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Witch Hunting: The Silent Form of Gender Based Violence and the Need to Bridge the Rural Urban Divide by Bipasha Saikia

The Author: Bipasha Saikia is a Law Student Studying at National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam

Introduction

Industrialization was introduced in India during the colonial times and was concentrated in only a few areas. More than 74.7 percent of the population in India still lives in rural areas and 24.3 percent inhabit urban areas.[i] Post independence, India began to industrialize on its own instead of exporting raw materials. Till 1980, the rural and the urban sectors in India were laid equal emphasis upon. However, poor performance of the public sector undertakings over the years led to the economic reforms in the 1990s whose fallout was the growth and the expansion of cities whereas rural infrastructure and poverty alleviation got overlooked in the process. The rural counterparts of modern independent India suffered from “economic stagnation.”[ii] This “lop-sided development” resulted in an increased rural to urban migration leading to an abandonment of the concept of inclusive development. Urbanisation failed to bring about any desired change in the social sector especially an attitudinal change towards women.[iii] This problem of indifference towards the rural sector aggravated due to factors like lack of transportation for which children in rural areas have to travel miles to attend government-funded schools, absence of proper health centres that encouraged the growth of traditional healers with no expertise who often exploit the sheer ignorance of the villagers etc. Decades of planned development has failed to yield substantive positive results.[iv] It can be deduced that the rural-urban dichotomy has been widened by economic reforms and globalisation.

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