EQUALITY INDIA NEWS / A SHAKTI VAHINI RESEARCH INITIATIVE
One of the most innovative initiatives of the poverty reduction, the National Rural Livelihood Mission(NRLM) is all set to get a boost with the investment support by the World Bank under National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) to Ministry Of Rural Development. The Bank will provide soft loan worth US$1 billion (approximately Rs. 4,600 crores) with a maturity period of 25 years to provide quality technical assistance and results-based financing. NRLP is aimed at professionalizing the overall program management of NRLM and the distribution of project funds among the states would be based on the relative share of rural BPL population in the total states. It will also make investments in developing a wider base of implementing partnerships with private sector, civil society, and other development institutions for bringing in new ideas, innovations, services, and delivery mechanisms.
NRLP will invest intensively support implementation of NRLM in 100 districts and 400 blocks of 12 high poverty states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu), accounting for 85 percent of the rural poor in the country. The aim is to create best practice sites and to develop them as local immersion locations and generate critical pool of social capital for catalyzing social mobilization of the poor and building quality institutions of the poor. While the tactics will vary with the location and the community needs, the intensive blocks will follow a certain sequence in which the project activities will be rolled out. The sequence will include the following:
- social inclusion through participatory identification of the poor and universal social mobilization;
- building institutional platforms of the poor in the form of SHG federations, producer collectives, etc.;
- developing social capital in the form of trained community leaders, community resources persons and para-professionals providing livelihood services to the poor;
- micro-planning and investments for livelihoods enhancement; (v) access to credit from formal financial institutions available in desired amounts and convenient repayment terms;
- convergence with other entitlements and programs such as MGNREGS, pensions, etc.; and
- building sustainable livelihoods options for the poor by developing activity/trade clusters supporting farm and non-farm enterprises focused on productivity improvement and market access.
Project Components of NRLP
The activities detailed in the component description below, will provide the enabling environment for the effective utilization of all the resources allocated by the Government Of India to the NRLM. With the exception of Component Two that will be implemented in the 12 targeted states, the remaining components will provide support at the national level to enable the smooth rollout of the NRLM throughout the country.
1. Institutional and Human Capacity Development:
The objective of this component is to transform the role of Ministry Of Rural Development into a provider of high quality technical assistance in the field of rural livelihoods promotion. This component will finance primarily staff, technical assistance consultancies, and training and related course material. Support under this component will be for all states. To achieve the objective of this component, the proposed project intends to support the following activities:
Technical Assistance – establish teams of high quality professionals under National Mission Management Unit (NMMU) to provide technical assistance to the states in various thematic areas such as community mobilization, livelihood promotion, financial inclusion, human resource management, monitoring and evaluation, environment management, and fiduciary management, among others. This team will provide continuous support to state governments in the implementation of the NRLM and related activities in the rural development sector.
Human Resource Development – To support development of partnerships with well-established training and research institutions in the field of rural development throughout India that can deliver focused training programs for successful implementation of the NRLM and related activities in the rural development sector. The activities supported will include curriculum development, design and conduct of training programs including e-learning and distance learning. Under this feasibility of establishment of a National Center for Rural Livelihoods will also be explored.
2. State Livelihood Support:
The objective of this component is to support state governments in the establishment of the necessary institutional structures and mechanisms for the implementation of NRLM activities from the state to the block level, including support to the formation of institutions of the rural poor. This component will finance livelihood grants to the poor rural households (i.e. SHGs/federations) to undertake productive livelihood activities as detailed in their livelihood plans, support for higher level producer institutions, producer groups, farmers’ collectives, and/or producer companies (PCs), technical assistance consultancies, training and related material, office equipment, and operational costs at the state level and below. To achieve the objective of this component, following activities have been envisaged :
*State Rural Livelihoods Missions (SRLM) – To support the formation of an autonomous and professionally managed mission at the state-level for the implementation of the NRLM comprising of a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in themes like social mobilization, institution building, capacity building, microfinance, farm and non-farm livelihoods, and job employment, among others.
*Institution Building and Capacity Building – support the identification, selection, and mobilization of poor rural households into self-managed institutions, such as Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their federations. This would also include providing capacity building and training activities for SHG members and federations in livelihood activities, bookkeeping, financial literacy, and business education, among others. Teams of livelihood professionals trained in participatory methodologies and community facilitation will be set up at the block/sub-block level.
*Community Investment Support – provide livelihood grants to the institutions of the poor to enable them to undertake productive livelihood enhancing initiatives. In addition, the NRLP would facilitate the establishment of higher level producer institutions, producer groups, collectives, and/or companies.
*Special Programs – support for pilot activities that have potential for scaling-up and replication such as last mile delivery of public services including health and nutrition, implementing activities in high-conflict areas in partnership with civil society organizations, green opportunities, climate change-related activities, value-chain development, using new technologies for financial inclusion, among others. Activities under special programs will be jointly decided by MoRD and respective states and will cover all States, including those States that are not directly participating in the NRLP.
3. Innovation and Partnership Support:
The objective of this component is to create an institutional mechanism to identify, nurture and support innovative ideas from across the country to address the livelihood needs of the rural poor. Support under this component will be for all states. This component will finance pilot initiatives and technical assistance consultancies that support innovative livelihoods activities in agriculture, livestock, youth employment, among others, for rural poor households. Support under this component will be for all states. To achieve the objective of this component, the proposed project intends to support the following activities:
*Innovation Forums and Action Pilots – support selected innovations identified through development marketplace-type forums that have the potential to be scaled-up in a viable manner in partnership with development foundations.
*Social Entrepreneurship Development – support the development of a network of grassroots innovators and social entrepreneurs, identified through a competitive process, at state and national level.
*Public-Private-Community-Partnership – To develop and support effective partnerships with the private sector, foundations public corporations, and civil society organizations on livelihoods development for the rural poor throughout the country.These could include ICT, agribusiness, commercial banks/MFIs and other financial service providers, and youth employment, among others.
4. Project Implementation Support:
The objective is to strengthen the National Mission Management Unit for effective project management at the national level that develops key systems and processes for coordination and management of the proposed project and the NRLM. A dedicated National Mission Management Unit (NMMU) under the MoRD will finance technical assistance consultancies, training and related material, office equipment, MIS development, and operational costs for all states. Following activities are envisaged for this purpose :
* National Mission Management Unit (NMMU) – To manage, deliver and support all aspects of not only the NRLP, but also the NRLM.
*Monitoring and Evaluation – A comprehensive and robust monitoring and evaluation system will be established to track implementation progress and provide meaningful reports on household level impacts and implementation experiences to take corrective actions, if necessary.
*Electronic National Rural Livelihoods Management System (e-NRLMS) and ICT: To design, develop and roll out electronic National Rural Livelihoods Management System (e-NRLMS) for hosting and delivering variety of project services which will be Aadhar (UID) compliant and leveraged to deliver ICT based services to rural poor households in the last mile.
*Governance and Accountability Framework – NRLP would support the development and roll-out of a user friendly and highly responsive governance and accountability mechanism.
*Knowledge Management and Communication –The project will invest in a variety of products and services to enhance the generation and use of knowledge and communications as a key tool for enhancing the quality of the program.
The investment in one of the world’s largest poverty reduction initiatives would help in setting up of an institutional platform by mobilizing rural poor, particularly women, into robust grassroots institutions of their own where, with the strength of the group behind them, they will be able to exert voice and accountability over providers of educational, health, nutritional and financial services.