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Essay on Rural Development Programme in India


In this essay we will discuss about Rural Development Programme in India. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Introduction to Rural Development Programme in India 2. Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) 3. National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) 4. Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) 5. Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) and Others.


  1. Essay on the Introduction to Rural Development Programme in India
  2. Essay on the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP)
  3. Essay on the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP)
  4. Essay on the Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) 
  5. Essay on the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY)
  6. Essay on the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)
  7. Essay on the Rural Group life Insurance scheme (RGLIS)
  8. Essay on the Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY)/National Rural Livelihoods
  9. Essay on the Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY)
  10. Essay on the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY):
  11. Essay on the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY):
  12. Essay on the Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY):
  13. Essay on the Food for Work Programme, 2001
  14. Essay on the Annapurna
  15. Essay on the National Food for work Programme (NFFWP)
  16. Essay on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme Act (MGNREGS)
  17. Essay on the Present Scenario of Rural Development Programme in India.

Essay # 1. Introduction to Rural Development Programme in India:

The majority of population in India (about 73 per cent) is living in rural areas. Living conditions of the rural people are very poor. Under such a situation, development of rural areas must receive adequate attention in various schemes designed for the development of Indian economy.


Accordingly, since the inception of economic planning in India, the First Plan introduced the Community Development Programme and on 2nd October, 1952, first 55 Community Development Projects were inaugurated where each project was covering three Development Blocks.

With the passage of time, more and more such projects were developed and at the end of the Fifth Plan, about 5,028 Blocks were developed to cover almost all villages of the country, The community development programmes had undertaken ambitious schemes for alround development of rural areas which included improvement of agricultural techniques, exploring supplementary sources of employment, extension of minor irrigation facilities, improvement of transportation facilities, provision for social services and development of co-operatives and panchayats.

Till the end of Fifth Plan, about Rs. 671 crore were spent on these community development projects.

Inspite of these attempts, the Community Development Programme could not make much headway as it failed to enthuse the villages into the spirit of self-help, self-reliance and co-operative effort. Thus, the planners were worried about the failure of this community development programme as it failed to attract more and more rural people within its fold.


In the meantime lot of changes have taken place. At the Centre, the Ministry of Community Development and Co-operation was abolished and was replaced by a New Ministry of Rural Development for accelerating the pace of rural development of the country.

Accordingly, since the Sixth Plan onwards, various self employment programmes and wage employment programmes were introduced. In the former category the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) was undertaken in 1980.

Again in the later category, the Food for Work Programme (FWP) was initiated in 1977-78 for generating additional gainful employment and to create durable community assets by utilising surplus food-grains accumulated as buffer stocks in the country.

But this FWP created a little impact on the market wage rate, generation of employment etc. Thus later on, this FWP was restructured into the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) from October 1980.


Thus, from April 1, 1981, the NREP became a regular programme in the economic planning of the country since the Sixth Plan, Later on various other employment programmes were also introduced which include. Training for Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM), Development of Women and Children in Rural Area (DWCRA), Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) etc. Let us analyse some of these programmes in detail.

Essay # 2. Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP):

The Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) seeks to promote self-employment by developing productive assets and providing inputs to the rural poor through a mix of subsidy and bank credit.

The Sixth Plan proposed to integrate multiplicity of agencies for providing rural employment such as Employment Guarantee Scheme, Small Farmers Development Agency (SFDA), Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labourers (MFAL) Development Agency, Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP), Command Area Development Programme (CADP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) etc.

As all these programmes overlap each other and therefore it became essential to integrate these programmes for effective monitoring and accounting. In this programme there was an “integration of sectoral programmes, spatial integration, integration of social and economic process, and above all the policies with a view to achieving a better fit between growth, removal of poverty and employment generation.”

Accordingly, the Sixth Plan introduced the Integrated Rural Development Programme on 2nd October, 1980. This programme was initiated as a multi-pronged attack on the problem of rural development was designed as an anti-poverty programme.

