The first phase of the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme was initiated in 2001-2008, managed by a consortium of Development Alternatives and PricewaterhouseCoopers. It reached 19,500 villages in 94 remote rural districts and 143 urban settlements, and demonstrated considerable impact on the lives of the poor.
The first phase of PACS focused on the six States of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Its aim was to reach all poor groups and tackle the general causes of poverty.
However, experience gained during this phase showed clearly that the poor in India are not homogenous: certain categories of people are particularly marginalised. While the persistent poverty of these groups can be partly attributed to general causes that create deprivation among all poor people in India, there are specific factors that aggravate hardship amongst those who are socially excluded and make it harder for them to escape poverty.
PACS has embarked on a new phase in 2016, consolidating its work in 5 states - Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. Phia Foundation, a charity working to address poverty across India, will lead new fundraising efforts for PACS, seeking to sustain and grow various components of the programme and secure its lasting legacy.