According to the Census of India, rural

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1 AAJEEVIKA-A FRESH LEASE OF LIFE FOR THE RURAL PEOPLE Dr. Mukesh Kumar Shrivastava According to the Census of India, rural population constitutes percent of the total population of the country. Though, a number States have rural populations more than the national average, and in some states like, Himachal Pradesh (89.96), Bihar (88.70), Assam (85.92), and Odisha (83.32), the percentage of rural population to the total population is still very high. Another fact is that India has unacceptable levels of rural poverty. It is estimated to be at 25.70%, using S Tendulkar methodology, by the Planning Commission in the press release of 23 July In some of the central, northern and north-eastern states, such as Arunachal Pradesh (38.93), Assam (33.8), Bihar (34.06), Chhattisgarh (44.61), Jharkhand (40.84), Madhya Pradesh (35.74), Manipur (38.80), Mizoram (35.43), Odisha (35.69) and Uttar Pradesh (30.40), the estimated percentage is much higher than the national average. It shows that India s population lives in rural areas; and most of them are poor and deprived of sustainable livelihood and other facilities to lead a respectable life. NRLM/ Aajeevika: A Strategy for Improving Rural Livelihood and Life Showing deep concern regarding the issues of livelihood, the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, has launched a new comprehensive and ambitious programme, i.e. National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM/ Aajeevika) on 3 rd June of 2011, to improve the livelihoods and quality of life of rural people, after restricting the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY). The aim of this programme is to create efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor, enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements, and improved access to financial services. The mission statement of NRLM says To reduce poverty by enabling the poor households to access gainful self-employment and 42 42

2 skilled wage employment opportunities resulting in appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong and sustainable grassroots institutions of the poor. In the General Budget for the year Rs 4000 crores have been earmarked for the Aajeevika. Key Features and Focus The key features of this programme is to achieve universal social and financial inclusion of every poor household in the process of mainstream development through universal social mobilization and promotion of institutions of the poor (SHGs and their village level and higher level federations), in which it is intended to include at least one member from each identified rural poor household, preferably a woman, under the Self Help Group (SHG) network in a time bound manner. The programme is considered as a shift from the present allocation based strategy to a demand driven strategy and focuses on outcomes, time bound delivery, continuous capacity building, imparting requisite skills, and creating linkages with livelihoods opportunities for the poor. As per the mission document NRLM works on three pillars enhancing and expanding existing livelihoods options of the poor; building skills for the job market outside; and nurturing selfemployed and entrepreneurs. It also tries to bring about convergence with other programmes of rural transformation, linkages with Panchaytai Raj Institution, and NGOs/ CBOs. It is done through dedicated support structures to build and strengthen institutional platforms of the poor. This can be seen through the diagram given below. On May 6, 2013 Cabinet decided to change the mechanism for identification of target groups under N.R.L.M from the BPL list based to Participatory Identification of Poor (PIP) process, at the level of the community. The list finalised through the P.I.P process will be scrutinized by the Gram Sabha and approved by the Gram Panchayat. Support Structure NRLM works through a structure of dedicated support at national level-national Mission Management Unit (NMMU), Advisory Committee (AC), Coordination Committee (CC), Empowered (The sequence begins with proper targeting of the poor that ensures social inclusion and moves on to their own institutions leveraging resources from the banking system and ensuring last mile service delivery through convergence) Committee (EC); at the state level-state Rural Livelihoods Mission (SRLM), State Mission Management Unit (SMMU)]; at the district-[district Mission Management Unit (DMMU)]; at the block level- Block Mission Management Unit (BMMU)], and Project Facilitation Team (PFTs) at Subblock level to catalyze social mobilization, build institutions, capacities and skills, facilitate financial inclusion and access to financial services, support livelihoods and convergence and partnerships with various programmes and stakeholders. The diagram below shows the structure of dedicated support. Recently, Cabinet (on May 6, 2013) has decided to set up National Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (NRLPS) at national level under the Societies Registration Act- an autonomous, adequately staffed, professionally managed, and empowered agency will act as the technical support unit of NRLM. Special Projects, Sub-components and Initiatives The Placement linked skills development projects started under SGSY for skill development 43 43

