Village Adoption Programme

Village Adoption Programme Unleashes a Multiplier Effect

The Society owns and manages a 123 acre rural development project in the village of Ramapuram, Cuddalore Taluk, South Arcot District, Tamil Nadu. One month after nationalization of the major Indian commercial banks in July 1969, officers of the Society approached one of the largest commercial banks to adopt Ramapuram--an extremely backward village where the average annual income from agriculture was less than Rs. 200 per acre. Ramapuram became the first village in India to be adopted by a nationalized bank for development. The Society administered the entire programme on behalf of the bank, dispersing 123 crop loans for Rs. 63,000. Repayment of loans was 100% and on time. Based on this success, the bank extended the programme in the second year offering crop loans, bullock cart and borewell loans valued at Rs. 7,50,000. Despite the Society's success in digging 8 borewells on its own land, not a single farmer would risk digging a well until the Society offered to bear the risk of digging a well for one small farmer. After the first farmer succeeded, 54 others took bank loans and dug wells. This effort had a catalytic multiplier effect on nearby areas not covered by the loan scheme, where 440 more wells were dug during the next two years. Within fifteen years, Ramapuram had been transformed from a very poor, rain-fed area into a rich farm region covered with sugarcane and other cash crops, and one of the most prosperous villages in the district. Average income rose 100-fold during this period and continued to rise over the following decades. In subsequent years the village adoption scheme has been extended all over India, covering more than 1,00,000 villages by 1980.