National Rural Livelihood Mission

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National Rural Livelihood Mission
Country India
Prime Minister(s) Manmohan Singh
Launched June 2011

National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) is a poverty alleviation project implemented by Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. This scheme is focused on promoting self-employment and organization of rural poor. The basic idea behind this programme is to organize the poor into SHG (Self Help Groups) groups and make them capable for self-employment. In 1999 after restructuring Integrated Rural Development Programme(IRDP), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) launched Swarnajayanti Grameen Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) to focus on promoting self-employment among rural poor. SGSY is now remodeled to form NRLM thereby plugging the shortfalls of SGSY programme.[1] This scheme was launched in 2011 with a budget of $5.1 billion and is one of the flagship programmes of Ministry of Rural Development. This is one of the world's largest initiatives to improve the livelihood of poor. This programme is supported by World Bank with a credit of $1 Billion.[2] The scheme was succeeded by Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana on 25 September 2015.[3][4]

Background[edit]

The basic idea behind MSGS scheme was to form SHG groups and help them to start some entrepreneurial activities.But later SHG group failed.[1]

Mission, Principles & Values[edit]

A model self-help group demonstrating at a seminar in Maharashtra.
A model self-help group demonstrating at a seminar in Maharashtra.

The core belief of National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) is that the poor have innate capabilities and a strong desire to come out of poverty. They are entrepreneurial, an essential coping mechanism to survive under conditions of poverty. The challenge is to unleash their capabilities to generate meaningful livelihoods and enable them to come out of poverty.

Mission[edit]

"To reduce poverty by enabling the poor households to access gainful self- employment and skilled wage employment opportunities resulting in appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong and sustainable grassroots institutions of the poor."[1]

Guiding Principles[1][edit]

  • Poor have a strong desire to come out of poverty, and they have innate capabilities .
  • An external dedicated and sensitive support structure is required to induce the social mobilization, institution building and empowerment process.
  • Facilitating knowledge dissemination, skill building, access to credit, access to marketing, and access to other livelihoods services enables them to enjoy a portfolio of sustainable livelihoods.

Values[edit]

The core values which guide all the activities under NRLM are as follows:[1]

  • Inclusion of the poorest, and meaningful role to the poorest in all the processes
  • Transparency and accountability of all processes and institutions.
  • Ownership and key role of the poor and their institutions in all stages – planning, implementation, and, monitoring
  • Community self-reliance and self-dependence

Approach[edit]

In order to build, support and sustain livelihood of the poor, NRLM will harness their capability and complement them with capacities (information, knowledge, skill, tools, finance and collectivization), so that the poor can deal with the external world. NRLM works on three pillars – enhancing and expanding existing livelihoods options of the poor; building skills for the job market outside; and nurturing self-employed and entrepreneurs.

Dedicated support structures build and strengthen the institutional platforms of the poor. These platforms, with the support of their built-up human and social capital, offer a variety of livelihoods services to their members across the value-chains of key products and services of the poor. These services include financial and capital services, production and productivity enhancement services that include technology, knowledge, skills and inputs, market linkages etc. The interested rural BPL youth would be offered skill development after counseling and matching the aptitude with the job requirements, and placed in jobs that are remunerative. Self-employed and entrepreneurial oriented poor would be provided skills and financial linkages and nurtured to establish and grow with micro-enterprises for products and services in demand. These platforms also offer space for convergence and partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, by building an enabling environment for poor to access their rights and entitlements, public services and innovations. The aggregation of the poor, through their institutions, reduces transaction costs to the individual members, makes their livelihoods more viable and accelerates their journey out of poverty.

NRLM will be implemented in a mission mode. This enables:

(a) shift from the present allocation based strategy to a demand driven strategy, enabling the states to formulate their own livelihoods-based poverty reduction action plans.

(b) focus on targets, outcomes and time bound delivery.

(c) continuous capacity building, imparting requisite skills and creating linkages with livelihoods opportunities for the poor, including those emerging in the organized sector.Fatehpur

(d) monitoring against targets of poverty outcomes.

As NRLM follows a demand driven strategy, the States have the flexibility to develop their own livelihoods-based perspective plans and annual action plans for poverty reduction. The overall plans would be within the allocation for the state based on inter-se poverty ratios.

The second dimension of demand driven strategy implies that the ultimate objective is that the poor will drive the agenda, through participatory planning at grassroots level, implementation of their own plans, reviewing and generating further plans based on their experiences. The plans will not only be demand driven, they will also be dynamic.[1]

Criticism[edit]

NRLM is one of the major programme run by Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD). But it has some serious shortcomings.[5]

  1. NRLM plans to generate livelihood and provision of other rural services through SHG groups. But making it mandatory to be a part of SHG for access to various services may exclude some people from this system. Not everyone in rural area may be a member of SHG group and not everyone would like to be a member of such group. Some people may like to form other aggregation mechanism or would like to start up new livelihood individually. So if the government make it mandatory to be part of SHG as a means to access various service, the process will get corrupted and exploitative.For example, in Tamil Nadu a new group of money lenders (Micro Finance agents) have been formed who act as the intermediary between SHG groups and banks. Through the nexus between banks and micro finance agents, banks try to achieve their targets for financial inclusion, loan payment etc. These agents receive commission from the SHG groups. In order to achieve the targets the banks have given loans arbitrarily to the SHG groups via micro finance agents. These kinds of loans are not used in creation of income generating activity and so there will be default in loan repayment. After this the poor SHG members will be targeted by banks for loan repayment. So it is important to check the misuse of this scheme at the ground level.
  2. There are lot of cases were SHG have been disintegrated or taken over by elites among the poor. The highhandedness of elites in the group should be checked otherwise the poor will be alienated. So it will be better that NRLM focus on household as primary target of the programme.
  3. Rural economy is very diverse, many segments are there within the rural low income group and also across broader rural economy. So it is important that a range of services are provided to different group as per their need and necessity. For this the scheme should be very flexible even at the village level.
  4. NRLM has not given serious attention to value added agriculture and rural MSMEs (Micro, small and medium enterprises) – which, according to the experience of most the countries play an important role in enabling and sustaining inclusive growth in rural areas. MSMEs are the growth engines of emerging and developing economies and they need targeted intervention. One thing that NRLM can focus on is developing vibrant ecosystem for agro MSMEs.
  5. Strategy of NRLM is very broad and sweeping. So instead of attempting to do a whole lot of thing NRLM can focus on areas that could bring impact livelihoods of large number of rural people.
  6. The design of NRLM looks far too academic and as top down approach. This is the main reason for the failure of earlier projects like IRDP and SGSY.
  7. Prof. Malcolm Harper notes three aspects with regard to using SHG groups:'1) Groups take time, lots of it, and we have always said that poor women are very busy. 2) Groups tend to exclude individualist (sometimes they are called as entrepreneurs) who dare to be different, to do mad things like starting new types of businesses, which may even create jobs for others. 3) Men are generally bad at working in groups, and they take bigger risk and are less reliable than women, but when they do succeed they tend to create more jobs than women do, for the vast majority who prefer to employed than to be self-employed.'[2]
  8. In Andhra Pradesh (Indira Kranti Pathaam) and Kerala (Kudumbashree) the experiment with mass SHG programme has shown positive results, the same need not happen in other states. In these two states the programmes were led and supported by brilliant and committed officers and they had long tenure in that organisation/position. The same cannot be expected in all states.[2]

References[edit]