The Sixth Plan (1980-85) in its drafts mentioned that “such multiplicity of programmes for the rural poor operated through a multiplicity of agencies should be ended and replaced by one single integrated programme operative throughout the country.”

Main Objectives:

The process of economic development carried out in a country like India has benefitted mostly the relatively developed areas and also the relatively better off people. Inspite of various attempts the benefits have not reached up to the backward areas and its backward people.

To rectify this situation, designing of special programme for eradicating poverty became urgent. Thus, for the alleviation of rural poverty, poor people should be endowed with productive assets or skills for their fruitful self-employment by which they can earn greater incomes and thus cross the poverty line.

Basic objective of IRDP as introduced in the Sixth Plan was to promote self-employment of the poor households along-with the transfer of productive assets, so that they can earn income sufficient enough to cross the poverty line. Thus, the Sixth Plan (1980-85) conceived and designed IRDP as an anti-poverty programme.


The plan also emphasised that these people were poor because they did not possess any productive assets of their own except their labour, nor did they possess any special skills. Thus, the plan document mentioned, “Any development strategy which aims at improving the lot of the poor must aim at creating new productive assets for them.”

All these assets would normally include sources of irrigation for those possessing some land, bullocks, other farm implements, seeds and fertilizers, animals for dairy and other animal husbandry activities, tools and training for cottage industries, handicrafts, village industries etc.

Sub-Schemes of IRDP for Rural Development:

In recent years, two special sub-schemes of IRDP are also introduced. These include—Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM), and Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA).



The Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM) is to train rural youth from the target group of families in skills so as to enable them to take up self/wage employment. It has been laid down in this programme that the coverage of youth from SC/ST communities should be at least 50 per cent of total trained rural youth. Out of the total beneficiaries, at least 40 per cent should be women.


The programme of Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) aims to improve the socio-economic status of the poor women in the rural areas through creation of group of women for income generating activities on a self-sustaining basis.

Table 8.1 shows achievements under such schemes in recent years.


Achievements of Special Employment and Poverty Alleviation Programmes in Rural Areas

Table 8.1 reveals that in 2003-2004, total number of families assisted under IRDP/SGSY was 0.90 million and in 1992-93, total number of families assisted was 2.07 million as against the target of 1.88 million. In respect of TRYSEM, total number of rural youth trained was 0.17 million and 0.28 million in 1998-99 and 1992-93 respectively as against the target of 0.29 million and 0.30 million during the respective period.

In respect of DWCRA, about 50,000 groups in 1998-99 and 9,000 groups in 1992-93 were formed. In respect of JRY/JGSY/SGRY-II, mandays of employment generated in 2003-2004 and 1992T93 were 392 million and 782 million respectively. In respect of EAS, SGRY-I mandays of employment generated was 372.8 million in 2003-2004. In respect of PMRY, total employment generated was 1.8 lakh in 2003-04 a5 against the target of 3.0 lakh.



(a) Selection of ineligible families.

(b) Difference between cost and value of asset to the extent of Rs 500 was noticed in 18 per cent cases showing leakages and malpractices.

(c) No training was imparted to majority of the beneficiaries.

(d) No incremental income was generated in 22 per cent cases.

(e) Adequate infrastructure facilities were not available to beneficiaries of the programme.

Essay # 3. National Rural Employment Programme (NREP):

The National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) replaced and restructured the Food for Work Programme in October 1980. NREP was a centrally sponsored scheme implemented with 50: 50 sharing basis between the Centre and the States. The 50 per cent Central assistance was received in the form of food-grains and cash assistance as well. This programme was conceived as wage-employment programme.


The main objectives of NREP were:

(a) Generating additional gainful employment opportunities to the extent of 300-400 million mandays per year for the unemployed and underemployed persons in the rural areas;

(b) To create durable community assets for strengthening rural economic and social infrastructure which includes drinking water wells, community irrigation wells, minor irrigation works, village tanks, rural roads, schools, panchayat houses etc.; and

(c) Bringing improvement in the overall quality of life in rural areas and to improve nutritional standards of the rural poor through supply of food-grains as part of wage.

