While
Indian agriculture progressed considerably since the days of Green Revolution, most
of the farmers – each of whom own just about a hectare of land – remained poor.
Because they are small, they do not have bargaining power when they buy farm inputs
or sell their produce. Because they live in hinterlands, they do not have access to realtime information on prices and weather or news that impact their incomes. And
because the agro-ecological and resource circumstance of each one is different from
that of others, it is unviable for any market mechanism to bring them customized
knowledge to improve their farm yields.
The infrastructure in rural India – physical, social and institutional – is also weak,
compounding these problems even more.
While the organized market players find the aggregate size of rural Indian market very
inviting, none venture to service the needs of the individual farmers directly, because it
is not remunerative for each of them to do so. Some do attempt, but give up quickly as
the customers do not find those offers attractive, because the complementary products
from other players are not available at the same time. In fact, the only real option for
most farmers is a local middleman, who offers them a complete solution – credit,
inputs, market access – but appropriates larger profit for himself by blocking
information flow and market signals because he is in a privileged position of being the
sole source of information and the sole counterpart for transaction, thus perpetuating
the poor living conditions.
Rural communication is an interactive process in which information,
knowledge and skills, relevant for development are exchanged between
farmers, extension/advisory services, information providers and
researchers either personally or through media such as radio, print and
more recently through the new Information and Communication
Technologies (ICTs). In this process all actors may be innovators,
intermediaries and receivers of information and knowledge at the same
The aim is to put rural people in a position to have the necessary
information for informed decision-making and the relevant skills to
improve their livelihoods. Communication in this context is therefore a
non-linear process with the content of data or information.
In rural communication for development approaches, rural people are at
the centre of any given development initiative and view planners,
development workers, local authorities, farmers and rural people as
“communication equals”, equally committed to mutual understanding
and concerted action.
5.2.1 Rural Communication vs Rural Information
It is appropriate to distinguish between communication and
Communication is a two-way process in which data and information
are sent and received between two or more parties, each with an
inherent knowledge and understanding about how the data and
information is to be used and of each other (sender/receiver).
Information is basically data which is more or less a passive
commodity with little inherent value unless it enriches one or more of
its recipients, either in terms of knowledge or in some other material
From the agricultural and rural development perspective,
communication is considered as a social process designed to bring
together agricultural technicians and farmers in a two-way
process where people are both senders and receivers of information and
co-creators of knowledge.
Much of the work in Communication for rural development focuses on
two main areas of application:
1) information, dissemination and motivation
2) training of field workers and rural producers.
Both areas assume as essential conditions participatory audience
The full potential of development can only be realized when knowledge
and technologies are shared effectively and rural people involved in the
process are motivated to achieve success.
Present-day farmers’ information needs require to be addressed: they
are not restricted to technical aspects of growing crops or rearing
livestock, but include host of issues ranging from credit and insurance
information to market intelligence.
Figure 1 – Farmers’ information needs
Source: ITU (2004). Case study India: Enabling rural India with information and
communication technology initiatives.
A study 93 on the information needs of farmers across India established
the following needs as central:
1. Farmers need to know:
- What to grow?
- When to grow?
- How to grow more? `
- How to store & preserve?
- When to sell?
93 “Information Needs Study”, Indian Agribusiness Systems Ltd, June 2001 to November
- Where to sell?
- What price to sell at?
2. Government policy and notices regarding agriculture.
3. Usage of fertilizers for higher productivity.
4. Crop Diseases, preventive measures and in case of disease curative
5. Irrigation details like means, timing, and quantum. Information on
water conservation through advanced irrigation technology like
Raintip, Drip etc.
6. HYV seeds exact know how on usage in terms of selection, quantity
sown per
7. Education on what needs to be done at the pre-harvest stage and
post-harvest stage to ensure productivity and quality with minimum
Farmers who understand market trends and market opportunities have a
better chance of succeeding than those who do not understand the
Checking where information goes, how and whether it is taken up and
translated into real benefits for communities is required. The key
problem is not a lack of information about technology options but
failure to deliver it to the right people in the right form.
In the current rural development programs it would be necessary to:
- strengthen information networks to improve the co-ordination among
information and knowledge providers
- have a better understanding of the contribution of local information
intermediaries in developing poverty-focused and demand-oriented
knowledge networks
- develop communications systems that can be maintained beyond
individual project and funding cycles
- facilitate the transfer the local knowledge within and between similar
- awareness that radio, video and film may be more appropriate and
accessible for target audiences.
Rural areas need special attention. Their communication infrastructure
is usually thinner than in urban areas, the services fewer, commercially
less attractive and the clientele thinly distributed and less aware of the
possibilities and opportunities.
The specific information/knowledge needs on agriculture, livestock,
innovation, markets and alternative employment are absolute needs.
Remote areas are particularly disadvantaged and may need continued
subsidised support in communication infrastructure and services.
5.2.2 Challenges to Rural Communication
The situation concerning communication in rural areas of developing
countries is characterized by:
- a dearth of information (absence of providers and of local
communication content)
- conflicting messages (difficult to know what is relevant/correct
- a fragmented market for information with many individual clients or
client groups
- relatively few clients scattered over a large area
- structural transformations leading to constantly changing channels
and content and a lack of the necessary skills for communication
- a lack of well developed infrastructure and low levels of literacy and
ICT skills.
In rural areas, communication needs and available channels are facing
tremendous changes through structural transformations: subsistence
oriented farming remains the basis for food security especially in
disadvantaged areas, while there is a general shift to move intermediate
farmers into market-oriented production.
Market-oriented farmers need to stay competitive in an
increasingly global business environment. While agriculture remains
the mainstay for rural people, information and skills for alternative
livelihoods gain in importance, not only as an exit strategy, but also for
the increasing division of labour.
Each groups of farmers has specific communication needs and
capacities for innovation, management and finance. However,
client/demand-oriented service provision for innovation, information,
qualification and local organizational development remains the key
Ongoing decentralisation of government functions and services
improve the prospects of local political decision making. These reform
processes and their opportunities and consequences need to be
communicated properly to rural people. Lobbying by organized groups,
as a form of communication to politicians, becomes a necessary activity
to voice rural interests. On the other side, efforts to close the
information gap and, in particular, the digital divide in rural areas, have
been supported by the wider availability and accessibility of
communication technologies and infrastructures.
5.3 A Framework for Successful Rural Communication in
Development Projects
The following framework, based on practical experiences of
communication in rural areas and elaborated by FAO Division of
Communication for Development, suggests six generic success factors
based on a breakdown of the development components necessary for
effective communication in rural areas. They are regarded as essential
prerequisites for successful project design and implementation. Each of
the success factors contains a rationale, an objective in the form of the
ideal situation, information on the main actors, the challenges to be
overcome and the outline of a development strategy.
Figure 2- Framework for successful rural communication in development projects
Source: Effective Rural Communication For Developmen Report, Fao 2006
- Success Factor 1: POLICY
Policies enabling effective communication between research,
advisory services, and farmers’ organizations in rural areas.
Policies set the rules, direction and frame for the development of rural
communication, media and services. The legal environment can be
enabling, regulatory or prescriptive. Policies define the relative
importance and direction of rural development in general, the actors,
their roles and capacities in communication, their potential forms of
organization and the development of media, channels and
infrastructure. An enabling policy environment for efficient rural
communication needs to allow a market orientation in the provision of
services, a pluralistic approach backed by suitable mandates with user
representation, free flow of information and transparent quality
standards of services.
The major policy stakeholders are:
- Ministries - to design and implement communication policies
(Ministries of Communication, Infrastructure, Rural Development,
Food and Agriculture, Science and Education)
- Media outlets - TV, radio, print, internet, either private, public or from
the civil society
- Representatives of farmers’ organizations – to collect and formulate
the communication needs of their clients;
- Development organizations for policy advice and harmonisation of
development interventions
If there are no institutional linkages between research, stakeholders and
farmers, communication often breaks down. The first key steps are to
identify the leading change agents and any potential allies (e.g. other
donors), the involvement of the private sector, NGOs and community
Lobbying the government for policy reforms can often be a long and
tedious process and it is imperative to use as many means and conduits
as possible.
- Success Factor 2: CAPACITIES
Research, advisory services and farmers have to consider each
other as equal and important communication partners and they
need to have a common language.
There need to be channels that allow and demand interactive
communication, an infrastructure that permits outreach including well
developed communication skills of all partners that favour and support
interaction. This must include the resources to enable sufficient
institutional, technical, information and methodological capacities for
effective interaction between all the stakeholders.
Training in communication for development needs to be included in
preservice and in-service training courses. Specialists in this field of
work need to be recruited and trained, particularly in advisory services,
and need to be given the necessary resources to contribute to
development programmes.
When training is given to input dealers giving extension advice in
embedded services, emphasis must be placed on the communication
issues as well as the technical content.
Measuring the progress and outcome of interventions is vital in any
development situation.
This is needed not only to assess the effectiveness of the interventions
but also to establish replicable working models and to steer the whole
process. The key aspect is to ensure that the feedback mechanisms
generate information and understanding that can be fed into any project
whilst it is still being implemented. This style of approach, using
participatory evaluation, also engages stakeholders in implementation
and improves ownership. The lessons learned need to be captured in a
form which ensures that they can be used in other development
Performance of the system needs to be monitored, especially in terms
of impact, i.e. more emphasis on the results of activities rather than the
activities themselves.
Involving the key stakeholders through participatory impact
assessments requires the joint setting of monitoring criteria and it
encourages productive debate about cause and effect linkages and
input/output relationships. Thus, it is possible to demonstrate
accountability to donors and sponsors, as well as the rural communities
themselves. Working in this way also allows for project planning to be
based on experiences/results acquired so far. This closed feedback loop
further encourages participation and commitment.
In many situations, monitoring is also a basis for transparency and
openness by providing evidence or acting as a deterrent or by changing
organizational culture.
Effective monitoring of projects also allows for the efficient allocation
of resources to meet new challenges or changing situations. Evaluation
of projects is usually an ex-post activity dependent on the quality of the
data and information collected by the monitoring process. Judgement
can then be made on the efficiency of resource utilisation. The
approach can be extended to establish a basis for rating the quality of
the approach compared to other approaches and styles of intervention
(benchmarking). All the actors sign up to, and are involved in, the
M&E process.
M&E can be an expensive process and a major challenge to be
overcome is the misallocation of resources in M&E practises that
cannot be used or interpreted. This leads to inefficiencies, frustration
and hampers true progress.
In some societies or situations there is a misunderstanding of the role of
M&E. It is often seen as a mere control activity with concomitant
sanctions, often collecting irrelevant information and not making any
positive contribution to the development activity. Creating a ‘learning
environment,’ which is open to admitting mistakes, is a new and
potentially threatening concept to many project implementers.
Rural regions are low density, heterogeneous and fragmented areas that
are difficult to be served comprehensively by research and advisory
services and even by the media – economies of scale play an important
role for these services. The many individual small-scale farmers often
lack the means and capacities to demand, organize or finance the
information access and communication services they need for
Existing farmer organizations are often weak, i.e. not representative,
badly managed, not transparent, fragmented, without a long term
towards communication, with no sustainable degree of organization and
self-finance. Often the members lack the technical skills to access
information and advisory services.
The representative and legitimate organization of small-scale farmers in
formal or informal groups makes them a viable partner for lobbying for
services with (local) government institutions or private providers as
well as for demanding quality information and knowledge that suits
their real needs.
Farmers’ organizations as partners may be cooperatives, associations,
unions or extension groups - as common denominators they need to
have a structure that ensures their representativity and a level of
stability in membership. They may have purely commercial purposes or
social objectives as well. Effective farmers’ organizations need to be
legitimate and representative and be represented, not only locally, but
also on regional and even national levels.
Participatory methods are tools to involve partners with each
other, meaning that they are themselves communication tools.
Participation in the discussion, decision and planning of rural
development requires effective communication. Participation and
communication are essential elements for addressing the needs of the
rural population, including those affected by poverty.
Participation should become part of the daily routine in planning,
players/stakeholders in any type of activity.
Actors for effective participatory communication are individuals and
institutions, including advisory services and research organizations,
private advisory services, NGOs, local and central governments, farmer
and rural people organizations, media companies, colleges and
universities, training institutes. Development agencies can advise on
proven models for participatory communication in various cultural
Strategies to improve participation in the communication process
- Assessing and understanding 1) levels and modes of existing
participation of different stakeholders and their interfaces, 2) perception
of participation, 3) different modes of communication.
- Adaptation of suitable methods to local situations with emphasis on
giving voice to vulnerable groups.
- Raising awareness on and lobbying for participatory approaches in
institutions, organizations and ministries along the knowledge chain
(local and central level) and involving their representatives in well
facilitated participatory events to give positive experience on benefits
of participatory processes (learning by doing).
- Educational programmes at various levels which include interdisciplinary and participatory exposure and practice in order to create
the required openness and develop the necessary skills.
- Convincing decision-makers to introduce and support participatory
approaches for communication by inclusion of such approaches in
strategies, programmes and funding.
- Success Factor 6: MEDIA STRATEGY
Integrating a mix of media in a strategic manner to achieve the
desired objectives.
Communication activities and media can help to empower farmers in
this way. They make it possible to:
- overcome illiteracy barriers (by conveying ideas in an audio and
visual form);
- illustrate new ideas and techniques more effectively, improving the
impact of extension and training;
- compress time and space (a whole crop cycle can be shown in a short
presentation and events and practices in distant locations can be
transferred to other places);
- standardize technical information (by creating audio-visual materials
to illustrate the best available advice to farmers throughout the
extension and farmer training chain);
Media strategies and systems need to be designed so as to encourage
ownership and use by all the major stakeholders. Equally the
management skills and capacities of the main actors need to be
developed through investment in technologies and training.
In most rural areas of developing countries people depend on media
channels to get vital information for their livelihoods. Therefore the
communication strategy will depend on appropriate media channels
that are considered by rural audiences as trusted and reliable sources of
information, that speak their language, that are easily accessible and
that the information they deliver is relevant to the social context in
which they live. All actors need the ability and opportunity to generate,
receive, store, retrieve, transform and send information. In fact,
managing the information resources of an organization is second only
to the management of its human resources.
Appropriate technology packages could be developed and
disseminated, and would probably be rapidly adopted because of the
farmers' contribution in developing them.
Figure 3: The sequence for media work
Source: Bohmann, K. (2004): “Media for Rural Development. A Guide for Media Use”.
GTZ/InWEnt, Eschborn.
The success factors contained in this framework describe all necessary
conditions, challenges, actors and strategies for coordinated
interventions in improving the efficiency of rural communication in the
broad sense.
In practice, projects and programs cannot work on all necessary success
factors at the same time. They need to identify strategic entry points,
while observing the other factors that may play a role. Work on such
systemic success factors in the framework can even be shared in a
coordinated way among several development agencies.
The following matrix can help to find these entry points. It can be used
for developing a profile concerning the status of communication in
rural areas in a given situation. The matrix is basically a qualitative
checklist with the extremes of very unfavorable versus extremely
favorable (positive) conditions and the reality is usually somewhere in
between. If the conditions for a success factor are negative and if they
can be influenced, this factor may be used as an entry point for
interventions, or at least as a priority field of work. The positive
conditions can also be used for the formulation of indicators in impact
monitoring. The self-assessment exercise may be conducted in small
groups or workshops.
The results may also be displayed in a radar diagram with the success
factors on policy, capacity, organization, M&E, participation and media
strategies as axes. The list is only meant to be indicative and should be
adapted to the specific circumstances.
Table 2: Profile for rural communication
Source: Effective Rural Communication For Development Report, Fao 2006.
5.4 A Communication Strategy Design to promote Rural
Development in current Development Programs
A communication strategy can be defined as a well-planned series of
actions aimed at achieving certain objectives through the use of
communication methods, techniques and approaches.
From this definition it can be inferred that before starting to think about
the communication strategy it is important to have in mind clear
objectives. These objectives will assist in determining how to go about
solving the problem. Objectives are the basis of the strategy.
Once the objectives are set, the available resources must be assessed.
The main elements of communication planning are the following:
1. Situation Analysis and Communication Research: no
communication activities can be expected to succeed without a prior
understanding of how the people to be affected by a project perceive
their own problems and the development options being proposed, what
they aspire to, how they obtain and exchange information, which media
sources and interpersonal channels enjoy the most credibility, and so
2. The institutional framework: development communication is a
field of activity that is a mixture of disciplines and there is no one
organizational location for development communication that is valid
for every situation. Ministries of Information certainly have the media
infrastructures, but they do not always have appropriate staff for
development communication, whereas the opposite may apply at the
Ministry of Agriculture.
For large-scale development projects, it is often economically viable to
set up a special communication unit which forms part of the project
itself, for smaller projects which cannot justify the establishment of
their own communication unit, the institutional framework will require
more thought. It may be possible to group several projects in the same,
or even in different sectors, if they are working with the same rural
populations and create a communication unit that will work with them
3. An inventory of communication resources: drawing up an
inventory of the available communication resources-- covering
quantity. quality and impact-- is a fundamental part of communication
planning. Where weaknesses are identified, an assessment is made of
the inputs required to bring the facilities up to the strength required to
meet the development communication needs.
4. The physical and technical environment: the physical
circumstances in which the communication activities are to function
will have a strong influence on the plan. For example, if movement in a
project area is severely restricted by the rainy season for several months
a year, mass media such as radio will probably play a greater role than
projected audio-visual aids in a group setting. The technical
environment is equally important. For example, visual aids requiring a
laboratory process that is not available in the country may be
impractical. Or relatively sophisticated media for which there is no
servicing available locally may cause complications. Such factors need
to be weighed carefully in the balance of a communication plan.
