Page last updated at 07:37 GMT, Thursday, 2 February 2006

In pictures: India's anti-poverty plan

Women in Tatikal village

India's landmark rural jobs plan is aimed at lifting tens of millions of villagers out of poverty

Villagers at Tatikal

Some 70% of India's billion-plus population live in villages. Village councils will vote to decide on projects to be taken up

Building a road

Many of them are expected to opt to improve roads connecting their villages, thereby strengthening rural infrastructure

Building a reservoir in Tatikal

Water conservation projects are also popular since many areas suffer from perennial drought

Villagers building a canal

The plan is seen by many as the only hope of employment in areas where many villagers are having to migrate to look for work

Women working

Special provisions are being made for women with a third of the jobs being set aside for them to ensure the distribution of income is equitable

Village in southern India's Andhra Pradesh state

The new plan is seen as an ambitious programme to transform India's villages and improve the living conditions of the country's poor

Water flowing through a canal

The villagers hope that it can regenerate dry farmland like this canal, built by them under a similar plan, did

Building project in Andhra Pradesh

But critics question whether money spent on promoting unskilled, manual work is wise or even practical

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