A pilot study of National Rural Livelihood Mission has been launched at Nagamalai Pudukottai, Madurai.

The National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) aimed at eradication of poverty was launched recently at Nagamalai Pudukottai cluster that comes under Thiruparankundram block.

NLRM is being implemented in nine blocks of Madurai district like the World Bank assisted Pudhu Vazhvu Programme (PVP) that was put into practice in Vadipatti, T. Kallupatti, Kallikudi and Sedapatti blocks. Of the nine blocks, it will be first initiated in Thiruparankundram, Melur, Kottamapatti and Madurai East blocks which are divided into 12 clusters.

The NRLM set off at Nagamalai Pudukottai cluster covers 12 village panchayats – Nagamalai Pudukottai, Erkudi Achampathu, Pudukulam Bit I, Vadivelkarai, Keezhakuyilkudi, Melakuyilkudi, Karadipatti, Vilacehry, Thuvariman, Keezhamathur, Melamathur and Kodimangalam.

Community professionals from Theni district have already completed the base-line survey for the mission. Beneficiaries would be categorised as poorest of the poor, poor and mediocre and rich based on their assets and properties. Besides, the beneficiaries would also be distinguished as vulnerable, women, physically challenged, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

“The other process like field visit to Theni district, awareness programmes highlighting the NRLM and Participatory Identification of Poor (PIP Programme) will be held in all the 12 village panchayats,” says S. Purushothaman, Joint Director and Project Officer Tamil Nadu Women Development Corporation.

“The PIP programme is unique as it allows local villagers to identify the poor in the presence of the officials,” he says.

Following the PIP programme, a Village Poverty Reduction Committee (VPRC) with common village people as members headed by village panchayat president will be appointed as the implementing agency.

VPRC takes care of every need of the villagers. “If someone wants money for constructing basement of a house under Government housing scheme, VPRC offers interest-free loan which can be repaid after completing construction or if an individual wants financial assistance for setting up a petty shop, the VPRC comes to his/her rescue,” says Purushothaman.

“VPRC reserves the right to offer interest-free or subsidised loan or loan with interest based on the beneficiary’s financial status,” he says.

V.M. Sivakumar, Assistant Project Officer Mahalir Thittam says, “As Theni district has successfully implemented PVP programme, we get the help of community professionals from there, for NRLM, which involves 75 and 25 percent assistance from the Centre and State Governments, respectively.”

“The programme is aimed at creating efficient and effective platforms for the poor to increase their household income through sustainable livelihood opportunities and improved access to financial services,” he says and adds “In addition, the poor would be facilitated to achieve increased access to their rights, entitlements and public services and various schemes implemented by the Government.”

“The need-based NRLM is rolled out by the Ministry of Rural Development. It has been conceived as a keystone of national poverty reduction strategy,” he says. NRLM will be emulated in other remaining blocks - Madurai West, Alanganallur, Chellampatti, Usilampatti, Tirumangalam - for the year 2014-2015.