Wednesday, 22 August 2012

National Rural Livelihoods Mission

The National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) has been conceived as a cornerstone of national poverty reduction strategy. It is a re-designed and re-structured version of the Swarnjayanti GramSwarojgar Yojana (SGSY).

The objective of the Mission is to reduce poverty among rural BPL by:
-  promoting diversified and gainful self-employment and wage employment opportunities (lead to an appreciable increase in income on sustainable basis). 
-  In the long run, it will ensure broad based inclusive growth and reduce disparities by spreading out the benefits from the islands of growth across the regions, sectors and communities.

The Rural Livelihoods Mission is proposed to have a three-tier interdependent structure.
- Apex: the National Rural Livelihoods Mission, under the Ministry of Rural Development (GOI). 
- State level: umbrella organization under the State Department of Rural Development which is responsible for implementing self-employment/rural livelihoods promotion programs. The State level Mission with dedicated professionals and domain experts will be guided financially, technically and supported by the NRLM on need basis. 
The National and the State Mission will have a symbiotic relationship. They will have mutual access to the knowledge and services in the area of rural livelihoods.
- Governing Council will be the policy making body setting overall vision and direction to the Mission, consistent with the national objectives.

The need for restructuring the SGSY has arisen on account of feedback provided and recommendations made by various studies. Some of its shortcomings were:

  • vast regional variations in mobilization of rural poor; 
  • insufficient capacity building of beneficiaries; 
  • insufficient investments for building community institutions; and 
  • weak linkages with banks leading to low credit mobilization and repeat financing. 
  • Several states have not been able to fully utilize the funds received under SGSY due to lack of dedicated human resources and appropriate delivery systems.

Thus a need for revamping the poverty-reduction programme was felt. This was also based on three major developments in recent times: 
(i) the economy experienced a robust growth 
(ii) National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) emerged as a major program to provide additional income to the rural poor and 
(iii) various initiatives taken under the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM).

The NRLM includes the following activities:
  • strengthen livelihoods by promoting SHGs
  • provide self employment to the rural folks, 
  • improve existing occupations, providing skill development & placement.
  • Training and capacity building, deployment of multidisciplinary experts and other initiatives will enhance the credit worthiness of the rural poor. 
  • Periodic interaction of Mission with Public Sector Banks and other financial institutions to enhance the reach of rural poor to the un-banked areas will ensure their financial inclusion.
  • facilitate access to other entitlements such as wage employment and food security and benefits of Indira Awas Yojana(IAY), drinking water, land improvement, education, and health and risk mitigation through convergence and coordination mechanism.  

Analysis of NRLM
  • NRLM  will  focus  on  the  poverty  of  rural  households,  and  it  will  reduce  that  poverty  by  mobilizing  them  into representative  and  self‐managed  institutions  at  the  grassroots  level—women’s  self‐help  groups  (SHGs).  Working exclusively  through  rural  women  and  their  organizations,  NRLM  can  have  a  tremendous  impact  on  gender  issues  and could  be  a  game  changer  in  terms  of  achieving  the  MDGs  on  nutrition,  gender  and  poverty.  
  • Further  investments  of  capital  and  capacity  building  will  federate  the  SHGs  at  the  village  level  and  beyond—an  institutional  platform  of  the poor—so that poor households can access services and livelihood opportunities previously beyond their reach.
  • NLRM  will  support  grants  to  SHGs  and  their  federations  to  help  the  poor  start  new  livelihoods  or  improve  existing ones—particularly  in  the  agriculture  and  allied  sectors  like  crops,  livestock/dairying,  and  inland  fisheries.  But agriculture alone cannot raise most families out of poverty, so NRLM will support enterprise development in the local service sector- eg: shops, transport sector.
  • They also build and protect their asset base through savings and ultimately access to formal financial institutions. This access  allows  poor  households  to  reduce  their  debt  burden  by  retiring  high‐cost  debt,  access  new  credit  at  market  prices, and access products to reduce their vulnerability, like insurance.
  • NRLM  is  also  investing  in  a  knowledge  management  ecosystem  to  achieve  scale  with  quality  and  in  a  cost  effective manner.
  • NRLM  will  attract  professionals from  reputed  management  schools  and  other  disciplines  which  will  contribute  to  a  new  work  culture  in  managing livelihood  programs.  The  teams  will  be  supported  by  strategically  outsourced  professional  service  firms  and  resource agencies  to  manage  the  operations  at  the  national,  state,  district  and  sub‐district  level.  
Sources: › India › News & Events › What's New


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  2. Upon receipt of a news item on NRLM, am adding the following critique:
    N.C.Saxena: It would be much better to upgrade their skills and make them employable in the newly emerging industries and trades. The poor would prefer to be wage employed on a regular basis at a decent salary due to improved skills, rather than face the risk of operating in an uncertain market plus the ignominies of humiliation from insensitive police and municipal officials. Hence the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) should focus more on skill upgradation than on self-employment.