PMRDFs: Talented young professionals with a desire to participate and initiate a larger change

"Extensive interaction with Prime Ministers' Rural Development Fellow. Heard novel experiences on agriculture, rural development, education and other issues... Our belief in people's participation is firm. It is our Jan Shakti that will take India to new heights of progress"

- Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi

"I have visited areas where PMRD Fellows are working...they are doing exemplary work"

- Shri Birender Singh, Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India

"PMRD Fellows are rendering excellent service. I strongly feel the need of their services"

- Dr. Raman Singh, Chief Minister, Government of Chhattisgarh

"I am delighted to say that PMRD Fellows have done commendable work in Jharkhand and brought in fresh ideas and innovations to work around the issues of poverty, livelihood, education and skill development."

- Shri Raghubar Das, Chief Minister, Government of Jharkhand

Frequently Asked Questions

About the PMRDF

What is PMRD Fellowship?

Prime Minister's Rural Development Fellowship is a short-term work opportunity for young women and men who already possess some level of academic or professional expertise that will serve the district administration in improving programme delivery and interface with the marginalized section of the population aiming to reduce the developmental and governance deficit. Fellows shall be given opportunities for gaining professional experience and structured learning in rural development and poverty reduction with emphasis on developing analytical and problem solving capabilities.

The duration of Fellowship under the PMRDF shall be for a total period of two years. On successful completion of Fellowship, a PMRD Fellow is required to spend at least one year in public service as a paid full-time employee of the State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM) in the State she/he is assigned to.

For further details refer:

How long is the fellowship?

The duration of Fellowship under the PMRDF shall be for a total period of two years and shall include an orientation period not exceeding three months. The Fellows shall be required to accept the terms and conditions governing the Fellowship contract through an agreement with NRLPS and subscribe to such agreement with regard to their Fellowship.

Can I go for fewer than 3 years?

PMRDF and its partners invest significant resources to train PMRDF Fellows. Thus, PMRDF accepts applicants who are able to serve for at least 2 years.

About the PMRDF Selection Process

Who can be a PMRD Fellow?

The eligibility criteria for selection as a PMRD Fellow shall be the following:

Essential criteria:-
  • Age between 22-27 years at the time of application. For candidates belonging to SC/ST category, the maximum age limit will be 32 years.
  • At least a graduate from a recognized university/institute with a four-year degree course, including those like Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Engineering, Law, Medicine etc., or a post-graduate from a recognized University (in case of a graduate holding degree of a course duration of three years or less). Those with degree from universities outside India that are recognised by Association of Indian Universities can also apply. Only those candidates who have completed all requirements and received degree are eligible to apply.
  • At least 50% marks in the aggregate or equivalent grade at the graduate or Post-graduate level, whichever is qualifying.
  • Physical fitness, certified by Government Medical Hospital, for the arduous nature of the work.
Desirable criteria:
  • Knowledge of local language.
  • Work experience in the development sector and related fields.
  • Excellence in extra-curricular activities like art, culture, sports etc. at High School/College level.
  • Leadership role in College/ High School/ Work Place.
  • 15% seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 15% for Scheduled Tribes.
What is meant by knowledge of local language?

It is desired that the candidates should have knowledge of at least one local dialect or language spoken in the regions where the positions are announced.

I Am not an Indian citizen, can I apply?

A candidate must be either:

  • A citizen of India, or
  • a subject of Nepal, or
  • a subject of Bhutan, or
  • a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India.
  • a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Srilanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

I am 21 years old and will be 22 in a few months-can I be a fellow now?

All applicants aged between 22-27 years at the time of application (those born on or before 30th November 1991 and born on or after 1st December1985) are eligible to apply.

SC and ST Candidates: A five year age relaxation is applicable in case of candidates belonging to SC/ST category - the maximum age at the time of application is 32 years (those born on or before 30th November 1991 and born on or after 1st December 1981) are eligible to apply.

Do I need to submit the Domicile Certificate at the time of application?

No. You don't have to submit at the time of application.

What's the profile of a PMRDF Fellow looks like?

PMRDF encourages applicants with substantial cross-cultural experience and backgrounds to apply. Not only does the fellowship vary in where the fellows serve, but also in the nature of their work. Having said this PMRDF has accepted applicants with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Social Scientists, MBAs, professionals transitioning careers, social workers, lawyers, doctors, policy researchers, are among the last program applicants. Ages range from the minimum of 22 through 27 years.

For expectations and profile please visit -

When is the fellowship announced?

