Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Restructuring of SGSY as National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM)

Launched on 1st April 1999, Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) was an integrated scheme for providing opportunities of self employment to the rural poor. Like any other government schemes, this was also prone to corruption and failure. Swarna Jayanti Swarozgar Yojna (SGSY) has been renamed as National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) with added provision. I was reading notification of RBI on National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) issued way back in June 2013.

Uneven spread of SHGs, defunct SHGs and high attrition rate of members were the main issues faced in functioning of SHG in SGSY. This has been tackled through Universalisation of SHGs. Setting up of federations of SHGs is the salient feature of NRLM that can ensure monitoring and validation at community level.

Identification of Swarozgari was major source of corruption for Bank, Block and District level officers. A lot of money was taken as bribe for clearance before proper credit reached the beneficiary. Even non existing beneficiaries were created for embezzlement of grants. No Capital Subsidy will be sanctioned to any SHG from the date of implementation of NRLM. SHG Federations at GP level will be given grant under Community Investment Support fund, which will be used by the Federations to advance loans to SHGs. There is 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 year.

Lack of dedicated implementation structure are identified as responsible factors by the draft for the poor performance of SGSY. There will be an autonomous, adequately staffed, professionally managed and empowered agency both at the national and state level to implement the mission under the Societies Registration Act. Creation of Dedicated Machinery will reduce burden on existing government machinery, hence reduces the chance of corruption!

There are some changes to National Rural Livelihoods Mission (Aajeevika) recently approved by Cabinet. 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. The 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. This is welcome approach but can surely increase number of members of Extreme Poor and Vulnerable Group (EPVG) during PIP process. I always believe that identification of the poor is a political gimmick not a statistical exercise at ground level.

National Rural Livelihood Project (NRLP)

Government of India has availed a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for implementing the, National Rural Livelihood Project (NRLP), under NRLM. The NRLP would be implemented in 13 high poverty states accounting for about 90 percent of the rural poor in the country. Intensive livelihood investments would be made by the NRLP in 107 districts and 422 blocks of 13 states (Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu). Distribution of project funds among the states would be based on the relative share of rural BPL population in the total states. NRLP will broadly support the following components:

(i) Institution and human capacity development at the national, state, district and sub-district level such that support institutional structures are created,
(ii) State livelihood support towards establishment of institutional platforms of the rural poor for improved access to financial, livelihood and public services,
(iii) Innovation and partnership to identify and partner innovative ideas which address the livelihood needs of the rural poor and help pilot or scale them,
(iv) Project management and monitoring and learning systems.

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