Overriding objective was to make provision of wage employment for the rural poor. Under this programme, the shelf of projects was prepared on the basis of felt needs of entire rural community. The Sixth Plan in its report observed,

“A large number of people in the rural areas are without assets and need to be provided wage employment. This segment of the rural poor which largely depends on wage employment virtually has no source of income during the lean agricultural period. The National Rural Employment Programme is conceived in the main to take care of this segment of the rural poor.”

The programme was implemented through District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) at the district level. It was decided that at the district level, 50 per cent of the expenditure would be incurred on wage component, 25 per cent be incurred on social forestry and 10 per cent for the benefit of scheduled caste and scheduled tribes.

Progress and Evaluation of NREP under the Sixth Plan:

During the Sixth Plan period a sum of Rs 1,620 crore was allocated under this programme. But the actual total expenditure both by the Central and State Government was to the extent of Rs 1,834 crore.

During this plan period, there was decline in the utilisation of food-grains mainly due to inadequate arrangements of distribution, lower market price of food-grains at open market and preference for coarse grains instead of rice and wheat supplied under this programme.

Considering this situation the government decided to subsidise food-grains by 37 paisa to 40 paisa per kg for its distribution under this programme from January, 1984. Table 8.2 shows the progress of NREP.

Progress of NREP during the Sixth and Seventh Plan

Table 8.2 shows that during the Sixth Plan about 1775 million mandays of gainful employment was generated as against the target of 1,500 to 2,000 million mandays. The utilisation of food grains was to the extent of 20.57 lakh tonnes. But the programme had no clear cut focus about target group of beneficiaries.

Thus “it is not known how much of this has been directed towards those who are landless and the poorest among the poor. To the extent the programme had apparently lacked a direct focus on the target group population for whom it was meant.”

However, the Seventh Plan in its draft observed that the programme had resulted a substantial impact in respect of stabilisation of wages in rural areas, containing prices of food-grains, creating community assets which are expected to raise the level of living of the rural population.

Progress and Evaluation of NREP under the Seventh Plan:

Seventh Plan allocated an outlay of Rs 2,487 crore for NREP and set a target to generate employment to the extent of 1,445 million mandays.

Regarding the progress of work under NREP, Table 8.2 reveals that during the first four years of the Seventh Plan, total actual expenditure incurred was amounted to Rs 2,940 crore as against the target of Rs 2,487 crore for the entire plan period, Again in respect of employment generation about 1,477.53 million mandays of employment was generated during the first four years as against the target of 1,960 million mandays for the entire Seventh Plan period. During first three years, about 30.10 lakh tonnes of food grains were distributed among the rural poor at subsidised rates.

Essay # 4. Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP):

The Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) was launched on 15th August 1983 with objectives of generating gainful employment opportunities, to create productive assets in rural area and also for the improvement of overall quality of rural life.

In this programme, the guarantee has not been operationalised due to lack of funds. In this programme again, preference in employment was given to landless labourers, women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

This programme is totally funded by the Central Government. While allocating resources to State and Union Territories 50 per cent weightage has been given on the number of agricultural labourers, marginal farmers and marginal workers and the remaining 50 per cent weightage to the incidence of poverty.

The programme also envisaged that wage component of a project should not be less than 50 per cent of the total expenditure on the programme. 10 per cent of the allocations should be earmarked exclusively for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

In this programme various projects like social forestry, Indira Awaas Yojana and Million Wells Scheme were included. In 1989-90, the RLEGP and NREP were merged with Jawahar Rozgar Yojana.

Essay # 5. Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY):

Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) was launched on 28th April, 1989, by the then Prime Minister Late Rajiv Gandhi. In this programme all the existing rural wage employment programmes were merged into JRY. Thus, the NREP and RLEGP were merged within the single programme called JRY. From 1st April 1999, JRY is restructured and renamed as Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY).