The Prime Minister's Rural Development Fellowships is announced by Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. The fellowship is presently open for applicants till 30th of November 2013.

How many fellowships are announced for 2013-15?

There are 140 PMRD Fellowships announced across Indian including 30 Fellowships for North Eastern States. The details of State and District can be accessed on the website as and when it is finalised by the ministry.

What is the selection process?

Recruitment, selection and initial orientation, mentoring and monitoring during the Fellowship period may be entrusted to a Programme Mentor, i.e. an organization of national standing having expertise and experience of similar programmes (at present Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai has been given this responsibility of Programme Mentor). Applications for selection of Fellows shall be sought through public advertisements. Interested applicants shall be required to submit their application as per the format notified by the Central Government.

There will be a three stage selection process which includes -

  • All India Competency Assessment Test (AICAT) (online )
  • Written Test - Issue based
  • Personal Interview
Is there a process of submitting application form other than the online process?

NO. There is no other process than the online process. This is the only mechanism to enrol.

Is there any support for Travel reimbursement for the candidates?

Travel reimbursement is available for SC and ST candidates, the details of which are given in the application process guidelines.

Would I get accommodation during different stages of selection process where I will come for exam?

No, the candidates are supposed to make their own arrangement for accommodation while they come for the AICAT exam or after being shortlisted for the Written or Personal Interviews. No reimbursement or claims are to be made against the arrangement.

Am finding the log- in difficult for the On-line?

Please log - in through Internt Explorer (version 7 to 9) or Mozilla (14 to 22) or Google Crome (20- 28) for filling the application form.

Can I appear for the AICAT from my home computer?

No, you will have to come to the centre listed for the AICAT exam to appear for the test.

How do I prepare for the AICAT exam?

The test aims to assess the competency on the following aspects:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Data Interpretation & Inference
  • General Awareness
  • Logical reasoning
  • Knowledge about National Programmes and Schemes

Mock test questions are uploaded for your reference.

What are the timelines for results?
  • The AICAT is on 15th of December 2013 and the results are to be announced within a week of the exam.
  • The issue based written test will be on 5th of January 2014.
  • Personal Interviews are organised on 5th and 6th of January 2013.
  • The results shall be announced in three weeks' time after the final round of assessment.
  • You are requested to keep checking the site for latest updates or changes due to unavoidable reasons, though due measures will be taken up to keep the applicants informed about any such situations.
How are fellows notified of the fellowship?

The fellows shall be informed through e-mails provided by them in the application form.

What if I'm having trouble accessing my application?

If you are having a technical problem with the application, please contact 8377067647.

What if I need guidance related to the submission of application form?

You can call to — 022-25525252 from 8 AM to 8 PM.

Can I take my mobile for the exam - AICAT/ written or during personal interview?

Mobile phones, pagers or any other communication/electronic device is not allowed inside the premises where the examination is being conducted. Any infringement of these instructions shall entail disciplinary action and immediate including removal from the examination.

Candidates are advised in their own interest not to bring any of the banned items including mobile phones/ pagers to the venue of the examination, as arrangement for safe-keeping cannot be assured.

Will I get place to keep my baggage while I will participate in exam?

Candidates are advised not to bring any valuable/costly items to the Examination Halls, as safe-keeping for the same cannot be assured. MoRD or its partners will not be responsible for any loss in this regard.

May I bring my family with me for selection process?

The PMRDFs are advised not to bring family to the selection process, the family members will not be allowed to be along the candidate in the exam hall or interview room. The TA- DA entitlement is for the SC/ST candidate only, as per the details given in the application process guidelines.

What is the Selection Committee?

Selection Committee is done by diverse individuals belonging to the academia, government and civil society representatives, who are chosen for their breadth of experience, excellent judgment, and curiosity. In identifying members for the committee, we look for depth of interest in at least one major field, broad familiarity with other major fields, and, above all, an enthusiasm for rights based development issues within and outside of their areas of expertise. Committee members bring experiences from many different perspectives — the arts, humanities, social sciences, biological and physical sciences, the professions, business, and public service — but individual members do not speak on behalf of a particular discipline. Because the committee works as a group, the decision on each candidate represents a collective judgment drawn from a wide range of insightful and discerning perspectives.

What information does the Selection Committee use to make its decisions?

