Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP)

The Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) is a Government of India initiative to eradicate poverty. The initiative trains the youth in the country so that they can start a business on their own and rise above the poverty line. The Government scheme also focuses on women and children development in rural India. The program aims to provide subsidies and term credit from financial institutions to those below the poverty line to use the same to involve themselves in productive labour.

Now, let's take a look at an example-

Suppose Rajan hoped to build a home for himself and his ageing parents. However, he was a poor agricultural labourer who could find work only during the peak season. He spent the lean season without any productive work and used the money he had earned during the peak season. 

He was desperate to get out of his hand-to-mouth existence and was looking for a way out when he heard about the IRDP scheme. Knowing he was eligible, he applied for assistance under the Jawahar Rozgaar Yojana (JRY) scheme. Rajan is now employed throughout the year and is currently constructing his house.

Salient Features of the Integrated Rural Development Program 

 The central and state Governments jointly fund the Scheme on a 50:50 basis. The program launched to uplift the oppressed in the country worked through several schemes. Please continue to read to know its salient features.


  • IRDP will aid the underprivileged Indian people, among whom 50% must belong to the scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) categories.
  • The Scheme requires a minimum of 40% to be women from rural areas.
  • The Scheme has benefited more than 535L families, among whom 45% are from the SC/ST categories.
  • The Scheme has invested more than INR 17441 per family currently. It was INR 1642 per family in 1980-81.
  • In 1988-89, the Scheme sanctioned INR 800 Cr to the underprivileged to provide a sum of INR 60 Cr to rural artisans. The sum exceeded 45% of the approved amount in 1997-98.

Scheme to Start a Business

  • Through the TRYSEM (Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment), the Scheme trains the youth from families eligible under the IRDP scheme to start a business or another self-earning or wage-earning employment. Among those who receive training under the program, a minimum of 50% should be rural youth, and 40% should be women.

Scheme for Women and Children

  • The Scheme focuses on empowering women and children in rural areas through the DWCRA (Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas) initiatives. The program assists women in earning an income by involving themselves in productive activities and thus aims to raise the socio-economic status of women and children.
  • The DWCRA was in effect during 1998-99 and successfully assisted over 1.97L women.

Scheme for Providing Jobs to Agriculture Labour During Lean Period

  • The rural youth in India are actively involved during the cultivation season but are jobless during the lean period in the agricultural centre. The Indian Government, thus, launched the Jawahar Rozgaar Yojana (JRY) to provide employment opportunities to people (both men and women) eligible under the IRDP. The implementation was 70% in the Panchayat and 15% each for block and district levels.
  • From 1998 to 1999, the Scheme set aside a sum of INR 2095 Cr for the JRY and aimed to provide jobs for 396.66 M working days to the beneficiaries. The initiative spent INR 1244 Cr and successfully offered the rural youth 190.28M jobs by November 1998. 

Employment for Unskilled Labourers in Rural Areas

  • The easy access to the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) worked beneficial to unskilled labourers in the rural blocks in India. The provision of jobs is only during the lean agricultural period. EAS covers certain blocks in Rural India, and the families residing in such areas are eligible for the Scheme. The Scheme will employ about 100 days to a maximum of 2 unskilled family members. However, the beneficiaries should be between 18 years and 60 years.
  • The sum set aside for EAS was INR 1990 Cr from 1998 to 1999, the spending was INR 1572 Cr, and the job opportunities were 237.61M working days.

Better Irrigational Facilities

What started as a sub-scheme of JRY is now the Million Wells Scheme (MWS). The funding is 80% by the Central Government of India and 20% by the respective state Government. From 1998 to 1999, there was an allocation of INR 459 Cr, of which the spending was INR 225.90 Cr up to November 1998. The Scheme was for the rural Indians in the SC or ST categories or those now free from living as bonded labourers. The MWS scheme provides 49821 wells for those in the above category free of cost.

