Geografie 2010, 115, 330-346

Alternative to jobless growth? All-India context and a case of participatory development scheme from rural Tamil Nadu

Josef Novotný1, Nallan Ramachandran2

1Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science, Department of Social Geography and Regional Development, Albertov 6, 128 43 Praha 2, Czechia
2Periyar Maniammai University, Thanjavur, 613403, India

Received December 2009
Accepted May 2010

The article outlines some of the problems, challenges, and prospects in relation to contemporary Indian development with a special focus on rural India. The paper seeks to contrast traditional modernization views on development assuming progressive structural transformation through industrialization with Indian reality by stressing the importance of the enhancement of employment, and more generally livelihood, opportunities for the masses of underutilized labor. In addition to a brief discussion of the context at the all-India level, the case of a rural region in central eastern Tamil Nadu is examined to provide a picture of the everyday living conditions of local villagers and to indicate some of the problems and uncertainties they are typically confronted with. The rural development project called Periyar PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) is then discussed which attempts to present a model of how to tackle some of these problems.


The article draws on information collected during the stay of Josef Novotný at the Research Information System for Developing Countries in New Delhi and on materials from the Periyar PURA project gathered by the staff and students of Periyar Maniammai University, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The authors would like to thank Kumaran Shanmugam, Tamilmani Eevera, and Sivanantham Mahalingam for their help and useful comments. Josef Novotný also acknowledges support from the research grant MSM 0021620831.


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