Training for Rural Development: Rural development, popularly known as 'Rural Reconstruction" has been a well-known priority even during the struggle for independence days in India. Over the last 51 years after independence the country marched towards progress in almost all the wakes of economic, social and political life. However, despite all round development, one problem which persisted in the country is that of poverty and to some extent rural backwardness. Although the proportion of the people living below the poverty line has been brought down significantly from above 50 percent to below 30 percent, the number of persons living below the poverty line has consistently gone up. While the failure of the programmes and policies of poverty alleviation may be ascribed to a number of factors, one important reason has been untrained staff to carry out the onerous task of rural development. This has happened mostly because of lack of appropriate orientation of the development functionaries at all levels. As development is a continuous phenomenon, so is learning and training. NIRD since its inception has been acting as the think tank of the Ministry of Rural Development and contributed to training, research and consultancy in a big way. The Institute continues to play the apex role in formulation and shaping of rural development programmes. Need and Context of Training: The Emerging Scenario-While the magnitude of the problem of poverty and tasks to be handled by development functionaries remain to be almost the same in the post independence period, the nature of the interventions have kept on changing over the years.
These interventions have always been influenced by the political philosophy of the ruling governments, national and international perspectives and economic environment. For example, the rural development policies initiated during the 1950s aimed at development of the rural society took a holistic view on economic, social and institutional view of the development under the community development scheme. This holistic approach, however, had to give way to limited purpose development of agriculture sector during the 1960s due to resource crisis and food insecurity. During the seventies, a balance was sought between the growth- oriented policies and specific target group and target sector policies. Since then the development interventions have continuously been percolated to lower and lower levels of the economic activity and spatial units. Today, the problem is compounded by the fast changing national and international scenario, emergence of new approaches to the problems and new institutions to tackle the problems of poverty and underdevelopment.