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Poverty Reduction Strategies for Rural Development in India

Rural Development in India is an important factor to remove poverty and for the growth and development of an Indian economy. India was primarily an agriculture-based country. Agriculture contributes almost one-fifth of the gross domestic product in India. In order to increase in growth of agriculture, the Government has planned out various programs for rural development. Poverty reduction strategies by Hindrise Foundation would transform the roadmap for needy and underprivileged ones.

The Ministry of Rural Development is an apex body for formulating policies, regulations, and acts pertaining to poverty reduction strategies. Agriculture, dairy poultry, fisheries, and handicrafts are the primary contributors to the rural business and economy.

Rural Development reduces Poverty

Rural development aims to improve rural people’s livelihoods equitably and sustainably, also socially and environmentally, through better access to assets (natural, physical, technological, and social capital) and control over productive capital (in its financial or economic and political forms), which enable them to improve their livelihoods on the sustainable and equitable basis.

The basic objectives of the Rural Development Programmes have been alleviation of poverty and unemployment by the creation of fundamental social and economic infrastructure, training to rural unemployed youth, framing poverty reduction strategies, and employing marginal labors to discourage seasonal and permanent migration to the urban areas.

Role and Function of the Government in Poverty Reduction Strategies

The Government’s policy and programs have emphasized poverty alleviation, generation of employment, poverty reduction strategies income opportunities, infrastructure provision, and basic facilities to meet the rural poor’s needs. The Ministry of Rural Development is an apex body for formulating policies, regulations, and acts pertaining to the rural sector’s development. Agriculture, handicrafts, fisheries, poultry, and dairy are primary contributors to the rural business and economy.

The introduction of Bharat Nirman, the Government’s project, in collaboration with State Governments and the Panchayati Raj Institutions, is the major step towards improving the rural sector. The Ministry of Rural Development introduced the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to improve India’s rural sector’s living conditions and sustenance. The Ministry of Rural Development is engaged in legislations for the social and economic improvement of the rural populace. 

The ministry consists of 3 departments by the Department of Rural Development, Department of Drinking Water Supply, and the Department of Land Resources. Under the department of rural development, there are 3 autonomous bodies by (CAPART) Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology, National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), and National Rural Road Development Agency (NRRDA).

Objective of Ministry of Rural Development

The objective of ministry can broadly be elaborated as to encourage, promote and assist voluntary action in the implementation of projects for the enhancement of rural prosperity, strengthen and promote voluntary efforts in the rural development with a focus on injecting new technological inputs, act as a national nodal point for co-ordination of efforts at generation and dissemination of technologies relevant to the rural development in its wide sense, assist and promote programs aimed at the conservation of the environment and natural resources, and implement poverty reduction strategies.

However, various ministries in a central government are engaged directly or indirectly for the implementation of many programs and schemes for the development of rural areas such as Ministries of Agriculture, New and Renewable Energy, Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology, Women and Child Development, and Tribal Affairs, etc. Besides, to strengthen the grass root level democracy, the Government is constantly endeavoring to empower Panchayat Raj Institutions in terms of powers, functions, and finance. Gram Sabha, Self-Help Groups, and PRIs have been accorded adequate roles to make participatory democracy meaningful & effective.

Poverty Reduction Strategies for Rural Development

The rural economy is an integral part of the overall Indian economy. A majority of poor reside in rural areas; therefore is the requirement of poverty reduction strategies. The main goal of rural development is to improve the quality of life of rural people by alleviating poverty reduction strategies through the instrument of self-employment and wage employment programs, by providing community infrastructure facilities such as electricity, drinking water, road connectivity, health facilities, rural housing, education and promoting decentralization of powers to strengthen Panchayati raj institutions, etc. 

The different poverty reduction strategies of the Government for rural development are mentioned below:

different poverty reduction strategies

Integrated Rural Development Program

IRDP has assisted rural poor in subsidy and bank credit for productive employment opportunities by successive plan periods. Subsequently, Training of the Rural Youth for Self Employment, Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas, Supply of Improved Tool Kits to Rural Artisans, and Ganga Kalyan Yojana was introduced sub-programs of Integrated Rural Development Program to take care of the specific needs of the rural population.

Wage Employment Programs

Poverty reduction strategies such as assistance to the rural poor families bring them above a poverty line by ensuring a healthy sustained level of income by social mobilization, training, and capacity building. Wage Employment Programs provide employment opportunities during lean agricultural seasons and in times of floods, droughts, and other natural calamities. They create rural infrastructure which supports economic activity. It encompasses Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, etc. NREGA is an act of parliament. It aims at magnifying the livelihood security of the people in rural areas by ensuring 100 days of wage employment in the financial year to the rural household whose members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. The objective is to create durable assets and strengthen the livelihood resource base of the rural poor.