5. The type of communication required: the communication plan will
be influenced by the type of communication support that is to
predominate in the project. It should be remembered that development
communication encompasses various types of activity. These include
communication for participatory planning, for mobilization, for
facilitating project implementation, and for grassroot level training.
These various media and the approaches in using them lend themselves
differently to these activities.
Once the elements of communication planning have been
acknowledged, the main features and steps of implementing
communication activity are as follows:
a. Ideally, before a plan for a rural development project is finalized,
there should be a communication process for participatory planning
with people in the project area. This is supposed to lead to a mutual
agreement on the action to be taken, broken down into a series of
clearly defined stages.
b. Once development actions have been decided upon, the various
groups within society that have a role to play in realizing those
actions will be identified. These groups become target audiences; each
will have a different role to play and will need to be reached with
different messages and through different channels.
c. Objectives are set for the attitude and behaviour necessary from
each audience to help the development initiative to succeed, (e.g.
better understanding of and greater use of fertilizer by small farmers; or
positive and active involvement of school teachers in talking about
plant nutrition and fertilizer use with their pupils; or better informed
and more active promotion of fertilizer use by community leaders, and
so on).
d. Audience analysis carried out with techniques such as surveys and
focus group discussions. The latter are discussions with groups that
represent a typical target audience, for example rural women in the
child bearing age, or rural health workers, or male subsistence farmers
in a certain area where the farming conditions are similar.
e. A communication plan for each target audience is made,
identifying the channels to be used, the materials to be produced, by
whom, and when.
f. Message design i.e. deciding, on the basis of the audience research,
how a message should be presented to that audience, talking into
account the particular concerns and perceptions of that audience.
g. The production of materials and their pre-testing. Materials
should always be produced in a draft form and tested with small groups
of people who are representative of the target audience for which the
material is being produced. This pre-testing, and modification of the
materials if necessary, is often neglected, in part because it is assumed
that it will take a long time-- which is not necessarily the case-- and in
part because producers sometimes lack the humility to subject their
work to possible criticism from their audience, and the flexibility to
modify it or re-do it if the audience does not understand or appreciate
h. Training of field agents to use the materials and to back them up
properly with good interpersonal communication.
i. Implementation of the communication plan through production
and use of the materials.
l. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation in conjunction with
implementation. Even when pre-testing has been routinely carried
continuous monitoring and evaluation may reveal that
communication activities are not having the desired effect, and
misunderstandings exist.
m. The information resulting from the monitoring is fed back into
the implementation. In other words, message design and materials are
revised, repeatedly if necessary, to reflect the needs being revealed by
the ongoing monitoring and evaluation and until such time as the
communication work is being generally appreciated and understood.
n. A final, or "summative", evaluation of the impact achieved,
problems encountered, etc. is carried out at the end of each
communication activity so that the lessons learned can be incorporated
into the next activity.
Figure 4: Steps for a Communication Sstrategy Design
Source: Fraser C., Sonia Restrepo-Estrada (1998): “Communicating for Development. Human
Change for Survival”, London, New York.
5.4.1 Selecting Communication Approaches and Modes to improve
the spread of information
Communication approaches are ways of using communication
techniques, methods and media
to address specific issues in the most effective way. Selecting
communication modes and
approaches is a very crucial stage in the Communication Strategy
It is very important to note that the way in which communication
materials, techniques and methods are used can have a great influence
on the final results. Communication modes and approaches assist in
determining which direction the communication should be focused on.
When planning communication strategies, many tend to take a very
broad problem as a starting point (desertification, for example), and
then to move right into planning communication activities (information
sessions, awareness campaigns).The result is that the target is often
missed and, despite all the activities undertaken, the problem remains
untouched. To avoid situations of this kind, the analyses should start
from the needs expressed by local communities and from the
identification of the communication objectives to achieve before
undertaking specific activities.
In order to achieve effective communication, the focus should be on:
- Material and communication needs: development needs can be
categorized broadly between material needs and communication needs.
Any given development problem and attempt to resolve it will present
needs relating to material resources and to the conditions to acquire and
manage these. However, we will also find complementary needs which
involve communication like sharing information, influencing policies,
mediating conflicts, raising awareness, facilitating learning, supporting
decision-making and collaborative action etc. Clearly, these two
aspects should go hand in hand and be addressed in a systemic way by
any research or development effort.
For example, in a community initiative aiming to manage collectively a
forest, there may be material needs such as tools to cut wood, seeds to
plant new trees, access to drinkable water, as well as needs related to
learning different techniques, or needs related to the setting up of a
community forestry management mechanism.
Sometimes, needs will be identified not through direct answers from
community members, but through an observation of the different
practices in use or by comparing the answers or lack of answers of the
different groups.
The identification of needs must be linked to the problem or to the goal
identified previously and to the initiative to be carried out.
-Communication objectives: they are based on the communication
needs of each specific group concerned by a specific problem or a set
of research activities. These objectives are identified and then
prioritised. The final choice of objectives may be made on the basis of
the needs that are most urgent, or those most susceptible to action.
They are then defined in terms of the action which need to occur for the
objectives to be achieved.
Generally, in the context of natural resource management, the
objectives are linked to one or several of these communication
functions: raising awareness, sharing information, facilitating learning,
supporting participation, decision-making and collaborative action,
mediating conflicts, influencing the policy environment.
Communication objectives should be accompanied by other objectives
aiming to:
- develop a management plan
- set up a community mechanism to monitor the plan
- learn specific techniques
It is important to have in mind a general objective that defines the final
results to be accomplished, and that serves as the basis for the activities
to be undertaken.
For example, it may be very difficult to tell, at the end of a
communication strategy for improving soil fertility, whether “reduced
desertification risk” has been achieved. It will be easier to ascertain
whether the specific community groups with whom the communication
facilitator worked understand the process of desertification as it takes
place in their own setting, whether they are aware of appropriate
protective measures, and have put one or more of these into practice.
But on the other hand, to be too specific may be as problematic as to be
too general.
- Communication activities: the next stage is to regroup the different
objectives and to consider the best way of achieving them. For each
objective, the most appropriate modes of communication should be
For example, if the aim of the rural project is to work closely with
women on water use, in many settings, it may be better to arrange first
for a global meeting with husbands and wives to explain the intention,
discuss the problem and then arrange for working exclusively with
groups of women, than trying to isolate women for participation in
communication activities.
It is on the basis of such strategic considerations that communication
activities are then identified and ranked by order of priority.
It is particularly important at this point to be realistic about the
feasibility issues and not to compile an endless list of activities that is
too ambitious.
5.4.2 Identifying Appropriate Communication Tools
It is common to distinguish between the mass media (newspapers,
radio, television), the traditional media (storytelling, theatres, songs),
“group” media (video, photographs, posters) and new media (mobile,
The media, and the different forms of interpersonal communication, are
communication tools.
The expression “communication tools” here, it is to stress the
instrumental nature of such media: their purpose in this case is not to
disseminate information, but rather to support the process of
In that perspective it is important to choose those communication tools
which support two-way communication and are in relation with the
objectives to be achieved and the people to be involved.
In selecting the appropriate communication tools, three essential
criteria need to be considered:
- Criterion 1: Community Use. Whenever possible, it is better to rely
on the communication tools already in use in the local community for
exchanging information and points of view or the ones they are most
comfortable with: this should facilitate the realization of the set of
actions decided to implement or experiment with, at the beginning of
the planning process.For example, the goal may not consist in
producing a video to explain a given technology to a community but to
use it as a tool for community members to discuss their own
experiences with it and share their learning.
- Criterion 2: Cost. It is important to consider the cost of using
communication tools, the time needed to prepare the materials and the
technical environment in which they are to be used (availability of
electricity, appropriate premises, accessibility to participants, etc.).
- Criterion 3: Kind Of Utilization. Select communication tools in the
light of the different kinds of utilization.
5.5 Media Selection in Rural Development
When considering which media to use in the communication strategy
one should keep in mind the problem to be addressed and the stated
communication objective.
If the aim is to increase people’s participation on a certain activity
discussion tools might be used. On the other hand, if the aim is to send
a message alerting people on a straightforward topic, it might be
decided to use the radio. Before taking a decision it is necessary to
revisit the purpose, the situational context, the medium characteristics
and the people profiles.
An interpersonal approach (person-to-person or group
discussion) is very effective in addressing individual needs and
allowing people to express their ideas directly. On the other hand
interpersonal communication approaches can reach only a limited
number of people and discussions can get monopolized by influential
individuals or go in an undesired direction.
Indigenous traditional media (folk drama, theatre, story telling, songs,
dance, etc.) belong to this group of approaches and have the great
advantage of giving the driving seat to the community. Production of
this sort is usually cheaper and allows a certain topic to be developed
within the appropriate local context. The disadvantages are that it may
reach only a limited number of people and that it may not be available
when needed.
Modern media (video, radio, newspapers, booklets, posters, etc.) are
very effective in generating interest and providing needed information.
They can be divided into visual, audio (radio, cassettes) and print media
(leaflets, books, etc.). Visual media (TV, video) have several
advantages, namely clarity (explanations can be assisted by images),
interest and retention (what you see stays longer than what you hear or
read). Audio media (radio, cassettes) are a very good supporting and
motivational medium, but it is difficult to sustain interest on longer
Print media can be effective either in passing short straightforward
messages (posters) or for treating issues in detail (booklets, books, etc.)
however, they also require that people be able to read, which is a major
obstacle in many areas.
All of the modern media are expensive, compared to the other
types. Very often they are developed outside the cultural context of the
communities they are meant to serve. Even their level of penetration is
generally low, especially for television, and, partly for radio and
No single medium is better than any other. Circumstances and
the requirements of the development project dictate which should be
used. Audience research concerning what media the people have access
to and which enjoy credibility, and what is actually available or could
be realistically established, greatly influence the choice. However, it
should be remembered that a message arriving in a slightly different
form and through different channels has the most impact in helping
people towards behavioural change. Hence, multi-media approaches are
usually the most effective.
In effect, any information received has to be absorbed and evaluated for
its usefulness and appropriateness in the recipients' circumstances
before they will act on it. Discussion is an essential element in this
The pros and cons of the use of various media in rural projects in
developing countries are set out in the following section.
- Prestigious and persuasive
- Tends to be monopolized by powerful
interests because of its prestige.
- Not always available in all rural areas
- Expensive production/ reception
- Programme production for agriculture
can be difficult
- Difficult to localize information for
agriculture unless there are local TV
stations, still rare in developing countries
Although potentially powerful, television is not easy for agricultural
and rural development in most developing countries.
Television is not used the way it could mostly because of the costs
involved. In some countries where it is well-developed, community
television can host debates and interventions, giving them the reach that
working with small specific groups cannot have. But this is seldom the
In other countries, there is sometimes the possibility to connect with the
producer of development programs and use television to illustrate the
realization of a given community initiative, thus influencing other
communities to embark on such a venture. But again, this is not very
There is a lot of potential though to use television in a participatory
way by relying on community television viewing and discussion clubs.
Experiences in India and Africa have been quite successful in using that
tool. But costs have often made it unsustainable.
-Wide coverage and availability in rural
- Cheap production/reception
- Relatively simple program production
- It facilitates localized information
-Weak as a medium for training and
education since it is audio only
Excellent medium for motivation and for drawing attention to new
ideas and techniques but weak for providing detailed knowledge and
training. As everyone recognizes, rural radio is an especially
appropriate tool for reaching large groups, or groups beyond the
immediate vicinity. Many producers working with rural radio are aware
of participatory communication and will steer clear of the conventional
journalistic approach. For example, they will attempt to include
discussion panels in their broadcasting and will do their best to make
local voices heard.
There are two important provisos, however, for using radio
successfully: first, it is important to enlist a producer (or the broadcast
authorities) in the initiative and work with him/her in planning the
entire communication process. This means an ongoing cooperative
relationship, and not just occasional requests for help. Maintaining such
a relationship is not always easy and requires constant attention.
Secondly, it will be necessary to put together the funding needed to
produce the spots or broadcasts (local FM stations often charge less
than others), or to seek an exemption from the Ministry or agency
responsible. For these reasons, radio is not used as widely as it could by
communicators working with participatory approaches involving
specific community groups. The use of rural radio should also be
combined with field work to ensure that communication flows in both
directions: in this case, radio can either follow and support a
communication initiative being undertaken at the same time, or it can
be made an integral part of that initiative as a means for allowing
people to express themselves.
-Highly persuasive
-Constantly improving technology is
making it cheaper and more reliable
-Electronic image/ sound recording
gives immediate playback and
production flexibility
-Can be shown in daylight using battery
powered equipment
- Multiplicity of standards/formats
-Requires talent, skill, and experience to
produce good programmes
-Requires rather sophisticated repair and
maintenance facilities
-It may call for quite large capital
-Colour quality mediocre
Video has become “the media” in the minds of many. Indeed it is
highly effective but calls for a careful strategy and skilled producers.
Today, digital video cameras make the use of video simple. They come
with batteries that can last up to 7 or 8 hours, and can fit in a small
backpack. They also have a screen that can be used not only to capture
but also to show immediately the images to a small group of people.
They are very easy to learn to operate and handle and make a good tool
that community members can use by themselves.
As in the case of photography, video is usually used to illustrate a given
problem or to demonstrate a given solution, by way of a program put
together by the research team or produced elsewhere.
In cases where the document is produced by the research team, it is
always more effective when it is done in a participatory way, including
community members in the planning, scenario development and
Video is also more effective when it positions a problem and
documents the causes without suggesting solutions. Those are to come
from participants viewing the documentary.
As in the example of disposable cameras, it can also be a tool put in the
hands of community members for them to show an aspect of a problem
or solution, or record a "video letter".
A powerful utilization of video is what is known as the "Fogo Process"
(the name comes from a Canadian island where it was first used). In
this process, video is used to introduce an issue and is followed by a
community discussion. The discussion is captured and shown to the
community afterward where it triggers other discussions to bring forth
a consensus for action.
In some contexts, the discussion of the issue by a community can also
be shown to other communities, where the discussion is also recorded.
Slide sets/ film strips
-Slide-sets quite simple to produce
-Low-cost equipment for production and
-Very good colour/visual quality
-Filmstrips made of robust material and
are small, easy to transport
-Production requires laboratory process
-Cannot be used in daylight without a
special rear-projection screen
-Turning slides into filmstrips requires
laboratory process which is not always
available in developing countries
-Excellent training medium for all subjects
except those few for which showing
movement is an absolute essential
Slide sets/ film strips have proved an invaluable training aid in rural
and agricultural development but they are tending to lose out to video,
despite the higher cost of the latter.
Audio cassettes
-Easy and cheap to produce programmes
-Cassette players quite widely available
-Easy to localise information
-Good for feedback because farmers can
record their questions/reactions
-Can be used well in conjunction with rural
-Audio suffers some of the
weaknesses of radio, though repeated
listening may help to overcome it
Audio cassettes are very good low-cost medium, whose potential has
not been sufficiently recognized. They are especially useful if used in
conjunction with extension and rural radio. Audio recording can be
used to capture the views of community members and stir a discussion
afterward on these views. The recording can be played on tape
recorders in the context of a community meeting or small group
discussions, but it can also be broadcast on the radio when such
collaboration has been achieved.
Audio recordings of songs and dances and the use of small audio
players can also be effective tools for community members working
with the research team to reach other members of their communities.
Audiocassette forums have also been used with some success. In this
approach, tape recorders and cassettes are given to specific community
groups, who decide on their content and discuss the problems and
potential solutions to implement.
Flip charts
-Cheap and simple to produce and use
-Good for training and extension
-Not as realistic as projected aids
-Care required to make drawings
understandable to illiterates
-Lack the attraction of audio-visual
Flip charts are very useful to help extensionists/technicians in their
work with rural people. Drawings are notoriously difficult to
understand for people with low visual literacy, so careful design and
pre-testing are needed. When considering using photography (or
drawings), we usually think of taking pictures to illustrate what we
want to discuss with other people, and use them during a visioning
session, or as cards or posters. It is in fact a very flexible and
supportive tool, but there are also other ways to use this tool.
One utilization consists of producing what people in West Africa have
called boîte à image (flip chart). It is a succession of photographs or
drawings that tell a story with three to ten pictures, and without any
text. The images illustrate problem situations and situations where the
problem is resolved. It is used with the facilitator asking people what
they see in the images. This tool is very effective in stimulating
discussion, comparing points of view and developing consensus on a
given issue.
The images can be drawn, printed or glued on paper or cloth.
Another interesting utilization consists in giving disposable photo
cameras to people in the field, asking them to photograph problematic
situations they have to cope with or solutions they would like to see
adopted and multiplied. An exhibition could be later made and
discussions could be conducted to identify strategies for action.
Similarly, photographs can be used with a discussion where people put
forth their points of view with the help of what they illustrated or to
present a "before" and an "after" situation.
They are also powerful tools in the context of home visits, where they
can be used to ask people what they see in the pictures and how they
feel about particular situations.
Printed materials
-Relatively cheap, simple and easy to
-Can be taken home, consulted, and kept
as a permanent reminder
-Particularly valuable for extensionists,
technicians, and community leaders
- Of limited use among illiterates but
bear in mind "family literacy" as
opposed to literacy of individual
Well designed, carefully written for their intended audience, printed
materials can provide a vitally important and cheap source of reference
for extensionists and for literates among the rural population. Local
press is of course not an interactive medium. But it can greatly assist
the efforts of a participatory development initiative, by informing the
community or targeted decision makers on the evolution of the
initiative. Again, collaboration with a journalist at the beginning of the
initiative may develop into a partnership, while occasionally requesting
the participation of a journalist may be considered a demand of
Folk media (Theatre, Puppetry, Storytelling, etc)
-Does not require capital investment
-Does not depend on technology that is
liable to break down
-Intrinsically adapted to local cultural
-May be highly credible and persuasive
where folk media has a strong tradition
- Requires skilled crafting of
development messages into the fabric of
the folk media
-May lack prestige vis-a- vis more
modern media in some societies
-May be difficult to organize; calls for
close working between development
workers and folk media artists
Creative use of folk media-- in cultures where it is popular and well
entrenched-- can be a subtle and effective way of introducing
development ideas and messages. Care required to ensure that the mix
of entertainment and development is appropriate, so furthering the
latter without damaging the former. The same considerations can be
said of using theatre or other traditional media which should be
complementary to a process involving a set of interactive activities.
