Thursday, June 2, 2011

National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)

  The UPA chairperson is to launch the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), a re-christened  version of the ongoing Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana from Banswara, Rajasthan at June 03.  The Minister for Rural Development, Government of India, Sh. Vilasrao Deshmukh and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Sh. Ashok Gehlot will also grace the occasion .

NRLM recognizes that the poor people have the potential to come out of poverty with proper handholding, training and capacity building and credit linkage. The handholding support to the SHGs will be in the form of external and internal. External support structure will consist of dedicated professional institutions at the State level, district level and sub – district level whereas internal support structure will evolve in the form of SHG federations at the village level, and block level and later on at district level. NRLM also recognizes that poor people have multiple livelihoods – wage employment and self employment. It will stabilize and enhance incomes from both the livelihoods. It will also promote diversification of livelihoods.

NRLM will have special focus on the poorest households, who are currently dependant on MGNREGA. These families will be supported to broaden their livelihoods through assets and skill acquisition. This will enhance the quality of their livelihoods significantly.

NRLM is based on large scale successes in states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh where social mobilization and building strong institutions of the poor have led to significant reduction in poverty and empowerment of the poor.

The role of Banks will be of prime importance under NRLM as a source of credit for the poor at reasonable rates.  NRLM will focus on getting banks to lend to the poor by making them bankable clients through smart use of subsidy.  NRLM will focus on women as we believe that the best way of reaching out to the whole family is through the woman. There will be a special focus on vulnerable sections: scheduled tribes, scheduled castes, minorities, women headed families, etc. The second focus of NRLM would be rural youth of the country who are unemployed.  They will be supported through placement linked skill development projects through which their skills will be upgraded through short term training courses in sectors which have high demand for services.

A unique feature of NRLM is that it would be led by the poor themselves.  It would utilize the services of Community Resource Persons (CRPs) who are women who have themselves come out of poverty through being a part of the Self Help Group.  They will spread the concept of NRLM from one village to another and from one district to another making NRLM a people’s movement.

Since the level of development of each State is different so also the availability of local resources and the level of skills of the people, therefore, the State will have the flexibility to develop their own action plans based on their local requirements and availability of resources.  It will be a demand driven approach. The main features of NRLM are as follows:

·      Universal social mobilisation through formation of SHGs under NRLM.   To bring each and every BPL household under the SHG network. To ensure that all the poor in the country are made a part of the social mobilization process in order to empower them, socially and economically. During the remaining period of the 11th Plan it is proposed to form about 10 lakh new SHGs. All existing SHGs will be strengthened.
·      To take the social mobilization process to the next stage of maturity SHG federations will be set up at the levels of villages, cluster of villages, blocks & districts. The Federations will nurture the SHGs; enable them to become good quality institutions, help SHG members in articulating their demands, enable collective action for getting their entitlements with various Government departments, developing backward and forward marketing linkages, maintenance of accounts, conducting audits and documentation.
·      The goal of universal financial inclusion will be furthered by enabling SHGs to be linked to banks and to access credit from them.
·      Capacity Building and Training – Under NRLM it is proposed that upto Rs. 7500 per beneficiary would be provided for capacity building & training in place of the present provision of Rs. 5000 per beneficiary. It is proposed to provide basic orientation training to all the swarozgaris. Skill training will be provided to the swarozgaris who are entering micro enterprise level.
·      In order to ensure institutional arrangement for skill development for self employment and wage employment, dedicated training institute for rural BPL youth i.e Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) are being set up with the aim of having at least one such institution  in each district of the country. These RSETIs will be set up with the partnership of banks.  The Ministry will provide one time grant for construction of RSETIs @ Rs 1.0 crore per RSETI and the land for it would be provided by the State Governments. Recurring expenditure for running the RSETIs would be provided by the concerned banks.
·      Provision of enhanced Revolving Fund & Capital Subsidy- Revolving Fund- To meet the requirement both in terms of consumption and taking up the income generating activities, it is proposed to raise the amount of revolving fund to Rs 15000 per SHG. Capital Subsidy- It is proposed to provide subsidy of Rs 15,000 to individual Swarozgaries of general category and Rs 20,000 to SC/ST and people with disabilities. For SHGs, subsidy will be   Rs. 20,000 per capita subject to a maximum of Rs 2.50 lakh, whichever is less. The capital subsidy will be provided to the SHGs either through their federations or directly. NRLM will attempt to make a smart use of subsidy so that it helps in building a credit track for the SHG members so that they are seen as credit worthy clients by banks for extending loans to them for their various needs.
·      Introduction of Interest Subsidy- Under NRLM, interest subsidy will be provided to SHGs for prompt repayment of loans to banks. The difference between 7% and Prime Lending Rates (PLR), will be provided to the poor households for every loan accessed from the banks, up to a limit of Rs 1 lakh per household.   This is with a view to enhance viability and competitiveness of SHGs and encourage the repayment of loan by them.
·      At present the DRDAs/blocks have skeleton staff and are over burdened with a multiplicity of programmes. Under NRLM it is proposed to provide professional support at all levels – National level, State level, district level to Sub district level in different specializations. This will facilitate in hand-holding of SHGs and taking them through the natural evolution process, whereby they are first geared to meet their consumption needs and then take up micro-enterprises for livelihoods promotion activities through a mix of their own savings, borrowing from the group and from the banks. 
·      Involvement of States for State specific Action Plans: It is proposed to provide flexibility to the States for formulating their own poverty alleviation plans on the basis of available resources and skills. 
·      Special Projects- For skill upgradation and placement, at present there is a provision of 15% of the SGSY allocation for special projects. It is now proposed to make these special projects as a subset of NRLM and earmarking 20% of allocation for special projects. Out of this 15% will be for placement linked skill development projects and 5% for innovative projects. Half of the 15% for placement linked skill development projects will be transferred to the states for projects within the states and the remaining will be retained at the center for inter-state projects.
·      Improved evaluation and monitoring Presently evaluation of SGSY is done by commissioning studies through NIRD and other reputed organizations and the programme is monitored through online Monthly Progress Report, regular meetings of the Performance Review Committee, visit by Area Officers and the mechanism of DLMs (District Level Monitors), NLMs (National Level Monitors) etc.  In addition to these, NRLM will put in place a (i) a comprehensive MIS encompassing database of SHG profiles, federations, training institutions and activities, placements of trained beneficiaries, marketing of products etc., (ii), concurrent and mid-term evaluations, (iii) social accountability practices like social audits etc. to facilitate monitoring & bring in transparency in program implementation.
·       A mission approach will enable time bound achievement of the goals of N.R.L.M.
·      NRLM will have partnerships with:
a)     Civil Society Organizations
b)     Industries
c)      Educational Institutions
d)     Other resource organizations.

Future Plan: The NRLM will be implemented in a phased manner. It is proposed to cover all the blocks of the Country within a period of seven to eight years. The States are expected to fulfill the following norms, at the earliest, before transiting from SGSY to NRLM:

    i.                   State level agencies and the district/sub-district level units are set up
  ii.                   Professional staff has been trained and placed
iii.                   State level poverty reduction strategy has been formulated
iv.                   Formation of State level Core team with a nodal officer

Ministry of Rural Development has already finalised the ‘Framework for Implementation’ for NRLM and circulated to all States. 

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