The purpose of this study was to assess rural development efforts in India, describe social and economic changes and their impact on rural communities, and suggest implications for agricultural and extension educators and development planners. Socio-economic changes that have occurred in India over the past four decades were examined using census data and published literature. Changes were documented in family structure and functioning, education, and social life. Economic changes included increased agricultural and industrial production, liberalization of economic and export policies, increase in number of rural bank branches, and increased coverage of rural masses under various credit programs. In the agrarian sector, the number of holdings increased while the average size of land holdings declined. Implications of these changes for rural development and agricultural extension pointed out in the paper include designing programs for farm families with limited land, public policy education on land subdivision, fragmentation and consolidation, and developing linkages with other disciplines to better understand problems and suggest solution strategies.