Main features of JRY are as given below:

1. JRY has set a target for reaching every single panchayat.

2. The scheme envisaged to benefit 440 lakh of families lying below the poverty line in India through panchayats.

3. In JRY, the Central assistance component would be 80 per cent and the state’s share would be 20 per cent in 1989-90, the centre made a provision of Rs 2100 crore for JRY.

4. In JRY, the allocation of fund among different states has been done in proportion to the size of population below the poverty line only. Further devolution of funds to the districts has been determined by the criteria of its backwardness.

5. JRY made adequate provision of funds for their village panchayats to run its employment scheme for the rural poor. On an average, a village panchayat with its population 3000-4000 people will receive between Rs 80,000 and Rs 1 lakh every year. It was decided to provide employment to at least one member in each poor family for at least 50 to 100 days annually.

6. JRY reserved 30 per cent of the employment generated particularly for women.

Achievements and Evaluation:

In 1989-90 and 1990-91, total employment generated under JRY was 864 and 875 million mandays respectively. In 1991-92, the achievement of JRY in respect of generation of gainful employment was to the tune of 808 million mandays as against the target of 735 million mandays.

In 1992-93, the achievement was 782 million mandays as against the target of 776 million mandays of employment and in 1999-2000, the achievement was 194 million mandays as against of 375.2 million mandays of employment generated during 1998- 99.

The 1999-2000 budgets provide for an allocation of Rs 1,665 crore and the employment generation has been targeted at 396 million mandays. But the total mandays of employment generated under JRY during 1999- 2000 (up to Feb. 2000) was to the extent of 194.5 million mandays.

Again, in respect of JRY, total number of mandays of employment generated during the Eighth Plan was 4,037.4 million as against the target of 4,040.8 million.

Essay # 6. National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP):

On 15th August, 1995, another social welfare scheme, namely, National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) was announced. This multi-dimensional NSAP for the poor encompasses old age pension, family benefit in case of death of the bread winner and maternity benefit.

The NSAP is a centrally sponsored programme with 100 per cent central funding and it is intended to ensure that social protection to the beneficiaries throughout the country is uniformly available without interruption. The NSAP consists of the following three components :

(a) National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS)—providing a pension of Rs.75 per month to destitutes and above 65 years of age.

(b) National Fiamily Benefit Scheme (NFBS)—providing Rs.5,000 in case of death due to natural causes and Rs.10,000 in case of accidental death of the primary bread-winner to the bereaved household.

(c) National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS)—Providing Rs.300 per pregnancy up to the first two live births. This programme involves an expenditure of Rs.867 crore in a full year. In 1999-2000, an outlay of Rs.725 crore has been provided for this scheme.

Regarding the achievements of NSAP, it is observed that the number of beneficiaries under NOAPS were 5.43 million in 2001-2002 as compared to 6.42 million in 1998-99. Number of beneficiaries under NFBS were 0.16 million in 2001-2002 as compared to 0.26 million in 1998-99. Again, number of beneficiaries under NMBS were 1.45 million in 2000-01 as compared to 1.51 million in 1998-99.

Essay # 7. Rural Group Life Insurence Scheme (RGLIS):

The Government had launched a new scheme, namely, Rural Group life Insurance Scheme (RGLIS) on 15th August, 1995 in order to provide life insurance coverage to the rural people of the country. The objective of the scheme is to promote social insurance in the rural areas with the active involvement of the Panchayats and to partly alleviate the distress caused by the death of the bread-winner among the rural poor.

The scheme is being administered by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India and implemented by the Panchayats in the rural areas for the age group of 20-60 years. Under this new scheme, a life cover of          Rs 5,000 is provided to the rural population for an annual premium of Rs 60 to Rs 70 depending upon the age of entry in the Scheme.

As on December 31, 1995, the Scheme has been implemented in 12 states and Union Territories and 50,312 persons under 897 Panchayats have been covered under the scheme.

