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IFAD in India

India is IFAD's largest borrower, as well as one of its main contributors. Working in close partnership with the Government of India and other donors, IFAD funds projects for rural development, tribal development, women's empowerment, natural resource management and rural finance.

Since 1979 the organization has financed 25 programmes and projects, approving loans for a total of approximately US$797.3 million.

IFAD's strategy in India

IFAD's strategy in India centres on improving poor rural people's access to economic and social resources. In all operations, IFAD emphasizes the importance of strengthening people's capacities to establish and manage their own institutions. It supports self-help groups, community institutions and village development associations in tribal and non-tribal areas that work in synergy with local self-governments. These and similar groups participate directly in designing development initiatives, and become progressively responsible for programme and project resources and management. Empowering women and other disadvantaged groups is a strategic priority.


IFAD has an important role in developing replicable models through project activities, and it acts as a catalyst for far-reaching innovative change. In areas such as microfinance and women's empowerment, IFAD-funded operations have tested institutional and technical innovations that have been scaled up by the government.

Broadly in line with the current targeting strategy, the new Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP), 2010-2015 will strengthen people's organizations and service providers to empower poor rural people and facilitate their access to markets, services and central and state government-funded development schemes.

The new COSOP in particular will focus on:

  • promoting inclusive growth

  • doubling the growth rate of the agriculture sector

  • fighting rural poverty by enhancing rural employment and livelihood opportunities

  • increasing access to agricultural technologies and natural resources

  • increasing access to financial services and value chains

  • sharing knowledge and learning on poverty reduction and nutritional security, with particular focus on tribal communities, smallholder farming households, landless people, women and unemployed youth









The COSOP will also be aligned with IFAD's new Strategic Framework, where smallholder agriculture is viewed as a profitable enterprise linked to markets and value chains.

A recent example of the success of IFAD-funded operations in India was the decision of the government to scale up the North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas, which was piloted in two districts in each of the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur. IFAD will assist in expanding the project to cover the entire North Eastern region, with support from the World Bank.

Click here to read the India country factsheet, Enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty in India.

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