Why in news?
Kerala’s Kudumbashree program is at a crossroads, marking 25 years since its inception.
What is the programme about?
Kudumbashree is the poverty eradication and women empowerment programme launched in 1998.
The State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM) of the Government of Kerala implements it.
Kudumbashree Mission was renamed in 1999 and started to function under the local self-government department.
The name Kudumbashree in Malayalam language means ‘prosperity of the family’.
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What is the organisational structure of Kudumbashree?
- The community structure of Kudumbashree evolved from the experiments conducted in Alappuzha Municipality and Malappuram in early 1990s.
- Kudumbashree has a three-tier structure for its women community network.
What are the functions of Kudumbashree?
The Mission converges the community network with local self-government institutions.
It provides financial and technical assistance to economic and social empowerment programmes.
Moreover, it monitors the overall implementation of the poverty eradication and women empowerment program across the State. For example, one such program is DDU-GKY..
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Additionally, it also serves as the platform for partnerships with government departments at the district and State levels.
Lending – Thrift and credit programme is the first level entry point for Kudumbashree.
NHGs start lending to members using the group’s savings.
The qualified NHGs are eligible for bank linkage and loans are availed thereafter.
What are the impacts of the programme?
Kudumbashree became a multifaceted entity with footprints in all spheres of society apart from being a credit programme.
Community restaurants, branded products in stores and on e-commerce platforms, micro and small scale industries, e-service centres, all-women construction sites
Few notable impacts of Kudumbashree –
Haritha Karma Sena volunteers who collect non-biodegradable waste from households for disposal.
Snehitha gender helpdesk and gender resource centres.
The workforce for the animal birth control programme for regulating the population of community dogs.
DDU-GKY – Kudumbashree is the implementing agency for the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY).
Under DDU-GKY, it gave vocational training to some 62,000 people and placement for over 44,000.
LSG – Kudumbashree pushed the representation for women in local bodies.
Women constitute 54% of Kerala’s 21,900 local body members and about 70% of these women are from Kudumbashree.
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What new challenges are faced by the programme?
After 25 years, Kudumbashree has to address the aspirations of the new generation in a tech-driven world.
Majority of the micro enterprises facilitated by Kudumbashree stick to the gendered vocations of women.
With only 0.64% of the population in Kerala categorized under extreme poverty, the focus has consequently shifted towards skilling educated members of the auxiliary groups.
This skilling enables the educated members to take up employment or start enterprises.
While over 26,000 enterprises have been launched under the Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme, only a few have been deemed noteworthy.
What is the Way forward?
To improve productivity of women, they should have more time for themselves.
Ward-level day care centers and day homes for the elderly have to be set up to ensure women are provided with adequate productive time.
- The Hindu – Kerala’s Kudumbashree programme is at a crossroads
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