India is a land of villages. Most of its people live in villages. The number of towns and cities in India is very small compared to the number of villages. There are about five lac seventy six thousand villages in India whereas the towns and cities are only about two thousand seven hundred. About 80% of our population lives in villages. India cannot make any progress until its villages are developed. In the past our villages were undeveloped. There were no good roads, schools and hospitals. The life of the people living in the villages was very hard.
Community Development :
Our Government realized that the progress of the country was not possible without the development of our villages. .Therefore, plans were made to develop our villages and to improve the living conditions of the people in the villages. For this purpose community development programme was started in 1952. The programme aimed at the uplift of the villages. To do this work properly the areas were divided into community development blocks. Each block consisted of about 200 villages and a population of about 2 lac people. A Block Development Officer is the incharge of each block. He is responsible for the all round development of the villages falling in the block.
He has a team of experts in various fields to help him in his work. Experts in agriculture, education, industries, poultry, veterinary and civil works are posted in a block to look after the developmental works. Every block has a primary health centre and some dispensaries and sub-health centers to look after the health of the people. Primary schools have been opened in almost all the villages. Larger villages have middle and secondary schools. The students do not have to go to far off places to get education. Villages have been linked with towns and cities by metalled roads. Many schemes for the uplift of Harijans and other backward people have been started. Some villages have been developed as model villages.
Village Panchayats :
Every village now has a Gram Panchayat. The members of the Panchayat and the Sarpanch or the Gram Pradhan are elected by the people of the villages. Panchayats arrange the supply of good drinking water to the villages. Most of the villages now have electric light. Some of the Panchayats have provided street lights in the villages. The Panchayats are responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the villages. Some disputes in the villages are settled by the Gram Panchayats. Much of the progress made by our villages is due to the institution of Panchayats. The Panchayat Samities are responsible for the development of the villages falling in a development block and thez/7a Parishads are responsible for the rural uplift in a district.
Co-operative Societies :
Co-operative Societies are also doing good work to improve the condition of the people living in the villages, Every village has formed a Co-operative society. The society gives loans to the farmers to buy seeds, fertilizers and implements. The farmers are able to cultivate the land better and get better produce. The co-operative societies also run co-operative stores and fair pjlce shops in the villages. The village people can get sugar, wheat, cloth and some other articles from these stores atvreasonable rates.
There are some co-operative marketing societies in some large villages. These marketing societies are of a great help to the farmers in selling their farm produce at Government rates.
A Cooperative Society :
Our Government is doing its best to develop its villages in all respects. Health facilities and electricity have been provided to most of the villages. The villages have now T.V. sets and radio sets. The villages now have better homes, streets and drains. Standard of living of the village people has improved, but still much more has to be done to bring the villages at par with the towns and cities.