A campaign launched by a community service institution to make selected villages in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan shed the below poverty line (BPL) tag has immensely benefited the poor families in the region and facilitated creation of new employment opportunities, small entrepreneurships and income-generating ventures. The youth and women are especially getting involved in new enterprises in large numbers.

Kheria Purohit village in Deeg tehsil of Bharatpur district, where 15 BPL families reside among a total of 180 households, expects to shed its BPL tag by this year-end as a result of unrelenting efforts to improve the quality of people’s lives by linking them with the income-generating activities. An action plan prepared for the village includes employment-oriented training and disbursement of loans on easy terms for self-employment ventures.

Working for integrated development of rural areas in six districts of the State, Lupin Human Welfare & Research Foundation has provided new resources and facilities to BPL families in Kheria Purohit village. These facilities include gem and precious stone polishing machines, help for making tulsi malas by women and resources for animal husbandry as well as loans at the interest rate of four per cent, which can be re-paid in easy instalments.

Foundation executive director Sita Ram Gupta said here on Sunday that the 15 BPL households in the village were landless and lacked additional resources. They are mostly agricultural labourers and manual workers, barely able to make ends meet by doing petty jobs. Though the foundation had adopted Kheria Purohit for its all-round development eight years ago, the BPL families did not take interest in the activities at that time.

The new action plan of the foundation includes all the BPL families in the village in its target group. It has recognised the significance of the village’s location in the Braj region near the pilgrim towns such as Mathura, Vrindavan, Govardhan, Nandgaon and Barsana. There is a heavy demand for tulsi malas in the temples of these towns throughout the year.

Though the women in Kheria Purohit have been manufacturing tulsi malas for more than a decade, BPL families could not join the work due to lack of financial resources.

The foundation obtained loans of Rs.10,000 each from the National Commission for Women for the BPL women to enable them to get raw material from Jaint town in Mathura district and manufacture the malas, which are sold in Mathura and Vrindavan. These women now earn Rs.100 to Rs.150 per day.

Mr. Gupta pointed out that another area identified by the foundation was gem and precious stone polishing by about a dozen youths from the village, who were staying in Jaipur and working for others. They were not able to earn much because of their low wages and heavy expenditure on stay in the big city.

The foundation called the youths back to the village and made available to them loans worth Rs.25,000 each for purchasing new machines.

The youths now get raw material from jewellers in Jaipur and return the gems after polishing them. They now earn about Rs.500 a day.

Other loans made available by the foundation to the youths are for poultry farming, dairy and retail shops. With all BPL families earning good money now, Mr. Gupta hoped that the village would get rid of the BPL tag by the end of this year.