Essay # 8. Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY)/National Rural Livelihoods:

Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) and allied programmes such as Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) and Million Wells Scheme (MWS) have been restructured into a single self-employment programme called the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) from April 1999. 

The following objectives are:

(i) Introducing focussed approach to poverty alleviation;

(ii) Capitalising advantages of group lending; and

(iii) Overcoming the problems associated with multiplicity of programmes.

The SGSY is conceived as a holistic programme of micro enterprises covering all aspects of self- employment which includes organising rural poor into Self Help Groups (SHGs). It integrates various agencies— District Rural Development Agencies, banks, line departments, Panchayati Raj Institutions, non-government organisations and other semi-government organisations. This programme is basically a self-employment programme.

The objective of SGSY is to bring the existing poor families above the poverty line by providing them income generating assets through a mix of bank credit and government subsidy and to ensure that an assisted family has a monthly net income of at least Rs 2,000. Subsidy under SGSY is uniform at 30 per cent of the project cost subject to a maximum of Rs 7,500.

In respect of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, it is 50 per cent subject to a maximum of Rs 10,000. For groups, the subsidy is 50 per cent subject to a ceiling of Rs 1.25 lakh. There is no monetary limit on subsidy for irrigation projects. SGSY is funded by the Centre and states in the ratio of 75: 25.

Regarding the achievements of SGSY, it is observed that the number of families assisted were 0.90 million in 2003-04 as compared to 1.66 million families assisted under IRDP in 1998-99.

Up to November, 2005, the Centre and Status, sharing the costs on 75: 25 basis, has allocated Rs 8,067 crore, of which Rs 6,980 crore had been utilised to assist 62.75 lakh self-employed.

Since inception in 1999 up to 2012-13 (March 2012) 43.34 lakh SHGs have been formed and 14.46 lakh SHGs have taken up economic activities. Moreover, a total number of 179 lakh Swarojgaries have been assisted with a total investment of Rs 46,273.55 crores. Out of total Swarojgaries, 86.26 lakh SC/STs and 109.02 lakh women Swarojgaries have been assisted which constitutes 47.47 per cent and 60.88 per cent respectively.


The SGSY has been restructured as National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), now renamed as ‘Aajeevika’ in order to implement it in a mission mode in a phased manner for targeted and time bound delivery of results.

The main feature of NRLM is as follows:


“To reduce poverty by enabling the poor households to access gainful self employment and skilled wage employment opportunities resulting in appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong and sustainable grassroots institutions of the poor.”

NRLM Goal:

Every family residing in the rural areas should be out of object poverty and enjoy a decent quality of life.

NRLM Guiding Principles:

The guiding principles include:

a. Social mobilization and building strong institutions of the poor is critical for unleashing the innate capabilities of the poor.

b. An external dedicated and sensitive support structure is required to induce the social mobilization, institution building and empowerment process.

c. Facilitating knowledge dissemination, skill building, access to credit, access to marketing, and access to other livelihoods services enable then to enjoy a portfolio of sustainable livelihoods.

d. Task under NRLM is to reach out to 7 crore rural poor households (35 crore population) and stay engaged with them till they come out of object poverty.

e. Building strong, self managed and self reliant institutions of the poor through dedicated support structures, financial inclusion, sustainable livelihood promotion and partnerships with NGOs, banks, training institutions, private sectors.

Main Components of NRLM:

Main components of NRLM includes universal social mobilisation through formation of SHGs; form strong peoples institutions; universal inclusion furthered through linkage with SHGs, banks for securing credit; capacity building and training; provision of revolving fund; and enuring monitoring, evaluation and transparency.

NRLM would be uniformly extended to all States and Union Territories, except Delhi and Chandigarh. The states have been given the prerogative to decide on the phasing on NRLM in their states.

Essay # 9. Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY):

Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) has been restructured and streamlined with effect from April 1999, and has been renamed as Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY). This is basically a wage employment programme. The primary objective of JGSY is creation of demand driven village infrastructure including durable assets at the village level to enable the rural poor to increase the opportunities for sustained employment.

