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 Self-Employment Programmes-Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP)


§         The Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) aims at providing self-employment to the rural poor through acquisition of productive assets or appropriate skills that would generate additional income on a sustained basis to enable them to cross the poverty line. Assistance is provided in the form of subsidy and bank credit.

§         The target group consists largely of small and marginal farmers, agricultural labourers and rural artisans living below the poverty line. The pattern of subsidy is 25 per cent for small farmers, 33-1/3 per cent for marginal farmers, agricultural labourers and rural artisans and 50 per cent for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes families and physically handicapped persons.

§         The ceiling for subsidy is Rs.6000/- for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes families and the physically handicapped; for others, it is Rs.4000/- in non-DPAP/non-DDP areas and Rs.5000/- in DPAP and DDP areas. Within the target group, there is an assured coverage of 50 per cent for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, 40 per cent for women and 3 per cent for the physically handicapped. Priority in assistance is also given to the families belonging to the assignees of ceiling surplus land, Green Card Holders covered under the Family Welfare Programme and freed bonded labourers.

           Allocation Funds for IRDP

§         IRDP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme that is in operation in all the blocks of the country since 1980. Under this scheme Central funds are allocated to States on the basis of proportion of rural poor in a State to the total rural poor in the country.

§         Since the inception of the programme till 1996-97, 50.99 million families have been covered under IRDP at an expenditure of Rs.11434.27 crore. The total investment during this period has been Rs.28047.65 crore which includes a subsidy component of Rs.9669.97 crore and a credit disbursement of Rs.18377.68 crore. Of the total families assisted under this programme 44.75 per cent were Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and 27.07 per cent women.

§         During the Eighth Five Year Plan the total allocation (Centre and State) under IRDP was Rs.5048.29 crore and the total investment amounted to Rs.11541.06 crore. In quantitative numbers, 10.82 million families were covered under IRDP against the initial target of 12.6 million families fixed for the entire Eighth Plan period.

§         However, from 1995-96 physical targeting under the programme was abolished with the focus shifting to financial targets and qualitative parameters. Of the families covered 50.06 per cent were Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and 33.59 per cent women. The coverage of women was still lower than the target of 40 per cent.

§         The IRDP has been successful in providing incremental income to the poor families, but in most cases the incremental income has not been adequate to enable the beneficiaries to cross the poverty line on a sustained basis mainly because of a low per family investment. The results of the last Concurrent Evaluation (September 1992 - August 1993) revealed that of the total beneficiaries assisted under the programme, 15.96 per cent of the old beneficiary families could cross the revised poverty line of Rs.11,000 (at 1991-92 prices), while 54.4 per cent of the families were able to cross the old poverty line of Rs.6,400 per annum.

§         But, the analysis by income group of families revealed that in case of those within initial income of Rs.8501 – 11,000, 48.22% of beneficiary families could cross the poverty line of Rs.11, 000 which is quite encouraging. The analysis of the family income of the beneficiaries reveals that a large percentage (57.34%) of the families had annual family income from assets of more than Rs.2000. The annual income from the asset was more than Rs.6000 in 29% cases.

§         The major constraint in the implementation of IRDP has been sub-critical investments that have adversely affected the Incremental Capital Output Ratio (ICOR) levels and thereby undermined the viability of the projects. Though the average per family investment has been rising steadily in monetary terms, in real terms the increase has been inadequate and in some cases sub-critical due to the inflationary trends and the increase in the cost of assets.

 èAt the instance of the Ministry of Rural Development (now renamed as Ministry of Rural Areas & Employment), the Reserve Bank of India appointed in 1993, a High Powered Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. D.R. Mehta, Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India to make an in-depth study of IRDP and recommend suitable measures for its improvement. The Committee was asked to review among other factors, the process of selection of appropriate income generating assets, credit structure, recovery of loans, and procedural matters in respect of obtaining loans, and efficacy of existing administrative structures of the District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs).

