Swarnajayanti Grameen Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY), one of the flagship programs of the RD Ministry with the focus on self-employment by reaching out to Self Help Groups, launched in the year 1999 is being restructured as the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), to be implemented in a mission mode across the country. The restructuring comes in the backdrop of the fact that out of the estimated 7 crore rural BPL households, 4.5 Crore households still need to be organized into SHGs. The mission aims to reach out to all the rural poor families (BPL families) and link them to sustainable livelihoods opportunities. It will nurture them till they come out of poverty and enjoy a decent quality of life.
*NRLM Mission : 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.”
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.
Livelihood 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 counselling 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.
*Why in Mission Mode :
NRLM implementation is 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, and (d) monitoring against targets of poverty outcomes.
As NRLM follows a demand driven strategy, the States have the flexibility to develop their 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 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.
* Key Features of NRLM
Social Inclusion and Institutions of the Poor
1. Universal Social Mobilization: NRLM would ensure that at least one member from each identified rural poor household, preferably a woman, is brought under the Self Help Group (SHG) network in a time bound manner. NRLM would ensure adequate coverage of vulnerable sections of the society such that 50% of the beneficiaries are SC/STs, 15% are minorities and 3% are persons with disability, while keeping in view the ultimate target of 100% coverage of BPL families.
2. Promotion of Institutions of the poor: Strong institutions of the poor such as SHGs and their village level and higher level federations would be promoted.
3. Training, Capacity building and skill building: NRLM would ensure that the poor are provided with the requisite skills for: managing their institutions, linking up with markets, managing their existing livelihoods, enhancing their credit absorption capacity and credit worthiness, etc.
4. Revolving Fund and Capital Subsidy: Subsidy would be available in the form of revolving fund and capital subsidy.
5. Universal Financial Inclusion: NRLM would work towards achieving universal financial inclusion, beyond basic banking services to all the poor households, SHGs and their federations.
6. Provision of Interest Subsidy: The rural poor need credit at low rate of interest and in multiple doses to make their ventures economically viable.
7. NRLM would look at the entire portfolio of livelihoods of each poor household, and work towards stabilizing and enhancing the existing livelihoods and subsequently diversifying their livelihoods.
8. Infrastructure creation and Marketing support: NRLM would seek to ensure that the infrastructure needs for key livelihoods activities of the poor are fully met. 20% of the state’s programme outlay is reserved for this purpose.
9. Skills and Placement Projects: NRLM would pursue skill upgradation and placement projects through partnership mode as it is one of the best investments in youth, and provides impetus to livelihoods opportunities in emerging markets. National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) would be one of the leading partners in this effort. 15% of the central allocation under NRLM is earmarked for this purpose.
10. Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs)
NRLM encourages public sector banks to set up RSETIs in all districts of the country. RSETIs transform unemployed rural youth in the district into confident self-employed entrepreneurs through need-based experiential learning program followed by systematic handholding support.
11. Innovations: NRLM believes that successful innovations can reduce the learning curve for poverty eradication by showing a better pathway or a different pathway out of poverty. 5% of the Central allocation is earmarked for innovations.
Convergence and partnerships
11. Convergence: NRLM would place a very high emphasis on convergence with other programs of the Ministry of Rural Development and other Central Ministries, and programs of state governments for developing synergies directly and through the institutions of the poor.
12. Partnerships with NGOs and other CSOs: NRLM would proactively seek partnerships with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), at two levels - strategic and implementation.
13. Linkages with PRIs: Formal mechanisms would be established for regular consultations between the institutions of the poor and the PRIs for exchange of mutual advice, support and sharing of resources. However, care would be taken to protect their autonomy. Where there are no PRIs, the linkages would be with traditional local village institutions.
14. External Sensitive Support Structures: NRLM’s process-intensive effort would require dedicated human resources. Realizing this, NRLM would be setting up sensitive and dedicated support structures at the National, State, district and sub-district levels. NRLM Advisory, Coordination and Empowered Committees and National Mission Management Unit at the national level, State Rural Livelihoods Missions (SRLMs) as autonomous bodies and State Mission Management Units at state level, District Mission Management Units at district level, and sub-district units at block and/or cluster levels would constitute these support structures. These structures would have suitable linkages with Government(s), District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs), and PRIs.
15. Technical Support: NRLM would provide technical assistance to the States and all other partners for creating and strengthening their institutional capacities for its effective implementation.
