Kudumbashree Turns 25

Kudumbashree Turns 25

Recently, the silver jubilee celebrations of the country’s largest self-help group network ‘Kudumbashree’ were inaugurated by President Draupadi Murmu.

  • Kudumbashree is a poverty alleviation and women empowerment program implemented by the State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM) of the Government of Kerala.
  • Kudumbashree means ‘prosperity of the family’ in Malayalam. Kudumbashree was established in 1998 by the Government of Kerala.
  • In the year 2011, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India, recognized Kudumbashree as a State Rural Livelihood Mission under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission.

Function:

  • Kudumbashree works at the grassroots level and organizes women first into neighborhood groups (NHGs), followed by larger community-level and then ward-level organisations.
  • It is a three-tier structure, with Neighborhood Groups (NHGs) at the lowest level, Area Development Societies at the middle level, and Community Development Societies (CDS) at the local level.

Significance:

  • Kudumbashree has played a very important role in bringing women forward in Kerala.
  • They help women with everything from micro finance to setting up micro enterprises.
  • Studies and surveys such as the Multidimensional Poverty Index by NITI Aayog have also appreciated Kudumbashree’s achievements in reducing poverty.
  • Through this, “Janaki Hotel” has been established across the state, under which 125 restaurants are being operated, providing food for only Rs 20.
  • The mission has inspired women members to enter into organic farming, tourism, agri-business, poultry, food processing and many more micro-enterprises.
  • The State Mission has an e-commerce platform for marketing Kudumbashree products.

Challenges –

  • Struggle for power: Kudumbashree units have become powerful in organizing people and getting money. Due to this the political aspirations of the women involved in the groups are also increasing.
  • Politicization: Rise of ‘Janashree’: Many a time it is alleged that the members are forced to work for political parties.
  • Delayed Services: Local governments deliberately delay the release of funds to Kudumbashree or do not pass programs at all.
  • Unsustainable Micro Enterprises: About 80 percent of the SHG members who are running micro enterprises lack entrepreneurial skills. Also more than 60 per cent of the enterprises have been found to be unsustainable, but continue to operate for the benefit of subsidies and other facilities from the government.
  • Microcredit: Lack of monitoring: There is no proper follow up or monitoring mechanism to see the purpose for which the loan is taken.

Source – Indian Express

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