In consonance with the recommendations of the High Powered Committee, the new initiatives taken by Government under IRDP in the Eighth Plan included

(a)    Targeting the segment of literate unemployed youth below the poverty line for IRDP activities by giving them subsidy upto Rs.7500 or 50 per cent of the project cost (whichever is lower)

(b)    (b) Promotion of group activities through enhancement of ceiling on subsidy to Rs.1.25 lakh or 50 per cent of the project cost (whichever is lower) for all group ventures involving at least 5 members

(c)    (c) Back-ending of subsidy to prevent leakages in subsidy administration

(d)   (d) Shifting the emphasis to financial targets and qualitative parameters from a perfunctory physical coverage of families and

(e)     Enhancing the limit of allocation to programme infrastructure from 10 per cent to 20 per cent in all the States and 25 per cent in the North Eastern States.

èAmong the other steps taken to enhance the efficacy of the programme are abolition of the cut of line to enable all families below the poverty line to be assisted under the programme, targeting the investment per family at progressively higher levels each year, extension of the family credit plan to 213 districts of the country, enhancing the ceiling limit of collateral free loans to a uniform limit of Rs.50, 000 with a view to easing the constraints faced by poor beneficiaries while taking loans from the banks, extension of the cash disbursement scheme to 50 per cent blocks in the country, decentralisation of the sanctioning powers for infrastructural projects below Rs.25 lakh and entrusting the banks with the task of identification of beneficiaries in about 50 districts on a pilot basis. These interventions have had an impact on the average per family investment that rose from Rs.7889 in 1992-93 to Rs.15036 in 1996-97.

èIn pursuance of the High Powered Committee’s recommendation, for the first time in 1995-96 credit targets were fixed. There has been a continuous increase in the volume of credit mobilised by the banks during the successive years of the Eighth Plan period. Correspondingly, the subsidy credit ratio, which averaged 1:1.77 in the first three years of the Eighth Plan, rose to 1:1.96 in the fourth year and further to 1:2.17 in 1996-97. However, there are genuine reasons for the inability of the banks to meet the full credit requirements of IRDP beneficiaries. These include poor recovery of IRDP loans, lack of adequate rural banking infrastructure in certain areas and the weak financial performance of Regional Rural Banks and Cooperative banks.

è There has been considerable diversification of IRDP activities since the inception of the programme. Initially, a majority of the beneficiaries under the programme subscribed to primary sector activities. In 1980-81 the sectoral composition of IRDP activities was heavily skewed towards the primary sector, which had a sponsorship of 93.56 per cent, while the share of the secondary, and tertiary sectors were 2.32 per cent and 4.12 per cent respectively. Over the years, the share of the primary sector has come down considerably and is currently around 55 per cent, while the shares of the secondary and tertiary sectors have increased proportionately to 15 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

è Inadequate development of infrastructure and insufficient forward and backward linkages and market facilities has been an area of concern under IRDP. In an attempt at filling up the critical infrastructural gaps and strengthening the linkages and marketing facilities, the allocation under IRDP towards the development of programme infrastructure was increased from 10 per cent to 20 per cent in all the States and to 25 per cent in the North Eastern States. Decentralisation in the sanctioning powers for infrastructural projects had already been given effect to in 1994-95. However, despite this enhanced provision for programme infrastructure under IRDP and the relaxation in sanctioning norms, the actual expenditure on infrastructural development was a mere 5 per cent to 7 per cent of the total allocation under the programme at the all-India level. There is, therefore, a critical need to prepare a perspective infrastructural plan at the district and block level and to ensure that the funds earmarked for infrastructural development under IRDP are closely monitored and not diverted elsewhere.

è The salient features of IRDP performance during the Eighth Plan are given in Annexure-I.

Ninth Plan Strategy for IRDP

 Direct poverty alleviation programmes will continue on an expanded scale in the Ninth Plan. But these programmes would be oriented towards strengthening the productive potential of the economy and providing more opportunities for involving the poor in the economic process.