Based on the information provided in the application form the candidate would be invited for the AICAT online exam which is organised in 40 cities across India. AICAT is an assessment of their understanding and orientation, and problem-solving abilities in a positive manner. Applicants will be shortlisted based on their performance in the AICAT. Shortlisted candidates will be tested using tools like essay writing & interview to ascertain their motivation, leadership, professional skills and pro-poor orientation.

What does "Preferred Training Date" mean?

The PMRDF Fellows Program has a mandatory Orientation Training for the candidates who are selected after the final round. The orientation training is in two cycles: First cohort training starts from 17th February 2014 & Second Cohort starts from 12th May 2014. The applicants can state their preferences which cohort they want to join in for trainings. The applicants should note that there would be a ceiling on the number of candidates allotted to each of the cohort for training. Allotment of training cohort will be on the 'first-apply-first allot' basis, and once the capacity of a particular cohort is attained, the same will be frozen. In case the capacity is not frozen applicants with second preference can also be invited to join the first cohort. Thus, it is advised that they may apply early so that they could get the chance to be selected the cohort of their choice. However, please note this information is asked for operational and logistic requirements ONLY.

NB: Notwithstanding the aforesaid provision: MoRD & TISS reserve the right to change the Centers at their discretion if the situation demands.

Can I choose my training slot for which I'd like to be considered?

While we appreciate your desire to plan in advance, applicant's may state their preference for a desired training slot. Information is asked for operational and logistic requirements ONLY. The preference is not binding on the organizers.

Can I interview virtually?

NO. Our interviewers will be located at 9 different cities in India. In order to keep a level playing field, all interviews will be conducted in person.

Can I talk to someone about the PMRDF Fellows Program?

The best way to learn more about the program is to go to the PMRDF Fellows page. We encourage you to gain greater context by reading the PMRDF Fellows Blog, as well.

If I'm not selected this year, may I reapply?

Participants generally may reapply for the Program if it is re-advertised.

Is it essential to attend the Orientation training for being a PMRDF?

It is essential to attend the residential Orientation training organised by TISS. The fellowship status shall be provisional and is subject to successful completion of the orientation training based on the performance of the candidate in both classroom training and Field Immersion that the PMRD Fellows would be eligible to be placed in the field locations.

The trainings are strictly residential and the candidate has to be part of the cohort which he/ she would be allotted for the orientation training.

Field Placement/ Engagement

Where do PMRDF Fellows serve?

After the orientation training, the Fellows will be placed in the identified backward districts by the concerned State Governments. Considerations on placement to a particular district will be given on the need of the district, particularly on any special work done or required to be done in that district which can be facilitated by the Fellow, and the preferences indicated by the Fellows, in that order. Pairing of Fellows to be placed in a district should be from the successive batches so as to promote experience transfer and continuity. In case of women Fellows, a pair may constitute of women only, if they so desire.

For further details refer:

What are PMRDF's priorities in terms of placing fellows? How is a PMRDF placed?

There are multiple factors that we look at when matching fellows to a given placement, including language ability, professional skills, work styles etc. We value flexibility in all our fellows and appreciate your understanding that while preferences are taken into account, the PMRDF Fellows will be placed where their skills best fit the demands of the fellowship. While you will be able to list your preferences, no specific placement request is guaranteed.

The State allocation is done by MoRD and District alocaiton is done by the State Government in Consultation with MoRD.

For further details refer:

Will I get the site if I speak the local language?

While PMRDF eligibility states it is desirable to have knowledge of local languages, as language skills are useful when working in these districts. There is also a need for fellows to engage with diverse populations in specified districts. Hence knowledge of language is NOT the sole criteria for placements.

May I choose the district I will go to?

Fellows are not able to choose which district they would be assigned to. It will be done by the MoRD and the the State Government in Consultation with MoRD.

Will there be time for me to travel and sightsee while I am placed for the fellowship?

Your first priority as a PMRDF Fellow is to fulfil your duties as described in your work plan. PMRDF exposure has generally been flexible regarding short breaks for travel, given sufficient notice and reasonable duration. However the fellows have to follow the rules and regulations for leave which will be shared with you once you are sent for field engagement.

For further details refer:

How do I connect to other fellows while in the field?

It is possible that you will be placed in a district along with other fellows but there may be chances that you may be the only PMRDF in a given district. That being said, in the past PMRDF Fellows have found opportunities to work with one another officially.

If I currently live in the same district identified as one of PMRDF's field locations, can I continue living and working there while being a PMRDF?

This is highly unlikely. There are several conditions upon which such an arrangement would be contingent upon your selection and a relevant skill set for that placement.

