Rural development refers to both economic and social change. In order to provide better opportunities for economic development to the rural people, it is envisaged that people's involvement in rural development programs, decentralization of employment, better enforcement of land reforms and greater use of credit.
Initially, the main thrust for development was on agriculture industry, communication, education, health and related areas but later it was felt that direct and indirect involvement of people is necessary for quick development. Under this, Planning Commission an organization called Community Project was established on 31 March 1952 for administration so that the program of community development related programs could be accomplished. The inauguration of the Community Development Program was done on October 2, 1952. It was an important milestone in the history of rural development. This program went through several changes and was controlled by various ministries.
Rural Development Department imposes self-employment, wage employment, housing for social assistance and minor irrigation schemes for rural areas and rural poor people. Apart from this, the department imparts appropriate reinforcement and implementation of Aid Services, DRDA Administration, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Training, Research, and Human Resource Development Programs. Major programs of Rural Development Department are Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Rural Housing (RH) Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) and Swarna Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY).
In order to ensure that the benefits of economic reform achieved in all areas of the society, five social and economic infrastructures have been identified. These are: drinking water, housing health, education and roads. In these areas, the government started the Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) scheme. The Rural Development Ministry was entrusted with the responsibility of drinking water, housing, rural road etc.
During the Ninth Plan period, many poverty alleviation programs have been reconstituted so that the benefits can be extended to the rural deprived people. Self Employment Program, Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP), Women's Development and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Supply of Advanced Toolkit to Rural Artisans (SITRA), Self Employment Training for Rural Youth (TRYSEM), Ganga Welfare Scheme (GKY), Million Wells Scheme (MWS) and Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) for overall self-employment.