NRLM (National Rural Livelihoods Mission) is the biggest programme for women empowerment in India. Talking to the media here after signing of an MoU between NRLM and Digital Green, a Microsoft Research Project, Union Minister for Rural Development Shri Jairam Ramesh said, Women Self Help Groups Movement is going to stay despite political changes. He said, at present there are 3 crore women, who are members of Self Help Groups, SHGs and in the next 5 to 7 years , Seven crore women households will be covered under it.
Shri Ramesh said, at present Bank linkages to NRLM are to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore, which will be expanded to One lakh crore in the next five years in the Central and Eastern India as 80 percent of the current loan disbursement is concentrated in the Four Southern States.
The Minister also emphasized that new direction is being given to NRLM to make Sanitation part of the scheme and he underlined that women must take up the ownership of sanitation as this is linked to their dignity and self respect.
Referring to the success stories of NRLM in States like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Ramesh said, the use of technology will help in documenting of best farm practices in the rural hinterland.
He also informed that in areas where farmers have 2nd source of income apart from traditional crop agriculture like livestock or Non timber forest produce, the cases of farmer’s suicides are low. Quoting data, the Minister said that at present one third of all farm households are owned by women in India.
Ministry States that National Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (NRLPS) has a strategy to partner with various stakeholders like NGOs, CSOs to enhance the pace of the program delivery. NRLM can draw from these learning and use the knowledge created in the course to reach out to the marginalized communities of rural India. National Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society has already partnered with PRADAN, a reputed NGO as National Support Organization on Livelihoods, and entered into an MOU with them recently.
Digital GREEN works with partners to effectively exchange relevant livelihood practices among rural communities using locally produced videos and mediated dissemination. Incubated as a research project in Microsoft Research India’s Technology for Emerging Markets team in 2006, digital GREEN spun off as an independent non-profit charitable trust in 2008. digitalGREEN’s innovative ICT based approach focuses on low cost and effective peer-to-peer learning processes which strives to empower poor households to increase their productivity and incomes in a sustainable manner. It builds on the existing extension systems of public, private, and civil society organizations and strengthens them to be more effective and efficient. This has been widely applied in the context of agriculture and agri-based livelihood in the different parts of country.