Community Development Programmes: Meaning and Aim

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Community development programmes are designed to promote better living for the whole community. They do this by working to improve the social, economic, and environmental conditions in which people live. Typically, these programmes involve partnerships between local governments, community organizations, and businesses. They may offer services such as after-school programs, job training, or housing assistance. Community development programmes can be an important tool for addressing poverty and inequality.

What is Community and Development?

Community refers to a social unit consisting of a number of individuals who are linked by certain relationships, such as kinship, common residence, or shared activities. Communities vary in size and composition, but typically comprise several hundred to thousands of people. They are often thought of as natural groups, but they can also be created or organized deliberately.

Development would be defined as progress or change for the better so that groups of people can become more secure, free, dignified, self-sufficient, and self-developing.

Concept of Community Development

Community development is a collaborative, facilitative process undertaken by people who share a common concern and work together to improve their community. Community development practitioners use a variety of tools and techniques to help community members identify and address their shared concerns. These tools and techniques can include needs assessments, asset mapping, community forums, and collective action planning. Community development is often used to build social capital and strengthen community ties.

Community development is the process of working with a community to identify and address its needs. This can involve anything from improving economic opportunities to increasing access to healthcare or education. Community development practitioners work with communities to build capacity and empower them to make positive changes in their own lives.

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The goal of community development is to strengthen face-to-face communities to meet psychological, practical, and political needs of belonging, reciprocal care, and rights and resources campaigning.

Aims of Community Development

  • Achieving a healthy and prosperous community
  • Assuring that health and wellbeing are equitable
  • Promoting sustainable community initiatives
  • Enhancing one’s dignity, worth, and value
  • Providing people with sustainable self-sufficiency
  • Resolving community issues and building awareness

Community development programs are based on people’s involvement in formulation and implementation. This includes the formation of many local institutions and voluntary groups, the development of local leadership, and the development of a development-oriented rather than bureaucratic administration.

Community Development Programmes Rural Tribal and Urban

Rural Community Development Programmes

There were erstwhile community development programmes in the 1920s and just before Indian Independence that inspired and influenced the Community Development Programme, along with international community development projects that developed in Great Britain and the United States.

The CDP was launched on October 2, 1952, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, based on experiences within the country and abroad, the recommendations of the Fiscal Commission (1949) and the Grow More Food Enquiry Committee (1952). Rural development programmes were first implemented in 55 development blocks with the following objectives:

  • Ensure that rural areas are fully developed in terms of their material and human resources.
  • Establish self-governing institutions and develop local leadership.
  • Bringing people to a higher level of consciousness by instilling a mission of higher standards in their minds.
  • Increase food and agricultural production in rural areas in order to raise the living standards of rural people.

A new ministry of community development was established in September 1956. Back then, the Agriculture and Rural Development ministry oversaw the country’s program. At present, all centrally sponsored programs are under the Ministry of Rural Development. By 1969, it was a state-sponsored programme rather than a centrally funded one.

Other recent programmes of community development include: Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyatikaran Yojana, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, National Rural Livelhood Mission, Antyodaya Anna Yojana, National Food Security Mission.

Deen Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, Indira Awas Yojana, Janani Suraksha Yojana, Members of Parliament local Area Development Scheme, National Literacy mission and Midday Meal Scheme are the other notable community development programmes being implemented.

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Tribal Community Development Programmes

Special Multipurpose Tribal Development Projects (MTDPs) created toward the end of 1954 provided some assistance to tribal communities. Because of the number of schemes, these MTDPs could not serve tribal interests. After this, Tribal Development Blocks (TDBs) were formed where tribal populations accounted for at least 66% of the community development blocks. After the failure, the Tribal Subplan Strategy (TSP) was developed to address tribal community socio-economic needs which is currently working.

To accelerate tribal development, the Indian government established the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in October 1999. In 2004, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs released a draft National Policy on Tribes. In the draft policy, it is recognized that the majority of Scheduled Tribes live below the poverty line, have low literacy rates, suffer from malnutrition and disease, and are vulnerable to displacement.

Over the past decade or so, with a growing recognition of the importance of people’s participation in the development process, a wide range of ‘people’s institutions’ have developed in the villages, supporting the implementation of sectoral development initiatives. As part of this process, the Forest Department has set up joint forest management (JFM) committees, the Education Department has set up education committees, the DRDA has set up watershed associations and committees, the Public Health Department has set up water and health committees, the Irrigation Department has set up water users associations, and the Women and Child Department has set up Mahila Mandals (women’s associations).

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Urban Community Development Programmes

Governments and voluntary organizations as well as member organizations can promote urban community development programmes. It has also been an important role of organizations such as Jagathu of Bangalore to raise community consciousness and inspire moral responsibility from those in power.

Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) and Kudumbashree Programme are some of the successful community development programmes in urban areas.

SJSRY scheme launched in 1997, has two components of the Urban SelfEmployment Programme (USEP) and the Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP). Kudumbashree was first tested in Alappuzha, an urban setting, and then enlarged to selected Panchayats for women’s poverty alleviation. The aim of this program is to bring all poor women organized for micro-credit under the umbrella of the government. This approach is based on neighbourhood groups.

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