Indira Mahila Yojana

Background
Long Term Objective
Project Component
Project Methodology

Background

Women’s self-help groups (SHGs) have been created and effectively used for empowering women in many developmental programmes like Mahila Samakhya, Rajasthan Women’s Development Project, IFAD-assisted Tamilnadu Women’s Development Project, Women in Agriculture Project and UNFPA-assisted Integrated Women’s Empowerment and Development Project in Haryana. At a conservative estimate, appx. 7 lakh women’s 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 women’s groups in savings and loan activity. Results under many of these projects have conclusively shown that such women’s 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 women’s 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-

q Situations and needs of the Indian women vary in different part of the country and a uniform approach or strategy is not possible or desirable at the national level;

q As far as the social sector is concerned, area and project based initiatives have been more successful;

q Social sector schemes require a great deal of flexibility in initial design and subsequent mid-course correction;

q Women’s groups are a very powerful tool for social engineering but their spread has so far remained localised;

q Such schemes should try to integrate existing interventions as well; and

q At the national level, the generic norms only should be specified.

The scheme envisages transferring decision making authority to block level projects to the state and local administrations. This delegation has immense advantages that

i) Generic guidelines developed by Government of India can be adopted to meet the specific requirements of the area;

ii) Local authorities, due to their better knowledge of the requirements of women in the area will be better placed to implement the projects.top.gif (1498 bytes)

Long term objective

To empower women, both socially and economically, by ensuring their direct access to resource through a sustained process of mobilisation and convergence of all the on-going sectoral programmes.top.gif (1498 bytes)

Project Components

IMY will have following major components

  i) Formation of viable women’s 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

v)   Neighbourhood improvement;top.gif (1498 bytes)

Project Methodology

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 women’s 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

a. Other schemes for women could be accessed through a single proposal from the block;

b. A community development/ tribal development block in the rural/ tribal areas and a local body in the urban areas will be the project area;

c. Within overall generic guidelines, the block could prepare need based proposals;

d. Funds will be released directly to the block level implementing agency;

e. The gestation period will be reduced through provision of pre-project funds;

f. The block level project cycle will be of three to five years and mid-term modifications will be possible;

g. A basket of indicative schemes will be made available to choose from. The implementers will have option to suggest any other sub-scheme to suit the local requirements;

h. As far as possible, the existing infrastructure will be used in implementing the scheme;top.gif (1498 bytes)