In 1976 The Rural Action Project ( RAP) of NIBM ( National Institute for Bank Management – now in Pune) was initiated to spread the impetus of National development to the primary agricultural sector and engage the village poor in financial inclusion through the banking sector. Led by Prof. Subhachari Dasgupta, ninety (90) social rural workers viz.Spearhead Team members were trained in development communication and initiated an action research study in 29 districts in nine states including Assam, Bihar(Jharkhand), Haryana, Madhya Pradesh (Chhattisgarh), Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Many of them now head important NGOs in the different states. The Spearhead Team faced stiff communication challenges because they were outsiders whose presence disturbed the equation of power and domination excercised in the villages. The barriers were posed
a. by local caste based through moneylenders, higher castes and government officials of that time.
b. Deep rooted fearful mindset of the poor themselves.
c. Lack of organisation of the oppressed
Negotiating the tensions between disparate segments of society and harnessing the productive potential that arises in disrupting hierarchies in order to open the minds of people to consider alternatives and question dogmas.
PIDT was registered in 1980 to continue the work initiated by NIBM and the activists were influenced by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Phule and Paulo Frierie and embodied their values while blending them with experiential learning from the subaltern praxis.
PIDT encouraged integration of workers with the community to facilitate genuine understanding for multi-stakeholder collaborative action and humanist cultural intervention.
PIDT worked through area based integrated development primarily intervening with the youth and working with the women to create an alternative paradigm for their status in society through cultivating their skills and entrepreneurship.
PIDT has been working to stop structural violence through conflict resolution through non-violent measures in areas known for criminality. Having established peace PIDT worked to develop women collectives for social engineering and skilling and training in different types of livelihood options both farm based and non farm based viz. SRI, Silk worm rearing, handloom, apiary, mushroom cultivation, ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, vegetable cultivation etc. PIDT also worked on saving forests ,afforestation, check dams, lift irrigation, sanitation and education of children so create an holistic socio-economic development paradigm. All of these have interventions are made with full participation of the people creating the thrust required for sustainable development for transformation.