Amarjeet Sinha, D.K. Singh, N.N. Sinha
Inclusive India is about a more shared growth where every citizen has the opportunity to develop their fullest human potential. Besides investments in human capital, it calls for access to credit and markets for enterprise.
Economic Survey 2020 lamented the constraints to micro enterprises growing in scale and size in India. China’s better performance in this regard was analyzed for lessons to a barrier free enterprise growth. With more than half the manufacturing and construction activity and one-fifth of the services sector in rural India, the need to take enterprise to scale is the way forward for a more shared growth.
DAY-NRLM touches the lives of over 8.58 crore women
Deendayal Antyodaya YojanaNational Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) now touches the lives of over 8.58 crore women organized into 79.2 lakh Women Self Help Groups. A large number of these women have credit linkage and together they have leveraged Rs. 5.27 lakh crore loans from Banks during the last eight years. In spite of a nearly 30% growth year on year for the last eight years, DAYNRLM SHGs have managed to bring down the NonPerforming Assets (NPA) from over 7 % in 2012-13 to a little over 2 % now.
At a time when the corporate borrower tales of woes and deception hit the headlines often, these poor women have not only borrowed but used it effectively to improve their lives and livelihoods and return it as well. The lending happened based on a detailed micro credit plan for each household, prepared after ascertaining the asset base and resources through a participatory process and whole SHG ecosystem worked towards meeting their repayment obligations. It is for this reason that NPAs have been low and gains large.
Exponential surge in DAY-NRLM SHGs in Bihar and West Bengal.
It is no longer a story of just the five Southern Indian States whose SHGs accounted for over 84% of the total lending till as recently as 2013-14. Exponential increase in lending to DAY-NRLM SHGs in States like Bihar and West Bengal indicate a growing confidence of Banks in lending directly to Community Institutions of the poor rather than through Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) alone.
Loans through MFI are often good for consumption but not for economic activity as it reaches the borrower with anywhere between 20-30% interest rate. A diverse range of economic activities, from setting up 24,520 Custom Hiring Centres, 2165 public transport systems in remote regions, to retail shops, restaurants, nano production units of farm and non-farm products, are all being undertaken by women’s collectives. What explains this transformation of lives and livelihoods on an unprecedented scale through the DAYNRLM over the last 8 years? How has the movement from social capital to economic activity happened? What is the further pathway to a more shared and equitable inclusive economic growth opportunity?
Firstly, the intensive processes of developing social capital under DAYNRLM have stood the test of time. They have emerged as vibrant community institutions of the poor.
Over 3.5 lakh women CRPs
Secondly, the biggest resource in this movement have been the Community Resource Persons (CRPs). These are women who were poor and have won the battle against poverty through hard work and perseverance. Over 3.5 lakh such women CRPs go round the country setting up women’s collectives and making them vibrant.
These foot soldiers of the Livelihood movement are the best example of national integration. Women from Kerala, AP and Bihar have spent months with women in remote corners of the North Eastern States and in Jammu and Kashmir.
Thirdly, a conscious effort has been made to promote convergence of institutions and resources. The framework for partnership of elected Panchayati Raj Leaders with women Self Help Groups (SHGs) was developed and incorporated under the new governance improvement programme of Panchayats called Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA).
Sabki Yojana, Sabka Vikas
Women SHGs and Panchayat Leaders are to be trained and work together to find more meaningful solutions to the challenges of development through participation of SHG members in Gram Sabha meetings and in contributing to livelihood agenda through Village Poverty Reduction Planning in developing Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) under the Sabki Yojana Sabka Vikas effort.
Fourthly, financial resources from all ongoing programmes in rural areas were focused on villages with social capital of DAY-NRLM women SHGs on a priority. Individual Beneficiary Schemes under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for housing, animal sheds, farm ponds & wells, soak pits, vermi compost, were all provided on a priority wherever social capital was available.
Amarjeet Sinha, former Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development D.K. Singh, Secretary General of the NHRC N.N. Sinha, Secretary,Ministry of Rural Development.