Rural Livelihoods

Villages are the backbone of India. Daily commodities like sugar, honey, tea, coffee, milk, wood, rice and pulses, etc. come from villages. India is a nation of villages. People in villages share common facilities and resources such as village ponds, grazing grounds, temples and shrines, schools, sitting space under large trees, wells and wastelands. They are primarily engaged in agriculture. They are also engaged in non-farming activities such as the making of bullock cart, which is the primary means of transport, brick making and weaving. For example, people of Kalpattu village in Tamil Nadu are engaged in various non-farming activities, and there are also different types of service providers such as washermen, tailors, barbers, blacksmith, nurses, teachers, shopkeepers and cycle repair mechanics.

The village also has three types of agricultural labourers: labourers, small farmers and big farmers. Labourers are engaged in preparing land for sowing, transplanting saplings, weeding, adding fertilisers to soil, harvesting and threshing. Women labourers also do household works such as cooking food, cleaning house, fetching water, buying grocery and collecting fuel wood. There are many poor families in rural areas. Families in rural areas earn their livelihood through various means such as farming, non-farming activities and fishing. Many Indian farmers are caught in the debt trap and it results in many farmers’ suicides. Monsoon failure is one of main reasons for their inability to repay the debts.

In rural areas, there are many landless labourers and families. Large farmers sell their produce in the local market, and they also are engaged in business. Apart from farming, rural people are also engaged in animal husbandry, dairy produce and fishing. For example, in Pudupet, a village close to Kalpattu, fishing is the main occupation of the people here.

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