Old Age and Maternity Treatment

  • People below the poverty line also need medical treatment for maternity and old age. The families need support when the sole breadwinner suddenly expires. To help people who are thus aggrieved, the Central Government introduced and fully funded the National Social Assistance Program (NSAP). The Scheme offers three sub-schemes to assist the rural people in India. They are as follows:
  •  National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS)
  •  National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS); and
  •  National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS). 
  • The Government allocated a sum of INR 700 Cr for the Scheme's implementation and carefully monitored the program, and, per the Central Advisory Committee's suggestions, modified the NFBS and NMBS rates.

Assistance to the Urban Youth

  •  Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) began its operations on the 1st of December 1997. It employs the urban youth by supporting them to start their ventures or to secure a wage-earning job. The central Government funds 75% of the Scheme, and the state government provides the rest of the 25%. It consists of two distinct schemes: The Urban Self-Employment Programme (USEP) and the Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP).
  • The SJSRY Scheme works to uplift women with programs like Development of Women and Children in urban areas to assist poor women groups in urban areas to set up self-employment ventures. They will receive a subsidy of up to 50% of the project cost. 
  • Under the Scheme, the Central Government released INR 98.65 Cr to the states and Union Territories covered by the SJSRY Scheme in 1997-98; subsequently, in 1998-99, the centre released a sum of INR 189 Cr. from which 12 states received INR.64.59 Cr.

Education to the Unemployed Youth in the Eighth Plan

The Eight Plan aimed to provide joy to the educated, unemployed youth of the country. It was under the Prime Minister's Rozgar Yojana (PMRY), and its objective is to set up 7 L micro-enterprises to employ more than 10 Lakh unemployed educated youth.

Continuation of the Scheme in the Ninth Plan

 During the Eighth Plan, under IDRP, loans were sanctioned to 7.70 lakh cases and disbursement to 5.76 lakh cases. The Scheme moves on to the Ninth Plan. Since the Scheme's inception in 1997-98, the allocation was to over 7.52 lakh cases. Furthermore, from 1998 to 99, 57527 underprivileged families received benefits through loans, and 27533 beneficiaries received disbursement by October 1998. The Scheme provided a sum of Rs.110 crore in 1998-99.


The Government must work for the people below the poverty line by opening education and employment avenues. It becomes all the more necessary in rural India because people depend on agriculture for their living. They work during the peak season and are jobless during the lean period. The lack of regular income prevents them from rising from their present situation. That's where the IRDP program works to upskill and provide education to such people and helps them to live better lives.

Objectives of the IRDP Scheme in India

The primary aim of the Government of India in implementing the integrated Rural Development Program is to collaborate with the respective State Governments to employ the youth in Rural India. Some of the schemes under the IRDP plan also work for the betterment of the youth in Urban India. We have enlisted the main objectives of the Scheme in detail below.

  • The Scheme aims to help people in rural India. They are agriculture labourers who do not own land of their own. They may be small and marginal farmers, rural craftsmen and artisans. They may be a family of five whose joint annual income does not exceed INR 3500.
  • The primary purpose of IRDP was to pull BPL households in rural regions out of poverty over time by providing them with income-generating assets and access to financing and other inputs.
  • In 1982, with the implementation of the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), IRDP began to work for the welfare of women and children in rural areas. 
  • The IRDP was the most significant initiative of the Sixth Five Year Plan for poverty alleviation in rural areas in terms of aggregate investment planned and the number of households to benefit.

Who is Covered by the IRDP Scheme

The program works to provide the necessary assistance by way of additional income by creating employment for the rural poor in India. The following class of rural Indians are the beneficiaries of IRDP:

  • Rural poor
  • Artisans
  • Marginal farmers
  • Schedule castes
  • Schedule tribes
  • Backward classes whose average income does not exceed INR 11,000

Who is Eligible for the Integrated Rural Development Program?

The Central and State Governments share the joint responsibility of funding IRDP in a 50:50 ratio. The Central Government considers the proportionate poor people among the rural population in a State against those in the whole country. Financial entities assist the Scheme by providing subsidies and financial assets. Some of them are

  1. Several Cooperatives,
  2. Commercial Banks,
  3. Regional Rural Banks

Allied Initiatives of IRDP

The Scheme offers cover to 55M Indian people in the BPL category. Scroll down for a brief explanation of the prominent sub-schemes of IRDP.

Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA)

The DWCRA initiative attempts to increase rural women's incomes in low-income households. Its launch was to increase the role of women in poverty reduction programs. In 1999, the initiative was integrated with the Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY).

Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY)

The GKY scheme is an initiative of the Karnataka State Government to assist farmers in the state. The Scheme works to provide borewells or open wells with a pump set from Karnataka Minority Development Corporation Ltd (KDMC), or a lift irrigation facility will be provided to eligible and needy beneficiaries under the Scheme.

Million Wells Scheme (MWS)

The MWS was a sub-scheme of the National Rural Employment Programme and the Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme in 1988-1989. It provides water to agricultural fields that did not have access to irrigation and thus produces more. It works to improve the rural poor's standard of living.

Supply of Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans (SITRA)

With an intent to provide upgraded hand tools kits within a financial limit of Rs.2000 to artisans who pay only 10% and the Government of India subsidising the remaining 90%. This Scheme also allows for the supply of power-driven tools up to a limit of Rs.4500. During its launch in 1992 as a sub-scheme of IRDP, it was effective in selected districts. Still, the Government later extended it to all districts. Blacksmithing, carpentry, stone craft, leather, ceramics, and cane and bamboo work are the more prominent arts and skills under this plan. However, weavers, tailors, needleworkers and beedi workers do not receive subsidies under this Scheme.

Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM)

The project aims to provide primary education, financial capital, and technical skills to all uneducated rural youngsters to train them to start their businesses. This approach enables rural youth to find paid jobs in industries, businesses, and services.

IRDP— Application Procedure

The beneficiaries can apply for subsidies and benefits under the IRDP scheme and sub-schemes. Continue reading to know the steps of verification.

  • Selection of an underprivileged family.
  • Interview the family to ascertain their eligibility for the benefits.
  • Collection of Resources by financial institutions and rural banks
  • Submission of all details to the State's SLCC for approval
  • The appointment of a three-member committee to assess each block
  • The committee authorises the authenticity of the plans for each block.

Distribution of Subsidies to Beneficiaries

The IRDP scheme proposes to distribute subsidies to its beneficiaries as follows:

  • Small farmers will receive subsidies of up to 25%
  • Marginal farmers and Agricultural labourers are entitled to a subsidy of up to 33.33%
  • Women will receive subsidies of up to 40%
  • SC/ST families and differently-abled people receive subsidies and other assistance up to 50%.
  • SC/ST families will receive a subsidy amount that will not exceed INR 6,000
  • Differently-abled or disabled people living in non-drought prone locality will receive INR 4000 
  • Differently-abled or disabled people living in drought-prone localities will receive INR 5000 

Priority To The Following Categories During Subsidy Distribution

  • The following categories receive preferential treatment during subsidy allotment:
  • The SC/ST women receive ceiling surplus land assignment.
  • Green card holders who qualify for free bonded labour and family welfare programmes are also the first priority.

In a Nutshell,

IRDP is a 5-year plan for development in India and applies to every district in India. The program's primary aim is to educate or help the youth find jobs to give them a sustainable income and end poverty, hunger and unemployment.

The IRDP trains and encourages the rural youth to create self-employment opportunities for themselves, starting self-run cottage industries in the village for poultry and livestock development in rural areas. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q. How does IRDP work?

The District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs), Block staff at the grassroots level, State Level Coordination Committee (SLCC) at the state level, and Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment are instrumental in working and implementing the IRDP scheme.

Q. What are the current sub-schemes of IRDP?

The following sub-schemes are currently at work under the IRDP scheme:

Q. What is the primary aim of IRDP?

IRDP gives financial aid to rural youth in India to help them escape poverty by giving them access to credit-based productive assets.

Q. What does IRDP mean?

The IRDP was launched in 1980 by the Government of India and provided sustainable development programmes to the country's underprivileged rural people to date. It stands for Integrated Rural Development Program.

Never miss a trading opportunity with Margin Trading Facility

Enjoy 2X leverage on over 900+ stocks

Download IconDownload the Upstox App Today