The Department of Rural Development is implementing a number of programmes in rural areas through the state Governments for poverty reduction,employment generation, rural infrastructure habitant development, provision of basic minimum services etc. The important programmes presently being implemented by the Department are :
Keeping in view the fact that Rural Roads are vital to economic growth and measures for poverty alleviation in the village, Government have launched a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme called the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). The Programme seeks to provide connectivity to all unconnected habitations in the rural areas with a population of more than 500 persons through good All-weather roads by the end of the Tenth Plan Period. In respect of the Hill States (North-East, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttaranchal) and the Desert Areas, the objective would be to connect habitations with a population of 250 persons and above.
The Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) is the single self employment programme for the rural poor. The Yojana which came in to effect from 1.4.1999, has been conceived as a holistic programme covering all aspects of self employment like organization of rural poor into Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their capacity building, training, planning of activity clusters, infrastructure development, financial assistance through bank credit and subsidy and marketing support etc.
Housing is one of the basic requirements for human survival. Therefore, construction of houses was included as one of the major activities under the National Rural Employment Programme which begun in 1980. Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) begun in 1983. Indira Awaas Yojana IAY was launched during 1985-1986 as a sub scheme of RLEGP and thereafter it continued as a sub scheme of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana. From 1st January 1986 IAY was delinked from JRY and made an independent scheme. The Government of India, in 1998 announced a National Housing and Habitat policy which aims at providing “Housing for all” and facilitating the construction of 20 lakh additional housing units (13 lakh in rural areas and 7 in urban areas) with emphasis on standing benefits to the poor and the deprived. The intention is to end shelterlessness and ensure the conversion of all unserviceable kucca houses by pucca houses by the end of 11th plan period. The Action plan is being implemented through various programmes such as Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY), Credit cum Subsidy Scheme for Rural Housing, Innovative Scheme for Rural Housing and Habitat Development, Rural Building Centres, Equity Contribution by Ministry of Rural Development to HUDCO and National Mission for Rural Housing and Habitat.
Training has gained an important position in rural development activities concerning various poverty alleviation programmes. As training, research and development are closely linked, continuing education of both policy makers and programme implementers is imperative. Towards facilitating this, National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) has been conducting training programmes, workshops, seminars and international programmes. In addition, extensive support has been provided to a number of training and research institutions dealing with issues related to rural development.
In order to strengthen the DRDAs and to make them more professional and effective, a new centrally sponsored scheme, namely, DRDA Administration has been introduced from 1st April, 1999 based on the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee known as the Shankar Committee. The scheme replaces the earlier practice of allocating percentage of programme funds to the administrative cost. Under this, a separate provision has been made to meet the administrative expenses of the DRDAs who are expected to effectively manage and implement the schemes.
Information, education and communication (IEC) plays a pivotal role in creating awareness, mobilizing people and making the development participatory through advocacy and by transferring knowledge, skills, and techniques to the people. To meet the communication needs of the various programmes of the Ministry holistically, an integrated IEC strategy envisaging optimum utilization of available modes of communication, conventional and non-conventional has been evolved in order to effectively meet the communications needs of the programmes of the Ministry.
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of development activities provide various stakeholders in these activities with better means for learning from past experience, improving service delivery, planning and allocating resources, and demonstrating results as part of accountability to key stakeholders. A comprehensive multi-level, multi-tool system of Monitoring and Evaluation of the policy and implementation environments of the programmes of the Ministry has been evolved over the years. In view of the vast canvas for implementation of the programmes of the Ministry, the monitoring of the programmes is taken up at various levels.
The overall monitoring of all the programmes at the national level is carried out by the Monitoring Divisions of the Ministry. The Programme Divisions monitor the respective programmes implemented by them. The Programmes of the Ministry are basically implemented by the State Implementing Agencies. At the State level, the Secretary/Commissioner dealing with the Programme monitors its implementation. The actual execution of the Programmes takes place at the District/Village level through DRDAs, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and other implementing Agencies, who monitor the execution of the programmes at the grass root level.
In order that the programme implmentation reflects the needs and aspirations of the local people the Panchayati Raj Institutions are considered as an important tool for the implementation of the programmes of the Ministry. As a step toward decentralization of the planning process and implementation of the programmes, strengthening of the Panchayati Raj Institutions has been envisaged through the Constitutional (73rd) Amendment Act, 1992 and with the passage of this Act, constitutional status has been provided to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). Therefore, under most of the rural development programmes, a crucial role has been assigned to PRIs for programme implementation. Sustained efforts are being made to strengthen local governance, institutionalizing people’s participation and empowering women through PRIs. The State governments are being pursued for delegation of adequate administrative and financial powers to PRIs and a significant change has been noticed in this regard.
Under this department there are three autonomous bodies viz., Council of Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) and National Rural Road Development Agency (NRRDA).
Council of Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) has been set up to encourage participation of voluntary agencies in rural development and also to provide financial assistance to them in their rural development projects. CAPART directly deals with voluntary agencies and their projects.
National Institute of Rural Development NIRD is engaged in planning and coordination of national level training. For state and district level training, assistance is given to State Institutes of Rural Development (SIRD) and Extention Training Centres (ETC) respectively.
National Rural Road Development Agency (NRRDA) recently registered under society registration Act, 1860, extends support to the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to advice on technical specification, project appraisal, appointment of part time quality control monitors, management of Monitoring system and submits periodic reports to ministry.