Usually, theatre is used to raise awareness on a given issue.
A play will often attract a large number of people in the rural areas, but
will not do much by itself to accompany an initiative to resolve a given
problem. It must be part of a global strategy and like other
communication tools, contribute to the identification of a given
development problem and a concrete initiative to be set up.
Theatre debate (where a debate with the audience follows the play) and
theatre forum (where some parts of the play are played again by
audience members, usually to try to convince a character of the play to
change her behaviour) are powerful techniques used to address critical
issues. But again, they must be linked to a longer-term initiative in
order to accompany a development initiative in the community.
Another strategy is to have specific community groups to participate in
the writing and production of the play. When the play addresses
specific problems and demonstrates useful solutions, the message is
much more convincing when the actors are people from the
Information and Communication Technologies (Mobiles,
Internet, etc)
-Effective in education and information
-Access to new markets
-Opportunity to find business partners
- Rural areas often lack the required
-Require talent, skill, and experience
both to produce good programmes for
development and to use them
-Requires rather sophisticated repair
and maintenance facilities
-Dependant on the use to which it is to
be put, may call for quite large capital
The Internet, especially through the use of e-mail, can link together
different community initiatives. This type of communication can
motivate the actors in the development initiative and enable them to get
support or relevant information or to exchange ideas.
In some cases, it is feasible to produce a web page for an initiative. For
the actors involved in the development initiative, it contributes to
breaking the sense of isolation and nurtures the motivation to act,
knowing that progress on what they are doing can be known around the
This information can also be used in the context of a similar
development initiative carried out elsewhere, to show what other
people have been doing in a similar context.
Portable computers now also come with batteries that can be selfsufficient for many hours. They also fit easily in a carry-all bag. With
software like PowerPoint or others, it is easy to store photographs,
maps, video sequences, etc. and show them to specific groups in the
field or in poor communities where there is no access to electricity.
Photographs taken by the community members can also be scanned and
integrated into such presentations. Likewise, comparing satellite maps
with community maps or viewing the data on the availability of water,
and comparing with indigenous knowledge on the issue, etc. can be
powerful activities.
5.6 Planning and Implementation of a Communication Program
for Rural Development
Once the appropriate media have been selected, communication content
and materials should be prepared and pre-tested.
Communication is not always associated with producing
material and content. When it is however, there are some
considerations to keep in mind. The use of communication tools
implies not only the development of messages, content and materials,
but also a pre-testing phase aimed at confirming the effectiveness and
relevance of the messages and materials and the ways in which the
tools and materials have been deployed.
Pre-testing is a way of improving ideas and prototypes for
materials by submitting them to participating group representatives and
obtaining their feedback before the final production stage (or checking
whether materials already produced are appropriate to the aims of the
development initiative).
This will allow the estimation of their reaction, the revision of the
concepts and communication materials and perhaps the amendments of
the strategy.
The concepts put forward in the communication materials should be
well understood by participants and the material should be suitable.
To ensure that the communication concepts and materials are
well adapted to the different groups of participants, a group of
representatives should be asked to give their opinion on aspects such as
the following:
- Content of Information
Understanding the content
Accuracy of information presented
Credibility of the people expressing themselves through the material
The kind of reactions induced by the content
- Form of Materials
Interest evoked
Technical quality
- Materials
Reaction to formats used
The technical environment necessary to use the material and the life of
the material
- Feedback
Usefulness of the material for evoking reactions and expression of
viewpoints from participants.
For pre-testing purposes, drafts or outlines or samples of the materials
intended to be developed should be elaborated. In the case of films or
videos, the concepts can be simply presented in the form of text,
drawings and photographs.
Producing an implementation plan includes planning to undertake
specific activities, identifying responsibilities and tasks, establishing
the time line for the communication strategy and preparing the budget
for each activity.
The preliminary steps of communication planning are usually:
- Identification of the Goal of the development initiative: the
researcher or the development practitioner and the community have
first identified a specific problem they want to tackle. An initiative to
experiment with a set of solutions or actions is then decided.
- Identification of specific groups: the different community groups,
policy makers and other development stakeholders affected by the
problem or involved in the solution have been identified. The
researcher or practitioner, together with community representatives will
then identify the specific groups with whom they will work with in
- Identification of communication needs and objectives: the needs of
each of these groups in terms of communication, information,
awareness, learning new knowledge or new techniques, etc., have been
identified and prioritized. Based on the needs selected from this list,
communication objectives have been identified in a way that spells out
what is to be accomplished with each specific group at the end of the
communication initiative.
- First draft of an implementation plan: to plan the sequencing and
the follow-up of the communication activities and to identify areas of
responsibility, it may be useful to organize the different choices that
have been made in a table such as the one shown below, where each
planned communication activity is linked to an objective.
The following table might be useful in order to identify the
communication objectives, activities and tools required in a
communication initiative.
Table 2: Activities for a communication plan
Source: Bessette, G. (2004): “A Guide to Participatory Development Communication”,
5.6.1 Planning the Follow-up of the Communication Activities
The planning of the follow-up of the activities will allow to determine
whether activities are being conducted as and when planned. To do this
it’s necessary to recast and complete the table by identifying the
following in greater detail:
- The order and sequence of activities
- The timing and the duration, details of date, time and place
- The individuals responsible for each activity
- The partners and resource persons involved, other persons invited
- The material requirements (e.g. room, documents, film projector)
- Budget needs (e.g., cost of gasoline for getting to the activity site)
This table can be used for forecasting the activities before they are
carried out, as well as for monitoring the overall performance of the
Table 2 : Activities for implementations of communication plans
Source: Bessette, G. (2004): “A Guide to Participatory Development Communication”,
The preparation of the follow-up plan leads to the identification of the
period of time over which the activities will be conducted.
It is important to establish a realistic time schedule for the various
activities: making initial local contacts, deepening our knowledge of
the problem, planning communication activities, carrying them out and
evaluating them.
This schedule should also be consistent with three different calendars:
1) the periods of availability of the different community groups the
research team or practitioner intends to work with
2) the agenda of the technical agents involved in the activities
3) The moments of availability of the research team or practitioners
Thus, there are several elements that must be taken into consideration:
- The timing of activities
- The availability of participants and resource persons
- The research team or practitioner’s own availability
- The availability of required materials and equipment
Where travel and communication are difficult and where material
resources are scarce, the most modest activity often takes much longer
than initially expected.
5.6.2 The Support Budget
When the time comes to prepare the support budget for the
communication strategy and each of its activity, it is necessary to think
carefully about the notion of cost. The idea is not to build up an
impressive budget, but to encourage groups of participants to take
responsibility for activities.
Preparing a budget involves several different stages.
- Identify the human and material resources needed to carry out each
activity: resource persons and physical resources; materials and
equipment, fuel needs (exchange visits, travel by resource persons),
consumable supplies (photographic film, paper, batteries, ink, poster
paint, etc.).The participation of resource persons should not usually
imply costs chargeable to the budget, except for travel to the locale of
the activity. For material resources, it is important to know which
materials can be borrowed and which can be bought and produced.
- Review each of the needs, weigh their importance, and find out if
there is an alternative. For example, renting chairs for a meeting or
providing snacks or meals for participants can hardly be said to be
- For each of the needs, it is important to evaluate those that can be
covered by the researcher’s or practitioner’s own organization, by the
budget of the research team, or by contributions from various partners
and collaborators. Some costs may be borne by the municipality or
local agencies or by the participants in the communication activities. It
is important to involve local players in supporting the cost of these
activities. Even if the contribution is minimal or symbolic, it allows
participants and resource persons to feel a sense of ownership over the
activity, and not to regard themselves merely as beneficiaries or as
invited guests.
- Estimation of the expenses involved in covering the material
resources needed for each activity.
5.7 Impacts of Communication by Types of Outcome
In communication interventions, the outcome is generally measured in
two ways, although evaluation studies may or may not elaborate both.
The first one involves the examination of the extent to which the
target populations adopt, in a broad sense, the communication practices
that are promoted. A variety of practices constitute this type of change:
listening to media campaign messages, engaging in spousal
communication, communicating more effectively with health
professionals and clients, probing and activating indigenous
knowledge, institutionalizing community discussion groups and so on.
The second one consists of changes, as the result of
communication interventions, amounting to the realization of specific
programmatic goals, such as a reduction in HIV prevalence.
The aim outcomes of communication programs are to identified in :
- Evidence of Behavior Change: the hallmark of development
communication intervention is the explicit or implicit desire to modify
the way people behave by leading them to the adoption of desirable
behavioral patterns.
- Empowerment and Capability Building: prototypical development
communication interventions are designed to trigger behavioral and
attitudinal changes at the individual-level.
- Coalition Building and Partnership: contemporary development
interventions are not just limited to the traditional resource input model
in which financial and technological resources are transferred to the
people, but focus on the agglomeration of local and domestic
capabilities for development through coalitions and partnerships among
groups and individuals.
- Resource Development: finally, some of the recent studies in
communication for development assess the interaction between
communication interventions and the creation of tangible resources. For
example, in addressing the problem of soil nutrient depletion,
participants can experiment on various low-external input techniques
for soil management in order to reduce their dependency on external
technologies as well as to make soil management more economical.
“The state of community media around the world is in some instances in a process of
evolution, in others more like revolution” 94.
D. Mackenzie, in “The Social Shaping of Technology” (1999)
6.1 Background of the Project
This study presents the findings of the pilot project entitled Enhancing
development support to rural masses through community media
activity, launched in 2005 by the Department of Mass Communication
and Journalism of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Lucknow and
by the local NGO Bharosa with the financial support of the Delhi
University Grants Commission.
The project aimed to involve rural villagers, and especially farmers, in
a participatory community media project. The goals of the project
included, but were not limited to, using appropriate tools and
technologies in order to:
- teach and empower underprivileged rural villagers to use media to
research, collect, analyze data, document and disseminate information
to their communities on current issues like agriculture, education,
commerce and governmental schemes.
- enable farmers to access markets and making informed choices (what
to grow, where, when and how to sell) thus increasing household
- benefit rural areas of the district of Lucknow where print and non
print media are limited or not available.
The project intended to train rural villagers to become innovators for
the benefit of their local communities and the improvement of their
living conditions. It is a known fact that where communities have a
94 Mackenzie, D. (1999), “The Social Shaping of Technology”, 2nd edn. Buckingham: Open
University Press.
ready access to information and knowledge, people more have
sustainable and equitable opportunities for growth and progress 95.
Being informed of current affairs, especially those affecting them
directly, can help people to make their unheard voices heard.
The activities – which lasted for 3 years and terminated in January
2008 – took place in two rural villages in two distinct blocks, namely
Kumhrava e Barhi Gaghi, in the district of Lucknow.
In Kumhrava a community rural newspaper was conceived, written and
In Barhi Gaghi a multipurpose community internet centre was
established and informative activities were carried out. Basically two
different media (the “traditional” newspaper and the “innovative”
internet) were used in a participatory way to achieve an over-all rural
development of the selected areas.
The two initiatives were accomplished simultaneously therefore the
planning and the coordination of the different activities, as well as the
evaluation, required extensive preparation, accurate care and welltimed actions.
The management of the project was under the supervision of the
Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, which was also
responsible for the ex-ante baseline survey, the development of
contextually relevant community media applications, the training of
local villagers and the ex post evaluation. The local NGO Bharosa was
in charge of the coordination of some activities on the field, mainly
training and informative activities, and was basically a support for the
University staff more than an active partner.
The study represents an attempt to provide answers to three main
research questions:
1) What defines a meaningful community media practice?
2) Do community media & technology practices contribute to empower
95 “Making New Technologies Work for Human Development”, Human Development Report
2001 (available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/ global/hdr2001).
3) Is the community media sector sustainable, effective and viable in
the Indian rural context?
The answers to these questions were searched through an extensive
research including face-to-face interviews, questionnaire-based analysis
on people’ awareness and response to media use and training.
Community media projects like this one have been rarely carried out in
India which hasn’t a proper community media tradition. Even though
the Government of India has recently focused its policies on the right of
information and knowledge for all its citizens (see Chapter 2), media
still continue to be almost exclusively driven by commercial
considerations, thus excluding the rural communities who
are often unable to understand the various facets of information
provided by the commercial media.
The management of the project was in itself a kind of novelty in U.P.:
so far, the majority of media initiatives for improving rural conditions
in UP has been carried out through national programmes which are
large-scale and target driven in nature, but often unable to involve local
participation in planning and decision making, nor ensuring adequate
follow-up measures.
6.2 My Role as Western Researcher
I arrived in Lucknow for the first time in 2006; I had been invited to a
conference at the Indian Institute of Management. I didn’t know Uttar
Pradesh and I had little knowledge both of community media and of the
information gaps in the Indian rural areas.
During that rather short but intense period, I came to know the vibrant
atmosphere of the University of Lucknow and got in contact with Dr.
Mukul Srivastava.
He told me about the community media project he had launched. He
was so enthusiastic about it that he transmitted me curiosity and
interest: I followed him during one of his visit to Kumhrava.
Six months later, in December 2006, I joined the staff of the project and
worked with them as volunteer.
Despite being the only woman in a team of only men, I was warmly
welcomed from the very beginning. Even though I was meant to be an
external observer – and follow the activities of training, monitoring and
evaluation without getting personally involved - I gradually became
active part of the staff. I travelled with Dr. Srivastava to the villages, I
helped in organizing the different phases of the project and in preparing
I personally elaborated the questionnaire which was distributed to the
villagers at the end of the project activities and helped the staff to
elaborate an analyses of the outcomes.
I was also very welcomed in the villages. The first time I visited
Barhi Gaghi and Kumhrava I told villagers about my origins and my
role in the project. I ask them to pose me questions: I assured them that
my recordings, transcriptions and field notes would have remained
I tried carefully not to be intrusive or disruptive: after all I was nothing
but a foreigner Italian woman researcher to them.
As it can be reasonably evident, the language has been a major
obstacle to my field work: only a few people could speak English in the
villages and I couldn’t speak Hindi.
In most of the cases I was helped by the university staff who translated
for me but the communication to the rural villagers was always (except
in some cases) mediated.
That, combined with the discontinuity of my presence on the field, have
been the main problems I encountered during my two years’ activities
in U.P.
From the theoretical point of view, my approach to the project was that
of a Western European researcher: the society in which I was operating
was essentially an alien culture to me.
I had in the mind the teaching of Louw (2004): in his writing he makes
reference to differences between the way in which Western-oriented
people and Indians in general analyze events.
According to Louw, an Indian’s analysis of reality refers more to the
moment and the past while a Western-oriented person’s analysis of
reality will refer more to the future, thus leading to different
interpretation of the reality.
In traditional Indian culture, people are generally more community-
oriented than in Western cultures. Beller (2001) refers to them as living
in what he calls a we-community.
In the West, the individual is often considered the most important
social unit, and individual ownership of technology is taken for
granted. Each person aspires to owning his own PC, cell phone or
television: in India, as in many other Asian cultures, by contrast, the
emphasis is on the community, not the individual, and sharing of
technology is commonplace. Sharing is viewed as a social good: this
aspect was a benefit for all the collaborative activities that were carried
What I noticed as particularly interesting during my visits to the
villages was the relationship between technology and religion in rural
India. For example, the idea of "constant connectivity," of 24-hour
access to information seven days a week, is viewed as technological
progress in the West: but the Hindu religion prescribe times for worship
when followers should be explicitly disconnected from the everyday
world. For these consumers, "always on" may not be an attractive
Ensuring that technology is compatible with spiritually was something
more I learned from the project.
6.3 Methodological Overview
In order to develop community media projects successfully, all
initiatives should be based on the understanding of the local context
and of the people involved in it: observation, data collection, data
analysis and data interpretation should be therefore organized as to
provide a complete framework of the agenda and of the various ways to
conduct activities (Onwuegbuzie, 2002).
The methodology used during the project was based on a mixed
approach consisting of both qualitative and quantitative data.
Qualitative researchers study phenomena in their natural settings and
attempt to make sense of or interpret phenomena in terms of the
meanings that people bring to them (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003).
Qualitative research can also give coherence to different kinds of data
and explain how the different parts work together. The primary
elements in qualitative research are the researcher, fieldwork, inductive
strategy, and rich case description (Merriam, 1998).
Quantitative research is instead directed at analyzing the relationships
and regularities that appear between selected factors (Merriam, 1998).
Thus it generates measurable changes and produces data that are more
generalizable than in qualitative research (Cohen, Manion & Morrison,
The present research applied specific methodologies to the various
phases of the project.
The methodologies are presented in the following paragraphs.
6.3.1 Baseline Survey Methodology
A baseline survey was employed in order to have a comprehensive
picture of the socio-economic conditions of the two villages.
Quantitative data (number of inhabitants, of households, of
infrastructures) were gathered together with qualitative data (for
example the quality of current information at disposal of rural villagers
to meet their needs).