I want to be a PMRDF but I do not want to be a part of it for the entire fellowship?

In order to serve as a PMRDF you must be able to commit the minimum requirements of the program. There are currently NO other ways to be involved with PMRDF if you do not commit to the defined time period.

What Do the PMRDF Do?

What will my daily tasks be as a fellow?

There is no such thing as a typical day as a fellow. Your daily tasks will vary depending on development context of the district, security issues, initiative of the local administration, Work environment, Scope of work (field-based, office-based, etc.). All tasks are geared towards sustainability such that improvements you put in place will persevere beyond the completion of your fellowship. The PMRDF is quite rigorous and life as a PMRDF does not have regular hours and a predictable schedule. There are many activities required of PMRDF as part of the Program. Fellows go on field trips, attend meetings, and may spend long hours each day in community activities, in addition to spending time with other members of the community.

For further details refer:

Will I get to blog about my experiences?

Yes! The PMRDF Fellows Blog will be an opportunity for you to share your experiences living and working in the final posting. You will be able to write about how as a PMRDF you are inspired to do what you set out to achieve, what moved you, made you laugh and made you think. Your contributions to the PMRDF blog will be read by all, so it contextualises the work done by all PMRDF. You need to be responsible in your reporting and the only issue would be access to internet!!

Who are my contacts at PMRDF while in the field?

The District Collectors office would directly supervise your work in the region you are working.

For further details refer:

Preparations, Health & Safety

What happens if I am accepted as a PMRDF?

We hope that you would want to celebrate! We will send you intimation of selection to confirm your selection in the program. You will be required to undergo training and then be informed of the district in which you are placed.

What should I do to prepare for being a fellow?

Research, read and plan. Each PMRDF Fellow is responsible for learning about the region they are to be placed. Upon selection, PMRDF will undergo rigorous training which will provide a list of recommended reading materials. During the mandatory Training you will be linked to additional resources that will help you transition into your placement site.

What are my housing options?

PMRDF Fellows are responsible for finding their own housing for the duration of their placement. Previous PMRDF Fellows have resorted to various options. Some have been assisted by the district administration.

Who pays for travel and medical expenses?

For details on stipend and expense related queries please visit

The package offered shall be deemed to cover the Fellow's honorarium, boarding & lodging expenses during the orientation period, accommodation/house rent, local transportation costs, health insurance, life & disability insurance cover and any other contingency expenses during the rest of the Fellowship period. It will be mandatory for the PMRD Fellows to purchase suitable health insurance and life & disability insurance coverage for the entire duration for the Fellowship including the orientation period.

For unexpected medical expenses during the orientation period, the PMRD Fellow can be supported but that is not a general principle and would be dealt on case basis.

What kind of technology will I be using in the field?

All PMRDF Fellows may find it useful to take a laptop and digital camera with them to the field however, this is NOT essential for either application, selection or placement. The District Collector will make available space in a suitable office of the district to the Fellow and make available a computer/laptop along with internet connectivity free of charge.

Is it safe to take up PMRDF?

You need to answer this question for yourself. We encourage you to research extensively to determine whether you feel comfortable applying for this program. PMRDF cares about the safety and security of all Fellows and informs security-related decisions during the placement process. Each PMRDF Fellow is to be prepared to face emergency or natural disaster.

Can I be a fellow in an active conflict zone?

If you have specific experience and a strong desire to work in a challenging location, the ministry can discuss the possibility of a placement there.

What happens if there is a crisis while I am in field?

We require to know where fellows are and when, so that we can help support them in case of an emergency. At a time of major crisis, your primary point of communication should be your collector's office. Overall, you need to be cautious, attentive and keep communication open and active whenever you are on travel for official/ non-official purpose as part of your engagement.

What training is involved for PMRDF Fellows?

The Orientation training is mandatory for being a PMRD. Successful completion of the trainings will determine the field placement of the candidates. The training is for a period of three months, which includes classroom and field immersion (this period includes travel time to the field area). The training is residential in nature and the candidates are strictly advised to stay with the accommodation arranged for them during the period.

For further details refer:

When are the trainings?

Please see the training section for updates in training section.

Is the training required?

The three-month training is mandatory. If you arrive late, leave early, or miss a session in the middle, you will not be eligible for a field placement.

Is there a PMRDF Fellow Alumni network?

The PMRDF change-makers are a batch old. Current PMRDF's are encouraged to communicate with one another on social networking sites including the official page: