Rajasthan's tribal district of Banswara chosen for new initiative

United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi will launch the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) in Rajasthan's tribal district of Banswara on June 3.

After the launch of Panchayati Raj in the State's predominantly-rural Nagaur district by the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1959, this is the first time a Rajasthan district has been chosen as the venue for starting a major rural uplift programme and the State's leaders are obviously happy.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who was in Delhi for three days earlier this week, said the programme would stand out as a landmark in the poverty eradication initiatives of the UPA Government. “This is another instance of the farsightedness and vision of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi under whose leadership the rural areas, the poor and the nation at large are making progress,” he said.

The NRLM is not to be confused with the MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme). In fact, it is going to be a modified version of the Swaranjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yogna of the Union Rural Development Ministry which was being monitored by the National Institute of Rural Development and its counterparts in the States, named State Institute of Rural Development.

“NRLM is to be fully based on SHGs [Self Help Groups]. It will organise and mobilise poor families in groups and impart special training for starting enterprises,” Mr. Gehlot said explaining the concept. “After the completion of training, the SHGs will be tied up with market links and bank loans so that the products are sold and a regular income is ensured to the members,” he said. Some seven crore poor families in the country would be brought under the purview of the Mission.

“The beneficiaries of the programme will be chosen by the village community. However, it will be ensured that at least one woman member of each of the poor families is included. The focus would be on women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the socially deprived,” Mr. Gehlot said.

Rajasthan Secretary for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj C.S. Rajan said the SHGs would be federated at various levels. Starting at bloc levels, there would be district and State bodies of SHGs with common linkages.

  • It was in 1959 that Jawaharlal Nehru launched Panchayati Raj in Rajasthan's Nagaur district

  • NRLM will organise, mobilise poor families in groups, impart training for starting enterprises