Steps to improve the lot of the poor

Staff Reporter

Tuticorin: The second phase of the World Bank-aided `Puthu vazhvu scheme,' a project introduced by the State Government to augment income generation activities of the rural poor, especially women and other disadvantaged groups, would be launched in the district before the end of the current fiscal.

S. Mayilerumperumal, Project Officer, Mahilar Thittam, said the objective of the scheme would be achieved by strengthening pro-poor local institutions/ groups including village panchayats, capacity building of the poor, community driven development approach to poverty alleviation and sustained technical support to self-help groups in the area of marketing and promotion of higher-level economic activities.

First, a pilot survey was conducted recently with the help of Mart Rural Solutions, a Chennai-based organisation, to create a database of various entrepreneurial activities of SHGs functioning in the district.

"The survey was conducted in 24 panchayats under Vilathikulam, Kayathar, Pudur and Ottapidaram blocks," he said and added that a report based on it had been submitted to the Government.

He said that surveys of this kind would enable the authorities concerned in implementing the project and identifying defunct groups and taking steps to transform such groups into viable micro enterprises.

On the methods that were to be adopted to strengthen the pro-poor local institutions, he said the project would first identify the poorest section and mobilise them to form self-managed community organisations such as SHGs and Village Poverty Reduction Committees.

Skills and capacities of the poor thus identified would be enhanced through capacity building exercises with the help of village livelihood plans.

The Project Officer said these measures would empower the poorest of the poor and reduce rural poverty to a large extent.