3 in and Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) programme for skilling rural BPL for self-employment, under the aegis of the banking sector have been continued in NRLM. A special project Himayat has been set up exclusively for Jammu and Kashmir. Recently Roshni has been launched to provide placement linked skill development for rural youths in 24 Left Wing Extremist (LWE) affected districts. Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) a livelihood initiative under NRLM was launched in 2011 to enhance the opportunities and empower women engaged in agriculture and Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) production. As per the briefing report (December 2012), the Ministry has sanctioned 37 projects in 12 states under MKSP during the year , with a budget of Rs crores. A unique scheme of Youth Professional (YP) under NRLM has been formulated to develop a talented pool of Young Professionals (YP) with passion and training to work with poor and potential to become development leaders. Funding and Financial Assistance The funding pattern under NRLM is based on sharing between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25 (90:10 in case of North Eastern States including Sikkim; completely from the Centre in case of UTs). The Central allocation earmarked for the States is broadly distributed in relation to the incidence of poverty in the States. NRLM provides revolving fund support to the SHGs (SHGs that have not received any RF earlier), as corpus, with a minimum of Rs. 10,000 and up to a maximum of Rs. 15,000 per SHG. As per cabinet decision of May 6, 2013, the provision of capital subsidy support to the SHGs has been withdrawn and a new grant called Community Investment Support Fund (CISF) has been put in place for the intensive blocks, which will be used by the Federations to advance loans to S.H.Gs and to undertake common socio-economic activities. It has also been decided in the cabinet to replace the Interest Subsidy with Interest Subvention of 3 percent to Women SHGs, enabling them to avail loans up to Rs. 3 lakh at an interest rate of 7 per cent per annum. The additional 3 per cent subvention will reduce the effective rate of interest to 4 per cent for those Women SHGs, who repay loans in time; and this initiative, in the first phase, would focus on 150 districts, including the 82 IAP districts, affected by Left Wing Extremism. The other financial proviso include administrative expenditure of 5% of the allocation, net of the component relating to skill development and placement and net of the component of RSETIs, Infrastructure and Marketing (Up to 20% (25% in case of north eastern states and Sikkim), and for Skills and Placement Projects and Innovations (20% of the Central allocation). Project Submission and Approval A project proposal satisfying most of the guiding principles under NRLM is normally submitted to the NRLM/NMMU through SRLM. The Projects submitted are first screened by the Project Screening Committee (PSC) Chaired by NRLM Mission Director and then approved by the Project Approval Committee (PAC), Chaired by Secretary, Rural Development, and MoRD. The diagram given below details the process and stages. Phased Implementation under Five Year Plans It has been decided that NRLM will be implemented in a phased manner to ensure quality of outcomes. In each phase, select districts and blocks will be identified by each state for intensive implementation of the activities under Aajeevika. The identified intensive blocks are entitled to get full features of NRLM. The table below details the annualized phases of implementation plan under Five Year Plans i.e. 12 th and 13 th. Progress So Far on Key Indicators Since its launch of the NRLM, States and UTs have made number efforts to ground the

4 Phasing of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission Twelfth Plan Intensive Districts Cumulative Intensive Districts Intensive Blocks , ,100 4,200 1,800 6,000 Cumulative Intensive Blocks ,100 4,200 4,200 6,000 6,000 Households Covered in Lakh Cumulative Households Covered in Lakh SHGs in ,020 2,640 4,560 7,200 Cumulative SHGs in ,020 1,620 2,640 2,640 7,200 7,200 Youth Skilled for and Placed in Jobs in Lakh Cumulative Youth Skilled for and Placed in Jobs in Lakh Self-employed in Lakh Cumulative Self-employed in Lakh Note: The figures for include figures of already existing SHGs Source: Twelfth Five Year Plan ( )-Economic Sector, Vol-III, Planning GoI Sl. Key Outcomes no 1 Setting up of State Society Society registered 2 Cabinet approval for roll out of NRLM 3 Appointment of full time Mission Director/Chief Executive Officer 4 Recruitment of State Mission Management Unit (SMMU) Core Team full time 5 Identification of intensive districts/ blocks completed 6 Approval from competent authority for HR structure, Salary, recruitment policy 7 Recruitment of staff for intensive blocks and districts 8 Resource block strategy finalization and MoU signed with Resource Organisation 13th Plan No. of States States 28 Except Goa, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep 27 Except Jammu & Kashmir 23 Except Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur Punjab, Uttarakhand 19 Except Haryana Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttrakhand, West Bengal 26 Except Uttrakhand, Manipur 20 Except J&K, Uttrakahnd, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Puducherry, Rajasthan 14 Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and UP, (under progress), Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Nagaland; Jharkhand, Punjab, and Rajasthan (Partially done), 07 Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra Rajasthan (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu are not required to do this) 9 Resource Block strategy rolled out 04 Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu are not required to do this) 45 45

5 10 Preparation and submission of Annual Action Plan 11 Approval for interim HR policy, administrative and financial rules for the initial period 12 Preparation and submission of State Perspective Implementation Plan 13 Approval of Annual Action Plan and release of fund 24 Except Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand 19 Except Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Puducherry, Madhya Pradesh, J&K 03 Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, 16 Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu Sources: State Brief As on programme. The progress so far ( ) made by the State is given in tabular form based on some of the outcome indicators. The table above shows that some of the states like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar have achieved a lot, while majority of states are still working on preparation and approval of their Annual Action Plan. Some of the states are in very initial stage of implementation of the NRLM. Finally, I would to conclude that NRLM is another step towards providing sustainable livelihood and quality life in rural areas by igniting the innate capabilities of the poor, and building and strengthening their institution or federation with a particular emphasis on women led institutions. No doubt, there is lot of contradictions, inadequacies in the provisos and, challenges that need to be addressed in time. [The author is Adjunct Faculty National Institute of Rural Development North Eastern Regional Centre Guwahati , Assam (INDIA) SUBSCRIPTION COUPON (For New Membership/Renewal/Change in Address I want to subscribe to (Journal s name & language) for 1 yr. for Rs. 100/- 2 yrs for Rs. 180/- 3 yrs. for Rs. 250/- DD/IPO/MO No. Date Please send DD/IPO/MO to Business Manager Publication Division, East Block, Level-VII, R. K. Puram, New Delhi Tel. : , , Fax : Also ensure that DD/IPO/MOs are in favour of ADG (I/c), Publications Division, M/o I&B payable at New Delhi and of requisite amount. Name (in block letters) Address PIN Note: For Renewal/change in address-please quote your Subscription No. Please allow 8 to 10 weeks for the despatch of the 1st issue

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