Impact of rural road construction on the local livelihood diversification: evidence from Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in Jhunjhunu district, India
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Rural roads contribute significantly to the socio-economic and cultural development of rural habitations/villages. Improved road infrastructure facilitates rural population to look for work beyond their respective communities. They fuel the development of non-farm markets and create possible livelihood diversification opportunities for rural people, thereby decreasing their liability to economic distresses. The developing countries like India have been introducing various schemes to improve the status of their citizens. In 2000, Government of India launched Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) with a broad objective of improving the mobility of the rural population to achieve sustainable development in a phased manner. This article proposes a comprehensive approach to investigate the impact of the development of rural road infrastructure on livelihood diversification of the target population at the habitation level by employing fuzzy framework. It also accounts econometric modeling to assess the influence of diversification and control variables on household income. The effectiveness of the proposed model is illustrated by taking a case study of the construction of PMGSY roads in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan state, India. The findings reveal that newly constructed roads have been used prominently for agricultural activities. However, there is minimal growth in other occupations leading to low diversification of livelihood due to unawareness and lack of resources. It is, therefore, necessary that the policy makers should focus to implement reliable schemes to maximize livelihood diversification in a sustainable way. Thus, rural population can be served in an effective manner by promoting both farm and non-farm activities.
KeywordsEconometric modeling Fuzzy framework Livelihood diversification Rural roads Sustainable development
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