To bring a sharper focus on moving women to the higher economic order, the Ministry of Rural Development launched an initiative on Friday, October 29, aimed at creating 'Lakhpati' Self Help Group (SHG) women, to enable rural SHG women to earn at least Rs 1 lakh per year.
According to the government's press release, the Ministry has envisioned livelihood support to 25 million rural SHG women in the next two years to realise the ambitious goal. Based on different models existing across India, a detailed advisory has been issued to the respective state governments. A stakeholders consultation workshop was conducted with the states, BMGF (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), and TRIF (Transformation Rural India Foundation) to discuss the subject.
"The importance of well-planned interventions to diversify livelihood activities at the household level ranging from Livestock, Agriculture, NTFP (Non-timber Forest Products) and other interventions through convergence were emphasised to realise a yearly income of Rs 1 lakh on a sustained basis. The importance of strengthening SHG, VO (Village Organisation) and CLFs (Cluster Level Federations) to anchor such interventions was also highlighted and focused on. The dedicated Community Cadres of SHG members trained in various fields would be instrumental in realising their goal. The role of Civil Society Organisations, KVKs (Krishi Vigyan Kendras) and other private market players is crucial in this intervention, where states were advised to encourage and make these partnerships," the release said.
Enhancing Livelihood For Poor Women
Under the mission, women belonging to poor families from various cross-sections of class and caste form SHGs and their federations, providing economic, financial, and social development services to enhance their livelihood and quality of life. Currently, 6768 blocks have been covered under the programme, mobilising 7.7 crore women into 70 lakh SHGs. The SHGs are being credited to the tune of nearly 80,000 crore rupees per year from providing initial capitalisation support.
"From the past years, the money borrowed by SHGs through bank capitalisation support is now being used for creating diversified employment opportunities. While all these efforts give positive transformation, however, for ensuring sustainable livelihoods and the dignified life of women SHG members, there is a need to make a concerted effort to ensure at least Rs 1,00,000 yearly income for the household, i.e. enabling them to become a "Lakhpati". The amount of Rs 1 lakh is both aspirational and inspirational for SHG women living in villages," the release stated.
Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana is a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Rural Development organising the rural poor into self-governed institutions focusing on building capacity and creating diversified income opportunities for poor women in rural areas. The mission has made successful progress through the Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana, focusing on women's role as farmers. Moving from the phase of community mobilisation and building institutions of women, now the focus is on anticipating SHG women in higher-order economic activities through producer groups, FPOs, and producer companies.