The secondary objective is generation of supplementary employment for the unemployed poor in the rural areas. The wage employment under the programme is given to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.

While there is no sectoral earmarking of resources under JGSY, 22.5 per cent of the annual allocation must be spent on beneficiary schemes for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes and 3 per cent of annual allocation is to be utilised for creation of barrier free infrastructure for the disabled. Another objective is to generate supplementary employment for the unemployed rural poor.

Regarding the achievements of JGSY, it is observed that total mandays of employment generated under this programme were 268.32 million in 2000-01 as compared to 375.2 million mandays under JRY in 1998-99.

Essay # 10. Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY):

Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) was launched in September 2001. The scheme aims at providing wage employment in rural areas as also food security, along with the creation of durable community, social and economic assets. The scheme is implemented on a cost sharing ratio of 75: 25 between the Centre and the States.

The ongoing programmes like Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) and Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY) would subsequently be fully integrated within the scheme with effect from April 1, 2002. In 2003-04, total employment generated under SGRY-I and SGRY-II were 372.83 million and 391.65 million respectively.

In 2005-06, 82.18 crore person days were generated with the centre releasing Rs 5,497 crore as cash component and about 37 lakh tones of food-grains to the States/UTs. Besides, in 2007-08, up to December, 2007, the number of person days generated under SGRY was 11.60 crore, while the Centres’ contribution in terms of the cash and food-grains components up to December, 2007 were Rs 1,142 crore and 9.55 lakh tonnes respectively.

Essay # 11. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY):

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched on December 25, 2000, as a 100 per cent centrally sponsored scheme. The primary objective of PMGSY is to provide all-weather connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas of the country having population of 500 persons and above in plain areas and 250 persons and above (as per 2001 census) in special category states, selected tribal and desert areas.

It also permits upgradation of existing rural roads. In 2001-02, an amount of Rs 2,500 crore was allocated for this scheme. Since inception, projects for providing new connectivity to 1, 44,717 habitations with a road length of 5, 44,462 km have been cleared at an estimated cost of Rs 1,82,560 crore including upgradation cost.

A total of 3, 99,979 km. road length has been completed and new connectivity has been provided to over 97,838 habitations upto March 2014. During 2013-14, about 25,316 km of all-weather road including new connectivity to 6,560 habitations has been completed at an expenditure of Rs 13,095 crore. Upgradation selected existing roads has also been taken up.

The programme is funded mainly from the accruals of diesel cess in the Central Road Fund.

In addition, support of the multilateral funding agencies and the domestic financial institutions are being obtained to meet the financial requirements of the programme. National Rural Road Development Agency (NRRDA), an agency of the Ministry of Rural Development registered under the Societies Registration Act, provides operational and technical support for the programme.

Essay # 12. Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY):

Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) was introduced in 2000-01 with the objective of focusing on village level development in five critical areas, i.e., health, primary education, drinking water, housing and rural roads, with an overall objective of improving the quality of life of people living in the rural areas.

This scheme constitutes the following programmes within its fold:

(i) Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (Gramin Awas):

This scheme is to be implemented on the pattern of Indira Awas Yojana with the objectives of sustainable habitat development at the village level and to meet the growing housing needs of the rural poor,

(ii) Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana—Rural Drinking Water Project:

Under this programme, a minimum 25 per cent of the total allocation is to be utilised by the respective States/UTs on projects/schemes for water conservation, water harvesting, water recharge and sustainability of drinking water sources in respect of areas under Desert Development Programme and Drought Prone Areas Programme.

(iii) Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY):

PMGY launched in 2000-01 envisages allocation of additional central assistance to the states and UTs for selected basic services such as primary health, primary education, rural shelter, rural drinking water, nutrition and rural electrification. For 2003-04 as well as 2004-05, the annual allocation of additional central assistance for PMGY was Rs 2,800 crore.

