[Kurukshetra August Summary] Livelihood Promotion for Women under DAY-NRLM – Explained, pointwise

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Introduction – About National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) is one of the self-employment programmes of the Government of India. It seeks to organize about 10 crore households into Self Help Groups (SHGs) and link them to sustainable livelihood opportunities. It focuses on building their skills and making available financial, technical, and marketing resources at a grassroots level. In order to achieve its objectives, the Mission focuses on four core areas namely: (a) Social mobilisation and promotion of sustainable community institutions of the rural poor; (b) Financial inclusion of the poor; (c) Sustainable livelihoods; (d) Social inclusion, development, and convergence. 

The Mission was launched in 2011 with support from the World Bank to improve the livelihoods of poor rural people and boost the rural economy. 

The NRLM utilized the ecosystem of SHGs in these rural districts to execute the Mission. In 2015, the government renamed the Mission as Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana (DAY-NRLM).

What are the key features of DAY-NRLM?

Social Mobilization: It will bring at least one woman member from each identified rural poor household, under the Self Help Group (SHG) network in a time-bound manner. Special emphasis is, particularly on vulnerable communities like the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTGs), manual scavengers, Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) etc. Target groups are identified by a well-defined, transparent and equitable process of Participatory Identification of Poor (PIP). 

Community Institutions: The Mission involves working with community institutions through community professionals to promote self-help.

Financial Inclusion: The mission works on both the demand and supply sides of financial inclusion. On the demand side, it promotes financial literacy among the poor and provides capital to the SHGs. On the supply side, it coordinates with the financial sector to encourage the use of financial technologies.

Implementation by Poor: One of the important aspects of the DAY-NRLM is that those women who came out from the labyrinth of poverty and invisibility would help others in their ventures. In this sense, the Mission is aptly defined as for the poor, of the poor, and by the poor’.  

Convergence: The mission places a high emphasis on convergence with other programs of the Ministry of Rural Development and other Central Ministries. Convergence is also sought with programs of State Governments for developing synergies directly or indirectly with institutions of the poor.

Interest Subvention: SHG members are eligible for receiving interest subvention equal to the difference between the borrowing rate of interest and 7 percent. An additional interest subvention of 3 percent is also available on prompt repayment of loan, reducing the effective interest rate to 4 percent.

What are some of the sub-schemes under DAY-NRLM?

Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP): It seeks to improve the present status of women in agriculture, and to enhance the opportunities available to empower women. MKSP recognizes the identity of “Mahila” as “Kisan” and strives to build the capacity of women in the domain of agro-ecologically sustainable practices.

Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP): SVEP supports entrepreneurs to set up small businesses in rural areas. It is for promoting knowledge about business feasibility, management, and to provide access to credit for start-ups as well as to scale up the existing enterprises.

Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY): AGEY is a programme to provide safe, affordable, and community monitored transport services to rural areas. The vehicles are owned and operated by members of SHG networks and operated in regions which are not served by regular transport services.

Rural Self Employment Training institutes (RSETIs): RSETIs are established in each district of the country in collaboration with the banks and the State Governments. They provide short term residential training with long handholding support to the youth. The post-training support mechanisms include interactive web portal, call centres, network of business counselling centres and alumni conventions.

How has the DAY-NRLM performed?

Coverage: DAY-NRLM is working intensively in 6,812 blocks of 711 districts at present and seeks to saturate household mobilization by the end of FY 2023-24.

SHG Growth:  The number of SHGs were 19.29 lakh in FY 2011-2012 to FY 2013-14 lakh. This has reached 76.21 lakh in May 2022 registering a growth of about 300 percent during a decade of implementation of the Mission.

The examples of Kudumbashree in Kerala, Bihan Canteen and Bihan Outlet run by SHGs in Chhattisgarh, social audits in Odisha by SHGs are positive developments. 

Women Participation: Total number of women in SHGs were 2.35 crore in FY 2011-2012 to FY 2013-14. It has been increased to 5.96 crores in FY 2014-15 to May 2022 thereby registering more than 153 percent growth in becoming members of SHGs.

Loan Disbursement: The amount of loan disbursed and amount of capital support given to SHGs have also been increased many fold. It is interesting to note that the Non-Performing Assets (NPA) were 9.58% on March 31, 2014, which has been reduced to 2.35% as on 21 June 2022. This indicates a substantial reduction of NPAs during the decade of the implementation of the Mission.

Sub Schemes: As many as 2,05793 SVEPs have been supported under the Mission. The number of SPVs operational under AGEY are 1,811 and there are 24,381 community managed Custom Hiring Centres (CHC) established under the Mission.

Similarly, Mahila Kisans which were 24 lakh in the FY2013-14 have been reached to 170 lakh indicating growth more than 600% during a decade.

A Mid Term Assessment of SVEP conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI) in 2019 covering 1,038 enterprises across 6 States showed that: (a) 82% of entrepreneurs are from SC, ST and OBC categories; (b) 75% of the enterprises were owned and managed by women. 

What are the challenges?

First, it is a demand driven programme, which needs to focus more on social mobilization. It requires trained human resources to build up the capacity of poor women in taking various activities at their levels.

Second, due to delay in the disbursement of funds from the State Treasury to the State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM) accounts, various desired activities are adversely affected.

Third, the frequent transfer of the SRLM Directors also adversely affects the progress of the Mission.

What should be the approach going ahead?

First, the 5th Common Review Mission 2019 of the Ministry of Rural development has suggested: (a) Filling the large number of vacancies; (b) Well designed HR manual for contractual or outsourced personnel; (c) Implementation of the recommendations by the Task Force for harmonizing personnel across the schemes.

Second, there is a need to give more focus on the States where the impact is less visible like Manipur, Meghalaya and Rajasthan for enhancing group activities for livelihoods.

Third, RSETI may not consider itself as another cog in the wheel. It should identify beneficiaries with due care and apply proper methods. The entire cycle from training, lending, handholding, etc. must be done carefully and systematically.

Conclusion

The DAY-NRLM has been trying its best to unleash oppressed, depressed and suppressed energies of women by way of enabling them to take up micro enterprises individually and collectively. The assessments of the functioning of the mission show that income levels of those who are engaged in the mission have increased more than that of people not covered under it. However, there are some challenges before the Mission which need to be taken care of for better outcomes in future.

Syllabus: GS II, Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

Source: Kurukshetra August 2022

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