16. Monitoring and Learning: NRLM would monitor its results, processes and activities through web-enabled comprehensive MIS, regular meetings of the Performance Review Committee(s), visits by senior colleagues, Local, District, State and National Monitoring Groups and the mechanisms of Review and Planning Missions. Process monitoring studies, thematic studies and impact evaluations would provide inputs to the above. It would also promote social accountability practices to introduce greater transparency.
17. Funding Pattern: NRLM is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and the financing of the program would be shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25 (90:10 in case of North Eastern States including Sikkim; completely from the Centre in case of UTs).
18. Phased Implementation: A phased implementation approach is adopted in NRLM. NRLM would reach all districts and blocks by the end of 12th Five-year Plan. The blocks that are taken up for intensive implementation of NRLM, would have access to a full complement of trained professional staff and cover a whole range of activities of universal and intense social and financial inclusion, livelihoods, partnerships etc.
19. Transition to NRLM
All States/UTs would have to transit to NRLM within a period of one year from the date of formal launch of NRLM. Further funding under SGSY ceases thereafter.
Agenda before NRLM
NRLM has set out with an agenda to reach out, mobilize and support 7 Crore BPL households across 600 districts, 6000 blocks, 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats, in 6 lakh villages in the country into their self-managed SHGs and their federal institutions and livelihoods collectives. NRLM’s long-term dedicated sensitive support would be with them and extend facilitation support in all their efforts to get out of poverty. In addition, the poor would be facilitated to achieve increased access to their rights, entitlements and public services, diversified risk and better social indicators of empowerment.
Economic Assistance/Financial Norms/Ceilings
1. Formation of SHGs - Rs. 10,000 per SHG to be given to NGOs/CBOs/Community Coordinators/Facilitators/Animators towards group formation and development.
2. Revolving Fund (RF) – As a corpus to SHG with a minimum of Rs. 10,000 to a maximum of Rs. 15,000 per SHG. This is given to all SHGs that have not received RF earlier. Only those SHGs with more than 70% BPL members are eligible for RF.
3. Capital Subsidy (CS) – Capital subsidy ceiling is applicable, both for members of SHGs and individual beneficiaries @Rs. 15,000 per general category and Rs. 20,000 per SC/ST category. The maximum amount of subsidy that an SHG is eligible for is Rs. 2.50 lakh. Only BPL members are eligible for individual subsidy, and, only those SHGs with more than 70% BPL members are eligible for the subsidy to SHGs.
4. Capacity building and skills training - Rs. 7,500 per beneficiary – The amount available under this component is used for training and capacity building not only of the beneficiaries but also of all other stakeholders, including programme officers and staff, community professionals, concerned government officials, NGOs, PRI functionaries etc. Expenditure on exposure visits and immersion visits is also be covered under this component. The skills training here refers to member level training for self-employment and is distinct from the Placement-linked Skills training.
5. Interest subsidy - Subsidy on interest rate above 7% per annum for all SHG loans availed from banks, based on prompt repayment. Interest subsidy would be provided to an individual beneficiary or SHG member till he/she has availed a bank loan up to an amount of Rs 1.00 lakh. It is expected that there will be repeat doses of financing to members in SHGs and this limit of ` 1.0 Lakh is the cumulative loan availed by a member (household). This subsidy is not available on such occasions when the SHG is availing capital subsidy.
6. One time grant for corpus fund for sustainability and effectiveness of federations –
· Rs 10,000 for Village/Panchayat level federation
· Rs 20,000 for Block level federation
· Rs 100,000 for District level federation
7. Administrative expenses – 5% of the allocation, net of the component relating to skill development & placement and net of the component of RSETIs. This amounts to 5% of Central release to the State and the corresponding State share.
8. Infrastructure and Marketing - Up to 20% (25% in case of north eastern states and Sikkim) of the Central share and State share of allocation i.e. state’s program outlay.
9. Skills and Placement Projects and Innovations (20% of the Central allocation) - Expenditure on innovative projects should not exceed 5%; and the remaining 15% is for placement linked skill development projects. 50% of the allocation for placement linked skill development projects (7.5%) is retained at the centre for multi-state skill development projects and the balance is allocated to states to implement state specific skill development and placement projects. The States have to add the corresponding state share to the amount released to them.
It is expected that the launch of the mission would give impetus to the poverty alleviation measures and ensure equitable and inclusive growth in the country.