Employment Assurance Scheme 

Under one of the poverty reduction strategies, the EAS was designed to employ the form of manual work in the lean agricultural season. The works taken up under this program were expected to lead to creating durable economic and social infrastructure and address the people’s felt needs.

Food for Work Program

The Food for Work program was started as a component of the EAS in eight notified drought-affected states of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, and Uttaranchal. The program aims at food provision by wage employment. Foodgrains are supplied to states free of cost. However, lifting of food grains for the scheme from Food Corporation of India godowns has been slow.

Rural Housing

It is provided free housing to families in rural areas. It targets scheduled castes/scheduled tribes, households, and freed bonded laborers. The rural housing program has certainly enabled most BPL families to acquire houses. The Samagra Awas Yojana was taken up in 25 blocks to ensure housing convergence, provision of safe drinking water, sanitation, and drainage facilities. The Housing and Urban Development Corporation has extended its activities to the rural areas, providing loans at the concessional rate of interest to economically weaker sections and low-income group households for the construction of houses.

Social Security Programs

Democratic decentralization & centrally supported Social Assistance Programs were 2 major initiatives of the government. The National Social Assistance Program (NSAP), launched, marks a significant step towards fulfilling the Directive Principles of State Policy. The NSAP has 3 components: a) National Old Age Pension Scheme; b) National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)c) National Maternity Benefit Scheme.

The NSAP is a centrally-sponsored program aiming to ensure a minimum national standard of social assistance over and above the assistance that states provide from their own resources. The NOAPS provides the monthly pension to destitute BPL persons above the age of 65 years. The NFBS is the scheme for BPL families who are given some amount after the breadwinner’s death. The NMBS provides support for nutritional intake for pregnant women. In addition to NSAP, the Annapurna scheme provides food security to senior citizens eligible for pension under NOAPS. Still, it could not receive it due to budget constraints.

Land Reforms

In the agro-based economy, the structure of land ownership is central to the wellbeing of the people. The government has strived to change an ownership pattern of cultivable land, the abolition of intermediaries, the abolition of zamindari, ceiling laws, the security of tenure to tenants, consolidation of land holdings, and banning of a tenancy are a few measures undertaken. The land record management system is the pre-condition for an effective land reform program. The scheme for Strengthening of Revenue Administration and Updating of Land Records was introduced in Orissa and Bihar.

Government Schemes 

Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) – Helping micro-enterprises by extending loans to beneficiaries to purchase assets and subsidizing asset costs. To raise the families of identified target groups living below the poverty line by developing sustainable self-employment opportunities in the rural sector.

Public Distribution System (PDS) – Distribution of subsidized food and non-food items to India’s poor.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS)– Providing meals to school children and improving their nutritional status.

National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) – Financial compensation provided to kin in a below poverty line primary breadwinner’s natural death.

National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS) – A pension scheme for people of old age.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) – Help provide livelihood security by guaranteeing minimum days of work for rural labor.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) – To ensure financial inclusion by affordably ensuring access to financial services. 

Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana- A housing scheme for the rural poor.

National Maternity Benefit Scheme- To provide Rs.6000 to a pregnant mother aged above 19 years. The sum is provided normally 12–8 weeks before the birth in three installments and can also be availed even after the child’s death.

State Rural connectivity: Under PMGSY, all-weather roads’ construction is not permitted if the villages are less than 500 meters away from the main route/road. The roads and bridges will be covered and connected under the scheme with state support. 

Mukhya Mantri Awas Yojna: The State Government has decided to start the Chief Minister Rural Housing Scheme. The main objective of the scheme is providing housing to the houseless SC/ST families. 

Working Plan for Water Storage: The plan is based on a survey of the catchment areas and water direction flow. Based on watershed specificities, identification, and cost estimation of the probable water harvesting structures is made. The nature of pond deepening and renovation, check dam construction, and other watershed activities will be taken up in a planned and systematic manner. 

Sutradhar Yojana: The establishment has been planned to facilitate access in rural areas to electronic communication and information and government schemes and programs. 


Rural development has witnessed several changes over the years in its emphasis, approaches, strategies, and programs. It has assumed the new dimension and perspectives as a consequence. Poverty reduction strategies can make rural development richer only through participation in development. People’s participation is one of the foremost pre-requisites of the development process both from procedural and philosophical perspectives. The development planners and administrators need to solicit different rural people’s participation to make plans participatory.