Rural India finds mention in every document on poverty, inequality, malnutrition, unemployment and disguised employment, agriculture and artisanal livelihoods and gender relationships. Almost all these refer to limited capacities for economic growth and development. Thereby, technologies and investments in people and infrastructure for these have become the bedrock of rural development efforts in the country. This theme presents an overview of S and T strategies for rural development in India. The focus is on understanding S and T capacities that exist and how knowledge and technologies are accessed and used for rural development. India is rural (2000–01 to 2004–05) • Rural population of 830 million–in 1100 million • Cultivators + main and marginal workers–430 million • Urban literacy rate (81 per cent); rural (61 per cent) • Female literacy 45 per cent in rural areas (70 per cent in urban areas) • Malnourished–49 per cent of children and 39 per cent of women in rural India (36 per cent and 20 per cent in urban areas) • Rural infant mortality rate–61 (37 in urban areas) in 1000 Overall rural development efforts in India focus on: • Provision of basic infrastructure facilities in the rural areas, for example, schools, health facilities, roads, drinking water, electrification etc. • Improving agricultural productivity in the rural areas. • Provision of social services like health and education for socio-economic development. © National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies.