The Kudumbasree, which was the first pioneering effort by the government of Kerala to promote women self-help groups, is all set to become a model for the National Rural Livelihoods Mission. The project will be considered as a model for several states with a mission to bring changes in the fortunes of millions of women.
In a significant recognition to Kerala, Kudumbashree has been taken as the leading model to revitalise NRLM. Its best practices will now be replicated through the NRLM, a major initiative under the ministry of rural development, to bring the poorest of the poor above the poverty line by ensuring viable livelihood opportunities.
A senior official of the Kudumbasree told rediff.com, "We are extremely elated about the recognition and are happy that the Kerala model will be replicated to improve the welfare of millions of women across the country. With over two lakh neighbourhood groups and nearly four million women members, Kudumbashree has been able to make an impact in the state and we hope NRLM also will do so."
The NRLM project, the rechristened version of the ongoing Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, has been modeled mainly after Kudumbashree in Kerala and Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty in Andhra Pradesh, as per the recommendations of the Radhakrishna Committee.
While Kudumbashree took off in 1998, the Andhra model came into being only in 2000.
As part of replicating the Kerala model in other states, the Union government has advised states to study the best practices of Kudumbahsree. The delegations from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have already toured the Kerala to pick the models and learn the functioning of Kudumbashree units. Maharashtra and Bihar would send teams soon, a Kudumbashree official said.
The main principles of the NRLM are universal social mobilisation through formation of SHGs and creation of SHG federations in a cluster of villages, block and district levels.
The Radhakrishna committee, which was formed to suggest ways to restructure the NRLM, also recommended replication of Kudumbashree, which was the first such initiative to work on a mission mode which was missing in SGSY. Kudumbashree was also the first to integrate pachayati raj into SHG programme and this has also been adopted in NRLM.
The NRLM aims to ensure that at least one member from each identified rural poor household, preferably a woman, is brought under the self-help group network in a time bound manner. NRLM would reach out, mobilise and support 7 crore below poverty line households across 600 districts, 6,000 blocks, 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, in 6 lakh villages across the country into their self-managed self-help groups.
It would support them financially and institutionally in all their efforts to get them out of poverty. The poor would be helped to achieve increased access to their rights, entitlements and public services, diversified risk and better social indicators of empowerment.