Rural areas support the bulk of India's population. Simultaneously, these areas are the breeding ground of poverty, hunger and starvation. So, to accelerate the process of growth and development of a country, rural development must be accorded priority. Rural development refers to the actions and initiatives taken for the social and economic development of the rural or backward areas. The key issues in rural development are as follows:
1. Human Capital Formation- Rural areas lack quality human capital. Therefore, rural development programmes should aim at development of human resources by investing in education, technical skills development through on-the-job training, health care, etc.
2. Development of Productive Resources- Productive resources help in generating employment opportunities. In rural areas, the main occupation is agriculture that usually suffers from low productivity, lack of infrastructure and disguised unemployment. Thus, rural development must aim at development of alternative sources of occupation. Development of productive resources reduces excess burden on the agricultural sector, thereby, increasing productivity and income of the rural people.
3. Development of Rural Infrastructure- Infrastructure development is a very crucial issue at the micro level. It provides a support system to all the production activities in the economy, the absence of which makes economic growth and social development impossible. Development of rural infrastructure includes development of bank, credit societies, electricity, means of transport, means of irrigation, development of markets, facilities for agricultural research, etc.
4. Land reforms- Land reforms along with technical reforms must be initiated in the rural areas. These enable the use of modern techniques and methods, thereby, increasing the productivity and aggregate volume of farm output. In addition, land reforms lead to efficient and optimum use of land, enabling large scale production.
5. Lessening Poverty- Poverty is one of the main causes of rural underdevelopment. Poverty is not a problem in itself; in fact, it gives rise to many other interrelated problems like unemployment, inferior human capital, underdevelopment and backwardness, inequalities, etc. An important step that should be taken in order to tackle the poverty is to develop income-earning assets. Such assets would generate income, raise living standards and make rural people self-sufficient.