Part of the quantitative data were collected through the Census of India
2001 and part through a simplified version of the “village development
index” (VDEVELOP): we determined 33 parameters and evaluated
their status (in terms of presence or absence) in the village or in its
The infrastructures (availability and access to electricity, telephones,
roads, drainage, water, schools, shops, etc) were the focus of the
100 household surveys (50 in Barhi Gaghi and 50 in Kumhrava) were
consequently carried out in order to understand household composition,
income, religion, language, media use and information sources of the
local villagers.
Villages in India are typically multi-caste, with no two villages being
identical in either the number of castes or in the numerical strength and
wealth of each resident caste (Srinivas 1987).
For example, in Uttar Pradesh an average village with 150 to 300
households may have 15 to 25 castes
represented in its population (Ahmad and Saxena 1994). Moreover, a
given caste group may occupy different positions in neighbouring
villages (Srinivas 1987).
The caste composition and occupations were nearly the same in both
villages: as a consequence, the information needs were also very
Qualitative data were collected through face-to-face interviews.
Staff focus groups were organized at the end of the baseline survey to
identify salient aspects of organization and project’s operations.
6.3.2 Field work Methodology
During the first phase of the project on the field, the one concerning the
development of the community media project, a qualitative
ethnographic action research approach was applied.
Ethnography is traditionally based on long-term engagement in the
field of study, or field site.
A key method is participant observation, where the ethnographer
participates in the society or culture being studied (i.e. he lives amongst
those people) yet retains an analytical or observational position so that
through reflection and analysis the ethnographer can describe and
interpret the subject of the study.
An ethnographer looks for patterns, describes local relationships,
understandings and meanings.
Ethnography takes a holistic approach to the subject of study that is, the
ethnographer looks at the whole social setting and all social
relationships. That includes the participants (how they are organised,
how they carry out their work, how the project fits into their lives), the
users (their everyday lives and ways of doing things), the wider social
context of the project (e.g., social divisions within the community,
language issues, local economy, social and cultural resources, power
and institutions in the community) and the social structures and
processes beyond the community (e.g., infrastructure, government
policies, economic developments).
Ethnography is an approach to research, it is not a specific method like
participant observation, or interviews, or surveys. In fact, it is a multimethod approach: we do not carry out and analyse a survey, for
example, separately from our interviews or in isolation from the diaries
or field notes that our volunteers or participants write. We try to look at
all this knowledge and experience together and in relation to each
A key feature that distinguishes ethnographic action research is that it
involves people in all four stages of planning, doing, observing, and
Figure 1: Ethnographic action research’s stages
Source: http://www.unesco.org/webworld/cmc/handbook/full_book.pdf
Using participative methods ensures that the aims, methods and
analysis of research arise from, and then feed back into, a rich
understanding of the particular place and project being developed.
Research is focused on how problems and opportunities are defined by
people locally and allows
research methods and the project itself to be creatively adapted to the
local situation.
During our community media project there has never been a simple
division between “us” (researchers) and “them” (research subjects).
Hence, we tried to involve participants both as informants and as fellow
Through ethnographic action research we tried to develop the project
through a rich understanding of the communities and active
participation (the people who should benefit from the research
participated in defining the aims and direction of the research).
Our research demonstrated from the very beginning to be flexible,
responsive and diverse - in a word, creative.
By always keeping in mind the 4 questions (What are we trying
to do? How are we trying to do it? How well are we doing? How can
we do it differently/better?) we managed to adapt, add and change as
Participant observation, the keeping of field notes, face-to-face
interviews and group discussions were central aspects of our method.
Supplemented by questionnaire surveys, content analysis and
information sharing exercises, we selected, mixed and matched the
approaches depending on the research needs which in turn was
dependent on the needs of the project and its development.
Data generated by these various methods was analysed as a
whole, each data stream feeding into the total research picture,
producing themes and findings that could be further explored and tested
through different methods and through practice.
The results of face-to-face interviews- which involved more than ‘yes’
or ‘no’ answers - and of focus groups – which involved two or more
participants- helped us to develop both qualitative and quantitative data
(concerning the outcome of the project).
The phase of the “Information needs assessment” was naturally of
utmost importance for the development of the project. Information
requirements needed to be identified in order to plan the
communication activities in a proper way.
6.3.3 Training Methodology
During the training period – which lasted eight months from January
2006 to August 2006 - we tried to build a good learning environment
where a dynamic interaction between instructors, learners and tasks
could provide an opportunity for learners to create their own truth due
to the interaction with others.
A kind of social constructivism approach was thus emphasized. This
particular methodology looks for explanations and generates usable
knowledge. Knowledge is not passively received but actively built up
by the cognizing subjects. “The function of cognition is adaptive and
serves the organisation of the experiential world, not the discovery of
ontological reality" (Von Glasersfeld, 1989).
Learning occurs through interaction and reflection. Learning is viewed
as a social process: it does not take place only within an individual, nor
it is a passive development of behaviours that are shaped by external
forces (McMahon, 1997).
Lave and Wenger (1991) assert that a society’s practical knowledge is
situated in relations among practitioners, their practice, and the social
organization and political economy of communities of practice. For this
reason, learning should involve such knowledge and practice (Lave &
Wenger, 1991; Gredler, 1997).
Social constructivism is problem-oriented and utilizes practical goals.
The aim in using this method is to achieve understanding while
continuing on a functional level to innovate and solve problems as they
Social constructivist approaches in this project included reciprocal
teaching, peer collaboration, cognitive apprenticeships, problem-based
instruction, web quests in the case of the Internet centre, and other
methods that involved learning with others.
6.3.4 Outcome Evaluation Methodology
Outcome evaluation examines the project’s outcomes, which usually
means the effects of grantee strategies and activities on its target
audience. Usually at least 5% of the total campaign budget should be
devoted to the evaluation.
In the case of this project, financial resources were not enough to
comprise an outcome evaluation budget.
As a consequence, the evaluation was carried out by the staff on free
voluntary base: I personally gave my contribution by elaborating and
writing the questionnaire that was distributed to the villagers at the end
of the project. The questionnaire implied multiple choice answers and
was divided in three main sections (the first one regarding content
issues, the second one regarding the general level of satisfaction of the
users and the third one regarding benefits and negative aspects of
receving more information). I drew inspiration from UNESCO
questionnaires which were used in other similar projects and tried to
develop a comprehensive questionnaire.
In general the staff was very committed to find out whether the project
had had an impact on the target communities and in which terms.
Table 1: Summary of methods and research materials
Baseline Survey
Census of India
combined with
the Village
Quantitative data on
infrastructures, etc.
numerical scope
Questions on
composition, income,
employment and
economic condition,
education, social
dynamics, media
consumption and
resource sharing,
communication gaps,
common means of
Conducted in
households, usually
with several
members present
Rich investigation
of ways
of life and role of
needs and
In the Field
action research)
focus groups
Definition of all
aspects of
organization and its
Discussions with
users of
and participants in
both community
media activities.
Identification of
information needs
and general
concerning their way
of life
users interviews
Social gatherings,
participating in
project activities
Insight into
operation of
project; relation of
participants to
project as
Insight into
Needs, learn
spatial and
material culture
Building more
agenda arises
from discussion
Social interaction
teaching, peer
Field notes
among learners
and with
Filled out
Evaluate the
project outcomes
and impact on the
Final survey
Informal interview
Identify the main
sources of
information for
Interviews denote in-depth discussions generally lasting an hour or
more. There were in addition numerous informal chats (not included in
the table).
Nearly one month after the end of the community project, a survey was
conducted in order to assess whether there had been changes in the way
villagers search for information and if the community media had
become or not their main source of information.
6.3.5 Ethical Considerations
The ethical basis of the research has been assured by frequent joint
consultations and agreements with all participants (the staff members of
Lucknow University on one side and the rural villagers on the other)
who participated in the development process. This means in effect that
the university has been carefully appraised of what has happened in the
The privacy, anonymity and confidentiality of the rural people have
also been assured by various measures. They were also explained that
data from the research questionnaires, observations and interviews
would have no effect on their position in the village and/or in their jobs.
All research
outcomes were reported in a way that the anonymity and confidentiality
of all participants were assured. (Cohen et al., 2000)
When referring to the project staff I sometimes used the term “WE” .
This is a simplification partially due to the fact that I felt part of the
Moreover, I normally use the past tense when referring to the project,
this because, at the moment of writing, the project was over.
6.4 Limitations of the Study
Due to budget limitations the study could be only carried out in two
villages and the evaluation of the project was completed on voluntary
It would have been interesting to launch community media activities in
at least one more village and to have more funds in order to have a
more comprehensive framework of the project’s impact on the local
Almost no women took part to the activities in both villages, even
though there were highly skilled and ambitious women.
Gender raised therefore an issue that was frequently and openly
discussed by staff and interviewees.
Above all, local families were reluctant to let female members (whether
daughters or wives) join the activities, be it the rural newspaper or the
village internet centre. Parents felt in particular that their daughters
should not work in mixed groups.
Age represented another issue. Internet attracted youth more than the
rural newspaper, thus leading in a younger group of users in the case of
the Internet centre.
Local language issues also raised concern. India shares with many parts
of the world general problems of linguistic localisation when we
consider the use of internet and of the computer in general (these
include for example adapting keyboards to languages that involve over
a hundred characters and getting the right fonts for a wide range of
Access to Internet equates to providing local language computing
framework and tools to translate and display information in the
languages spoken by the users. Publishing content means using these
tools to generate information in the required local languages. Inability
to do computing in local languages is a major obstacle to providing
universal access to information and learning.
During the computer and internet training we managed to work by
using predominantly sites in Hindi that could be easily accessed and
used by the villagers. The necessity to have local content in the local
language was a main requirement during the all course of the project.
6.5 The Community Media Project at a Glance
Table 2: Scheme of the project
1) The Dept. of
Journalism &
of the Faculty of
Arts of the
The project
has been
funded by the
Delhi Grant
Commission in
the sum, of
Rs. 574.600
2) Bharosa –
local NGO
based in
Staff involved: 8
people plus
many volunteer
3 years
(Jan.2005 –
Jan. 2008)
1) Barhi Garhi
block (this
block is made
up of 100
newspaper in
Barhi Garhi
2) Kumhrava
from Bakshi
Ka Talab
block is made
up of 197
Both villlages
are in the
district of
centre in
6.5.1 The Department of Journalism & Mass Communication of the
Faculty of Arts of the Lucknow University 96
Photo 1: Entrance of the Department
The Department of Journalism & Mass Communication came into
existence in 1992 and is a premier education centre.
Dr. Ramesh Chandra Tripathi is the present Head of the Department.
The department has a well equipped 'Electronic Media Lab', Computer
Lab, Photo Lab and a Library enriched with rarely available precious
books on journalism, public relations, audio-video production,
computers, ethics, law and skill of writing.
The staff from the Department has been the initiator and implementer
of the community media activities in both villages. Under the
leadership of Dr. Mukul Srivastava, Senior Lecturer in Electronic
Media and Photography, three researchers and three students (plus
many volunteer students) have worked to make the execution of the
project possible: Dr. Mukul Srivastava and his staff were completely
devoted to the cause of enhancing rural development and improving the
living conditions of the rural villagers.
They were committed to ensure that the project would have been more
than the donation of equipment; the focus was on the “thinking process
96 www.lkouniv.ac.in
of what it takes to create a sustainable environment with a cheap
business plan” 97.
6.5.2 Local NGO Bharosa 98
Photo 2: Entrance of Bharosa
Bharosa (meaning “the trust”) is a grass root level NGO based in
Lucknow whose main activity sectors regard rural development, food
and nutrition, health and sanitation.
Since 1997 it is working thanks to funds provided by the Naz
Foundation International 99 and with the help of volunteers and
Its role is to provide supportive advice, accurate information and
counselling working to foster rural development; it conducts relevant
97 Declaration by Dr. Mukul Srivastava pronounced during a visit in Kumhrava (April 2007)
and contained in my field notes.
98 www.bharosatrust.com
99 It is a charity working in England, America, India and Bangladesh, providing education,
counselling, support services. (www.nfi.net)
research basically on health issue and publishes the results of such
researches. It produces various forms of literature and audio-visual
It carries out field work and works in cooperation with other agencies:
its team builds up friendship and networking in a variety of locations,
building a sense of community affiliation.
With a budget ranging between five Lakhs to twenty five Lakhs
(500000 - 2500000), the aim of the NGO is to work with the oppressed
masses towards a more democratic and decentralized working which
will help them improve their standard of living.
Its overall aim is to provide opportunities through the development of
community based structures.
The staff of Barhosa is made up of 3 employees (2 full time and 1 parttime).
The employees supported the staff of the Department of Journalism &
Mass Communication in preparing training activities. They were not
responsible for the overall project management.
6.5.3 Budget
The budget was provided by the Delhi University Grants
Commission 100 which is the apex monitoring body of the higher
education in the country. It provides funds and coordinates and
determines the maintenance of standards in higher education
institutions and scientific research.
The budget - for the all length of the project - was of Rs. 574.600
(equivalent to 9.941,48 euro 101).
Below the grant details are illustrated.
Grant Details:
Books & Journals
Project Fellows
100 http://www.ugc.ac.in
101 1 INR = 0,0172986 EUR / 1 EUR = 57,8083 INR (currency data as on 15th of January
Hiring Services
Travel / Field Work
Overhead Cost
The budget was very limited. Such a small amount of money couldn’t
include the management cost of the evaluation, which as explained
before, was accomplished on voluntary basis. I personally prepared the
evaluation questionnaire and analysed its outcomes.
6.6.First Phase of the Community Media Project
6.6.1 Justification for the Selection of the Villages
The selection of the villages took place at the Department of Journalism
& Mass Communication in Lucknow.
The names of 6 villages from different blocks of the district of
Lucknow were written on separate slips. These 6 villages had been preselected according to the following criteria:
- they reflect the typical rural scenario of an Indian village
- they are close to the University of Lucknow for easy monitoring and
they are connected to Lucknow via pucca road 102
- they had previously agreed to a base-line survey.
The slips were put in a container and subsequently two were picked up
randomly by lottery method.
Through this method Bar Garhi from Malihabad block (a block made
up of 100 villages) and Kumhrava from Bakshi Ka Talab block (a
block made up of 197 villages) were selected for the study.
The following table shows the number of villages in each block of the
district of Lucknow according to the data of the Census of India in
2001. This is the most reliable source of information in terms of
number of villages and infrastructures, even though not a very recent
one (but the next census will be in 2011).
102 Pucca road is a durable rural road built with labour-intensive techniques so that it doesn’t
vanish during the monsoons.
Table 2: District of Lucknow - Census Data Updation Status
Bakshi Ka
Source: http://nicd.org/Dst_Lucknow.asp
No of Villages As Per
Census in 2001
6.6.2 Villages Survey
Figure 2: Map of the blocks around the capital Lucknow
Source: jsk.gov.in/up/up_lucknow.pdf
The first step was to collect data regarding the number of inhabitants
and the caste composition. They were derived from the Census of India
2001 103 that gathers data on socio economic and demographic
characteristics, educational features and migration.
The second step was to develop a simplified version of the village
development index (VDEVELOP) 104, as elaborated by the Centre of
Science for Villages, an institution working for village development in
103It was the 14th census in an unbroken series, and the 6th after independence in 1947 (with
the exception that census could not be held for Assam in the 1981 and Jammu & Kashmir in
1991). 2001 census was conducted in two phases, the first being House numbering and House
listing operations, carried out in May 2000, and the second being population enumeration,
carried out from February 9 to 28, 2001. The reference time for the census is 1 March, 2001.
104 Replicated from Drèze and Kingdon (2001).
India 105. We intended to quantify the infrastructures in terms of access
to electricity, telephones, roads, drainage, water, schools, shops, etc.
We determined 33 elements and evaluated their status
(presence/absence) inside the village or their distance from the villages
(measured in kilometres). Barhi Gaghi Village Profile
Total population:
Male population:
Female population:
Total literate:
Caste composition:
668 (Male = 417, Female= 251)
Agricultural 69.1%
Other Backward 11.9%
Scheduled 19%
Distance Range (in km.)
Block Headquarter
Rural Development Officer Centre
Fare Price Shop
Source of Drinking Water
Agricultural Tools, Pump set, DieselNo
Engine etc. Repair Centre
Bazaar / Hat
Whole Sale Agricultural Mandi
Cold Storage
Seed Storage
105 Centre of Science for Villages was started by Dr. Devendra Kumar, a scientist initiated by
Gandhi's concept of rural development and decentralized economy.
11 Artificial Breeding Centre/Sub Centre
Primary Agricultural Loan Cooperative
13 Sales/Purchase Cooperative Societies
14 Government Sales Centre
15 Junior Basic School (Co-Educated)
16 Senior Basic School (Boys)
17 Senior Basic School (Girls)
18 Higher Secondary School (Boys)
19 Higher Secondary School (Girls)
Health Centre
21 Ayurvedic Hospital/Dispensary
22 Unani Dispensary
23 Homeopathic Hospital/Dispensary
24 Family Welfare Centre/Sub Centre
25 Pucca Road
26 Post Office
27 Telegraph Office
28 Public Telephone
29 Railway Station/Halt
30 Bus Station/Stop
32 Commercial Rural Cooperative Bank
33 Post Office Saving Bank
Agricultural Cooperative and Rural
Development Bank Kumhrava Village Profile
Total population:
Male population:
Female population:
Total literate:
Caste composition:
868 (Male = 564, Female= 304)
Agricultural 72.3%
Other Backward 15.4%
Scheduled 12.3%
Distance Range (in
Block Headquarter
Rural Development Officer Centre
Fare Price Shop
Source of Drinking Water
Agricultural Tools, Pump set, DieselEngine etc. Repair Centre
Bazaar / Hat
Whole Sale Agricultural Mandi
Cold Storage
Seed Storage
Veterinary Hospital/Animal Husbandry
11 Artificial Breeding Centre/Sub Centre
13 Sales/Purchase Cooperative Societies
14 Government Sales Centre
15 Junior Basic School (Co-Educated)
16 Senior Basic School (Boys)
Primary Agricultural Loan Cooperative
17 Senior Basic School (Girls)
18 Higher Secondary School (Boys)
19 Higher Secondary School (Girls)
21 Ayurvedic Hospital/Dispensary
22 Unani Dispensary
23 Homeopathic Hospital/Dispensary
24 Family Welfare Centre/Sub Centre
25 Pucca Road
26 Post Office
27 Telegraph Office
28 Public Telephone
29 Railway Station/Halt
30 Bus Station/Stop
32 Commercial Rural Cooperative Bank
33 Post Office Saving Bank
Allopathic Hospital/Dispensary/Primary
Health Centre
Agricultural Cooperative and Rural
Development Bank
Although the two villages are similar in terms of number of inhabitants
(they both have between 1000 and 1500 inhabitants) and caste
composition (the agricultural caste is the predominant one) the villages
differ in terms of infrastructures. Kumhrava has schools, health centres,
post and telegraph office, public phones and even a commercial rural
bank: Barhi Gaghi has a rural development officer centre (which
Kumhrava has not) and a junior basic school but no health centres, post
and telegraph offices, public phones and banks.
