New Delhi, 30 October (H.S): To bring a sharper focus on moving women to the higher economic order, the Ministry of Rural Development launched an initiative on creating Lakhpati SHG women, to enable rural SHG women to earn at least Rs.1 lakh per annum. For the realization of this ambitious goal, the Ministry has envisioned livelihood support to 25 million rural SHG women in the next 2 years. Based on various models existing across the country, a detailed advisory has been issued to the State Governments. A stakeholders consultation workshop was held with the States, BMGF (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and TRIF (Tranfomation Rural India Foundation) for further discussion on this subject recently.
In the consultation, the importance of well-planned interventions to diversify livelihood activities at the household level ranging from Agriculture and allied, Livestock, NTFP (Non-timber Forest Products) and other interventions through convergence were emphasized to realize an annual income of INR 1 lakh on a sustained basis. The importance of strengthening SHG, VO (Village Organization) and CLFs (Cluster Level Federations) to anchor these kinds of interventions was also highlighted and stressed upon. The dedicated Community Cadres of SHG members trained in different fields would be instrumental in realizing their goal. The role of Civil Society Organizations, KVKs (Krishi Vigyan Kendras) and other private market players is critical in this intervention. States were advised to encourage and forge these partnerships as well.
National Rural Livelihood Mission works on a saturation approach.As of date, 6768 blocks have been covered under the programme with mobilizing 7.7 crore women into 70 lakh SHGs. From providing initial capitalization support to the SHGs are being credited to the tune of almost 80 thousand crore rupees annually. Under the mission, poor women from different cross-sections of class and caste form into Self Help Groups and their federations, providing financial, economic and social development services to their members for enhancing their income and quality of life.
Over the years this money borrowed by SHGs through bank capitalization support is now being used for creating diversified livelihood opportunities. While all these efforts are yielding positive transformation, it is realized that for ensuring sustainable livelihoods and dignified life of women SHG members, there is a need to make concerted effort for ensuring at least INR 1,00,000 income per annum for the household i.e. enabling them to become a Lakhpati. The figure of Rs 1 lakh is both aspirational and inspirational for rural SHG women.
Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana is a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Rural Development organizing the rural poor into self-governed institutions with a focus on building capacity and creating diversified livelihood opportunities for Rural Poor Women. The mission has made successful strides through the Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana bringing focus on the role of women as farmers. Moving from the phase of community mobilization and building institutions of women, now the focus is on envisaging SHG women in higher-order economic activities through producer groups, FPOs and producer companies.