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Community Development Programme


The Community Development Programme

The Community

The term community is a group of people, who live in a geographical area and have an interest in each other for the purpose of making a living.

"A community, while in it consisting of several parts, is also a part of a larger social system. It is a dynamic social unit which is subject to change of internal or external origin".


The development connotes growth or maturation. It implies gradual and sequential phases of change. According to MacIver "Development" to signify an upward course in a process "that is, of increasing differentiation.

Analysing the term- Community Development   

Community development is a continuous process of social action by which the people of a community:

a.    Define their common and group needs;

b.   Organize themselves formally and informally for democratic planning and action;

c.    Make group and individual plans to meet their needs and solve their problems;

d.   Execute their plans with maximum reliance upon their own resources; and

e.    Supplement their resources from outside the community, when necessary with services and material.

According to Carl Tylor, "community development is a method by which people in villages are involved in helping to improve their own economic and social conditions and thereby they became effective working groups in the programme of their national development". This carries the assumption that people became dynamic if they are permitted to make their own decisions end are helped to carry on the programme.

Community Development Programme

The community development programme was started in India, just after independence (1952). It was a multi project programme with the aim of an overall development of rural people. This programme consisted of agriculture, animal husbandry, irrigation, cooperation, public wealth, education, social education, communication, village industries etc. There are officials for each activity at district level to plan execute and evaluate the programme up to the village level.

Essential Elements of CD

The Successful Community Development programme stresses the following basic elements:

  1. Activities undertaken must correspond to the basic needs of the community. The first projects should be initiated in response to the expressed needs of people.
  2. There should be concerted action and the establishment of multi-purpose programme.
  3. Change in the attitudes of the people is as important as the material achievement through Community Development during the initial stages of development.
  4. Community Development aims at increased and better participation of the people in community affairs, revitalization of existing forms of local government and transition towards effective local administration where it is not yet functioning.
  5. The identification, encouragement and training of local leadership should be a basic objective in any programme.
  6. Greater reliance on the participation of women and youth in community projects invigorates development programmes, establishes them on a wide bases and success long-range expansion.
  7. To be fully effective, community self help projects require both internal and external assistance from the government. 
  8. Implementation of a C.D.P. on a national scale require adoption of consistent policies, specific administrative arrangement, recruitment and training of personnel, mobilization of local and national resources and organization of research, experimentation and evaluation.
  9. The resources of the voluntary non-governmental organization should be fully utilized in community development programmes at the local, national and international level.
  10. Economic and social progress at the local level necessitates parallel development on a wider national level.

Objectives of the community development programme

          In India, the objective behind the community development programme is to develop the resources of the people numbering about 640 millions who form the rural population. The elements of development are:

  1. General: Farm, home, public service and village community.
  2. Specific: To bring improvement in the production of crops and animals, living conditions, health and education of the people.
  3. Elements which need change are: People-men, women and youth.
  4. Change agents: The change agents are:

               a.    Voluntary local leaders-members of Panchayats, village and Block Advisory Committees etc.

               b.   Professional community development workers- Village Level Workers, extension officers, block development officers etc.

Philosophy behind Community Development Programme

          The philosophies on which the Community Development Programme should be based are as follows:

  1. 'Work based on felt needs': The programme should help the community to solve some of the problems which it fells are existent.
  2. Work based on assumption that people want to be free from poverty and pain: It is assumed that the members of the community want a standard of living that allows them to be free from pain caused due to lack of sufficient, food, lack of sanitary conditions, lack of clothing and shelter.
  3. It is assumed that people wish to have freedom in controlling their own lines and deciding the forms of economic, religious, educational and political institutions, under which they will live.
  4. People's values given due consideration: It is presumed that cooperation, group-decision, self-initiative, social responsibility, leadership, trust worthiness and ability to work are included in the programme.
  5. Self-Help: The people actually plan and work on the solution of their problems themselves of the problems of the community are entirely ameliorated through the efforts of some outside agency, then the development of such things as group decision making, self-initiative, self-reliance leadership etc. will not be forth coming and it cannot be said that the community is developing.
  6. People are the greatest resource: It is by getting the participation of the people in improvement activities that they become developed.
  7. The programme involves a charge in attitudes, habits, ways of thinking, relationships among people in the level of knowledge and intellectual advancement of people, changes in their skill practices of agriculture, health etc.

Causes of failure

     The causes of the failure of the community development programme are as follows:

  1. Uneven distribution of the benefits of the programme
  2. Absence of clearly defined priorities in the programme.
  3. Failure to evoke popular response.
  4. Unqualified personnel
  5. Lack of functional responsibility.
  6. Ritualism: A spirit of ritualism permeated the block programmes and inauguration, opening or foundation stone laying became the be all and end all at all block activities. The project officers were purposely emphasizing the welfare aspect of the programmes so that they could show to the visiting dignitaries some tangible result of thus efforts. But the creation of these welfare activities only kindled the dissatisfaction with the economic condition of the people.

Weaknesses in the community development Programme:

 A Critical analysis of the Programme with regard to the objective shows that the programme has some weaknesses there are discussed as

  1. The Programme has remained largely a government administered     programme without people's participation and has not yet become a people's programme with assistance from government agencies no single agencies operating in the field is responsible for this weakness.
  2. There has been too much emphasis on end result and less emphasis in following the correct methods and process to bring about change in the attitudes of the people.
  3. Due to lack of understanding of the objectives of the CD programme there has often been lack of adherence to the real objectives of the C.D Programme there has not been much concentration on essential items.
  4. Extension education methods which are so essential for a democratic approach remained mostly as a claim.
  5. Lack of uniform understanding about the concept principles methods role function etc, at all levels from village to national level.
  6. Lack of proper and adequate supervision and guidance both administrative and technical at various levels.
  7. Establishment of superiority by providing democratic leadership is very much lacking to replace autocratic authority.
  8. The C.D workers feel unhappy at all levels their moral is not very high unhappy workers or change agents can not a make a good organization.




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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.