It can be said that in general better infrastructure tends to be conducive
to higher levels of investment and local entrepreneurship. The village
with better infrastructures (Kumhrava) was consequently the more
progressed village in terms of public and private services available to
its rural villagers.
Once the village development index was completed and analysed,
Kumhrava was selected for the establishment of a rural community
internet centre and Barhi Gaghi for the foundation of a rural community
The third step was to conduct household interviews - in forms of oral
questions - in order to identify employment and economic condition,
education, social dynamics, media consumption and resource sharing,
communication gaps, common means of communication.
50 households in Kumhrava – comprising 153 persons - and 50
households in Barhi Gaghi – comprising 157 persons - were
The outcomes, reported in a narrative way, are illustrated in the
following paragraph.
6.6.3 Outcomes of Household Interviews: Socio-economic Features
and Ways of Village Communication prior to the Project
Informal household interviews were conducted to assess critical issues
which influenced communication and interaction among people within
the villages.
100 household interviews had been carried out for 4 months
(September 2005- December 2005) both in Kumhrava and Barhi Gaghi.
They aimed at assessing the socio-economic features and ways of
village communication prior to the launch of the community media
initiatives. The results are presented below in a narrative way.
- Work life balance
It was observed that all villagers, who are predominantly daily wage
farmers, lead hectic work lives. They have little time for leisure and
other activities. This impact their communication needs.
Prior to the project, most people preferred to initiate communication
events for specific reasons (like social events or for business purposes),
rather than for casual conversations. They did not undertake
communication unless it directly influenced their everyday lives.
Congruent with goal-specific communication, the frequency of
communication was also goal-specific. It was driven by immediate
social and economic circumstances of the villagers.
Frequency increased if there was a change from status quo, like a
sickness in the family; or if one or more family members moved out of
the village to a different geographical location; or a social event
occurred; or for financial reasons like loans or sale of produce and
other similar situations. Depending on the individual context, the
frequency of calls through pay-phone or personal visits was high at
such times.
- Economic condition
The economic condition of all villagers were generally poor. Rural
villagers are mainly small-scale farmers who lack the means and
capacities to demand, organise or finance the information access and
communication services they need for development. Farmers’
organisations as cooperatives, associations, unions or extension groups
don’t exist in neither of the two villages.
Very few households have somewhat surmounted penury. Alongside
poverty, there also exist limited purchasing power.
Mobile phones and landlines are not so diffuse in these two villages. In
Barhi Gaghi there is no public phone and in Kumhrava it was
transformed into a shared device: its use is not for free and specific
amounts are charged for calls, which are dependent on call-duration
and whether calls are made to landlines or mobile phones. Charges for
the former are lower than the latter.
Such costs attached to making phone calls, determined the manner by
which communication was initiated through phone calls. It was also
dependent on villagers’ economic condition. People preferred to make
calls through payphones, even when they had access to mobile phones,
because it was cheaper.
- Education
Level of formal and informal education influence the means of
communication used by villagers. Some of the villagers cannot not read
or write.
Limited literacy caused people to share one newspaper in the entire
village. Those that could read and write the local language read the
newspaper and passed on information to others. News and information
were also consumed through the alternate medium of television. In fact,
there was a high dependence on television for information and
- Social dynamics
Social dynamics in the villages, greatly determined the use and access
of communication or information devices. Men were perceived as
decision-makers, while women were seen as homemakers. In fact, men
not only purchased devices, they also controlled most channels of
mediated communication. Women depended on men for the use of
devices like mobile phones, television sets, CD (audio and video)
players and radios.
This dependence caused women to have limited technology exposure.
Women equally shared the responsibility of initiating and receiving
information through non-mediated communication (i.e. personal and
human interaction).
- Media consumption and resource sharing
Television was the prime source of entertainment for villagers as was
mentioned earlier. Everyone preferred watching serials, movies and
reality shows followed by news programmes every evening. People
infrequently visited movie halls, due to the distance and their own
hectic work lives. People also had access to a daily newspaper (kept in
the pay-phone kiosk or grocery shop), in which headlines and
astrological forecasts were keenly read. Radio had limited popularity,
although people heard live cricket commentaries on it.
Despite such media consumption, not all village households owned
televisions, mobile phones and CD players. Consequently, owners
shared some of these resources - especially television - with friends. In
fact, watching television shows together were social occasions for
people. On the other hand, mobile phones were shared primarily with
immediate family members.
- Communication Gaps
Although most communication occurred through phone, they were
considered inadequate for extending social invitations to people on
special, shared occasions. They had to be followed up with personal
There were communication gaps in the economic domain too. They
manifested themselves as lack of awareness among daily wage farmers.
Daily wage workers, who travel to the city, faced uncertainty and were
unaware about employment opportunities.
Village farmers, who depend on middlemen to sell their produce in the
cities and towns, lacked information on market rates and consumer
demands. Common Means of Communication prior to the Project
Communication within these villages was primarily through word-ofmouth and informal interactions. Since most villagers belonged to the
same social and economic background, community ties among them
were strong. These strong ties fostered social and personal
communication in the form of verbal interaction; personal visits to each
other’s homes; participating collectively in social events; and
maintaining social bonds (through informal chats and information
There were few instances of economic communication too. This was
specifically in the case of kiosk operators, village shop owners and
workers, whose services/goods were bought by other villagers. Since
there were no computers in both villages, means of communication like
e-mail, or the internet were not used. Even the postal system was
seldom used. Unlike inter-village communication, interaction between
the villages and city was largely economic with few instances of social
People from the village depended on the city, not only to sell their
produce in the wholesale market, but also for employment
opportunities. Apart from this, villagers also purchased goods and
services that were absent in the village.
Payphones were the most popular and frequently used means of
However, our findings also revealed that – in the case of Kumhrava people did not always use the local, village payphone, because they
believed that the kiosk operator over-charged them. He did not have a
billing machine. Besides, the electronic display of call duration faced
the kiosk owner and not the customers. This engendered significant
erosion of trust among villagers, who also felt that the kiosk owner held
a virtual monopoly over them.
In order to increase their options, villagers used payphones in
neighbouring townships. Here, billing machines were functional.
Nevertheless, the village kiosk operator was individually known to
every village household. This meant that they could depend on him to
deliver messages to them, from people who called in their absence.
Thus, the relationship between the kiosk operator and villagers
determined the use of the payphone to a large extent.
What has emerged from the household interviews is that the two
villages are very similar in terms of economic condition, education,
social dynamics, media consumption. The interviews revealed that the
majority of interviewees was aware of the lack of relevant information
connected to their information needs. Men expressed the wish for more
information about agriculture (such as availability of seeds, rates of
fertilizers and pesticides, price details), education and health related
It was felt that local production had to be encouraged to address the
specific village contexts.
Box 1 - What does the term “Community” refer to?
In general the term ‘ community’ refers to a group of people who are bound together in
some way – by living in close proximity to one another, sharing or having common
needs, interests, life experiences, cultural or religious characteristics, common values
or common activities.
It is useful to think of community along with the words ‘common’ and ‘commune’.
– ‘Common’ points to the characteristics that people in the community have in
common and that define the group as a community.
– ‘Commune’ highlights the element of communication and interaction that shapes
and sustains communities.
It is important to understand the communities one works with for a number of reasons
– understanding who the target users are and what their needs are is the only way to
provide meaningful content and services. Some people call this process ‘market
definition and analysis’.
– the legitimacy and long term sustainability of the project depends on community
involvement, support, ownership. This process is also known as ‘community
participation and ownership’.
– strengthening the community is likely to form part of the core goal — “capacity
building”, provision of resources and support, facilitating public participation in local or
6.7 Second Phase of The Community Media Project
6.7.1 Planning of the Community Media Activities
When the baseline survey phase was concluded, the staff of the
Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, together with a
volunteer from the NGO Bharosa, draw a graphic like the following
one to underline the three basic components of the community media
project, basically: rural people, media, content.
Figure 3: The three basic components of the project
Source: Dr. Mukul Srivastava’s field notes
Since rural people had already been interviewed, the focus was on the
sequence of media work and the actions required to start the
community media activities. The scheme below is the same as
illustrated by FAO’s publication Effective Rural Communication For
Development Report, 2006 and already cited in Chapter 4 of this PhD
thesis. It provided a good starting point.
Figure 4: Sequence of media work
Source: Effective Rural Communication For Development Report, FAO 2006
The development of a media strategy needs to consider the issues of
context, access and capacity dimensions. It also needs to ensure that
there is coherence within the communication process and that the
chosen technologies are in line with the cultural norms and the
environmental situation, and are designed to use the available and
appropriate infrastructure. The critical factor in the design of the
strategy is a participatory analysis of the knowledge, attitude, and
practice of the intended audiences in respect of the information to be
shared and disseminated, as well as the channels to be used.
The key aim is to achieve cost-effective communication that is
culturally and technically relevant and that is sustainable.
The sequence of phases required to launch the community media
newspaper and internet centre were the following ones:
1. Strategic planning
a. Identify key activities
b. Identify options to motivate rural people to take part to
communication activities
c. Plan and coordinate the activities with the communities
2. Organization and management
a. Provide and ensure access to information
b. Ensure dissemination - improve the service
3. Evaluation
a. assess the impact
b. evaluate the results
6.8 The Rural Community Newspaper in Barhi Gaghi
In India, even though the publication of community newspapers finds
no legal obstacles, there are only a few cases of successful community
In general they are not able to generate sufficient revenue, unlike the
mainstream dailies, and it’s not always easy to evaluate their impact on
the target audience.
Bearing in mind all these difficulties, the project staff intended to
conceive a community rural newspaper written for and by the rural
community of Barhi Gaghi.
The decision to launch a community rural newspaper as main medium
of communication was due to the following motivations:
- the staff from the Department of Journalism and Mass
Communication had an extensive experience in journalism training
- printing a newspaper was a rather inexpensive initiative.
- the infrastructures in Barhi Gaghi would have not allowed the
establishment of a well functioning internet centre.
6.8.1 Objectives
The long-term goals were:
- to foster rural villagers’ participation in communication activities
- to increase their communicative capacity
- to enhance their knowledge about topics of interest
This was actualised in the publication of a Hindi bi-monthly
newspaper, PEHAL (INITIATIVE), that focuses on development issues
of interest for the community living in Barhi Gaghi.
Five numbers of PEHAL have been so far published.
6.8.2 Budget
The budget estimated for the launch of the newspaper was 250.000 Rs
(4.294,44 euro). The sum encompassed equipments, books & journals,
project fellows and travel/field work.
6.8.3 Location of The Community Rural Newspaper
The place dedicated to the community newspaper activities was a large
room, normally used for public events and run by the local sarpanch.
The room was furnished with a small library, a display board and
mimeographing facilities.
6.8.4 Local Support and Participation
As first step, the staff from the Department of Journalism and Mass
Communication got first in contact with the sarpanch (the head of the
panchayat) in order to explain him the project in details, know his
opinion about the activities to be undertaken and assess his availability
to support them.
In Indian villages no projects can be initiated or carried out without the
formal approval of the sarpanch.
He gave his positive response to the initiative and even helped the staff
to promote and diffuse the project among the villagers by word of
A series of peer group discussions and focus groups were then
organized with the villagers.
The aim of such focus groups were:
- to identify their information needs
- to identify their expectations towards the project
- to clarify conditions and rules for the making for the newspaper,
specifying what level of commitment was required in terms of timing,
and the condition for abandoning the project
- to set up clear agreements (understand, share and respect rules of the
project are important to prevent a general discontent and an unequal
distribution of information). Identification of Information Needs
It is important to prioritize the information and services, so as to ensure
that the critical areas of information needs are addressed, particularly
those that are highlighted as priority issues by the people themselves.
During a focus group discussion, the scheme below (in the form of a
diagram) was submitted to 80 people (men and youth) in order to
identify their information needs. The information were grouped into
information categories. This diagram was generated by a largely
inductive approach, and provided a checklist of potential information
needs of rural villagers. It was largely inspired by the Information
Needs Assessment Model (INAM) developed by A. Dhingra and D. C.
Misra 106 and also utilized in some UNESCO projects.
Reported below is the profile of the interviewed people:
Age-group and number of participants:
20-30 : 10
30-40 : 26
40-50 : 33
50-60 : 10
60-70 : 01
Basic literate – 51.96%
Intermediate – 26.76%
Graduate – 21.28%
106 “Information Needs Assessment Model for Identifying Information Needs in Rural
Villagers”, Mit Press Journal, Volume 2, Number 2, Winter 2004 available at
Farmers: 75%
Self-employed: 14%
Traders: 10%
School teacher: 1%
Reported below is the English version of the diagram.
Figure 5: Diagram for the identification of information needs
Source: Dr. Mukul Srivastava’s field notes
The survey provided the following percentage positive response vis-àvis Information Categories.
Basic needs 81%
Access to Justice 74%
Classifieds & Entertainment 61.45%
Government Information – 71.5%
Daily Information 95%
Announcements 45%
Self-employment 78%
Environmental awareness 41%
Area profile 71%
What resulted from the compilation of the diagram was that villagers
were more interested in daily information (like inventory position in
fair price shops, market prices, news, irrigation, weather report) and
basic information (livelihood, health, drinking water, transport,
emergency services and education) than in environmental awareness
and entertainment. Team Building
The sarpanch helped to identify the most educated and available rural
villagers to collaborate in the effective writing of the newspaper.
Five men were identified - among the literate and better educated
people of the community - to be the project leaders inside the
community. Their participation, which implied the involvement in
production and management of communication systems, was
incentivated from the very beginning at various levels:
- at the production level, by making them available technical facilities
and production resources and the support of the staff.
- at the decision-making level, by implying them in the selection of
news for each issue.
- at the planning level, by setting clear objectives, in order to promote
development and empowerment.
Unfortunately women didn’t participate in the project.
As a matter of fact, women were not allowed by their families to join
the rural newspaper’s activities and mix with the men. Moreover very
few women used to read newspapers in the village. Even lady teachers
were not used to read newspapers. Whatever little news they got they
got from radio and television. People involved
In total, a group of 20 people took part to the training activities, very
often in a discontinuous way. They helped in diffusing the newspaper
and the information to the other villagers, involving as many people as
they could (200 is the estimated number of the rural newspaper’s
6.8.5 Training for the Community (January 2005- June 2005)
Local villagers needed training; more than the basic media skills, they
needed to develop community development skills, experience of group
works, knowledge of local conditions and of local problems. The best
way to involve people was to get groups of friends or relatives
(especially cousins or siblings) to be trained together, or to ask
participants to bring friends or relatives with them.
Training included techniques of non-directive learning, experience in
working with the others, and organizational skills.
The training for the community newspaper was carried out in loco by
the staff of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism.
The staff reached the village by car (nearly 40 minutes away from
Lucknow) twice a month for 6 months (excluded the period of the
The meetings lasted between 2 and 3 hours and took place in the late
6.8.6 Information gathering and transmitting (September 2005 –
March 2006)
During the training course the following phases were pursued:
- discussion on location with the rural people to elaborate ideas for the
newspaper→ Development of the main ideas
- research into the subject to discover the range and type of content →
Development of the script
- follow-up research with the rural villagers to check the relevance of
the proposed content, and to ensure that the level of the material was
correct and comprehensible → Planning of production + Production of
the written materials
The staff used print materials such as posters, leaflets and booklets to
aware the rural people about development issues and to enable them to
have in-depth knowledge of different issues.
At the end of the training they were able to collect news autonomously
and to write them in a simple language using local slang.
Photo 3: Staff during field activities
It’s important to underline that in no aspects of the project there was a
traditional teacher/learner division between the staff and the local
people. A dialogical form of communication was preferred to the
transfer of information' approach.
Media programming employs 'codes' to focus group discussion for at
least some aspects of the work.
In none of the parts of the project information was simply presented
without the opportunity for further interrogation by the target group.
Informational inputs are likely to be necessary and, here, community
media are valuable. The information may be factual, or it may be more
The training was concerned with methods of gathering information,
organization and decision-making activities, printing skills.
Reported below is the description of an awareness’ campaign which
was conducted in Barhi Gaghi on the 1st of December 2006. It provides
an example of activities carried out as part of the information
gathering/transmitting activities.
Box 2 - A Day in Barhi Gaghi
An awareness campaign on AIDS was conducted in Barhi Garhi by the staff of the
local NGO Bharosa with the help of some theater artists and the free support of
students from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.
