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  • Writer's pictureTarun Das

The 700 Million

India lives in its villages. 700 million plus people reside in the rural backwaters of the


And, yet, the focus of development and growth policy has long been on urbanization,

big industry, migration from the rural to the cities with consequential urban congestion

and slums, poor quality of life, breakdown of rural society and families, crime, violence

and more urban unemployment.

1.3 Billion people just cannot be supported to live in urban areas. It is crucial that rural

areas are developed with roads, housing, schools, hospitals, governance, etc so that the

700 million, and more, can be living in their natural habitat and enjoying a life of simple


India has to look at itself, District by District, Block to Block, to create the physical and

social infrastructure for the 700 million. There is no alternative and this priority has

been neglected for decades.

In this model, grass-roots governance, the District Magistrate is key and needs to be

supported with an administrative and governance team, competent and capable, so that

the District grows and prospers. If this “Base” is taken care of, the foundation would be

strong and the 700 million properly supported.

Automatically, the pressure of migration to cities would lesser and a new balance would

develop in the country.

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