§         The Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) would continue to be the major self-employment programme targeted to families living below the poverty line in the rural areas of the country. In the Ninth Plan it would be implemented through an integrated approach under which the existing schemes of Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM) and Supply of Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans (SITRA), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) and Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY) would be subsumed into the main programme.

§         To facilitate higher levels of investment under the programme, there would be a strategic shift under IRDP from an individual beneficiary approach to a group and/or cluster approach. As part of the group approach, the focus of IRDP would be on the formation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) that would be the catalyst for organising the poor.

§         The cluster approach would focus on the identification of a few specified viable activities based on the local resource endowment and occupational skills of the people of that area. The IRDP will also aim at diversifying the investments into high-value-addition sectors and non-traditional activities that have a market potential.

§         The financial institutions would play a more significant and dynamic role by enhancing the credit flows through a continuous line of credit, instead of a one-time loan and would render constructive assistance to the beneficiaries.

§         This would help them to increase returns on their investments. The IRDP would service the beneficiaries through a package approach, wherein the beneficiary would have access to credit, training as per requirements, up gradation of technology, delivery of essential inputs and marketing tie-ups in an integrated manner.

§         Presently, under the IRDP, training under TRYSEM is provided as an isolated input and there has been little attempt to make a proper assessment of opportunities where skills could be more gainfully utilized. Hence, the new holistic approach would overcome some of the inherent shortcomings that have undermined the success of the programme.

§          In view of the near complementarily in the ongoing wage employment schemes, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) and Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) will be rationalised.

§          In the revised format JRY will be confined to the creation of rural infrastructure at the village panchayat level in consonance with the felt needs of the community.

§         To the extent that the works undertaken under JRY would be largely labour intensive, supplementary wage employment would be generated in the process of infrastructure creation.

§         The EAS would be the major wage employment programme that would contribute significantly to the provision of the mandated 100 days of casual manual work to those who register for employment under it. As the EAS has been universalised, specific measures would be taken to ensure that the benefits reach the poor and more backward districts of the country.

§          While the implementation of poverty alleviation programmes would be made more effective in the Ninth Plan, the extant non-monetary policies and institutional arrangements that adversely affect the interests of the poor would also be suitably addressed. In this context, the Ninth Plan will identify those laws, policies and procedures that are anti-poor and take the initiative in exploring whether some of these could be suitably modified in favour of the poor.

§          In the Ninth Plan, the poverty alleviation programmes would be more effectively integrated with area development programmes and the various sectoral programmes within the umbrella of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

§         The PRIs will function as effective institutions of local self-government. These would prepare the plans for economic development and social justice through the District Planning Committees and implement them.

§          The State Government would have to devolve administrative and financial power to the PRIs that fall within their purview as per the Eleventh Schedule of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992. In addition, the voluntary organisations (VO) will have to play a more dynamic role in empowering the poor through advocacy, awareness generation and formation of SHGs.


New Initiatives under IRDP

  • IRDP will be a holistic programme covering all aspects of self-employment, namely, organisation of beneficiaries and their capacity building, planning of activity clusters, infrastructure, technology, credit and marketing.
  • The existing sub-schemes of TRYSEM, DWCRA, SITRA and GKY to be merged into IRDP.
  • Progressive shift from the individual beneficiary approach to the group and/or cluster approach.
  • To facilitate group approach SHGs will be formed and steps will be taken to nurture them.
  • For cluster approach each district will identify 4 to 5 activity clusters in each block based on local resources and occupational skills of the people. The infrastructure needs for the identified activities will be met in full.
  • The Banks will be closely involved in the planning and preparation of projects, identification of activity clusters, infrastructure planning as well as capacity building and choice of activity of the SHGs.
  • Promotion of multiple credits rather than one time credit injection.