A “Nukkad Natak”(street play) based on HIV/AIDS was prepared. For collecting people
on one place the“Munadi System” was used 107. Even though “Munadi” is considered a
thing of past, it drew the attention of a large number of villagers who came out of their
houses to witness the 15-minute street play.
After the show, a short film based on HIV/AIDS awareness was also screened in the
village and
some literature regarding health, hygiene and HIV/AIDS prevention was distributed to
the audience.
In order to get feedback and check awareness level on HIV/AIDS in the village, a
simple questionnaire was prepared and distributed before and after the campaign. The
aim was to check if the awareness level of the people had increased or not.
A comparative analysis was carried out and the feedback was good. 79% of the
people had increased their knowledge about AIDS.
The agenda of the programme was as follows:
Agenda of Program
Date: Thursday, 1 December, 2005
Time: 12.00 PM
Place: Block Malihabad, Village – Barhi Garhi
Purpose : Spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS
Target Audience: Village People with primary focus on youth
Organized By : “Bharosa” (NGO) and the Department of Journalism and Mass
107 Munadi is a traditional drum beaten by the kotwar to draw people’s attention to any
announcement to the village.
Program Activities:
gathering of the people
distribution of a simple questionnaire to check what they knew about
- street play
- film screening
- questionnaire distribution
- question/answer session
- The program venue was Anganbadi Kendra of Barhi Garhi village. The program
started with welcome address and brief introduction by Research Fellow Mr. Syed
Nawaz Ahmad (Dept. of Journalism & Mass Communication Lucknow University,
Lucknow). After that Dr. R.C. Tripathi, Head, Deptt. of Journalism & Mass
Communication Lucknow University, Lucknow, and Gram Pradhan told how HIV/AIDS
spread in our society.
- Later on Mr. Javed Abbas from NGO Bharosa told rural people about basics of
HIV/AIDS. He explained many ways of transmission of HIV through power point
presentation. The most important thing he said that difference between HIV & AIDS.
- A questionnaire was distributed to check the participants ‘awareness on HIV/AIDS
- A Street play was played
- A video was screened (it was produced by NACO & BBC for the purpose of AIDS
- The last part of program concerned the distribution of a questionnaire. In this
questionnaire ten simple questions were framed in simple language. The aim was to
find out how much people had learnt about HIV/AIDS.
6.8.7 General Content
It was commonly decided that the newspaper had to treat themes like
prices of agricultural inputs (such as seeds, fertilisers, pesticides) and
outputs (rice, vegetables), market (potential for export), entitlement (the
multitude of schemes of the central and state governments and banks)
health care (availability of doctors and paramedics in nearby hospitals,
women’s diseases, HIV), cattle diseases, transport (road conditions, bus
and train schedules, cancellations), weather (appropriate time for
sowing, areas of abundant fish catch, wave heights).
Articles had to be only two to three paragraphs in length, each with its
own one -line head.
The use of colour and photos was also very important in making the
newspaper more appealing.
It was decided that complete files were kept of each newspaper and
careful attention was given to direct correspondence.
6.8.8 Content of the First Issue
Several days in advance before the printing of the first issue, the project
leader adviser checked that all printing supplies were on hand and that
the mimeograph machine was in good working order.
News gathering and writing of some of the stories didn’t take more
than half of the day.
The second half of the day was spent in completing the writing, cutting
the stencils, and printing and stapling 400 copies.
For the first issue, the staff and the locals decided to write on a range of
topics, estimating for each of them the percentage of content they had
to occupy.
The following graphic illustrates the percentage decided for each topic.
Figure 6: Topics (in percentage) of the first issue
Agricultural issues
Health issues
Governm ental schem es
Agricultural topics were to occupy the 45%, news on health issues 20%
, governmental schemes 20% , weather 15% .
Advertising was not present in the first issue.
6.8.9 Language
In order to be effective and appealing, the newspaper required a special
skill in constructing simple messages with short, understandable words
and sentences.
In many cases the grammar standards and idiomatic expression of a
national newspaper are so remote from the language of the rural
population, that national newspapers do not have much of an impact on
the education of the rural society.
6.8.10 Distribution
The newspaper was meant to circulate free of charge to stores, local
houses, meeting places and nearby government offices. Circulation will
probably remain a problem for some time to come but it will improve
as transport in the interior increases.
6.8.11 Technical Infrastructure
The writing and printing required:
- a standard handy typewriter
- a crank mimeograph machine
- a stapling machine typewriter
- stencils, paper, ink, correction fluid
It was estimated that the newspapers would have needed in one year on the basis of four pages per issue, once every two months, and 400
copies per issue: 5,500 stencils and 1,100 reams of paper.
6.8.12 Problems encountered
The start up of the project was delayed by about a month as formalities
were completed to register the newspaper with the authorities. It was
launched in April 2006 with an official ceremony where all the people
from Barhi Gaghi and the nearby villages were invited to take part.
6.9 The Rural Community Internet Centre in Kumhrava
Inadequate Internet and telephone connectivity to India's rural areas is a
key challenge.
The fact that the urban-rural tele-density gap is widening, with the
former at 31% compared to just under 2% 108 for the latter, remains a
real cause for concern.
The initiative in Kumhrava aimed to assess and document the impact of
the establishment of an Internet centre to enhance rural development.
The decision to launch a community rural internet centre was due to the
following motivations:
- the staff from the Department of Journalism and Mass
Communication had an extensive experience in computer using and
- the infrastructures in Kumhrava were good enough to allow the
establishment of a well functioning internet centre
- some people were known in the village to be computer literate.
6.9.1 Objectives
The long-term goals were the same as in Barhi Gaghi:
- to foster rural villagers’ participation in communication activities
- to increase their communicative capacity
- to enhance their knowledge about topics of interest
The goal was to ameliorate their livelihood conditions and increase
their opportunities in terms of income and new opportunities.
It is in fact well documented that there is a close relationship between
the use of Internet and empowerment. When individuals acquire
computer skills and the ability to access information, they often find
their social status as well as employment opportunities increase.
108 http://www.apnic.net/mailing-lists/s-asia-it/archive/2002/05/msg00034.html
Small farming communities can also become more empowered through
better access to market prices and opportunities, and through the
interaction with other communities and institutions at regional and
national level. This strengthens social inclusion of disadvantaged
groups and rural communities.
6.9.2 Budget
The budget estimated for the launch of the newspaper was 324.600 Rs
(5.575,90 euro). The sum –which was higher than the one designated to
Barhi Gaghi - encompassed equipments, books & journals, project
fellows and travel/field work.
6.9.3 Location of the Internet Centre
Differing from the case of the rural newspaper, the place dedicated to
the community Internet centre was a large room, not run (as in the case
of Barhi Gaghi) but of property of the local sarpanch. The room was
furnished with a desk, chairs and electricity.
6.9.4 Local Support and Participation
As in the case of the rural newspaper in Barhi Gaghi, the staff from the
Department of Journalism and Mass Communication got first in contact
with the sarpanch (the head of the panchayat) in order to explain him
the project in details, know his opinion about the activities to be
undertaken and assess his availability to support them.
He gave a positive response and offered a room of his property as
location for the Internet centre.
Then a series of peer group discussions and focus groups were
organized with the villagers. The aims of such focus groups were the
same as in Barhi Gaghi:
- to identify their information needs
- to identify their expectations towards the project
- to clarify conditions and rules for the making for the newspaper,
specifying what level of commitment was required in terms of timing,
and the condition for abandoning the project
- to set up clear agreements (understand, share and respect rules of the
project are important to prevent a general discontent and an unequal
distribution of information).
Situation analysis, need analysis and information needs, time map and
time management were discussed and drawn on a participatory mode. Identification of Information Needs
During a focus group discussion –and as in the case of the rural
newspaper - the diagram below was submitted to 80 people (men and
youth) in order to identify their information needs.
Reported below is the profile of the interviewed people:
Age-group and number of participants:
20-30 : 25
30-40 : 29
40-50 : 16
50-60 : 10
60-70 : 0
Basic literate – 23.60%
Intermediate – 50.10%
Graduate – 26.30%
Farmers : 70%
Self-employed: 17 %
Traders: 10%
School teacher: 3%
Reported below is the English version of the diagram.
Figure 7: Diagram for the identification of information needs
The survey provided the following percentage positive response vis-àvis Information Categories
Basic needs 79%
Access to Justice 73%
Classifieds & Entertainment 54%
Government Information – 75%
Daily Information 97%
Announcements 40%
Self-employment 79%
Environmental awareness 43%
Area profile 65%
What resulted from the compilation of the diagram was that men were
more interested in daily information (like inventory position in fair
price shops, market prices, news, irrigation, weather report) and
government information (govt. schemes, forms, land records,
employment opportunity, voter list, licenses) than in environmental
awareness and entertainment.
People involved in the project were generally younger than in Barhi
Gaghi, better educated and with a higher percentage of self-employed
people and a lower percentage of farmers. Team Building
The sarpanch helped to identify the most educated rural villagers
available to become computer literate.
He helped the staff to identify the people that could be available and
interested in learning computer skills and become project leaders. Their
role should have been also that of instructing other villagers, in order to
increase the sustainability of the initiative and educate as many people
as possible.
The two main criteria for the selection were the individual’s
enthusiasm, the interest to learn and the family’s support to cooperate
with the learners.
Five men –as in the case of Barhi Gaghi - were identified - among the
literate and better educated people of the community.
Even though the project was designed to be non-discriminatory in its
delivery of services, and provides relevant local information in Hindi
language, no women took part to the activities. People involved
A group of 20 people took part in the training activities and learnt basic
Internet and computer skills. They helped to train other villagers. (250
is the estimated number of Internet users).
6.9.5 Training for the Community (January 2005- June 2005)
The staff held several workshops aimed at promoting computer and
Internet use.
The learners were trained in operating the computers in the following
- the key parts of the computer were taught to them in their local
language. They used cd and touch-screen monitors and for this handson training for the learners were carried out.
- to explain the functionality of emails and the internet theoretical
parallels with normal mail were drawn.
- typing and word processing became an important part of the course as
the participants discovered that these skills were essential.
- the reading and writing practices of the learners were also supported
by theme-based power point slides. The themes were identified on the
basis of their relevance for the community: major topics were
agriculture, health and governmental schemes, as in the case of the
rural newspaper in Barhi Gaghi The facilitators regularly prepared
power point slides with the support of the learners with appropriate
photographs taken from different village contexts. Print outs of these
slides were compiled and converted as booklets for the learners. The
learners could borrow these booklets for their reading practice
whenever they have free time.
Natural Language Interfaces were used in order to ease the
communication and provide content in a language natural to them. The
Interfaces included Intelligent Tutoring systems .
Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) consists of four different subsystems
called models or modules: the interface module, the expert model or
domain model, the student model, and the tutor model. The interface
module is the way the student interacts with the ITS, usually through a
graphical user interface and sometimes through a rich simulation of the
task domain the student is learning (e.g., controlling a power plant or
performing a medical operation). The expert or domain model contains
a description of the knowledge or behaviors that represent expertise in
the subject-matter domain the ITS is teaching -- often an expert system
or cognitive model. The student model contains descriptions of student
knowledge or behaviours, including his or her misconceptions and
knowledge gaps.
In an e-learning environment Natural Language Interfaces along with
touchscreen technology and voice enabled are generally recognized as
the best inputs.
The learners were divided by the staff into four batches and structured
classes were organized once a week at the most convenient timings
(late evenings).
The principle of the "many working through one single equipment " has
been extensively applied and refined down through the ages in India
(for example: the traditional practice in rural areas of many people
together watching a single TV set). This custom is related to a "spirit of
cooperation" which is a deeply-ingrained characteristic of Indian
culture. According to this principle, teams of individuals work together,
each contributing by performing whatever helpful process he or she
Peer discussion and mutual learning were also organized with other
members of the community.
6.9.6 Information gathering and transmitting (September 2005 –
March 2006)
Very broadly, the purposes served by the use of the Internet Centre
included information gathering, document preparation, general
communication and information exchange.
The centre offered three types of services:
- Informational services involving a generic (noncustomized)
information, such as agricultural practices, weather forecasts, jobs,
health, contacts, government schemes and procedures, news.
- Transactional services involving an exchange of specific (or
customized) informational services or funds between two or more
parties using the ICT infrastructure. Examples are availability and
purchase of goods/services, banking, photography.
- EGovernance services involving transactional services that entail
local, state, or national government. Providing land records and
submitting complaints to local officials are examples. Form downloads
and submission, land records, government certificates, licenses/permits,
and vehicle registration are some of the possible operations.
Table 3: Services offered by the Internet centre
Service category
Category definition
- Informational services
- Transactional services
- E-governance
- Communications
- Offline services
Weather forecasts, agricultural
practises, jobs, health related
Mainly purchase/exchange
agricultural produces
Download of Governmental
schemes, land records,
certificates, employment
E mail
Printing, word processing
The staff introduced the audience to some Internet sites that could be
used as main source of information. Among the most common accessed
sites there were:
- www.sitapur.nic.in/lokvani: LOKVANI (meaning “Voice of
People”) is an e-governance initiative launched by the combined efforts
of District Administration and National Informatics Centre in Sitapur
(UP). Citizens, instead of coming all the way to the District Office, can
avail several government services at the tehsil, block and town level
itself. Services like Land Records, Arms license application status, GPF
accounts of basic education teachers are available online now. The land
records have been computerized and available on line at Lokvani
- http://enrich.nic.in: eNRICH is an ICT solution that has been
developed as a Community Software Solution Framework addressing
the needs of rural people. Through its customizable local language
sensitive interface, eNRICH truly puts ICTs in the hands of its users.
eNRICH, which was initially developed for UNESCO to facilitate
intra-community communications, was subsequently enhanced to work
as a framework capable of networking communities and building
collaborations between government and citizens, particularly
mainstreaming the rural people who are most disadvantaged and
- http://agmarknet.nic.in: AGMARKNET is an Agricultural
Marketing Information System Network that links all important
Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs), State Agricultural
Marketing Boards/Directorates and Directorate of Marketing &
Inspection (DMI) regional offices located through out the country for
effective information exchange on market prices related to agricultural
produce. Through this web based information system, farmers now
have choice to sell their produce in the nearest market at remunerative
prices. As part of this project, 735 Agricultural Produce Wholesale
Boards/Directorates and DMI Regional Offices have been networked
during 2000-02 and an additional 2000 Markets have been embarked
upon during the Tenth Plan Period (2002-2007).
- http://ruralbazar.nic.in: RuralBazar is an e-commerce solution
developed to address the marketing needs of the rural producers. The
software provides provision for simple showcasing of the products, offline payment as well as on-line payment.
- http://panchayat.nic.in: e-Panchayat is a comprehensive suite of
Panchayat applications designed and developed to effectively solve the
information management problems at the village level. It benefits the
citizens, the Elected Representatives, the Gram Panchayat and other
village level officials, the Administrators and Planners at district and
state level. All the functions of the Panchayat are computerised and
web enabled. Internet based services for Birth and Death Registrations,
House Tax Assessment Collections, Trade Licenses, Old Age Pensions,
Works Monitoring, Financial Accounting, are being provided as part of
e-Panchayat system. Additional services such as market prices and
agricultural extension advice are also being provided to the citizens of
villages through e-Panchayat.
As a public service, the Internet centre did not offer commercial
services such as fax, document binding, and photocopying.
Box 3 - A Day in Kumhrava
4 p.m: The project staff arrive and go through the week’s schedule of activities with
the village audience. Then they carry out basic preventive maintenance of the
equipment in the Internet room, blowing dust out of the keyboards, deleting
unnecessary files and checking the data tracked on computer.
5 a.m: The first training session of the week begins. It is an introductory course of the
use of search engines, given by Dr. Mukul Srivastava. He explains the use of search
engine in order to find customized information. In order to explain the process, he
draws on a paper a series of piled boxes: the smallest one contains a treasures,
which he pictures as gold and coins (symbolizing the information they are searching
Throughout the following hours, local people (children and women) come to the
Internet centre to bring food to the men engaged in the training and to have a look at
what is going on in the centre.
8 p.m: Before closing the centre, the staff rearrange the computers for the next use.
The local sarpanch waves good-bye to the staff.
6.9.7 Language
The language used in the learning material was simple, clear and
suitable in style. The logical order established in the learning materials
ensured the deeper understanding of the learner and also the direction
in the learning.
The development of locally relevant content and language is essential.
Without accessible, local content that addresses the real problems of
local people in their own language, ICT projects would most probably
6.9.8 Technical Infrastructure
The project made use of the following technologies:
1 PC
1 printer
1 scanner
A range of technical challenges have proved to impact on the
sustainability of the Internet centre.
Among them:
- electricity: irregular electricity supply, regular power cuts, low
voltage and load shedding impeded sometimes the Internet centre’s
operations. These conditions forced to procure additional equipment
including a generator which increased its overheads.
- internet costs: the high cost of connectivity meant higher operating
costs for the Internet centre. These costs ultimately reduced the funds
available to run the programme.
- equipment/maintenance: the Internet centre has a lack of trained
technical staff to take care of equipment repairs and upgrades. This has
a direct influence on programme production and the every day running
of the centre. While the Internet centre has been able to manage with its
current technical configurations, concerns about costs of future
equipment maintenance are now being discussed.
The equipment is often imported and there is no authorised service
centre nearby to carry out repairs and maintenance. The nearest repair
centre is in Lucknow. The repair centres are not reliable because they
are not officially authorised (Gunakar Aryal, Station Manager,
Madanpokhara CMC 2007).
Box 4 - Things to consider in launching a Community Internet Centre
Our preliminary study allowed us to point out some recommendations, indicative in
nature, but that could result useful, when launching Internet centres in rural areas of
the developing world.
