Can Retirees Rejuvenate Our Villages?

While proper urban planning is an important constituent for economic development, can rural planning by itself and in isolation, however proper, save our villages?

villages-retirees-rejuvenateIn recent decades migration of youth population from villages to cities triggered this question. Most of the population during 2015 to 2020 will be youth and retirees have to begin a second life in the countryside. After retirement they can perhaps start small-time farming or tending to home gardening.

But the bigger question is, can retirees rejuvenate villages or sustain the rural economy? Perhaps not. For that, you need to attract working youths, and make sure they stay.

You need to create the right environment and make more competitive rural economy for them not to feel too fearful of cities.

There is need of well-developed roads connecting communities with towns and cities so that they will not feel cut off from our cities. There is also need to provide quality educational facilities, modern facilities including hospitals and health clinics, so people don’t feel helpless when they fall sick.

We need to create opportunities for jobs beyond farming because aspirations are changing and families won’t be happy tilling lands that are becoming increasingly marginalized in both size and productivity. Families won’t be happy living in traditional homes or villages. That’s means you need rural industrialization and a wider spread of rural commercialization so we can attract the young rural population.

In the rotating wheel of economic development over time in struggling African and Asian countries, they either keep subsidizing underdevelopment or come forward with a ruralization vision and catch the development. Maybe some of the more traditional ones will be preserved as heritage spots and tourist attractions, which attract a lucrative tourism economy.

To simplify the energy needs, we should promote renewable grid-based electrification. Education is the most common concern of the rural population. As a result, every village will be self-reliant, which will lead to sustainable development. Opening the market to international business is not only a solution to be developed, but utilizing its manpower to become producer.

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Satyendra Tripathi is founder of Bharatiyam Science Society, Prabuddha Bharat Sangh and recipient of the 2012 Nepal Maitri Award for Global Peace Yatra. Satyendra is a climate change researcher by practice and social activist by nature.