Rural development, employment and off-farm activities: a study of rural households in Rurka Kalan development block, North-west India

Simmons, C.S.pri, S.

Journal of rural studies: v 13 (3) 305-318


ISSN/ISBN: 0743-0167
DOI: 10.1016/s0743-0167(97)00020-x
Accession: 013187679

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Within the next quarter of a century India will need to find additional productive work for well over 200 million persons. Given the existing pressure of crowding in many urban areas, and the fact that the majority of the expanding population continue to live in the countryside, part of any long-term solution must involve the transformation of rural economic space. The scope for increasing jobs in agriculture, however, is limited, especially in the more advanced Green Revolution states such as Punjab. In this context, the appeal of off-farm activities, especially own account enterprises is attractive. However, little is known about this sector in the state. Secondary data have well-known limitations and provide little more than a count of the number of persons engaged in these activities, and fail to distinguish between OFAs, often treating them as homogeneous. The purpose of our paper is to assess the effectiveness of OFAs in rural development by considering the amount and type of work they provide. We argue that the household remains the key institution which permits small family enterprises to survive and reproduce. The findings of a dedicated sample survey based upon three villages are reported.