Rural Development
           INDIA has been a welfare state since independence and the primary objective of all
      governmental endeavours has been the welfare of its people. The policies and programmes have
      been designed with the aim of alleviation of rural poverty which has been one of the primary
      objectives of planned development in India. It was realized that a sustainable strategy of poverty
      alleviation has to be based on increasing the productive employment opportunities in the process
      of growth itself. Elimination of poverty, ignorance, diseases and inequality of opportunities and
      providing a better and higher quality of life were the basic premise upon which all the plans and
      blue-prints of development were built. Rural development implies both the economic betterment
      of people as well as greater social transformation. In order to provide the rural people with better
      prospects for economic development, increased participation of people in the rural development
      programmes, decentralization of planning, better enforcement of land reforms and greater access
      to credit are envisaged. Initially, main thrust for development was laid on agriculture, industry,
      communication, education, health and allied sectors but later on it was realized that accelerated
      development can be provided only if governmental efforts were adequately supplemented by
      direct and indirect involvement of people at the grassroot level.
           Accordingly, in 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 in 1952, was an important
      landmark in the history of rural development. This programme underwent many changes and was
      handled by different ministries. In October, 1974, the Department of Rural Development came
      into existence as a part of Ministry of Food and Agriculture. In August, 1979, this Department
      was elevated to the status of a new Ministry of Rural Reconstruction. That ministry was renamed
      as Ministry of Rural Development and again converted into a Department under the Ministry of
      Agriculture and Rural Development. It was later rechristened as Ministry of Agriculture in
      September, 1985. In 1991 the Department was upgraded as Ministry of Rural Development.
      Another Department viz., Department of Wasteland Development was created under this
      ministry in 1992.
           The Ministry was again renamed as the Ministry of Rural Development in 1999 with three
      departments viz., Department of Rural Development, Department of Land Resources and
      Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation. The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation
      was made a separate Ministry from July 2011. Presently, the Ministry of Rural Development
      consists of two departments, namely, Department of Rural Development and Department of
      Land Resources.
      Relevant Website:
           www.rural.nic.in
           www.dolr.gov.in
      Major Programmes for Rural Development
           The major programmes being operated by the Ministry of Rural Development are: Mahatma