Essay # 13. Food for Work Programme, 2001:

Food for Work Programme was initially launched with effect from February 2001 for five months and was further extended. The programme aims at augmenting food security through wage employment in the drought affected rural areas in eight states, i.e., Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttaranchal.

The centre makes available appropriate quantity of food-grains free of cost to each of the drought affected States as additionality under the programme. Wages to be paid by the State Government can be paid partly in kind (up to 5 kgs of food-grains per manday) and partly in cash. The workers are paid the balance wages in cash, such that they are assured of the notified Minimum Wages.

This programme stands extended up to March 31, 2002 in respect of notified “natural calamity affected Districts.” For 2004-05, Rs 2,020 crore have been allocated for the programme in addition to 20 lakh tonnes of food-grains.

Essay # 14. Annapurna:

The Annapurna scheme came into effect from April 1, 2000 as a 100 per cent centrally Sponsored Scheme. It aims at providing food security to meet the requirement of those senior citizens who though eligible for pensions under the National Old Age Pension Scheme, are not getting the same.

Food-grains are provided to the beneficiaries at subsidised rates of Rs.2 per kg of wheat and Rs.3 per kg of rice. The scheme is operational in 25 States and 5 Union Territories. More than 6.08 lakh families have been identified and the benefits of the scheme are passing on to them.

Essay # 15. National Food for Work Programme (NFFWP):

The National Food for Work Programme was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) in November 2004 in the 150 most backward districts to generate additional supplementary wage employment with food security. States receive food-grains under NFFWP free of cost.

The focus of the programme is mostly related to work relating to water conservation, drought proofing (including afforestation and tree plantation), land development, flood control/protection (including drainage in waterlogged areas) and rural connectivity in terms of all-weather roads.

In 2004-05, allocation of Rs 2,020 crore and 20 lakh tonnes of food-grains generated 7.85 crore person days of employment. In 2005-06, of the allocation of Rs 4,500 crore and 15 lakh tonnes of food-grains (Revised), Rs 219 crore and 11.58 lakh metric tonnes of food-grains had been released up to January 27, 2006. About 17.03 lakh person-days were generated up to December 2005.

Essay # 16. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme Act (MGNREGA):

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) was implemented from February 2, 2006 after passing of the NREG Act in the Parliament in September 2005. This scheme is now being launched in 200 identified districts of the country with the objective of providing 100 days of guaranteed unskilled wage employment to each rural household opting for it.

The outgoing programmes of SGRY and National Food for Work Programme (NFFWP) have been subsumed under NREGA in these districts. NREGA will gradually cover all districts of the country within five years. This is for the first time a job guarantee scheme has been introduced in the country.

The NREGA, being a demand driven scheme, has its definite focus on works relating to water conservation, drought proofing, land development, flood control/protection and rural connectivity in terms of all-weather roads.

Of the Rs 11,300 crore allocated for NREGA in 2006-07 (BE), Rs 6,714.98 crore was released up to January 31, 2007. Till January 31, 2007, about 3.47 crore job cards have been issued and of the 1.50 crore households, who have demanded employment, 1.47 crore household have been provided employment under this scheme.

Under this scheme, up to December 2006, of the 53.65 crore person-days of employment generated, 21.13 crore were for women, and of about 5.81 lakh works taken up, 2.34 lakh were completed.

The coverage of scheme was expanded to 330 districts in 2007-08. Again the coverage was extended to all rural districts of the country in 2008-09. At present 619 districts are covered under MGNREGA. During the year 2008-09, more than 4.51 crore households were provided employment under the scheme.

As against the budgeted outlay of Rs 33,000 crore for the year 2013-14, an amount of Rs 5,894.03 crore has been released to the states/UTs.

The number of households covered under the scheme increased considerably from 3.39 crore in 2007-08 to 3.80 crore in 2011-12 and then to 4.78 crore in 2013-14 with an average wage employment of 46 person days.

