Being the nodal Ministry for most of the development and welfare activities in the rural areas, the Ministry of Rural Development plays a pivotal role in the overall development strategy of the country. The vision and mission of the Ministry is sustainable and inclusive growth of rural India through a multipronged strategy for eradication of poverty by increasing livelihoods opportunities, providing social safety net and developing infrastructure for growth. This is expected to improve quality of life in rural India and to correct the developmental imbalances, aiming in the process, to reach out to most disadvantaged sections of the society.
Broadly, the aims of the Ministry of Rural Development are:
- Providing livelihood opportunities to those in need including women and other vulnerable sections with focus on Below Poverty Line (BPL) households.
- Providing for the enhancement of livelihood security of households in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household demanding it.
- Provision of all weather rural connectivity to unconnected rural habitations and upgradation of existing roads to provide market access.
- Providing basic housing and homestead to BPL household in rural areas.
- Providing social assistance to the elderly, widow and disabled persons.
- Providing urban amenities in rural areas for improvement of quality of rural life.
- Capacity development and training of rural development functionaries.
- Promoting involvement of voluntary agencies and individuals for rural development.
- Restoring lost or depleted productivity of the land. This is done through watershed development programmes and initiating effective land reform measures for providing land to the landless rural poor.
The following major programmes are being operated by the Ministry of Rural Development in rural areas
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for providing wage employment,
- National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) for self employment and skill development,
- Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) for providing housing to BPL households,
- Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) for construction of quality roads
- National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) for social pension
- Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) for improving the productivity of the land.
In addition, the Ministry also has schemes for capacity development of rural functionaries; Information, Education and Communication; and Monitoring and Evaluation.