Profiling National Rural Livelihood Mission

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Posted by: Aishwarya Bhatia
Category: Livelihoods and Natural Resources
Profiling National Rural Livelihood Mission

A report by the United Nations shows that 415 million people exited multidimensional poverty in the country between 2005-06 and 2019-21. India’s institutions have been putting in concerted efforts over the years to reach this “historical change.”  

One of the ways in which the Government of India (GoI), in collaboration with other institutions, has achieved such momentum is through programs such as the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana- National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY- NRLM). Rural poverty continues to be a major challenge to the Government at all levels, which is why the Ministry of Rural Development created NRLM in 2011, later renamed DAY-NRLM in 2015.  

This Mission is one of the world’s major large-scale community mobilization programs, addressing poverty reduction, women’s empowerment, and improving the rural population’s health, nutrition, and education outcomes.  

What are the mission objectives? 

The Mission promotes sustainable livelihoods for the poor to enable their extraction from poverty. Institutions that facilitate increased access to formal credit, support for diversification and strengthening of livelihoods and increased access to entitlements and public services will be made available to the poor under this scheme. It aims at mobilizing close to 10 crore poor rural households into Self Help Groups (SHGs) in a phased manner and provides them with long-term support to diversify their livelihoods and improve their incomes and quality of life.  

Who are the implementors of this Mission? 

The Mission is implemented by the State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLM). At the district level, the District Mission Management Unity (DMMU) is responsible for planning and implementation, but the supervision lies with the district administration. Similarly, at the block level, a Block Mission Management unit carries out the activities under the Mission.  

Who constitutes the Mission beneficiaries? 

It is the rural poor that the Mission aims to alleviate out of abject poverty. The idea is to support the rural poor through employment opportunities, capacity building, and handholding support instead of directly giving financial support for a more significant life-changing impact in people’s lives. The scheme organizes the poor into institutions and makes them own the institutions, thereby creating livelihood for others.  

Profiling National Rural Livelihood Mission

Institutional Structuring under NRLM: 

NRLM is centrally sponsored. The fund flows to the States through NRLM to SRLM.  

Self Help Groups (SHGs) are set up at the neighborhood level. Each SHG consisted of 10-20 households, of which one member must be brought under the SHG network. The preference of the Mission for this member is that they be a woman.  

Banks as key lending institutions have positive experiences with women groups, which is why such a preference has been adopted.  

The SHGs are federated at the village level, after which they get clustered at the block level. SHGs at the village level provide resources to the poor to help reduce their dependence on external agencies.  

Key Features of the Mission: 

  • The SHG will consist of one household member, preferably a woman, who will have bank-linkage arrangements. 
  • The Mission consists of four components: social mobilization, community institutions and capacity building, financial inclusion, livelihood promotion, and conversion.  
  • Households selected to become part of the Mission are subject to participatory social assessments. Factors such as poverty level (poorest of the poor), women and women-headed households, disabled, landless, and migrant labor receive special focus.  
  • The Mission focuses on training and capacity building of the poor, especially in managing the institutions and livelihoods. It also supports the rural youth in developing skills, getting training to be placed, and sharing knowledge to enable self-employment.
  • States have the liberty to develop their own action plan for poverty reduction, thereby driving decentralized planning.  
  • Village-level institutions will help the poor promote savings and build productive assets of their own. 

Progress made so far: 

As of 30th November 2021, the Mission has reached 6769 blocks of 706 districts in 20 states and 6 Union Territories. Further, it has: 

  • mobilized 8.01 crore women from poor and vulnerable communities into 73.19 lakh SHGs and formed about 4.2 lakhs Village Organizations (VOs),  
  • facilitated a total of INR 4.35 lakh crore worth of bank loans to the SHGs from April 2013 to November 2021,  
  • deployed close to 55,000 SHG members as BC Sakhi (Business Correspondents) who provide last mile financial services including deposit, credit, remittance, etc., 
  • covered 1.44 crore Mahila Kisans, and 
  • facilitated about 1.78 lakh small enterprises for SHG members or their kins under the Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Program (SVEP), a sub-scheme of NRLM, creating around 23,000 enterprises in 2021.  




Aishwarya Bhatia, Sambodhi

Author: Aishwarya Bhatia