Rural development implies both the economic betterment of people
as well as greater social transformation. Increased participation
of people in the rural development programmes, decentralization of
planning, better enforcement of land reforms and greater access to
credit are envisaged for providing the rural people with better prospects.
Initially, main thrust for development was laid on agriculture, industry,
communication, education, health and allied sectors. Later on, realizing
that accelerated development can be provided only if governmental
efforts are adequately supplemented by direct and indirect involvement
of people at the grass root level, the thrust shifted.
Accordingly, on 31st March 1952, an organization known as Community
Projects Administration was set up under the Planning Commission
to administer the programmes relating to community development.
The community development programme, inaugurated on October 2, 1952,
was an important landmark in the history of the rural development.
This programme underwent many changes and was handled by different
In October 1974, the Department of Rural Development came into
existence as a part of Ministry of Food and Agriculture. On 18th
August 1979, the Department of Rural Development was elevated to
the status of a new Ministry of Rural Reconstruction. It was renamed
as Ministry of Rural Development on 23rd January 1982. In January
1985, the Ministry of Rural Development was again converted into
a Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
which was later rechristened as Ministry of Agriculture in September
1985. On July 5, 1991 the Department was upgraded as Ministry of
Rural Development. Another Department viz. Department of Wasteland
Development was created under this Ministry on 2nd July 1992. In
March 1995, the Ministry was renamed as the Ministry of Rural Areas
and Employment with three departments namely Department of Rural
Employment and Poverty Alleviation, Rural Development and Wasteland
Again, in 1999 Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment was renamed
as Ministry of Rural Development. This Ministry has been acting
as a catalyst effecting the change in rural areas through the implementation
of wide spectrum of programmes which are aimed at poverty alleviation,
employment generation, infrastructure development and social security.
Over the years, with the experience gained, in the implementation
of the programmes and in response to the felt needs of the poor,
several programmes have been modified and new programmes have been
introduced. The Ministry's main objective is to alleviate rural
poverty and ensure improved quality of life for the rural population
especially those below the poverty line. These objectives are achieved
through formulation, development and implementation of programmes
relating to various spheres of rural life and activities, from income
generation to environmental replenishment.
In order to ensure that the fruits of economic reform are shared
by all sections of societies five elements of social and economic
infrastructure, critical to the quality of life in rural areas,
were identified. These are health, education, drinking water, housing
and roads. To impart greater momentum to the efforts in these sectors
the Government launched the Pradhan Mantri Gramdoya Yojana (PMGY)
and the Ministry of Rural Development was entrusted with the responsibility
of implementing drinking water, housing and rural roads component
During the Ninth Plan period, several anti-poverty Programmes have
been restructured to enhance the efficiency of the Programmes for
providing increased benefits to the rural poor. Self Employment
Programmes were revamped by merging the Integrated Rural Development
Programme (IRDP), the Development of Women and Children in Rural
Areas (DWCRA), the Supply of Improved Tool-Kits to Rural Artisans
(SITRA), the Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM),
the Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY) and the Million Wells Scheme (MWS)
into a holistic self-employment scheme called Swarnjayanti Gram
Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY).
Keeping in view the needs and aspirations of the local people,
Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRIs) have been involved in the programme
implementation and these institutions constitute the core of decentralized
development of planning and its implementation. The Ministry vigorously
pursue with the State Governments for expeditious devolution of
requisite administrative and financial powers to PRIs as envisaged
under 73rd Amendment Act of the Constitution of India. On 25th December
2002, under Drinking Water Sector, a new initiative 'Swajal Dhara'
empowering the Panchayats to formulate, implement, operate and maintain
drinking water Projects was launched. In order to further involve
PRIs in the development process, a new initiative 'Hariyali' was
launched by Hon'ble Prime Minister on 27th January, 2003. Hariyali
was launched to strengthen and involve Panchayati Raj Institutions
in the implementation of watershed development programmes namely
IWDP, DPAP and DDP.
Realising that empowerment of rural women is crucial for the development
of rural India, a women's component is introduced in the programmes
for poverty alleviation to ensure flow of adequate funds to this
section. The Constitutional Amendment (73rd), Act 1992 provides
for reservation of selective posts for women. The Constitution has
placed enormous responsibility on the Panchayats to formulate and
execute various programmes of economic development and social justice,
and a number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes are being implemented
through Panchayats. Thus, women Members and Chairpersons of Panchayats,
who are basically new entrants in Panchayats, have to acquire the
required skill and be given appropriate orientation to assume their
rightful roles as leaders and decision makers. Imparting training
to elected representatives of PRIs is primarily the responsibility
of the State Governments/Union territory Administrations. Ministry
of Rural Development also extends some financial assistance to the
States/UTs with a view to improve the quality of training programmes
and to catalyze capacity building initiatives for the elected members
and functionaries of PRIs.
The Eleventh Plan saw injection of huge resources from the Union
Budget to the rural and farm sector. This thrust formed the substance
of the Bharat Nirman Programme. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act has provided a major foundational support.
Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation has been separated
from the Ministry of Rural Development from 13th July, 2011 and
renamed as Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
The following major programmes are being operated by the Ministry
of Rural Development in rural areas,
(i) Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
for providing wage employment,
(ii) National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) for self employment
and skill development,
(iii) Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) for providing housing to BPL households,
(iv) Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) for construction
of quality roads
(v) National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) for social pension
(vi) Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) for improving
the productivity of the land.
In addition, the Ministry also has schemes for capacity development
of rural functionaries; Information, Education and Communication;
and Monitoring and Evaluation.
Budget outlay of Rs. 86000 crores has been provided under the Plan head to the Department of Rural Development for the financial year 2016-17.
An additional amount of Rs. 9000 crores has been allocated at the RE stage to the department thereby augmenting the provision to Rs. 95000 crores.
Budget outlay of Rs. 105447.88 crores has been allocated to the department of Rural Development for the year 2017-18.