èThe IRDP would continue to be the major self-employment programme, targeted towards families living below the poverty line in the rural areas. However, in the Ninth Plan, the focus would be on pursuing an integrated approach under IRDP by subsuming the existing sub-schemes of Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM) and Supply of Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans (SITRA), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) and Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY) into the main programme. This integration of schemes is necessary to develop the appropriate forward and backward linkages to achieve a synergistic complementarity in the overall implementation of the programme.


Project for Linking Banks with Self-Help Groups

  • NABARD initiated a Pilot project to link Banks with Self-Help Groups (SHGs), with the objective of meeting the credit needs of the poor through formal financial institutions.
  • Evaluation studies show success with increase in loan volume of SHGs, shift to income generating activities, nearly 100 per cent recovery and reduction in transaction costs.
  • 85% of the groups linked with banks were exclusively of women.

Scheme is being expanded, and will be replicated all over the country.

§         Furthermore there would be a strategic shift from an individual beneficiary approach to a group and /or cluster approach.

  1. To facilitate this process Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be formed under IRDP and steps will be taken to nurture these groups to enable them to function effectively as well asto choose their economic activity. Efforts would be made to involve women members in each SHG. Besides, formation of exclusive women groups will also continue as at present under DWCRA. It is proposed that making available 50 per cent of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs.1.25 lakh would assist group ventures that involve at least five beneficiaries. This enhanced level of investment would facilitate economies of scale and improve recovery.
  2. Alternatively, a cluster approach would be preferred wherein a few specified activities are identified for assistance in an area. This would necessitate the formulation of a menu of "activity-based" project profiles in different sectors to suit the local resource endowment and the occupational skills of the local people. Accordingly, each DRDA would set up four to five activity clusters. Appropriate infrastructure and technology inputs would be built into the project.
  3. The Family Credit Plan would be extended to all the districts of the country in a phased manner. The feedback from the States suggests that this strategy has met with reasonable success and has raised investment levels.

§         One of the major constraints in the implementation of IRDP has been sub-critical investments, which have adversely affected Incremental Capital Output Ratios (ICOR) and, thereby, undermined the viability of the projects. Recognising that the level of investment is the most crucial variable in determining the incremental income generated under IRDP, the credit flows and the average level of investment per family for the Ninth Plan would aim at achieving enhanced levels of investment in the range of Rs.25, 000-Rs.50, 000 depending on the estimate of the poverty line and the poverty gap. These higher levels of investment will give the beneficiary the necessary financial support for diversifying into high-value-addition sectors and non-traditional activities that have a market potential.

§         In this effort at achieving higher investment levels, the financial institutions would have to play a more significant and dynamic role by enhancing credit flows and rendering constructive assistance to the beneficiary making their investments viable under this programme. Adoption of simplified procedures by financial institutions would facilitate the BPL families in accessing groups’ loans under IRDP.

§         To simplify procedures the regimen of subsidy administration would be suitably streamlined in the Ninth Plan. At present, there is a complex gamut of ceiling limits on subsidy. The ceiling limit on subsidy would be fixed at 30% of the project cost subject to a maximum of Rs.7, 500. However, in the case of SC/ST it would be fixed at 50% of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs.10, 000. Therefore, for purposes of administrative expediency the area specific differential in subsidy administration would no longer exist. For group activities, however, the subsidy would continue to be Rs.1.25 lakh or 50 per cent of the project cost, whichever is lower.

§         The IRDP will seek to develop close linkages with the credit mechanism in such a manner as would promote repeated/multiple doses of credit rather than a one-time loan for the beneficiary.

§         The emphasis, therefore, would be on establishing a continuous line of credit for the beneficiary, wherein it would be possible for the borrower to obtain need-based additional credit for working capital purposes, meeting unforeseen expenditure related to proper maintenance of assets etc. which would have a bearing on the viability of the project so as to sustain credible levels of income generation.

§         Experience has shown that the IRDP has been relatively more successful in land-based activities. In recognition of this fact, purchase of land was made a permissible activity under the programme.

