Rural -Urban Divide and Linkages: An Empirical Analysis in Assam

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The issue of rural-urban divide and linkages has gained importance in the world in recent years. Reducing the divide through better linkage between sectors has been one of the issues for ensuring balanced development of any country. The United Nations has also emphasised on the issue for simultaneous development of rural and urban areas, of agriculture and industry, for over all development of any country. The definition and differences of DruralD and DurbanD areas emerge from the fact that certain economic activities require different spaces to perform. Since certain services are best located and performed in certain space, occupations in both locations are specialized in nature and complementary in serving each otherDs interest. Therefore, there should be equal opportunities in accessing basic infrastructures and other basic amenities of life in both the locations and there should not be any distinction between rural and urban sectors. This type of positive rural-urban interactions and the virtuous circle of development, fostered by backward and forward linkages between agriculture, industry and service sectors is the major source of economic growth and development for any country. However, in reality, the virtuous circle of development does not occur and rural-urban divide arises due to inequalities in access to assets for rural and urban areas. Thus, the problem of disparity between rural and urban areas has become one of the major concerns for the policymakers. It is a major challenge for the policy makers to distribute the scarce resources efficiently and in a strategic way to solve development problems and to ensure that solutions for urban-related problems do not result in rural-related problems and vice-versa. Assam, in the north eastern region of India, has also experienced considerable rural-urban variations in all aspects of development. Acknowledging the existence of rural-urban divide in the state, Assam Human Development Report, 2003, has commented that whatever development has occurred in the selected urban industrial areas, the effect has not spilt over to the surrounding rural agricultural sector. The data shows that rural areas in the state have failed to reap the benefits of the progressing world in this era of economic reforms. According to the Report on the Structures of Assam Economy by the Government of Assam, the inter-sectoral interdependence of production is weak in the state. The present study has been taken up to assess the nature and magnitude of rural-urban divide, reasons behind this divide and the means to increase the strength of the rural sector to establish fruitful linkage between rural and urban sectors. Both secondary and primary data have been used to carry out the study..
Supervisor: S. Borbora AND M. K. Dutta