This paper is the first in a series of papers on a restudy of a village in the Barind tract of northern Bangladesh. At the time of the original study in 1975/76 boro cultivation was negligible, due to lack ofirrigation facilities. There were few job opportunities outside agriculture in the village and in the neighbouring small town. By and large the landless were dependent on the landowners for employment, and many remained unemployed outside the peak season of agriculture. Following government policies during the 1980s significant changes have taken place: The government's agricultural policy reforms, especially as regards irrigation, have resulted in a sharp increase in boro cultivation. At the same time, the government's upgrading of thana headquarters has led to a considerable growth in the small town close to the village. These two developments have resulted in a sharp increase in demand for agricultural labourers as well as for work opportunities in the informal sector. The paper analyzes and discusses new income opportunities for the rural poor in the informal sector, primarily rickshaw pulling and milk business. The analysis is based on data from general a household survey as well as case studies of a select number of individuals.