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.
The following major programmes are being operated by the Department 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) Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana(SAGY) for Model Villages
(vii) Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission for Rural Growth Centres
In addition, the Ministry also has schemes for capacity development of rural functionaries; Information, Education and Communication; and Monitoring and Evaluation.