Livelihood experts recommend 'graduation approach' to eradicate poverty in India

As many as 80 experts on rural governance and poverty alleviation assembled for a summit in the national capital prior to the 75th anniversary of India's freedom. The experts discussed measures needed to eradicate poverty in India before the country's 100th Independence Day. Here are the major takeaways from the event.

Jyotsna RichhariyaJyotsna Richhariya   17 Aug 2022 4:13 PM GMT

Livelihood experts recommend graduation approach to eradicate poverty in India

The graduation approach seeks to help the extreme poor establish sustainable self-employment and generate lasting improvements in their well-being through a multifaceted graduation programme.

In a bid to discuss interventions needed to eradicate poverty in India before the country marks its 100th independence day, experts gathered at a seminar organised at the national capital's India Habitat Centre on August 4.

Many of these experts advocated the 'graduation approach' which, as per them, has the potential to transform the rural livelihoods and eradicate poverty from the country. The graduation approach of poverty eradication was developed by the Dhaka-based non-governmental organisation named Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee (BRAC).

The graduation approach seeks to help the extreme poor establish sustainable self-employment and generate lasting improvements in their well-being through a multifaceted graduation programme.

From left to right: Kunal Sharma, Director, Policy Training and Communication; Mr. R Subramaniyam, Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice; Smt. R Jaya, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs; Smt. Neeta Kejriwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development; Anna O'Donnell, Lead Social Development Specialist, World Bank

According to a research paper co-authored by nobel prize winning economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, the approach targets the poorest members in a village and provides a productive asset grant, training and support, life skills coaching, temporary cash consumption support, and typically access to savings accounts and health information or services.

"This multipronged approach is relatively expensive, but the theory of change is that the combination of these activities is necessary and sufficient to obtain a persistent impact," stated the research paper titled A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries and published in the Science journal on May 15, 2015.

Source: United Nations High Commission for Refugees

Kunal Sharma, director at the Delhi-based Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab was amongst the leading speakers at the seminars who advocated the graduation approach for India. The seminar titled as 'Charcha 2022' was organised by the Bengaluru-based non-profit The/Nudge Institute.

Also Read: Deficient rainfall and low paddy sowing fuels labour migration in Jharkhand

"Across India, the graduation approach has reached 290,000 beneficiaries. Globally, more than 100 organisations have adopted the approach in 50 different countries, reaching nearly 14 million people. It is highly successful and the adaptation of the graduation approach by SRLMs [state rural livelihood missions] can be the pathway for rapid scale up of poverty reduction in India," Sharma said.

As per National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) released by the NITI Aayog in 2021, 25 per cent of India's population is still poor.

Neeta Kejriwal, Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Rural Development also echoed Sharma's remarks and stated that schemes like NRLM [National Rural Livelihoods Mission] and the effective community institutions are core policies by which the graduation approach can be implemented in India.

'Regular feedback & performance-based funds dispersal vital for poverty eradication'

Amitabh Kant, former CEO of NITI [National Institution for Transforming India] Aayog, who was a keynote speaker at the seminar mentioned that there should be constant feedback, constant monitoring and evaluation, and dispersal of funds for livelihood schemes must be based on performance.

"This would be a huge incentive for institutional transformation. There needs to be focus on evidence-based policy framework and policies have to be grounded in data; without that we cannot make transformations and we need to significantly improve our ability to get data gathering and data analysis capabilities," Kant was quoted.

Also Read: Mentha farmers in Uttar Pradesh learn how to double their income

Skilling & entrepreneurship can play a pivotal role

Chief guest at the event, NN Sinha, Secretary in the Union Ministry of Rural Development stated that skill development and encouraging entrepreneurship can help reduce poverty in the country.

"We need to do a lot of work for increased participation from the labour force and put efforts into skilling and entrepreneurship. We need to work in the areas of agro-processing and micro-entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and construction. Additionally, there would be opportunities in trade, transport, education, business, and health," Sinha was quoted in a press statement issued by the The/Nudge Institute.

Poor rural women works under harsh daylight

Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister of Delhi agreed with Sinha's views and reinforced that there is a need to get rid of the common Indian mentality of 'merely settling for a good job'.

"We need to move towards aspirational entrepreneurship, which essentially means that the youth has a mindset to be self-employed and be a job creator. We are working towards encouraging an entrepreneur-mindset curriculum (EMC) for young school-going children," the deputy CM was quoted.

"This includes establishing an innovative mindset at school level and includes mentorship from real-life entrepreneurs. Furthering this goal, we have initiated 'Business Blasters', an EMC program, where students are provided seed money with a motive to invest, inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset. I believe that with interventions such as these and with support from corporates, organisations and other stakeholders, we will be able to support the nation's goals in ensuring resilient livelihoods for all," he added.

#livelihood #poverty #Graduation approach #rural #governance 

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