Deendayal Research Institute (DRI) was founded in 1972 by Nanaji Deshmukh to validate the philosophy of Integral Humanism propounded by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya (1916-1968) . After initial experiments in Gonda (U.P.) and Beed (Maharashtra), Nanaji finally fine-tuned an integrated program for the development of rural areas that covers health, hygiene, education, agriculture, income generation, conservation of resources, and social conscience, that is both sustainable and replicable. The basis of the project is 'Total transformation through total development with people's initiative and participation'. The project, called the Chitrakoot Project or the 'Campaign for Self-Reliance', was launched on 26th January 2005 in 80 villages around the Chitrakoot area in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The aim is to achieve self reliance for these villages. DRI has two krishi Vigyan Kendras at Majhgawan (63 acres model farm) and Ganivan (50 acres model farm), a Gaushala in Chitrakoot is engaged in maintaining pure Indian breeds, research in cross breeding of Indian cows, an A.I. (Artificial Insemination) Program for improving the livestock yield and bullock performance in the villages. A new concept of committed social workers who live within the community itself was evolved- ‘Samaj Shilpi Dampati’ (SSD), a newlywed graduate couple that have the sense of commitment towards community service, to live and work in the village for a period of five years.
In the field of education, DRI is working on a Model Educational System to make these students self-reliant and integrate them in social activities, it has also established Gurukuls on the ancient Gurukul educational pattern. Six Gurukuls for boys while four for girls has been established. Deendayal Research Institute has also taken the initiative of evolving an ideal model of pre-primary level quality education. An "Educational research Centre (ERC)" at Chitrakoot for field based research to reshape the whole educational system according to the need of time have been established. The ERC is active in the 50 km radius of Chitrakoot to educate children of 4-8, 8-12, and 12-16 years age group through various activities. ERC comprises departments like "Mobile Scientific Laboratories" to demonstrate such experiments that have direct bearing on rural life, "Computer Software Development" to develop the educational software for Rural Children.
In field of health, DRI is working on alternate system, i.e; ayurveda system. 'Arogya Dham' has started its own pharmacy where all the medicines manufactured here are in accordance with the Ayurvedic texts. Arogyadham is commencing its work in this direction in rural areas. In the eighty selected villages, preparations are on to provide lifelong health to all the children who have born after 26th January, 2002. Counselling Centres for marriageable youth and newly married couples are also being started. In these villages, pregnant women are also given proper advice and counselling about pregnancies, midwifery and children, which includes ideal parenting methods and diets for newborn babies. Arogyadham has also prepared a medical kit of a similar type. 35 herbal medicines prepared in its Rasashala are used in this kit. All frequently occurring diseases can be treated by these medicines. All these medicines are prepared using locally available herbs and are very cheap. This medicinal kit has become very popular among the people of these villages. The direction for the use of these medicines is also given along with the kit in very simple language.
For developing entrepreneurship among rural youth, the focus of DRI is the training in product or service development and marketing, for them to emerge as entrepreneurs. Training in entrepreneurship is linked to the dissemination of appropriate technologies for upgrading rural production facilities. Also, a parallel industrialization system capable of providing employment for all by producing quality goods from locally available resources through self-employment and Self Help Groups is also being developed. Deendayal Research Institute, through the efforts of its scientists of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s, has tried to tackle the issue of water scarcity. In many villages, people are forced to carry drinking water from a distance of 5 to 6 km. At least one person (generally a woman) from each family is engaged in fetching drinking water full-time. Deendayal Research Institute was given the responsibility of implementing the scheme of Rajiv Gandhi Jal Prabandhan Yojana in these 19 villages. Under the guidance of scientists from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s, villagers started constructing check dams in their region to stop the flowing rain water. Men, women and children, wholeheartedly participated in this program. As they were to be emancipated from the scarcity of drinking water, these villagers completed the construction work prior to the rainy season. No cement or steel was required. As a result of these massive efforts, more than 12,000 hectares of agricultural land is now being irrigated. The level of confidence of the local farmers has increased tremendously. DRI through its KVK has also worked for seed production through formation of seed club /association and crop diversification by incorporating pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and other cash crops in a scientific cropping pattern for increasing farm incomes and employment to achieve nutritional security.
The DRI has active linkages with The Wadia Group, Apeejay Education Society (AES), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology (MPCST), India Development Coalition of America (IDCA), Department of Elementary Education, The Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and Ayurveda Yoga & Naturopathy Unani Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
Thus, there is greater scope for making goodness-of-fit between the agro-biotechnological options available with IARI, the capacity of the institute to execute development interventions and issues pertaining to farm women by capitalizing the strength of DRI, Chitrakoot.