§         For land-based activities, besides providing assistance for purchase of inputs to enhance the productivity of land, there exists a potential for diversifying into other allied activities, which have a high value-addition, such as sericulture, aqua-culture, horticulture and floriculture, on the existing lands of the small and marginal farmers as well as on land leased by the landless. In addition to these activities, SHGs would be given ‘pattas’ for development of wastelands, social forestry, soil conservation and watershed projects. Common property resources would also be allocated to SHGs in the villages on a long-term basis for eco-sensitive resource management.

§         There is also a potential for allotting nurseries of the forest department to these groups for management. In all these, interest of women’s groups would have to be protected. Usufruct rights of women on minor forest produce would have to be ensured legally and administratively and assistance provided to them for purchase or leasing in of land for joint management.

§         Yet, it must be recognised that land is a limited resource and that the distribution of land holdings remains highly skewed. Hence, the need for exploring the potential of the non-farm sector is crucial. It cannot be gainsaid that the non-farm sector in the rural areas has witnessed both growth and diversification in the past few years. Around 50 per cent of the IRDP investments are now made in the secondary and tertiary sectors, based on local resources and local requirements.

§         These include processing industries, handlooms and handicrafts. Again, in most villages there is scope for tailoring and ready-made garments, chemist shops, woodcraft, country tiles, general store etc. In addition, in villages of a reasonable size, other business/service ventures like flour milling, motor rewinding, cycle repair etc. could also be promoted under IRDP.

§         Greater emphasis should be placed on developing rural industries that would catalyze the overall development of that area. In a situation of an ever-changing pattern of demand, emergence of new products and technologies in a dynamic and growing economy, an attempt would be made to integrate the IRDP activities, particularly those in the Industry Services and Business (ISB) sector with the market.

§         This task would be entrusted to a team of experts/professionals, who would prepare sectoral and micro plans for identifying the thrust areas and activities for working out necessary linkages with other departments/agencies.

§         The artisans in the rural areas, despite their rich heritage and skills, largely belong to the poverty group. The scheme for Supply of Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans is directed to this particular target group.

§          In the Ninth Plan, to enable the rural artisans to take advantage of the new opportunities thrown up by the market, there has to be a quantum jump in their skills and productivity to make their activities viable and profitable.

§         It is also necessary to support them with appropriate product designs and training, improved technology on the one hand and professional management and marketing support on the other.

§          In other words, the rural artisans should be serviced through a package approach wherein the distribution of improved toolkits is supplemented with the supply of credit and raw material, marketing support and up gradation of existing technology.

§         The timely and adequate supply of trade specific toolkits would be given added attention. While deciding the source for supply of toolkits, quality and cost considerations, along with the post-delivery services offered by the manufacturer would be of considerable significance. It is important to constantly upgrade the design of the toolkits.

§         For this, research and development would be given due emphasis. States would be advised to take the initiative in developing toolkits in at least two or three artisan trades.

§         The Department of Science and Technology, the National Small Industries Corporation, the Small Industries Services Institutes and the IITs would interact with the State Governments for development of appropriate technology and designs for improved toolkits for various artisan groups. In the process of designing and manufacturing these trade-specific toolkits, there would be constant consultations and dialogue with groups of artisans and reputed craftsmen in that particular trade.

§         To broad base the source for supply of toolkits some master craftsmen would also be trained in the manufacture of improved tools/toolkits. An effort would also be made to develop capabilities for design and upgradation of improved toolkits by artisans themselves. There are pockets of rural technology that have survived the onslaught of modern technological innovations by virtue of their sturdiness and locale-specific utility.

§         These would be identified and replicated elsewhere. For the dissemination of technology the State Governments, in collaboration with the manufacturing agencies, would undertake promotional activities by organising exhibitions at several locations and on important occasions.

§         Since the 1991 Census data on rural artisans are still not available, the States would be required to conduct a district-wise survey of the total number of rural poor artisans, the number of such artisans provided with improved toolkits and the balance number to be covered.

§         This exercise would facilitate a planned and phased coverage of this target group under IRDP. While individual artisans would continue to be covered with the supply of toolkits in traditional crafts, it is also proposed to cover the rural artisans through a cluster approach and to provide/saturate each cluster with trade-specific toolkits and related inputs in a package. In the implementation of this group cluster approach, due emphasis would be given to the formation of women artisan groups.

§         Availability of infrastructure facilities is an essential prerequisite for the success of IRDP activities. Substantial investments in programme infrastructure would be ensured, through a larger apportionment of funds, in consonance with the enhanced provisions of 20 per cent for IRDP infrastructure (and 25 per cent in the North Eastern States).

§         There would be a special emphasis on infrastructure created under ISB sector with the setting up of service-cum-facility workshops at convenient places in the rural areas. These could provide common facilities in the use of machines and equipments to the rural artisans as also for repairing electrical gadgets of various types, agricultural implements, automobile parts and articles of common use.

§         These workshops would also be set up in the tribal areas so that the tribals themselves could undertake the process of initial value-addition to minor forest produce. Funding for infrastructure would also include the setting up or upgradation of technology resource centres.

§         Provision of marketing facilities is an important aspect of infrastructural development. In the Eighth Plan detailed guidelines were issued for setting up District Supply and Marketing Societies (DSMS) with the objective of providing integrated services to IRDP beneficiaries in the cottage and rural industries sector for the supply of raw materials, marketing of surplus products, information on technological upgradation and extension of credit support.

§          Whereas some State Governments have taken the initiative in this regard, by and large the DSMS or similar bodies do not have much of a presence in most areas. In the Ninth Plan alternative strategies would be formulated for developing a suitable marketing infrastructure under IRDP. These would include

(i)                  Provision of transport arrangements for carrying IRDP products to rural/urban markets;

(ii)                Introduction of insurance cover to mobile sellers;

(iii)                Provision of better storage facilities;

(iv)               Setting up and revamping of District Supply and Marketing Societies;

(v)                 Sale of IRDP products through Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) outlets, State Emporia etc., besides networking with DRDA showrooms/markets;

(vi)              Setting up of quality control centres and consultancy centres which the beneficiaries could approach for advice for improving the quality and standard of their products;

(vii)             Involvement of private sector in marketing by adoption of better packaging techniques, design, input, quality control, brand name etc.; and

(viii)           Launching of a suitable advertisement campaign for IRDP products including organisation of exhibitions, melas. Furthermore, the potential of rural haats as a rural marketing outlet for IRDP products would be fully exploited.

§         There are certain areas in the country that have a very poor banking infrastructure. The areas of Northeast and parts of Jammu & Kashmir fall under this category. Attention would be given to evolving innovative strategies and programmes to take care of the unbanked areas.

§         However, while diversifying the rural economies in high-productivity sectors, provision of adequate training facilities and upgradation of skills would be given primacy. As we have seen, the TRYSEM programme has been the weak link in the overall strategy for self-employment in rural areas. In the Ninth Plan, therefore, training would be made an integral component of IRDP. This integration would reduce to a great extent, the area-skill mismatch as the training would only be imparted in those trades/occupations which have a market potential. Yet, training would not be made compulsory as there are certain trades/activities under IRDP that do not require this input.

§         To strengthen the content and design of the training curriculum, the training institutes would have to constantly upgrade their syllabi in tune with the rapid changes in the job market. A basic foundation course would be a critical ingredient of the training curriculum which would make the trainees aware of simple accounting procedures, book keeping techniques and procedures in financial management, information on how to approach the banks and other financial institutions for loans, where to access the latest technology etc. T

§         Raining would be given a sharper employment focus wherein the training content would be compatible with the area-specific ground realities and would be specifically imparted in those trades and activities which have a market orientation/potential and which would ensure the beneficiary sustained employment.

