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Development of the rural economy has been one of the prime concerns of our planning process. Accordingly, efforts have been made on a continuous basis for improving the economic and social well-being of people in rural areas on a sustainable basis. The Department of Rural Development within the Ministry of Rural Development is the nodal organisation committed towards ushering in an all round upliftment of the rural masses. This is being ensured through the introduction of a wide spectrum of programmes/schemes for the rural economy. The schemes aim at bridging the rural-urban divide; poverty alleviation; employment generation; infrastructure development and social security.  The department also provides the necessary support services and other quality inputs such as assistance for strengthening of District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) Administration and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs); training & research; human resource development; development of voluntary action, etc for proper implementation of the schemes and programmes.

Some of the important programmes/schemes being implemented are :-        

  • National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (NREGA):- is an Act of the people, by the people and for the people. It aims at enhancing the livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. This work guarantee also serves the objectives of generating productive assets, protecting the environment, empowering rural women, reducing rural-urban migration and fostering social equity in the rural areas.



  • Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana (SGRY):- aims to provide additional wage employment with food security, alongside the creation of durable community, social and economic infrastructure in the rural areas. The programme is self-targeting in nature with special emphasis on providing wage employment to women, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and parents of children withdrawn from hazardous occupations. It is exclusively implemented by the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).



  • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) :- aims at providing connectivity by way of good all-weather roads for every habitation in the rural areas, that has more than 1000 persons, within three years and for every habitation with a population of more than 500 persons, by the end of the tenth plan. In respect of the Hill States (North-East, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttaranchal) and the Desert Areas (as identified in the Desert Development Programme) as well as the Tribal areas, the objective is to connect habitations with a population of 250 persons and above.



  • Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY):- is a subsidy based scheme for providing houses to the poor in the rural areas. It aims at helping rural people below the poverty line belonging to SCs/STs, freed bonded labourers and non-SC/ST categories in construction of dwelling units and upgradation of existing unserviceable kutcha houses by providing grant-in-aid.



  • Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY):- is a self employment programme for the rural poor, aimed at bringing the assisted poor families above the poverty line by providing them income generating assets through a mix of bank credit and Governmental subsidy. It also aims at establishing a large number of micro enterprises in the rural areas based on the ability of poor and potential of each area.



  • Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA):- aims to meet the gaps in physical and social infrastructure in the identified rural clusters consisting of 10-15 villages around towns with a population of one lakh or less, to further their growth potential.

In order to ensure that the implementation of these programmes reflect the needs and aspirations of the local people, the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are considered as an important tool. Therefore, under most of the rural development programmes, a crucial role has been assigned to the PRIs. They constitute the bedrock for the implementation of most of rural development programmes. Accordingly, sustained efforts have been made to strengthen local governance, institutionalising people's participation and empowering women through PRIs. The State governments are being pursued for delegation of adequate administrative and financial powers to panchayati raj.

For effective and successful implementation of the rural development programmes, district rural development agencies (DRDAs) have been set up in each of the districts. They are visualised as specialized agencies capable of managing the anti-poverty programmes on one hand and effectively relating them to the efforts of poverty eradication on the other hand. For this purpose, they are expected to secure inter- sectoral and inter-departmental coordination. Besides, it is the duty of DRDAs to oversee and ensure that the benefits specifically earmarked for certain target groups (SC/ST, women and disabled) actually reach them. In order to promote transparency in the implementation of programmes, they publish periodically, the progress details of the different programmes. They are responsible for ensuring financial discipline in respect of the funds received by them, whether from Central or State Governments.

Thus, given the role of DRDA, a programme called as the District Rural Development Agency Administration is being implemented with the primary objective of professionalising them so that they are able to effectively manage the rural development programmes and interact purposively with other agencies.

Also, under the department of rural development, there are three autonomous bodies:-
  • Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) has been set for catalysing, coordinating and encouraging participation of voluntary agencies in rural development and also to provide financial assistance to them in their rural development projects. Thus, it directly deals with the voluntary agencies and their projects. Today, it is a major promoter of rural development in India, assisted by over 12,000 voluntary organizations across the country in implementing a wide range of development initiatives. It also aims at building and strengthening village level people and organisations; creating employment opportunities and economic self-reliance; creation of community assets and fulfillment of basic needs; conservation and regeneration of the environment and natural resources.



  • National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) is the country's apex body for undertaking training, research, action research and consultancy functions in the rural development sector. Its mission is to facilitate rural development vigorously through governmental and non-governmental initiatives. It is engaged in planning and coordination of national level training.



  • National Rural Road Development Agency (NRRDA) extends support to 'Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)' through advice on technical specification, project appraisal, appointment of part time quality control monitors, management of monitoring system and submission of periodic reports to ministry of rural development. The agency is envisaged as a compact, professional and multi-disciplinary body.

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Ministry of Rural Development
Operational Guidelines of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
Ministry of Panchayati Raj
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