Contrary to fears of the Kudumbasree poverty eradication mission’s influence ebbing away in the face of a proliferation of micro-finance-based development programmes, the mission has achieved near-100 per cent coverage in Ernakulam district, bringing into its fold women in the coastal and tribal communities.
For Scheduled Tribes, the mission formed 44 Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs), the basic unit of the Kudumbasree organisation, along with 24 NHGs for Scheduled Castes and 265 special NHGs for the physically and mentally challenged across 101 Community Development Societies in the district, said an official of the district unit of mission here.
The latest formations take the total number of NHGs in Ernakulam to 20,020 with an average membership in each of the NHGs ranging between 10 and 20.
A vast majority of the NHGs have a membership strength of 16.
The official said that the recently formed NHGs have taken the strength of Kudumbasree membership to nearly 2.5 lakh. It is now clear that there is no lack of awareness about opportunities for women in the targeted group in the district, the official said.
In tandem with the spread of the Kudumasree coverage, the number of micro enterprises in the district has gone up to 4,250, the undertakings ranging from ready-to-eat food items to soaps and detergents.
The Kudumbasree mission has also made its presence felt in farming by bringing nearly 26,000 women under a total of 5,160 Joint Liability Groups, engaged in cultivating leased land.
These JLGs have also helped in the formation of Farmer Facilitation Centres in 25 panchayats in the district.
These centres will be given a grant of Rs.75,000 each for floating an office each and buying farming equipment, suited to use by women. The Kudumbasree official said that the money for the facilitation centres is ready for disbursal.