"Do we have a holistic view of rural development in which all the activities currently being undertaken are integrated? Do we share a vision for a prosperous rural India, a vision which sees agriculture and allied activities as the growth engine for rural development complemented by promotion of non-farm activities for value addition and sustainable in a healthy competitive environment? Are our strategies effective in increasing the productive potential of our agriculture, developing viable non-farm occupations and provision of basic human needs in a holistic manner?" This quote is from a speech delivered by Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Indian Prime Minister. And that same speech said, "We need to learn from the Chinese model of rural business hubs that add value to agricultural produce within the rural areas." And finally, "Together we have an opportunity to make a radical departure from current ways of doing things. Incrementalism will not take us very far as sometimes the fault may be in the very design of the programmes imposed from above." The ten papers in this volume don't pretend to have all the answers.
But collectively, one forms a very good idea of what the rural development issues are and what the PRIs can do to address rural development concerns. In the process, a menu of options also emerges. If some of these ideas get transformed into pilot projects, that can thereafter be successfully replicated, the objectives of the volume will have been met.