• As the sustainable development goals brings out clearly poverty is multidimensional and therefore requires a range of interventions. The figure below illustratively brings out the challenges of creating poverty-free Rural Clusters.
  • Non-farm livelihoods and multiple livelihoods are required to make a difference. As recent data points out, half of manufacturing and one-third of the services sector is already part of the Rural Economy. Income and employment through Livelihood Development and diversification is clearly the way forward.

Mission Antyodaya Cluster (Figure)

  • Water conservation
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Bank credit Financial inclusion
  • Education, Skill Development
  • Women SHGs Economic Activity
  • Well-being of the vulnerabilities
  • Non farm Livelihood, Multiple Livelihoods
  • Sports Youth Clubs Culture
  • Social Protection for old, widows, disabled
  • Connectivity, Roads, Internet, LPG, IT/DBT
  • Power, Housing ODF, Waste Management

One has also to bear in mind that there were 4 additional sources of funds for addressing Rural Poverty during this period:

  • The sharing pattern under Programmes for non Himalayan States became 60:40, and 90:10 in Himalayan States. Under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G), instead of a 75:25 sharing earlier, it became 60:40 leveraging a total of Rs. 45,000 crore in 3 years as State share, against a Government of India provision of Rs. 81,975 crore. Likewise, from December 2015, States started contributing 40% of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) funds. This leveraged an additional Rs. 8000 to Rs. 9000 crore of State share each year which were not available earlier with PMGSY. A similar increase happened in Programmes that were brought on 60:40 share from the earlier 75:25, like NSAP, DAY-NRLM, etc.
  • From 2017-18, under the Housing Programme, additional resources were mobilized through Extra Budgetary Resources (EBRs) as well. A total of Rs. 21,975 crore of Extra Budgetary
  • Funds have been mobilized/are being mobilized in 2017 to 2019 period for PMAY-Gramin. Rs. 7329.43 crore has already been disbursed through EBR.
  • The transfer of funds under the 14th Finance Commission awards has also registered a significant increase compared to the allocations earlier under the 13th Finance Commission.
  • The fourth important factor to note is the leveraging of Bank Loans by Women Self Help
  • Groups (SHGs) during this period. A total of Rs. 1.64 lakh crore have been mobilized as Bank Loan by Women Self Help Groups in the last 5 years. The Bank Loan outstanding has more than doubled from Rs. 31865 crore in 2013-14 to Rs. 69733 crore in 2017-18 under DAY- NRLM.
  • All Programmes of Rural Development were aligned to Livelihood Development and Diversification. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) focused on durable assets and Water Conservation, and also provided for livelihood generating individual benefits like farm ponds, dug wells, goat shed, poultry shed, housing support, and support for dairy shed.
  • The livelihood linkages in convergence with subsidy Programmes for animal resources and for agriculture contribute to improved incomes in the Agriculture and Allied Sectors. The increase in production of fruits and vegetables and the significant growth through animal resources over the last 4 years have been on account of this larger thrust on Rural Livelihood Development and Diversification. To illustrate some of the salient livelihood generating and Income and Employment supporting initiatives over the last 3 years are as follows:
  • 143 lakh hectares of land provided benefit of Water Conservation works.
  • Nearly 15 lakh farm ponds and 4 lakh wells for irrigation besides a very large number of Water Conservation Community Structures came up during this period.
  • Over 6222 Custom Hiring Centres managed by Women Self Help Groups fully functional during this period.
  • 11000 Bank Sakhis and 773 Bank Mitras trained as Banking Correspondents (BCs) from among SHG Women.
  • 33 lakh women farmers supported under non-chemical based agro ecological interventions.
  • 86000 Producer Groups and 126 Agri-Producer Companies established.
  • 449 vehicles under Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY) for Rural Transport plying on roads with women drivers.
  • Over 9 lakh Solar Lamps assembled by nearly 4000 Women Self Help Group Members in remote regions of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, etc.
  • Over 6000 Barefoot Technicians trained and certified.
  • 3.54 lakh candidates successfully placed for wage employment under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalaya Yojana (DDU-GKY) and 12.65 lakh candidates settled for self- employment under Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) in the last 4 years.
  • 10949 Rural Masons trained and certified under the Housing Programme.

Rural poverty

  • Rural poverty is truly multi- dimensional and there is a need to address it simultaneously for greater impact. The efforts over the last few years have been towards convergence of rural initiatives to make a real difference to the well-being of Poor households. These interventions have targeted both the poverty of households and the poverty of geographies. The factors contributing to these are listed below:

Poverty of Households

  • Lack of education and skills
  • Under-nutrition and ill-health
  • Lack of employment opportunities
  • Assetlessness
  • Lack of safe housing
  • Limited access to public services
  • Clutches of middlemen/corruption/moneylender
  • Absence of Social Capital- collectives of women/youth/poor households

Poverty of Geographies

  • Low price for produce-distress
  • Violence/crime
  • Unirrigated agri/vagaries of monsoon
  • Lack of basic infra-roads, electricity, internet
  • Lack of access to markets and jobs
  • Lack of non-farm opportunities


  • It is evident from the data and interventions listed above that higher financial resources have been made available for addressing rural poverty over the last few years along with a much higher scale of leverage of bank loans for women Self-Help Groups. These have been contributing to both rise in incomes and employment through diversification and development of livelihoods.
  • A few illustrative examples of such diversification have been listed above. Overall the challenges to rural poverty are being effectively addressed through the range of interventions outlined above. Evaluation studies by the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) have also confirmed an increase in incomes, productive assets, and enterprises in villages where Women Self-Help Groups are active under DAYNRLM.
  • Similarly, Studies of Water Conservation works under MGNREGA by the Institute of Economic Growth confirmed increase in income, productivity, acreage, and the water table. Such increases are bound to generate employment on a large scale.

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