Out of the 219.72 crore person days of employment created under the scheme during 2013-14, 23 per cent and 17 per cent were created in favour of SC and ST population respectively and 53.0 per cent in favour of women. The average wage rate per day has also been increased from Rs 65 in 2006-07 to Rs 132 in 2013-14.

However, the successful implementation of MGNREGA finally depends on two important factors are:

(i) efficient and regular functioning of Panchayat institutions and

(ii) the proper use of Right to Information Act.

Thus NREGS provides a social safety net for the vulnerable groups of people of our society and thereby made an attempt to attain growth with equity.

Essay # 17. Present Scenario of Rural Development Programmes in India:

Thus, we have seen that under the present Ministry of Rural Development two important schemes, viz., Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) and Jawahar Razgar Yojana (JRY) are being implemented throughout the country through a mix of government allocation or subsidy and bank credit.

In recent years, two more schemes, viz., Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM) and Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) are also included as two special sub-schemes of IRDP.

Targets and achievements of all these programmes in recent years have already been analysed in Table 8.1. During the Eighth Plan, the rural development programmes will be revamped completely. A decision has been taken to prepare a basket of rural development programmes from which the States can choose suitable schemes.

The States will thus have adequate flexibility in providing rural development programmes to the people.

Achievements of special employment and poverty Alleviation Programmes in Rual Areas

Total budgetary allocation for rural development has been enhanced from Rs 10,956 crore in the Seventh Plan to Rs 30,000 crore in the Eighth Plan showing a three-fold hike in the allocation. Again the total allocation in rural development increased from Rs 6,609 crore in 1995-96 to Rs 11,960 crore in 2002-03 and then to Rs 15,654 crore in 2006-07.

This is no doubt a welcome trend. But through mere increase in budgetary allocation alone the lot of the rural poor cannot be improved. Rather it requires a sincere bureaucratic attempt, timely action, selection of proper schemes and their proper implementation. Moreover, expenditure on rural development as per cent of total government expenditure decreased from 2.69 per cent in 2006-07 to 2.46 per cent in 2007-08.

But the things are not moving so smoothly. On May 4, 1993 a parliamentary committee tabled its report in the parliament where it lambasted the Ministry of Rural Development and expressed deep anguish over the pattern of expenditure incurred by the department on its various development schemes during the past three financial years, i.e., from 1990-91 to 1992-93.

The report revealed that a large chunk of allocation had been shown as spent in the last quarter of each financial year. This amply demonstrated, as the standing committee on urban and rural development commented, that such a pattern of expenditure was a glaring reflection on the “lack of proper planning and implementation leading to wasteful expenditures without any productive results.”

Showing a break-up of the year-wise expenditures, the committee disclosed that 41.8 per cent of the fund was actually utilised in the last three months of 1990-91 followed by 38.85 per cent in 1991-92 and 35 per cent in 1992-93.

What is still more stunning rather than shocking was that not a single rupee was spent till December 1992 out of Rs 10 crore allocated under the rural housing sector and a sum of Rs 5 crore which was sanctioned only in the last quarter.

Considering the above position it can be established that a whopping amount running into crores go down the drain in the fair name of rural development year after year and those responsible for such a lapse go unpunished. Thus, under such a situation, if the department concerned does not shed its inertia no amount of money would help the country to achieve its objective of bringing about a change in the rural scenario.

Thus, the present scenario demands that if the rural development scheme is to be implemented in its right spirit then there should be a sincere and timely attempt on the part of bureaucratic administration, banking administration and political administration.

Moreover, sincere attempt should also be made for proper identification and selection of target group beneficiary, creation of appropriate productive assets, controlling misuse of loan, considering the regional differences for determining the strategy of such programmes, checking leakages and corruption involved in the implementation of programmes and to arrange for growing and spontaneous public participation in every aspect of such programmes.

Moreover, the success of this rural development programme in realising its goal of lifting all the people above the poverty line in truest sense and also in generating the scope of both self-employment and wage employment throughout the country finally rests on arousing the consciousness of the rural people about their rights and benefits involved in all such programmes.

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