As a strategy of development, the CDP was different from both land reforms and the idea of making cheap institutional credit available to cultivators. CDP had emanated from the productionist approach to rural development. It was based on a notion of the harmonious village community without any significant internal differences and conflict of interests. There was hardly any mention of the unequal power relations in the village.Its objective was to provide a substantial increase in agricultural production and improvement in basic services which would ultimately lead to a transformation in the social and economic life of the village.
Its basic assumption was that the Indian peasant would of his own free will and because of his felt needs immediately adopt technical improvements the moment he was shown them. The programme was launched on 2 October 1952 in a few selected blocks and it was soon extended to the entire country. However the enthusiasm with which the programme was started could not be sustained. A non-political approach to agrarian transformation resulted in helping only those who were already powerful in the village. Most of the benefits were cornered by a small section of the rural elite.