Explain the role of non-farm employment in promoting rural diversification.

The non-farm areas of employment are essential with a view to raise income and exploring alternative avenues of sustainable livelihood besides agriculture. The following are the importance of non-farm employment opportunities in promoting rural diversification:

1. A substantial portion of Indian farming is dependent on the vagaries of monsoon, making it a risky affair to rely upon solely. Hence, non-farm employment opportunities are to be explored to enable the farmers to earn from alternative non-farm occupations. This will lessen the excess burden on agriculture by reducing disguised unemployment.

2. The kharif season opens up ample opportunities for agricultural employment. However, due to lack of irrigation facilities, the farmers fail to get gainful employment opportunities during the Rabi season. Therefore, absence of opportunities in agriculture sector should be compensated in non-farm sectors.

3. Agriculture being over crowded cannot further generate employment opportunities to the farmers. Therefore, the prospects of the non-farm sectors should be opened up in the rural areas to provide job opportunities, thereby, diverting workforce from the already crowded agricultural sector.

4. The non-farming sector has several segments that have dynamic linkages. Such linkages enhance the healthy growth of the rural areas.

5. The non-farm sector provides employment opportunities for the whole year as compared to the farming occupation. So, it helps to eradicate poverty from the rural areas.

6. Most of the output of non-farm sectors acts as an input for the large scale industries. For example, agro-processing industries, food processing industries, leather industry, tourism,etc. This has two-fold benefits. First, the large scale industries can specialise in their final output by relying on the processed inputs from the non-farm sectors. Secondly, such dependence of the large scale industries provides impetus to the non-farm sectors reducing the urban-rural regional disparities.

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