|Indira Mahila Yojana
Womens self-help groups (SHGs) have been created and effectively used for empowering women in many developmental programmes like Mahila Samakhya, Rajasthan Womens Development Project, IFAD-assisted Tamilnadu Womens Development Project, Women in Agriculture Project and UNFPA-assisted Integrated Womens Empowerment and Development Project in Haryana. At a conservative estimate, appx. 7 lakh womens groups have been formed in the country under various Government sponsored programmes.
NABARD, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, CARE, GTZ, UNDP and a large number of NGOs have successfully tried to involve similar womens groups in savings and loan activity. Results under many of these projects have conclusively shown that such womens groups could become a cost-effective tool for poverty alleviation efforts also. It was also recognised that developmental efforts meant to help the poor had a greater chance of success if they were organised into SHGs to build mutual confidence and strength. Indira Mahila Yojana has tried to build on these experiences and offers a holistic strategy for womens empowerment through the group dynamics.
Recognising the inadequacies of past developmental efforts, and realising the urgent need for removing the acute gender imbalances, it is necessary to launch an integrated development programme for the women. Such a programme should address the capacity building, income and awareness generation related requirements of the women and should converge all the available schemes for advancement of women. The design of such a scheme should be flexible so that the needs of local women are also suitably incorporated in it.
Following facts have been recognised in the Recast Indira Mahila Yojana-
The scheme envisages transferring decision making authority to block level projects to the state and local administrations. This delegation has immense advantages that
IMY will have following major components
i) Formation of viable womens groups;
ii) Awareness generation and capacity building;
iii) Income generation activities, both on farm and off farm;
iv) Convergence of intersectoral services of the line departments; and
The project will offer a basket of schemes aimed at capacity building, development and empowerment of women. At the block level any existing agency, government or non-governmental e.g. DRDAs, Mahila Samakhya, CDPOs, NGOs, etc. could formulate the project.
Since various states have reached different stages of progress as far as womens groups and status of women are concerned, the requirements of every state and block will be different and a common pattern could not be prescribed at this stage. A broad range of financial pattern for these individual items has been suggested. The exact needs of the block could be identified through a process of need assessment. A specific proposal for the concerned block could be prepared and posed for assistance. Other existing schemes of the Department of Women and Child Development, like STEP, NORAD, Short Stay Homes, Creches for the working women, Awareness Generation Programme, Vocational Training Programmes, Socio-economic programme and the schemes of Rashtriya Mahila Kosh could also be accessed through such localised projects.
Beyond the block stage, some common trends and requirements could be identified at the state level. The project could assist some of these requirements. Keeping in view these factors, a range of core and optional activities at various levels have been suggested in the project document.
Every block level project will be normally of three to five years cycle depending on the status of the group movement in the area and other local requirements.
Important features of the re-cast IMY are as follows
d. Funds will be released directly to the block level implementing agency;