- Adaptation and acceptance could be easier if communication solutions consider
present lifestyle, division of labour, daily schedule and other environmental factors of
rural users. They should be cognizant of socio-cultural dynamics of resource sharing in
the village as well. These solutions should also not violate social factors like
community norms, roles and beliefs.
- Connectivity should also translate into immediate monetary benefit for rural users.
This is because with their limited economic means, they visualize the future only as
short and medium term, incremental goals, which must be quickly realized.
- Consonant with this outlook of villagers, the means to connectivity should be
affordable and have short gestation cycles.
Finally, the intent should be on getting rural users connected to townships and cities,
which act like a hub for them. There is an increasing dependence by villages on cities
for their economic existence. This was in our study revealed too.
6.9.9 Problems encountered
Project Assessment
Technology frequently broke down (these failures were attributed to
external providers’ problems), consequently usage was sometimes
disappointingly low, with some period averaging five users per day.
Internet download speed was of 256 kilobits per second (kbps) which
according to Western consumers, increasingly used to accessing
information at eight times that speed or faster, is a slow service.
Moreover segments of the population were excluded. The initiative
served mainly farmers, thus excluding the female population.
The lack of budget to implement the infrastructure and sustainability of
the Internet centre was another main issue. Usage at most sites was
simply not high enough to cover costs in the foreseeable future.
The lack of sustainability means that the future goals of similar
initiatives are likely to be
sharply curtailed in the absence of new frameworks that can increase
The goal of creating a widespread rural ICT infrastructure, embodied,
for example, in MSSRF’s Mission 2007, which seeks to bring a
Knowledge Centre to every Indian village by the year 2007, seems a
difficult objective to reach.
6.10 Third Phase of the Community Media Project - Evaluation of
the Community Media Activities
Evaluation is a systematic and objective assessment of an ongoing or
completed project, including its design, implementation, and results.
Evaluation leads to more informed decisions, allowing those involved
in the project to learn from experience and to be accountable to donors
and stakeholders.
Evaluation is used to demonstrate accountability and to understand the
dynamics of the program.
It is important to recognise that evaluation is a not magic wand that can
be waved to make problems disappear, or to cure them, or to
miraculously make changes without a lot of hard work being put in by
the project or organisation. In itself evaluation is not a solution, but a
valuable tool.
Evaluation can be accomplished in four ways:
• Internal or self-evaluation meaning that the same people
implementing a project are responsible for evaluation.
• External evaluation meaning that the evaluation is conducted by an
individual or group outside the implementing organisation.
• Independent evaluation meaning that the evaluation is undertaken by
individuals or groups who are not only outside the implementing
organization, but also completely independent from it, in terms of
control, remuneration capacity, political pressure, or other factors that
could affect objectivity.
• Interactive evaluation implying a very active interaction between an
outside evaluator or evaluation team and the organisation or project
being evaluated. Sometimes an insider may be included in the
evaluation team.
Depending on the focus and objectives of the project the perspective
and mix of methodologies will vary.
There can be five types of indicators:
1. Performance indicators, relating inputs to outputs
2. Effectiveness indicators, relating outputs to usage
3. Cost-effectiveness indicators, relating inputs to usage
4. Cost-benefit indicators, relating inputs to outcomes
5. Impact indicators, relating usage to outcomes.
In the case of the two community media initiatives, the evaluation was
internal and accomplished through impact indicators by staff
volunteers. The budget was in fact not enough to envisage an
evaluation phase (usually at least 5% of the total budget should be
dedicated to the evaluation)
Focal points of the self-evaluation were:
• Opinions → villagers giving opinion on project's usefulness.
• Changes in Knowledge → identifying changes in knowledge,
attitudes and skills.
• Changes in Practice → identifying changes in practices (mainly
agricultural practices) and changes in the standard of living of farmers.
The instruments used for the evaluation process were a questionnaire
and focus group meetings.
I personally elaborated the questionnaire drawing inspiration from
UNESCO’s evaluation questionnaires 109.
The questionnaire was basically divided into three levels in order to
assess the profile of the person who was trained, his level of
satisfaction regarding the initiative and the development impact of the
programme on his life.
Users were requested to rate several statements like: ‘Through this
project I am more involved in decision” or ‘Through this project I have
access to price information to sell my produce.’
Data analysis based on the questionnaires provided over-all valuable
To put the data analysis in a qualitative perspective and to start learning
from the results, focus group meetings were organised in which project
partners and users discussed the possible explanations for the results
and shared knowledge on possible solutions to the issues raised. This
component provided project partners and users with an instrument for
learning and adjustment of their projects.
109 For example, “A guide to community media centres. How to start and keep going”,
UNESCO Handbook 2007.
As with any evaluation methodology, such system presented
Extrapolation of results of the evaluated users group (the survey
sample) was not an easy task.
‘Impact’ should be better measured after one or two years of
implementation, which is unusual in
the field of development programmes.
For each initiative (the community rural newspaper and the community
internet centre) a sample of 100 people was taken in consideration.
They were asked to fill out a questionnaire in Hindi: reported in the
appendix 1 and 2 are the English version of the questionnaire.
People had 2 hours time to carefully fill it out.
6.10.1 Outcomes of the Evaluation of the Community Rural
What emerged from the questionnaire is:
• the average age of the people interviewed was 45.
• 98% were able to read
• 85% were landless labours
• 91% were Hindu
• 100% belonged to backward class
• 88% had an annual income < Rs. 10,000, 10% between Rs.
10,000–Rs. 20,000, and 2% between Rs. 20,000–Rs. 30,000
• 63% thought that the community rural newspaper had addressed
the problems of their daily life.
The types of information accessed and the benefit deriving from the
“use” of the rural newspaper are reported below:
Figure 8: Types of information accessed in percentage (community rural newspaper)
cropping practises 54%
anim al husbandry 6%
w eather 20%
jobs 5%
education 7%
health 2%
govern. schem es 6%
Figure 9: Benefits deriving from the use of the rural newspaper
rem edies to crop
diseases 41%
better prices 16%
w eather 20%
gov. form s 6%
educ. facilities 7%
aw areness 10%
Nearly no users encountered problems in using the community rural
83% villagers answered they had achieved their goals by participating
in the project: 17% expressed a weak satisfaction, 13% were partly
satisfied and 70% were strong satisfied.
Although some options were left in blank, we report the percentage for
each option.
Through this project I see the importance of information more than
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 47%
□ Agree Strongly 43%
Through this project I see opportunities in rural newspapers I had not
seen before
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 40%
□ Agree Strongly 45%
Because of this project I feel I am of more value to my colleagues and
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 30%
□ Agree Strongly 48%
Through this project I am more involved in decision making processes in
my community
□ Strongly disagree 5%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 8% □
Partly agree 55%
□ Agree Strongly 19%
Through this project I have gained specific skills
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 16%
Neutral Partly agree 30%
□ Agree Strongly 40%
Through this project I receive information about prices of my products in
the local market
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 19%
□ Agree Strongly 81%
Through this project my standard of living has improved
□ Strongly disagree 3%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 7% □
Partly agree 37%
□ Agree Strongly 42%
This project infuenced me in a positive way
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 8%
□ Agree Strongly 92%
The project seems to have been successful in achieving most of its
The contribution of the rural newspaper in addressing the problems of
everyday’s life was remarkably good as well as the general level of
satisfaction. Most of the villagers are very satisfied with the
information received about prices of their products in the local market.
What evaluation of the qualitative objectives showed was a significant
increase in positive attitudes in the participating people. Although the
project has not strongly contributed to the involvement of users in
decision making processes of the community (mainly because decisions
continue to be taken by the Panchayat System), it has contributed to
increase the standard of living of the greatest part of users.
92% of the rural newspaper affirmed that the initiative had positive
impact on their life.
In evaluating the results of the questions, Dr. Mukul Srivastava
concluded :
"Though none of the measures used provided a perfect proof of attitude
change among the participants, the combination of all, plus the actions
that were taken, offer sufficient proof of the potential of the project in
increasing the participants' sustained self-awareness, knowledge and
There is growing evidence that farmers are using the information
received from the newspaper.
For example, 14 farmers who had had their sugar cane crops devastated
by “red rot” disease in two consecutive years were able to contact an
entomologist thanks to information provided in the newspaper.
The rural newspaper has proved that ameliorated communication leads
to increased information aspirations in the population.
6.10.2 Outcomes of the Evaluation of the Community Internet Centre
What has emerged from the questionnaire is:
• the average age of the people interviewed was 35.
• 100 % were able to read
• 69% were landless labours
• 95% were Hindu
• 100% belonged to backward class
• 79% had an annual income < Rs. 10,000, 15% between Rs.
10,000–Rs. 20,000, and 6% between Rs. 20,000–Rs. 30,000
• 81% think the use of the Internet centre has addressed the
problems of their daily life.
The types of information accessed and the benefit deriving from the
“use” of the rural newspaper are reported below:
Figure 10: Types of information accessed in percentage (community internet centre)
cropping practises 56%
anim al husbandry 3%
w eather 10%
jobs 13%
education 2%
health 4%
govern. schem es 14%
Figure 11: Benefits deriving from the use of the internet centre
rem edies to crop diseases
better prices 18%
w eather 10%
gov. form s 14%
educ. facilities 2%
aw areness 14%
81% thought the Community Internet Centre had addressed the
problems they face in their daily life.
Nearly no people encountered problems in using the community rural
97% answered they had achieved their goals by participating in the
project: 3% expressed a weak satisfaction, 16% were partly satisfied
and 81% were strong satisfied.
Although some options were left in blank, we report the percentage for
each option.
Through this project I see the importance of information more than
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 5%
□ Agree Strongly 90%
Through this project I see opportunities in information technologies I had
not seen before
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 23%
□ Agree Strongly 76%
Because of this project I feel I am of more value to my colleagues and
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 40%
□ Agree Strongly 57%
Through this project I am more involved in decision making processes in
my community
□ Strongly disagree 4%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 11%
Neutral Partly agree 61%
□ Agree Strongly 21%
Through this project I have gained specific skills
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 39%
□ Agree Strongly 60%
Through this project I receive information about prices of my products in
the local market
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 0%
□ Agree Strongly 96%
Through this project my standard of living has improved
□ Strongly disagree 3%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 2% □
Partly agree 35%
□ Agree Strongly 57%
This project infuenced me in a positive way
□ Strongly disagree 0%
□ Disagree Partly disagree 0% □
Partly agree 6%
□ Agree Strongly 92%
When comparing the outcomes of the community rural newspaper with
those of the Internet centre it is evident that the Internet centre has been
more successful in most of the indicators.
81% (versus 63% of the rural newspaper) thought that the community
Internet centre had addressed the problems they face in their daily life
and 97% (versus 63%) answered they had achieved their goals by
participating in the project .
The types of information accessed were different: in the case of the
Internet Centre great emphasis was put on governmental forms with
consequent benefit in specific activities like forms download,
availability of certificates, etc.
Just as in the case of the rural newspaper, the greatest positive benefit
deriving from the initiative regarded the information received about
products prices in the local market (96% of the villagers affirmed to
have benefited from such news).
The evaluation anticipated that the internet initiative supported
sustainable grassroots community development and an improved
quality of life through access to a broader range of information and
through improved knowledge sharing.
The evaluation team has seen a number of positive signals: benefits and
impacts were in fact realized quite early within the community,
indicating a quicker progress when compared to the rural newspaper.
It is evident that, although the computer and internet training might be
more time-consuming than the newspaper training, benefits deriving
from the use of Internet are achieved much faster.
6.10.3 Final Survey
A very important survey was carried out in the month of February 2008
on the same sample of 200 villagers (100 from Barhi Gaghi and 100
from Kumhrava) who had filled out the evaluation questionnaire.
It aimed at identifying the main information sources for villagers one
month after the end of the community media project.
The identification of information sources was important in order to
assess whether the project had brought about changes in the way
villagers search for information.
The survey – which was carried out in the form of an oral informal
interview - aimed at identifying the most preferred information sources
by measuring the usage in percentage.
Traditional and modern information sources were taken in
consideration (rural newspaper, internet, radio, television, word of
Table 4 reports the outcomes of the survey.
Table 4: Major source of information for agricultural practices
Rural newspaper Users Internet centre Users
Rural newspaper
Other farmers
Private agencies/NGOs
Farmer’s school
Krishi Vigyan Kendra*
* Krishi Vignan Kendra (KVK) is a project of ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) for testing
and transfer of Agricultural technologies to bridge the gap between production and productivity and to
increase self employment opportunities among the farming communities. The trainings offered here follow
the principles of “Learning by doing” and "seeing is believing". It offers skill and knowledge oriented
trainings in multidisciplinary areas like crop production and plant protection, horticulture, Animal Sciences
and Fisheries, Home Science and Agricultural extension.
If prior to project the main source of information for people of both
villages was mainly the “word of mouth”, radio and television (see
paragraph, after the conclusion of the project the preferred
sources of information are community media.
Of the rural newspaper users, about 65% villagers reported that they
receive most of the information and services from the newspaper as
compared to 5% in the internet user groups. On the other hand, internet
users prefer to access internet in the percentage of 78.
Such data establish that the project has indisputably changed the
behaviour attitudes of villagers. They show that villagers have trust in
the community media and that they have become aware of the
usefulness of such media.
6.11 Sustainability
I think the main question regarding sustainability is whether we should
treat the community media activities as commercial ventures or as
initiatives contributing to community development and social change. I
suggest that the concept of sustainability should be reviewed in terms
of community ownership and in terms of concrete benefits to
community organisation and development, particularly in rural areas.
I believe that, in the case of the rural newspaper, sustainability
depends on the capability of rural villagers to proceed - with the same
enthusiasm - to gather and print information.
The survival and sustainability of the rural newspaper require efforts
and commitment. It is much more difficult to run a rural newspaper
than an Internet centre. The writing of the newspaper requires an
extensive activity in which the villagers are mentally and physically
In the future, villagers might decide to make the newspaper financially
sustainable by adding advertising or by fixing a price for each copy
(but the latter would contribute to widen the gap between those who
can afford access to information and those who cannot).
The internet centre is less effort demanding than the rural
newspaper and easier to maintain.
In the future the internet centre might become even more valuable –
and consequently sustainable - if considered as a modern version of
public libraries, with an additional outreach communication component
that transforms the former individual relationship between the library
and the user into a collective process involving the community.
One of the main thrusts of Internet centre is to open the world of
information and knowledge to the communities, with the advantage that
internet can tailor the information to community needs. From the point
of view of sustainability, community internet centres should be treated
as public places where people can have access to a multitude of
information and services.
I believe community knowledge is precisely what must be
sustained after a project completion.
It is the knowledge that the communities use into the future to
implement development activities, to build their consciousness and
culture, to mobilise around their social and political needs, and so forth.
Thus community media activity may begin within a project, but may
end up in the community itself.
The now logic of profit that comes along with globalisation is not going
to contribute to solving the problems of underdevelopment, but is going
to contribute to a wider gap between rich and poor, those that can
afford access to information and those that cannot.
As a relatively new knowledge and communication tools for
development and social change, we need to pass the stage of
fascination for the technology and reach the point where we can look at
it with critical eyes, applying what we have learned during the past 50
years from development in general, and in particular from community
participation and participatory communication.
The experience of community media should allow us to establish the
difference between a commercial venture and a public service for
development and social change.
6.12 The Relationship between Trust and Communication
The concept of trust, although is not a new one, has only recently been
taken in consideration in the project management.
Trust is a psychological state in which Individual A, given a specific
situation, takes the risk of assuming that Individual B’s first reflex will
be to adopt a behaviour (judgement, a position or action) that meets
Individual A’s expectations. Trust takes the form of a wager on the
behaviour of another. A certain amount of risk is accepted in exchange
for a reduction in the transaction costs associated with the management
of the situation. The concept of trust is integral to what have become
Blau’s classic theories of social exchange, and to the transaction costs
theory developed by Coase and Williamson.
In the framework of our community media project, trust has revealed to
be a major component.
Each team member began the project with some concerns about what
they could expect of their colleagues and with expectations about their
work relationships.
When team members met the villagers for the first time they knew that
trust, communication and cooperation were not taken for granted.
Although actual empirical results on the relationship between trust and
project performance are mixed and inconsistent, the project revealed
that trust speeded up the development of the project and the negotiation
Trust was necessary for cooperation, which was in turn the
social lubricant that allowed autonomous but interdependent group
members to achieve common goals harmoniously.
Technically dependent members of a group should cooperate, because
cooperation is an indispensable part of the relational dependence
required for their group to be truly functional.
It is also likely that, given the above definition, trust and cooperation
among group members become more important as their tasks require
more interdependence in their working relationships.
Anyway a minimum of trust is essential because fair communication
cannot occur if information exchange is clouded with doubts over
In the case of the internet centre, the involvement of the local
sarpanch proved to be important.
The sarpanch, who was also the owner of the room where the computer
was placed, played an important role in building trust around the
project and between staff members and villagers. Consequently
villagers, who respected their sarpanch, were more eager to go to the
centre and not hesitant to use computers.
6.13 Final Considerations
Most of the Indian villages are deprived of communication facilities.
With the advent of global information society, new communication
tools are increasingly being adopted as effective tools for reaching rural
audiences. Yet the benefits of the information revolution are still much
debated, particularly, in the case of developing countries like India.
There is serious concern that the gap between the information "haves
and have not’s" will continue to grow. Unless the developing countries
acquire the infrastructures and resources necessary to access these new
technologies, they are likely to become more marginalized and
economically, socially and politically isolated.
The situation is more serious for remote rural communities where basic
communication infrastructures such as newspaper, television, radio and
telephone are lacking.
The project Enhancing development support to rural masses
through community media activity demonstrated that it is essential to
disseminate information in local languages and to ensure that it is
relevant to local development needs.
