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Rural Development Interventions (RDIs):

Form, Nature, and Challenges

What are Rural Development
Interventions (RDIs) ?
RDIs in a broader sense include both self-
initiated actions of the community and a
variety of external interventions aimed at
influencing developmental conditions and
outcomes in rural areas.

RDIs may originate from state or civil society

or market agencies either independently or in
RDIs typically come in certain forms like:
Law or Act
Programme /Scheme/Project
Some RDIs may even take simultaneously
multiple forms
RDIs may aim at addressing one or more
development goals like growth, equity,
empowerment, and poverty alleviation.
RDIs may address one or more goals like
growth, equity, empowerment, poverty
alleviation, and improving quality of life.
There can be both positive and negative
outcomes of RDIs for development.
RDIs may contribute to and catalyze
changes. But may also lead to certain
negatives like creation of dependency, loss of
autonomy, elite capture, and externalities
For a clear analysis of RDIs, it is necessary to
understand the true form and nature of RDIs
RDIs by Form or Type of Instrument
1. Policy:
A broad statement of intent and strategy to
address the problems and challenges of a
sector or area or community.

Ex: National Policy on Farmers

National Education Policy
National Policy for Women Empowerment

Influence of a Policy would be limited unless

accompanied by concrete action
2. Law:

Enacted to create a legal framework for

needed action and compliance by concerned
agencies to bring about the desired changes
in a particular field.

Ex: Land Ceilings Act,

Untouchability Act;
Right to Education (RTE) Act
3. Programme: A broad plan of action with a set
of objectives, strategies, resources, methods of
implementation for addressing a major
developmental problem in a given time frame.
A programme enables combining and directing
systematically the efforts and resources of
many agencies towards achieving the goal.
National Watershed Development Programme
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA),
National Rural Health Mission (NHRM);
National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
4. Project / Scheme:

A specific development activity framed either

independently or as part of a programme for
implementation in an area or sector to achieve
a particular objective in a time bound way.

Mid-day Meal Scheme
Drinking Water Project
5. Technology:
A new hardware or technique or method of
production/work which can lead to cost/time
saving, improved yields, reduced hassles etc.
Ex: HYV Seed, SRI Farming, Tubewell, Mobile,
Vaccination, Toilet, Tractor, TV, Computer,
6. Organisations : Formal or informal bodies or
associations created for governance, planning
and implementation of development programmes
or projects in a sustainable way.

Such organisations may be state or community-

owned. Ex: NDDB, NABARD, KVIC, NGOs,
Life Cycle or Stages of a RDI
1. 2.
Policy Strate PSD-IO-IL
goals gies

7. Lessons /
RDI Features

6. Impact
5. Operation
Working and Challenges of RDIs
Many RDIs but varied results in India.
Some of the successful ones are :
Green Revolution, Operation Flood;
Land reforms in West Bengal and Kerala;
Hand-pumps in Karnataka;
Mid-Day-Meal in Tamil Nadu,
Rural Electrification in Gujarat,
SHGs in AP.
Their better strategy, design, and influence
influenced their success
RDIs in general have faced variety of
challenges in different stages of their life cycle
Problems and Challenges of RDIs
1. Low Priority for Welfare & Redistribution
2. Low and inadequate resources to RD and
Agriculture (20.5% allocation under Planning)
3. Follow reformist rather than radical approach
4. Top down planning and implementation.
5. Lack of Integrated Approach
6. Multiplicity of RDIs
7. Inadequate and faulty Strategy and Design
8. Too much focus on Achievement Target
numbers than on actual result and impact.
9. Poor Implementation
9. Poor Implementation: Goes with
- Diversion, Leakage & Non-utilisation of funds
- Lack of convergence by agencies,
- Time and cost overrun
- Lack of Professionalism
- Lack of Peoples participation
- Poor monitoring, Poor O & M, and feedback
- Lack of Accountability

Hence need to understand and anlyse RDIs

keeping different dimensions in view.
RDIs by Goals (Some Examples)
Growth / Productivity: Green Revolution, Operation
Flood, RKVY
Social Development : ICDS, NRHM, SSA, SBA,
Social Security: Old-age Pension, Widow Pension,
Poverty Alleviation / Employment: PDS/NFSA,
NRLM, MGNREGA, Skill Development (DDU-GKY)
Basic Amenities/Infrastructure: Drinking Water,
Indira Awaz Yojan, Rural roads(PMGSY), Jyothirgram,
Equity and Agrarian Reforms: Land reforms,
Bonded Labour Abolition, Debt waiver; Untouchability
Risk Mitigation: Insurance, Minimum Support Price