§         The quality of training would be improved. Inadequacy of proper infrastructural support has posed as a bottleneck in this effort. While the emphasis would continue to be on imparting training through the established and recognised training institutes like ITIs, Community Polytechnics, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, etc., the training infrastructure in these professionalised training institutes would be suitably strengthened. Special thrust will be given to the creation of training opportunities for women via strengthening of women ITIs, womens wings in general ITIs and women polytechnic. It is also necessary to upgrade the training skills of the trainers in the various government institutions imparting training to IRDP beneficiaries.

§         The existing craft training centers and skill development institutes etc. would be revamped to cater to the needs of the changing situations. In those blocks where there is a concentration of unemployed youth and where there are no reputed training institutes in the vicinity, mini-ITIs should be set up, but only very selectively. Smaller private institutions and craftsmen will be engaged only where institutional support is not available.

§         In addition, a more effective liaison and interface between the State Governments, DRDAs and the formal/informal private sector/NGOs is required in order to identify the available employment opportunities in a region and develop training modules accordingly. Efforts would be made to establish a direct linkage between ITIs and industries in the areas where the youth could either be employed directly or could set up ancillaries to cater to the industrial demand. A similar linkage could be established between ITIs and exporters/export houses on the lines similar to gem cutting training in Gujarat.

§         Such linkages are possible in rural hinterlands of towns/urban agglomerations. It is proposed to develop a Management Information System (MIS) through which important training institutes of relevance for IRDP throughout the country are identified and networked. This would give some idea of the areas deficient in the training infrastructure and would indicate where future investment should flow for meeting the training requirements.

§         With a view to ensuring that the benefits under the programme reach the more vulnerable sections of the society, the Ninth Plan would continue with the assured coverage of atleast 50 per cent for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe families, 40 per cent for women and 3 per cent for the physically handicapped.

§          Experience in the implementation of IRDP suggests that programmes focussed on women, or in which women have played a dominant role, have performed better. The DWCRA programme has been an excellent vehicle for extending IRDP credit support for women beneficiaries in some States. The group strategy would, thereby, become the main plank for achieving the stipulated reservation for women over the next few years.

èIn the Ninth Plan social mobilisation will receive a special thrust. Initiative will be taken to build and strengthen the organisations of the poor with the objective of enhancing their capabilities. In this process voluntary organisations would have to play an important role in empowering the poor through advocacy, awareness generation and social mobilisation. As social animators and rural organisers they would help the poor to form SHGs in order to take advantage of the policies and programmes being implemented by the Government for their economic betterment.

èA voluntary organisation or a technology group could lend support to group activities by ensuring training, technological upgradation and convergence of various schemes. In addition, the DRDAs and PRIs would provide support for capacity building and provide access to credit, technology and markets to SHGs. A cadre of para professionals from within the community would be created to enhance the capability of the SHGs and help the community to access the facilities and services meant for them.

èThe DRDAs would be restructured in the light of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, which has enhanced their area of operation, commensurate with a larger inflow of funds. The scope of the activities implemented by the DRDAs has enlarged progressively over the years from the sole implementation of rural self-employment programmes to exercising effective coordination and supervision over other Centrally Sponsored Schemes. In the revised format, the DRDAs would work under the supervision and overall control of the Zilla Parishads. The Chairman of the Zilla Parishad will be the Chairman of the DRDA Governing Body and will preside over their meetings.

èThe organisational structure (staffing pattern) of the DRDAs would be suitably revamped and strengthened with the induction of professional cadres and technical experts. The expertise would have to be developed in the fields of credit, technology upgradation, activity-specific training and infrastructural development. To make this implementing agency effective, the staff would have to be given sufficient exposure to the complexities of poverty eradication, human resource development, gender and related issues.

èThe DRDA’s agenda for operation in the Ninth Plan would not be limited only to the achievement of physical targets, but also to ensure the quality of the programme and realisation of intended benefits for the targeted poor beneficiaries.

URL -  http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/9th/vol2/v2c2-3.htm