a major boost to the roll out of the women’s self help group model across the
country, the Union Cabinet has cleared important changes to the National Rural
Livelihoods Mission (Aajeevika). Welcoming the move, the Minister for Rural
Development, Sh Jairam Ramesh noted, “This is an extremely welcome move. The
changes will provide additional resources and additional flexibility to
implement the NRLM (Aajeevika) in a more effective and accelerated manner
across the country, creating new livelihoods and empowering women across rural
The key changes approved are as follows:
Improved targeting, by doing away with BPL criteria
and instead identifying target groups through the Participatory Identification
of Poor (PIP) process.
Under the existing framework of implementation of N.R.L.M,
only rural households included in the official BPL list could be targeted under
N.R.L.M. This list was prepared in 2002, has not been updated and has many
defects. Since the entire N.R.L.M scheme depends on the formation of affinity
based groups of poor women with common bonding and synergistic functioning,
which cannot be created by simply drawing persons from an externally prepared
and incomplete BPL list, the Cabinet has now approved the that target groups
under N.R.L.M will be determined by a well defined, transparent and equitable
process of Participatory Identification
of Poor (PIP), at the level of the community. The P.I.P process has been
extensively demonstrated to be very effectives in states where women’s
self-help-groups have succeeded. The
list finalized through the P.I.P process will be vetted by the Gram Sabha and
approved by the Gram Panchayat. The P.I.P process will also have a set of
exclusion criteria, automatic inclusion criteria and a set of deprivation
indicators for enabling poverty ranking in a participatory manner. This delinks
N.R.L.M target group from the BPL list.
Interest subvention and additional interest
subvention in 150 districts.
Pursuant to the announcement made by the Finance Minister in
the Budget Speech for 2012-13, Cabinet has approved the provision of interest
subvention to Women SHGs, enabling them to avail loans up to Rs. 3 lakh at an
interest rate of 7 per cent per annum. Women SHGs that repay loans in time will
get additional 3 per cent subvention, reducing the effective rate to 4 per cent.
The initiative, in the first phase, would focus on 150 districts, including the
82 IAP districts, affected by Left Wing Extremism. The number of districts,
state wise is given in Annexure-I.
Change in the pattern of financial assistance -
replacing Capital subsidy with a Community Investment Support fund.
Financial assistance to the poor households was so far
provided in the form of capital subsidy linked to bank credit. It was felt that
this did not create a perpetual and viable capital base at the S.H.G level and
was open to misuse. The Cabinet has thus approved to withdraw ‘capital subsidy’
to S.H.Gs and instead provide financial support S.H.G federations and
livelihoods organizations of the S.H.G members in the ‘intensive’ blocks
through a grant called Community
Investment Support fund, which will be used by the Federations to advance
loans to S.H.Gs and to undertake common socio-economic activities. This will
happen in a phased manner, since intensive blocks will be added in a phased
Setting up of National Level Society under N.R.L.M
for more effective implementation.
The Cabinet also approved the setting up an ‘autonomous,
adequately staffed, professionally managed and empowered agency at the national
level to implement the N.R.L.M’, called the National Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (N.R.L.P.S) under the
Societies Registration Act. The NRLPS will act as the technical support unit of
N.R.L.M. The setting up of such a Society is essential to implement the
programme in a mission mode, as livelihoods programmes require a wide range of
specialization and experience. The main objective of the Society is to
continuously build capacities of the State rural livelihoods missions in
planning, implementing and monitoring the programme. The Society structure
would enable access to high quality professional support, provide flexibility
to create partnerships and facilitate innovations and would serve as a
knowledge center for rural livelihoods for the state missions. Further it will
provide an opportunity for formally involving State Governments in
decision-making, by nominating them to the Executive Committee of the Society.