The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India, launched Aajeevika – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) in June 2011.
The Mission, which is supported in part by World Bank financing, aims to create efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor, allowing them to raise household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and enhanced access to financial services.
NRLM set out with an agenda to cover 7 million rural poor households across 600 districts, 6000 blocks, 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats, and 6 lakh villages in the country through self-managed Self Help Groups (SHGs) and federated institutions, and to support them for livelihood collectives over an 8-10 year period.
Furthermore, the poor would benefit from enhanced access to rights, entitlements, and public services, risk diversification, and improved social indices of empowerment. DAY-NRLM believes in using the poor’s inherent strengths and supplementing them with capacities (information, knowledge, skills, tools, financing, and collectivisation) to participate in the country’s rising economy. The programme was called Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana in November 2015. (DAY-NRLM).
The Mission’s goal is to develop sustainable livelihoods for the disadvantaged in order to lift them out of poverty. The poor institutions are meant to assist in access to formal credit; (ii) support for livelihood diversification and strengthening; and (iii) access to entitlements and public services.
The Scheme’s fundamental characteristics and components include:
- Bringing one member (ideally a woman) from each rural poor household into the Self Help Group (SHG) network. Bank connections would be established for women’s SHG groups.
- SHGs would be federated at the village and higher levels to give space, voice, and resources while reducing reliance on external agencies.
- The Mission has four components: social mobilisation, community institution and capacity building; (ii) financial inclusion; (iii) livelihood enhancement; and (iv) convergence.
- A participatory social assessment would identify and rank all vulnerable households. The lowest of the poor, single women and woman-headed households, crippled, landless, and migratory labour would be prioritised in the ranking.
- Training and capacity building for the poor, notably in the areas of institution management, livelihoods, credit absorption, and creditworthiness.
- The Mission also promotes rural youth skill development, placement, training, and self-employment through rural self-employment Institutes (RSETIs), innovations, infrastructure construction, and market assistance.
- Provision of a Revolving Fund to assist SHGs in strengthening their institutional and financial management capacity and developing a positive credit history.
- Provision of Community Investment Support Fund (CIF) in intensive blocks to SHGs via Federations to advance loans and/or engage in common/collective socio-economic activities.
- Financial inclusion model introduction, bank loaning, affiliation and cooperation with banking/financial institutions, and coverage for loss of life, health, etc.
- Interest Provision Subvention on loans obtained by SHGs to cover the difference between bank lending rates and 7%.
- Convergence between several ministries and agencies dealing with rural poor poverty alleviation.
The scheme’s beneficiaries are rural poor, and instead of providing direct financial assistance, the scheme envisions the poor being organised into institutions and making them own the institutions, acquiring the adequate capacity building and handholding support, accessing institutional credit, and pursuing livelihoods based on their resources, skills, and preferences.