ISSN : 1997-1052 (Print)
227-202X (Online)
 
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Road Infrastructure and Agricultural Development: A Policy Intervention in a Backward Rural Economy
Utpal Kumar De
Abstract

This paper attempts to examine how progress of rural road infrastructure connecting various desired destinations viz markets, urban centres, healthcare and educational institutions, administrative headquarters, affect economic activity, particularly agricultural performance in rural areas of Meghalaya. The study has a serious policy implication for the development of a backward rural economy. It is purely an empirical study, made with the help of primary data collected from 500 rural households in two prominent districts of the state whose primary occupations are agriculture and related activities. Due to scattered spatial household setting families of the same village face different level of connectivity and thus receive varied facilities whether government sponsored or through private initiative. 

Analysing data by Principal Component Analysis to construct an overall Road Development Index at the household level and relating with agricultural earning, price of commodities obtained, wastage, availing various rural development schemes, it is observed that there is significant contribution of road infrastructure on the agricultural growth through enhancing earning capacity, productivity, getting appropriate price, reducing wastage of perishable output and accessing various beneficial schemes. Also, it reflects how availing healthcare facilities and various government schemes is significantly higher in the better connected areas than the areas of poor road development. All these are possible also through better governance and that is due to better road connectivity of the scattered villages.

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