Launching the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) here, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Friday called for social audit of all government schemes to ensure people’s participation as well as administrative accountability in their implementation. The NRLM seeks to ensure self-employment among families belonging to below poverty line (BPL) category.
Addressing an impressive rally at Banswara, Mrs Gandhi said that the Union finance ministry would soon be setting up a new financial institution for which a corpus of `500 crores has been set aside by the government. She said the new financial institution would be specifically lending to the self-help groups (SHGs) consisting of women under the NRLM scheme.
Mrs Gandhi mentioned that though it’s easy to launch schemes, their implementation is the real test. “We need participation of empowered women from SHGs. They have been trained for the purpose and would further be trained,” added Mrs Gandhi.
The SHGs are now distributing old age pensions, monitoring primary schools and are also acting as watchdogs for some of the government schemes, said Mrs Gandhi.
NRLM seeks to take out about seven crore BPL families out of poverty cycle in the next six to eight years. Mrs Gandhi distributed cheques of `25,000 each to five women of Banswara hailing from BPL families, namely Rukma, Vala, Mani, Bhuli and Kanta, who became the first five beneficiaries under the NRLM.
“NRLM is a new initiative to empower women. In the panchayati raj we have seen over 10 lakh women representatives. There are over 50 lakh self-help groups (SHGs) in the country run by women with membership of 10 to 15 each. We seek their participation in the NRLM,” added Mrs Gandhi.
Referring to tribal communities, Mrs Gandhi said that though the ownership rights have been ensured to them on land where they work, still efforts should be to protect their traditions.
Reiterating her commitment on the Food Security Act becoming the reality soon, Mrs Gandhi said that the legislation is being given final shape, which would try to end hunger and malnutrition in the country. Asian Age