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About Rural Development Department
Commissionerate of Rural Development started its functions on 1987 January 24, as part of the decentralisation of the Rural Development Department. The charge of the rural development activities at district level holds by concerned district collectors. But the overall control and supervision of their activities are entrusted with the Commissionerate of the Rural Development. A separate ministerial wing is also formed for Commissionerate of Rural Development. The implementation of Rural development projects are also entrusted with CRD. For this an internal audit section, a project cell headed by a supporting engineer etc are also formulated.
Rural Development activities under Government sponsorship was started in the State with the introduction of Community Development Programme (CDP) on 2nd October 1952. The State had three project under the Programme viz. Neyyattinkara-Vilavancode Project in Travancore area, Kannathunad Chalakudy Project in Cochin area and Palakkad in Malabar area. The Development Programme covered a wide range of programmes for developing Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Rural Industries, Health, Education, Housing, Rural Communication etc. The total provision for a project was Rs.65 lakhs. The responsibility for project implementation was vested with a Project Executive Officer assisted by trained officials from the respective fields and Gramasevaks. At the District level the District Collector and at the State level, the Development Commissioner were responsible for Community Development Programmes. At the national level, the Prime Minister as the Chairperson had a separate wing known as Community Project Administration. This was later formed into a separate ministry of 1957, known as the Ministry of Community Development.
It was soon realized that covering the entire country Community Development Programmes was not possible due to shortage of funds and personnel. Hence, the National Extension Service (NES) was launched in October 1953 with reduced number of personnel, activity and financial provisions so that development work proceed essentially on the basis of self help. The National Extension Service state was initially of a period of three years with a provision of Rs.4.5 lakhs per Block with stress on Agriculture, Husbandry, Rural Communication and Social Education Schemes. In order to provide the movement the required organizational and administrative support, the entire country came to be divided in 5000 odd Blocks, each having a limited Geographical area and a population between 60,000 to 10,00,000. The number of Blocks set up in the State in the process was 144, which was later gone up to 152. In the process, an organizational set up was created with a new cadre of officials at the lower levels of administration, who because of their nearness was responsive to the local requirements and needs of the rural people.
At the State level, the Development Commissioner in the State Secretariat was in overall charge of the National Extension Service Blocks. He acted as Head of the Department as well as Secretary to Government. At the District level, the District Collectors assisted by the Revenue Divisional Officers were in administrative control of the Blocks. In 1978, post of Assistant Development Officers were created in the Districts attached to the Collectorate to assist the Collectors in Development functions, relieving Revenue Divisional Officers of these functions. A separate section was also created in the Collectorates for attending the maters relating to Development function.
The approach to Rural Development took a drastic change during the forth Five-Year Plan when under-privileged farmers and area proven to drought were given special attention. As a result of this, special Programmes like Drought Prone Area Programme, Small Farmers Development Agency (SFDA) and Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labourers Development Agency were introduced in selected districts of the country. In the State, there were four SFDA districts Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Thrissur and Kannur. By October 1980, the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) which was being implemented on pilot basis in selected Blocks was extended to the entire Blocks in the Country. The Principal objective of the Programme was elimination of unemployment and eradication of poverty in the rural areas by adoption of the family as its unit of planning. District Rural Development Agencies were set up in all the districts of the country for palling, implementing and monitoring the IRD Programme. The National Rural Employment Programme launched in October 1980 with the objective of providing additional gainful employment for the unemployed and under employed was another major Rural Employment Programme launched during the eightees. From August 15th 1983, the Rural Landless Employment Programme was launched with the objectives of providing guarantee of employment to at lease one member of every rural landless labour household up to 100 days in a year. From 1984 onwards, the responsibility of planning, supervision and monitoring of all Rural Works Programme have been entrusted to the District Rural Development Agencies (DRDA). Initially, Project Officers of District Rural Development Agencies were posted from Development Department such as Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in addition from Development Department. Subsequently all the posts of the Project Officers were given to the Development Department personnel, to be filled up from among the officers in the cadre of Deputy Development Commissioner.
With the introduction of IRDP and its sub Programmes like TRYSEM and DWCRA, NREP and RLEGP etc. with substantial allocation of funds it became absolutely necessary that the operational aspects of implementation of these Programmes, review, monitoring etc. received more attention. Government of India therefore, advised the State Government to take steps for the formation of separated Rural Development Departments in the State. The State Government authorized Shir.S.Gopalan and Shri.S.Ananthakrishanan, to go into the question in details and to give their recommendations.
In their reports, both recommended the formation of a separated Commissionerate of Rural Development with necessary supporting staff at headquarters of the Commissionerate. After considering a report, Government had setup the Commissionerate of Rural Development with effect from 01-02-1987 headed by the Commissioner, Rural Development.
Now the Rural Development Department has separate ministerial service in Block Offices, DRDAs, Extension Training Centres and in the Offices of the Assistant Development Commissioners (General).
Line departments, Institutions and organizations under the department