As Urban India strives to emerge as the next Superpower, rural India continues on a never-ending journey of poverty, exploitation and in some cases extinction. The ground realities add unpleasant hues to an otherwise shining picture of India’s progress. To make India’s growth story a truly inclusive one, it becomes imperative to help 833 million people residing in rural India, overcome their developmental challenges.
Rural India continues to suffer in the absence of access to adequate productive assets, connectivity, intellectual and financial resources. More than 85% of rural families own less than 2 hectares of land, which are sub-divided and scattered in several locations. These small holdings coupled with inability to invest in necessary agricultural inputs and adoption of advanced technologies means lower productivity leading to poverty which serves as the basis for various social problems.
Another dimension to India’s rural development challenge is its male-dominated society. Women don’t receive equal opportunities or rights to grow. Gender inequality is imposed from a nascent stage and girls are not sent to schools or are married off early thereby hindering their development and ensuring a low quality of life. A radical shift in mindset is required to make women an active partner in India’s development story.
The absence of employment opportunities, a battered agriculture sector and rising debts force rural population to migrate to cities. They are forced to lead sub-standard lives in urban areas where they face a very different set of problems. This migration also results in the loss of traditions, heritage and cultural treasures of India. Many art forms have disappeared and many are on the verge of extinction.
SBI Youth for India is a movement that transforms India’s best young minds into change makers. It provides the socially motivated youth with an opportunity to make a difference where it matters the most. The thirteen month program is a platform for youth to work with experienced NGOs who are working at the grass root level. This not only provides fellows with a better understanding of ground realities but also an opportunity to bring about change to ensure an equitable and sustainable growth path for India.
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