Various communication tools - namely a rural newspaper and an
internet centre - have been established.
The ethnographic research on media technologies carried out for the
project tried to demonstrate that that there is no one single model for
local communication initiatives that can be applied universally, but that
each place requires an approach to the development of projects tailored
to local needs, which should take account of local lives and
The ways in which people use communication tools are defined
in large part by their local everyday lives, the social, political,
economic and cultural environment in which they live, and by the ways
in which they might get in contact with communication tools (Slater
and Tacchi 2003; Tacchi and Slater in preparation; Miller and Slater
It is also recognised that projects “initiated from the inside” (as in the
case of our project which was coordinated by the Department of
Journalism and Mass Communication) are more likely to tap into
existing communication networks. A lack of understanding of and
engagement with the local social, cultural, economic and political
milieu normally hinders communication projects seeking to bring about
change (e.g. giving greater access to civil society, reducing poverty,
improving information and communication flows).
A suggestion for making rural information systems projects relevant is
to invite the largest community participation (Caspary and O’Connor,
Roman and Colle (2002) call for a “conscientious attention to
participation” because it “conveys a sense of community ownership; it
provides indigenous wisdom; it helps reflect community values and
needs; it provides important resources, such as volunteers or technical
Kanungo (2004) states that collective ownership of a
communication tools enables access to everyone regardless of social
status. In a similar vein, Gómez (1999) calls for research on
“community involvement, participation and use” and Whyte (2000)
emphasizes the need for community participation in evaluation.
With this in mind, our research approach was designed not simply to
research a project, but to gain a level of understanding of the local
context and thus, to assist in project design, monitoring and ongoing
evaluation, in a continual cycle of research and project development.
In effect we aimed to overcome any separation between research and
project development, placing the evaluation of project work at the
centre of project practice, making that evaluation at the same time both
more relevant and more useable. Evaluation here is not simply about
measuring predetermined impacts - it is about awareness and
The project helped us to identify a series of success factors for
community media projects.
They imply capacities (intended as performances) and capabilities
(intended as abilities) in various fields:
- Technological capacity (implying reliability, robustness &
appropriateness of media tools)
- Organisational capacity (implying motivation, goal, objectives,
Management Community participation
- Informational capacity (implying information literacy, ICT literacy,
friendly infomediary, human-technology interface)
- Human agency capacity (implying economic affordability, sociocultural motivation)
- Infrastructural capacity (implying reliable power supply, easy
- Economic capabilities (enhancing access to market, capital and
technology – thereby reducing production cost, increasing quality,
enhancing productivity)
- Political capabilities (enhancing citizens participation in the decisionmaking process)
- Cultural capabilities (strengthening people’s cultural identity,
diversity and unity)
- Psychological capabilities(strengthening self-esteem, self-reflection,
social capabilities, enhancing skills, knowledge, health and working
conditions, functional, inclusive, participatory development)
The lessons learned from the two case studies and empirical analysis of
community media projects in India, show the following considerations:
- there is no single way of approaching community media. The
process is dynamic and consists of several stages: raising awareness
about the potential of community media for local development;
encouraging basic use of them; providing specific products and content
to meet local demands (e.g., materials in national languages and
products tailored to the needs of specific sectors of the population, such
as youth, women or disabled people). This is a challenging situation
because it involves the need to be able to adjust to the pace of
increasing community needs.
Political decision makers are affected by these challenges because they
must set up legal and regulatory frameworks that create the optimum
conditions for equal access and appropriation of media (in particular
ICTs) within and by communities.
- participation is a crucial problem in the process of introducing and
promoting the use of community media for development. Appropriation
mechanisms should be initiated within the communities, but finding
ways to involve large segments of the population still constitutes a real
problem, even when people are aware of the potential usefulness of
It is equally important to try to better understand the attitude of
communities toward changes, so as to identify the factors that underlie
the adoption of community by poor rural communities.
- A specific aspect concerns the fact that women barely use community
media, and when they do they use these tools less than men, even when
they are relatively literate. Knowing that women's involvement, despite
some resistance and constraints, is a prerequisite for their participation
in the Information Economy, steps should be taken to promote some
kind of positive discrimination toward women. Projects specifically
designed for women seem to offer efficient ways to obtain this
involvement. Women's involvement in project management and the
promotion of leadership by women are also important conditions for
enhancing their participation and appropriation of community media.
- Due to installation costs and the recurrent expenses involved in the
use of Internet, adaptable and affordable alternative technologies are
needed to ensure universal access and to improve the living conditions
of the population.
- Political will, community leadership and ownership are key
enabling factors, and accurate strategic planning, effective monitoring
and critical evaluation are indispensable to identify factors inhibiting
impact and to ensure sustainability.
- community media are a tool, not a recipe. Currently, in India, the
availability of specialists in community media and even training
institutions in this area is extremely limited. It is therefore necessary
that the sector reforms address this issue of basic training and
developmental training so as to ensure the existence of sustainable,
quality facilities, accessible to all in the sector, to ensure continued and
improved availability of the requisite professional and operational
human resources. Forging alliances between private and public sector,
including international and multilateral organisations is pivotal. In this
connection, an important aspect to take into consideration is the need to
overcome the resistance of decision makers as a key factor in the
effective involvement of all stakeholders. This can be done only
through the promotion of general community media diffusion and
creating awareness and appreciation as well as literacy among
populations, especially women and young people.
Community media struggle at the periphery of a contrasting and often
iniquitous Indian media landscape.
In contrast with the government’s efforts to bridge the information and
digital divide and take information technology to the masses and in
contrast with the Supreme Court Judgement of 1995 that endorsed
airwaves to be public property, the gap between potential use of
community media and practices appear to be wide.
If the two tiers of public (government) and private media are already a
legitimate part of media processes in the country, a third tier – that of
community media – still needs to be legitimized.
Priority should be given in issuing of community broadcasting licenses
to rural areas and other regions and communities that are least
developed in terms of various socio-economic indicators. The least
developed regions and communities of the country are also least served
by media.
There is a need to develop models of collaboration among researchers,
social scientists, technologists, so that local requirements are met in a
affordable and self-sustaining way.
If the denial of information aggravates the poverty gap, information
without communication could be unuseful.; rather than an ocean of
information that is irrelevant to local needs, communities need small
ponds of sweet water that are suited for their consumption.
Farmers – as emerged from the project - need to know the price of their
crops at the city market, if there is a veterinarian at a walking distance,
or if the local government has credits available for them.
They need information in their own language, and presented in a layout
that they can understand and that is culturally appropriate. Language is
the vehicle that communities use to communicate; but it is also the
essence of their identity. Strengthening and enhancing cultural values
through communication tools, can only benefit long-term sustainable
social development.
The relative good success of the community media project in
Kumhrava and Barhi Gaghi demonstrates that if participants perceive
themselves as active participants, the projects have some chance of
making a real difference to the welfare of local communities.
High levels of participation and consensual modes of decision making
have proved to be at the base of the development process.
Even if the concepts of community participation and ownership of
media are not as simple to implement – mainly because the
communities are traditionally not ready to take on this responsibility Indians are now getting more familiar with the strategies common to
the Western world, such as consumer ownership of programmes, risk
taking, and sustainability of programmes beyond the term of external
When properly designed, community-media programs can be highly
effective in managing natural resources, providing basic infrastructure
or ensuring primary social services.
Successful design requires tapping into local needs, understanding and
building on the strengths of existing institutions, and defining the
changes needed to support community action.
Community media are unique communication processes shaped by the
distinct culture, history, and reality of the communities they serve; in
common they share the necessity to build trust, enhance participation
and assure sustainability as well as empowerment and networking.
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Literature on methodology
- Alasuutari, P. (1995) Researching Culture. Sage: London.
- Atkinson, P. (2001) Handbook of ethnography. London: Sage.
- Bryman, A. (2001) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Clive Seale (ed) (1998), Researching Society and Culture. London: Sage.
- Creswell, J. (1998) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
- Geertz, C. (1975) The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. London:
- Gilbert, (ed.) (2001) Researching Social Life. 2nd edition. London: Sage.
- Glaser, B.G. and Strauss, A.L. (1967) The Discovery of Grounded Theory:
Strategies for Qualitative Research. Chicago, Aldine.
- Hammersley, M. and P. Atkinson (1995) Ethnography: Principles in Practice.
London: Tavistock.
- Silverman, D. (1995) Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analysing Talk,
Text and Interaction. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
- Slater, D., Tacchi, J and Lewis, P. (2002) Ethnographic Monitoring and Evaluation
of Community Multimedia Centres: A study of Kothmale Community Radio and
Internet Project, Sri Lanka. London: DfiD.
- Bhatnagar, Subhash (2000). Information and communication technology in
development: Cases from India. New Delhi: Sage.
Reports (International Organizations)
- UNDP Rural and Urban livelihoods for Human Development 2003-2007.
- UNDP, 1997. Human Development in India: Statistical Profile.
- World Bank, June 2004. “Attaining the Millennium Development Goals in India:
Role of Public Policy & Service Delivery.”
- IMF working paper, revised nov. 06, 2003. “Poverty in India. A Regional
- UNDP 2007Human Development Index.
- Fao 2006, Effective Rural Communication For Developmen Report,
- UNESCO 2007 “A guide to community media centres. How to start and keep
going”, UNESCO Handbook 2007.
Reports (Government of India)
- Government of India, Ministry of Finance (2005). “Infrastructure: Power” In, India
Economic Survey 2004-2005.
- Census of India 1991 and 2001.
- Statistical Pocket Book of India, various issues
- Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, October 2000. Profiles of Districts.
- Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, February 2003. Infrastructure.
- Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, February 2004 and various years.
- Central Electricity Authority, General Review 2000-02.
- Government of India, Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, “Basic Road
- Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Economic Division. “Economic Survey
- Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Economic Division. “Economic Survey
- General Registrar of India, New Delhi, 2001.
- Government of India, 2001. “Districtwise Social Economic Demographic
Indicators.” National Commission on Population.
- India National Family Health Survey 1992-93 and 1998-99, Bombay: International
Institute for Population Sciences.
- Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, 2001 (RGI). Census of India,
2001.Provisional Population Tables.
- Registrar General of India, 1999. “Compendium of India’s Fertility and Mortality
Indicators 1971-1997,” based on the Sample Registration System, New Delhi.
- State Government of Uttar Pradesh, 2004. Department of Statistics.
- State Government of Uttar Pradesh, 2004. Minor Irrigation Department.
- State Government of Uttar Pradesh, 2004. Department of Rural Development,
Survey 2006.
Internet References
www.ivcs.org.uk/IJRS Article 5 Page 1 of 5.
www.fao.org/es/ESA/Roa/pdf/6_Social /SocialViability_India.pdf
www.itcportal.com/agri_exports/e-choupal_new.htm www.poverty2.forumone.com
Evaluation Questionnaire for the audience of the
Community Rural Newspaper (English Version)
SECTION 1- Profile of the community person
Age: .................................................................
Literacy Level
□ Not able to read or write
□ Able to read
Primary Occupation
□ Landowner
□ Landless labour
□ Hindu
□ Muslim
please specify
□ Christian
□ Scheduled Caste or Tribe
Any other, please specify
□ Other Backward Class
□ Sikh
□ Any other,
Family Income level
□ Annual Income < Rs. 10,000
□ Annual Income between
Rs. 10,000–Rs. 20,000
□ Annual Income between Rs. 20,000–Rs. 30,000
□ Annual Income
between Rs. 30,000–Rs. 40,000
□ please specify the amount
2. What problems do you face in your day-to-day life? What
information needs do you have?
3. Do you think the community rural newspaper can address these
□ Yes
□ No
4. Are you able to read the community rural newspaper easily?
a) Yes
b) No
5. Were you consulted about your information needs and services
prior to the launch of the community rural newspaper?
□ Yes
□ No
6. If yes, how was the consultation carried out? (Tick all that apply)
□ Meetings with members of village Panchayat
□ Meetings with selected families in the community
□ Meetings with different sections of the community—Women, Youth,
Elderly, Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes
(please specify)
□ Any other(s), please specify
7. Has the community rural newspaper addressed your needs?
8. Which information did you use more?
□ Cropping practices
□ Animal husbandry
□ Weather
□ Permanent jobs
□ Temporary jobs
□ Education
□ Health
□ Government services (form downloads, land records, birth and
death certificates, licenses and permits)
Which benefits did you find?
□ Remedies to crop diseases
□ Better prices for agricultural produces
□ Timely weather information
□ Easy availability of government forms
□ Reduced time for government procedures
□ Awareness about educational facilities
□ Computer education
□ Improvement in general awareness
9. What problems do you face in using the community rural
0: not a problem
1: unimportant
2: slightly important
3: average
4: important
5: very important problem
List specific problems/examples
□ Illiteracy
□ Irrelevant information and services
□ Outdated content
□ Infrastructure problems (power, connectivity)
□ Computer problems (inadequate number, slow)
□ Time consuming
□ Tardy response from the government
SECTION 2 - Level of satisfaction
10. What were your main reasons to participate in this project?
11. How often do you use the project?
□ Daily
□ Weekly
□ Monthly
□ Fewer than once a
12. Have you achieved your goals by participating in this project?
□ yes
□ no
13. How satisfied are you with this project?
□ Weak Partly unsatisfactory □ Partly satisfactory
□ Strong
14. Training
□ Weak Partly unsatisfactory □ Partly satisfactory
□ Strong
SECTION 3 - Development Impact
Please mark the option that reflects how you feel about the following
Through this project I see the importance of information more than
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project I see opportunities in rural newspaper I had not seen
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Because of this project I feel I am of more value to my colleagues and
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project I am more involved in decision making processes in
my community
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project I have gained specific skills (besides computer skills)
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project I receive information about prices of my products in
the local market
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project my standard of living has improved
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
This project infuenced me in a positive way
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
agree □ Agree Strongly
Thank you for your cooperation!
□ Neutral Partly
Evaluation Questionnaire for the audience of the
Community Internet centre (English Version)
SECTION 1- Profile of the community person
Age: .................................................................
Gender: ...........................................................
Literacy Level
□ Not able to read or write
□ Able to read
Primary Occupation
□ Landowner
□ Landless labour
□ Hindu
□ Muslim
please specify
□ Christian
□ Scheduled Caste or Tribe
Any other, please specify
□ Other Backward Class
□ Sikh
□ Any other,
Family Income level
□ Annual Income < Rs. 10,000
□ Annual Income between
Rs. 10,000–Rs. 20,000
□ Annual Income between Rs. 20,000–Rs. 30,000
□ Annual Income
between Rs. 30,000–Rs. 40,000
□ please specify the amount
2. What problems do you face in your day-to-day life? What
information needs do you have?
3. Do you think the Internet Centre can address these problems?
□ Yes
□ No
4. Are you able to access the IT service easily?
a) Yes
b) No
5. If No, what are the problems faced in going to the IT Service
Centre? (Tick all that apply)
□ Located at a distant place (from the residence of the user)
□ Located at a place where entry is restricted because of social
background (e.g., temple, house of a high-class
community person)
□ Not allowed access because of gender bias
□ Unable to pay the fee for accessing the ICT service
□ Unable to access because of other pressing livelihood needs/jobs
□ Working timings at the centre not suitable
□ Any other(s), please specify
6a. Were you consulted about your information needs and services
prior to the establishment of the IT service?
□ Yes
□ No
6b. If yes, how was the consultation carried out? (Tick all that
□ Meetings with members of village Panchayat
□ Meetings with selected families in the community
□ Meetings with different sections of the community—Women, Youth,
Elderly, Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes
(please specify)
□ Any other(s), please specify
7. Has the IT Centre addressed your needs?
8. Which information serivces did you use more?
□ Cropping practices
□ Animal husbandry
□ Weather
□ Permanent jobs
□ Temporary jobs
□ Education
□ Health
□ Government services (form downloads, land records, birth and
death certificates, licenses and permits)
□ Personal and business
Which benefits did you
□ Remedies to crop diseases
□ Better prices for agricultural produces
□ Timely weather information
□ Easy availability of government forms
□ Reduced time for government procedures
□ Awareness about educational facilities
□ Computer education
□ Improvement in general awareness.
9. What problems do you face in using the IT services?
0: not a problem
1: unimportant
2: slightly important
3: average
4: important
5: very important problem
List specific problems/examples
□ Illiteracy
□ Unfriendly human intermediaries
□ Difficult software interfaces
□ Irrelevant information and services
□ Not aware about the possible usage of IT in day-to-day life
□ Outdated content
□ Infrastructure problems (power, connectivity)
□ Computer problems (inadequate number, slow)
□ Time consuming
□ Tardy response from the government
SECTION 2 - Level of satisfaction
10. What were your main reasons to participate in this project?
11. How often do you use the project?
□ Daily
□ Weekly
□ Monthly
□ Fewer than once a
12. Have you achieved your goals by participating in this project?
□ yes
□ no
13. How satisfied are you with this project?
□ Weak Partly unsatisfactory □ Partly satisfactory
□ Strong
14. Training
□ Weak Partly unsatisfactory □ Partly satisfactory
□ Strong
SECTION 3 - Development Impact
Please mark the option that reflects how you feel about the following
Through this project I see the importance of information more than
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project I see opportunities in information and
communication technology I had not seen before
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Because of this project I feel I am of more value to my colleagues and
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project I am more involved in decision making pro- cesses
in my com-munity
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project I have gained useful computer skills
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project I have gained additional skills (besides computer
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project I receive information about prices of my products in
the local market
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Through this project my standard of living has improved
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
This project infuenced me in a negative way
□ Strongly disagree □ Disagree Partly disagree
□ Neutral Partly
agree □ Agree Strongly
Thank you for your cooperation!
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

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