Community Development Projects are schemes for the development of rural life in India. They are included in our Five Year Plans and were first started in 1951. India is a land of villages. In fact, about three-fourths of out people live in rural areas. So there can be no improvement of the country unless the villages are improved first. Unfortunately, the state of things there is as bad as possible. The people are extremely poor, living in wretched conditions. There are no proper arrangements for medical help, sanitary living and good education. There is no cultural atmosphere and nothing bright to inspire the people. So they drag on a miserable existence, more dead then alive.
The Community Development Projects with their allied national Extension Service aim at changing all these with reconstruction works covering all aspects of village life. Their programme includes proper education and medical facilities, improvement of agriculture and sanitary conditions, development of cottage industries, provision of water supply, and various other welfare activities. These, it is hoped, will make village life enjoyable, stop the drift to towns and increase national prosperity. To achieve these objects a large number of Development Blocks have been established all over the country. Each block comprises several villages and is under a government official called the Block Development Officer. He has several officers, both male and female, to work among people and win their confidence and cooperation by concrete results. It was supposed to cover the whole of rural India with a network of Development Block by the end of the Third Plan period; but unfortunately we are lagging far behind till to day. The cost of these projects is met jointly by the Central and State Governments supplemented by local contributions and help from the Ford Foundation and Government of the U.S.A.
The result achieved so far are not altogether discouraging considering the difficulties in the way. Unfortunately, however, the Projects have failed in one of these principal objects, namely creating enthusiasm among the villagers themselves and securing their cooperation towards the success of the schemes. It is high time for the government to enquire into the cause of this and take proper steps to remedy the evil. People too have to remember that the Projects are for their permanent benefit, and that the defects are inevitable in the initial stages. They should, therefore, come forward readily to help the Government with their active cooperation for the success of the Projects.