ANANDADHARA (West Bengal State Rural Livelihood Mission) (WBSRLM)

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National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), the flagship antipoverty programme of Government of India for organizing the rural poor for gainful self employment, envisages to enable the community to come out poverty through formation and strengthening of women SHGs and their networks, their capacity building, financial inclusion, access to institutional credit and skill development for taking up different livelihoods options, supported with provisions of technological as well as marketing support.

In West Bengal, NRLM was launched as Anandadhara by Hon’ble Chief Minister, Smt. Mamata Bandyopadhyay on 17th May 2012. Inspired by her, and committed to the vision of poverty eradication, West Bengal State Rural Livelihoods Mission (WBSRLM) started its journey in the state as a registered society under the Society Registration Act XXVI of 1961. The state mission aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms of the rural poor, enabling them to enhance their household income through sustainable livelihood extensions and improved access to financial and other public services and entitlements.

Salient features under ANANDADHARA

Universal Social Mobilization – Saturation Approach

  • One member from each household, a woman, would be organized into an SHG which should be an inclusive institution of the poor
  • All villages, blocks and districts to be brought under the programme – however through phased implementation building replicable models
  • Focus on most vulnerable: SC/ST, minorities, particularly vulnerable tribal groups, single women and women headed households, disabled, landless, migrant labour, isolated communities and communities living in disturbed areas.

Institution Building

  • Formation and nurturing of inclusive institutions like SHGs and their Federations at village, GP and block level
  • Other collectives – livelihood collectives, producers’ cooperatives etc. for the poors to optimize their limited resources
  • Institutional platform to provide space, voice and resources for the poor
  • Best done through community cadres/community service providers selected and capacitated from the institutions themselves, facilitated by the federations of the poor

Capacity & Skill Building

  • Continuous capacity building – key to strong institution building and empowerment (enabling the poor on requisite skills for: managing their institutions, linking up with markets, managing their existing livelihoods, enhancing their credit absorption capacity and credit worthiness, etc.)
  • Multi-pronged approach – Formal training, mentoring, exposure, immersion, self learning (for targeted families, SHGs, their federations, government functionaries, bankers, NGOs and other key stakeholders)
  • Knowledge dissemination to all members
  • Creating a cadre of trainers, service providers, Community Resource Persons (CRPs)
  • Building network of training institutions for capacity building at districts and state level

Building a pro-poor financial sector

  • Access to credit is the key to coming out of poverty. Out of the entire cash flow required for a family – around 85-90% has to come from financial institutions (leveraging)
  • Project Funding: Revolving Fund to SHGs, Community Investment Fund and Vulnerability Reduction Fund to Federations / Sanghas (providing financial literacy & catalytic capital)
  • Strategic partnerships with banking sector
  • Leverage IT and business correspondents models
  • Facilitation support: ‘Bank Mitras’ and/or Community Service Providers (Bank Linkage)
  • Capacity Building on financial literacy and financial counseling
  • Interest subvention on loans to SHGs
  • Micro insurance to cover life, health and other assets (livestock, crop)

Livelihoods promotion

  • Emphasis on at least 2/3 major livelihoods (farm, non-farm and off-farm) – accounting for 80–85 % of the incomes of the poor – primarily agriculture and livestock (as a coping mechanism, poors have multiple livelihoods)
  • NRLM would look at the entire portfolio of livelihoods of each poor household, and work towards stabilizing and enhancing the existing livelihoods and subsequently diversifying their livelihoods.
  • Promote community managed sustainable agriculture – for food security and for secured livelihoods – Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)

Rural Self Employment Training Institutes

NRLM encourages public sector banks to set up RSETIs in all districts of the country. RSETIs transform unemployed rural youth in the district into confident self-employed entrepreneurs through need-based experiential learning programme followed by systematic handholding support. Banks are completely involved in selection, training and post training follow-up stages.

Infrastructure Creation and Marketing Support

  • NRLM would seek to ensure that the infrastructure needs for the major livelihoods activities of the poor are met with. It would also provide support for marketing to the institutions of the poor.
  • NRLM would encourage and support partnerships with public and private organizations and their networks/associations particularly for market linkages.
  • Rural Haats (called Karma Tirthas in West Bengal) would also be encouraged to directly link producer groups (SHGs) and individual producers with urban and peri-urban markets through a well developed system of continuous identification and rotation of beneficiaries.

Convergence, Partnership & Linkage

NRLM would place a very high emphasis on convergence with other programmes of the Ministry of Rural Development and other Central Ministries and programmes of state governments and also reputed NGOs, identified National Resource Organizations for developing synergies directly and through the institutions of the poor.

Sensitive Support Structures

  • Dedicated sensitive support structures at all levels to trigger social mobilisation
  • A state mission management unit (SMMU) with full time dedicated head of the mission and competent professional staff
  • Positioning multi-disciplinary team of trained and competent professionals at district and sub-district level (DMMU & BMMU)
  • Quality human resources to be obtained from open market and also from the Government.