The history of Rural Informatics in National Informatics Centre dates back to the year 1986 when Computerized Rural Information Systems Project (CRISP) was launched with active cooperation of Department of Rural Development, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. CRISP was initiated with a view to facilitate the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) staff in the monitoring exercise of poverty alleviation schemes through a Computer Based Information System (CBIS). Consequently, NIC developed the CRISP application software package which was available under various platforms - CRISP1.0 (DOS/dBaseIII plus), CRISP 2.0(DOS/Clipper) and CRISP3.0 (Xenix/Foxbase and Oracle 6.0) to meet the changing needs.

In the second phase of DRDA computerization, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India sponsored the upgradation of the computing and communication infrastructure at each of the DRDAs. The infrastructure included one Server (Windows NT 4.0), Five Clients (Windows 95 or later), Local Area Network (LAN), SQL Server 7.0, Visual Basic 6.0 (Enterprise Edition or later), MS Office 97 or later. Besides, the ministry also sanctioned V-SAT based connectivity to 15 DRDAs in the pilot phase. Meanwhile, there was a restructuring of various poverty alleviation schemes by the ministry. To meet the fresh requirements, NIC was requested to develop a new application software package, the fourth version of CRISP software, which was re-christened as RuralSoft2000.

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