In September 1982, a scheme known as the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) was introduced in the form of a sub-plan of the IRDP (Integrated Rural Development Programme). It has been operating along with the cooperation of the UNICEF which acts as a huge factor to strengthen the component of women emancipation.


The Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas program is sponsored by the Government of India with an anti-poverty objective targeting women and children in the rural and sub-urban areas. The primary objective is to focus attention on women who are below the poverty line and provide them with self-employment opportunities.

It started on a pilot basis with only fifty districts and has been expanding exponentially in a phased manner. The administrative setup of the program is involved at five levels namely village, block, district, state and national. A strategy was adopted to facilitate access to skill up-gradation, employment, training credit and support services. This helps women at the program to take up these services, utilize the local resources and acquire skills to be part of various income-generating activities.

Women are assigned in groups of 15 to 20 as a DWCRA group to work together as a team in the particular skill of interest which results in more sustainability as compared to individual efforts. The group approach has a greater coverage of women which works as a great factor for motivation and moving past social bonds which have deprived them of various opportunities. The initial motto of the groups formed was ‘Save a rupee per day’ since the savings collected were deposited at the local banks or post offices for further use. The target groups are specifically for families with an annual income of less than Rs. 4800.

The objectives of the scheme involve awareness about the basic amenities such as hygiene, sanitation, nutritious food, child care, family welfare and education. Since the year 1995-1996 child care activities have also been included into the program such as non-formal education. Many literacy centers have been introduced to teach the dropouts and illiterate members of the DWRCA group. Relief is also given to physically handicapped children ensuring proper medical treatment.

The organizers of each group at the DWRCA give all members thorough training so they can derive maximum benefits and become independent and economically stable. The women are given training in tailoring, knitting, fishing, pottery, poultry, candle making and many different activities.

Women play a vital role in the transformation of the nation. Introduction of schemes with such empowering objectives intend to improve the conditions of women’s lives so the next generation of children will be equipped themselves to contribute to the well-being of their own family and subsequently the country.

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Image Credits: Zvonimir Atletic/”