The Ministry of Rural Development places special emphasis on Monitoring and Evaluation of its programmes being implemented in rural areas. Effective monitoring of the programmes is considered very important for efficient delivery at the grass root level particularly in view of the substantial step up in the allocation of funds for rural development programmes. Appropriate performance indicators have been developed for each of the specific programmes both by the Ministry of Rural Development and the State Governments for effective monitoring at the District, Block, Gram Panchayat and Village levels so that alarm signals are captured well in advance for mid-course corrections.

The implementation of various Rural Development Schemes especially the wage-employment, self-employment and rural infrastructure/amenities schemes have helped in reduction of poverty in rural areas. The Government has instituted an in-built monitoring mechanism in the guidelines of each of the rural development schemes so as to ensure that the objectives of the schemes are achieved, in full measure.

Monitoring is the continuous internal assessment of project implementation in relation to agreed schedules and the use of inputs, infrastructure and services by projects beneficiaries. Monitoring can provide qualitative and quantitative data using indicators that can serve as inputs to evaluation exercises.

Ministry of Rural Development recognizes the importance of independent monitoring of its programmes. In order to enhance the efficiency and efficacy of its programmes, the Ministry has evolved a comprehensive system of monitoring the implementation of its programmes. The basic premise is that by involving third party independent monitors, unbiased and objective monitoring can be achieved. The role of the National Level Monitors (NLMs) in monitoring the programmes of the Ministry has become more important in the recent years due to significant increase in the allocation of funds for various rural development programmes and also due to the increase in demands of accountability and transparency in the execution of these programmes. The guidelines for NLMs is available on the website of the Ministry (www.rural.nic.in) under the link 'NLM’

Individual NLMs

Individual NLMs are empanelled from retired Civil/Defence Service Officers of the level of Deputy Secretary/Lt. Col and above having experience/exposure in rural development sector. Academia withproven experience in social work related to rural development have also been considered for empanelment.

Institutional NLMs

Institutional NLMs are empanelled from reputed Non-government Institutions with experience in rural development programmes by way of evaluation studies/monitoring the implementation of rural development programmes.

Objective of National Level Monitoring System

The purpose of any monitoring of development activities is to provide policy makers, development managers, and civil society with better means for learning from past experience, improving service delivery, planning and allocating resources and demonstrating results as part of accountability to key stakeholders. The purpose of NLM system is to strengthen all the rural development programmes and ensure effectiveness, transparency and accountability in the implementation of the programmes