Rural electrification projects and programmes in many countries have suffered from design, planning, implementation and operational flaws as a result of ineffective project planning and lack of systematic project risk analysis. This paper presents a hierarchical risk-management framework for effectively managing large-scale development projects. The proposed framework first identifies, with the involvement of stakeholders, the risk factors for a rural electrification programme at three different levels (national, state and site). Subsequently it develops a qualitative risk prioritising scheme through probability and severity mapping and provides mitigating measures for most vulnerable risks. The study concludes that the hierarchical risk-management approach provides an effective framework for managing large-scale rural electrification programmes.