p35-36 by mumbaihiker


                                                                                                                     the year that was

A silent revolution
                                                               Unlike many a poverty alleviation
                                                               programmes implemented in third world
                                                               countries, Kudumbashree has a true vision of
                                                               development. Kudumbashree gives prime
                                                               importance for the economic empowerment
                                                               of the indigent masses, especially the poor
                                                               women of Kerala.

                                                               formed all over the state. It is through these women’s
                                                               collectives that the project is implemented. Kudumbashree
                                                               utilises the provision provided in SJSRY, the centrally
                                                               sponsored poverty alleviation programme, for encouraging
                                                               of the setting up of micro enterprises. Two components of
                                                               SJSRY, namely USEP and DWCUA (USEP) provide
                                                               opportunity to think of an alternative strategy to reach out
                                                               to the poor and achieve financially sustainable growth.
                                                                   More than 13,650 USEP micro enterprises (individual
                                                               beneficiary oriented) and 1,148 DWCUA micro enterprises
                                                               (group activities of women) have already sprang up in Kerala
                                                               under the Kudumbashree project.
                                                                   Kudumbashree also engages in women empowerment
                                                               activities like organising awareness classes, imparting
                                                               leadership training etc.

         udumbashree (etymological meaning is prosperity of                                  Balasabhas
         the family), the women oriented community based           Balasabhas are grass roots level groups of the children
         poverty alleviation programme which is being          of BPL families. The mission organises the children of the
implemented in Kerala by the State Government, with the        poor families of the State into Balasabhas as a part of it’s
active support of Government of India, National Bank of        holistic approach to wipe out poverty. Catch them young and
Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) tries to cure       nip poverty in the buds is the guiding slogan behind the Balasabha
the morbid development imbalance of the State.                 movement initiated by the Mission.
    Unlike many a poverty alleviation programmes                                      Lease Land Farming
implemented in third world countries, Kudumbashree has a           When paddy cultivation became a non-lucrative affair,
true vision of development. Kudumbashree gives prime           farmers of the state deserted paddy fields. Kudumbashree
importance for the economic empowerment of the indigent        found this as an opportunity. Neighbourhood Groups of
masses, especially the poor women of Kerala. Began on          the mission were given encouragement to start paddy
April1, 1999, this 10 year project includes three components   cultivation. Many groups have identified the immense
micro credit, entrepreneurship and empowerment. As part        potential of lease land farming. Lease land farming is
of the project, neighborhood groups of women who come          beneficial both to the landless poor women of Kudumbashree
poor families who are identified based on risk indices are     Neighbourhood Groups and the land lords who are not
KERALA CALLING    l   January 2004                                                                                             3 5
interested in paddy cultivation. Last year      DEMOGRAPHY
lease land farming was done in 3466.65

                                             Inside Facts of
hectares of paddy fields. 33501 families,
hailing from 3703 NHGs got benefited.

                                             Kerala Census
    The Destitute Identification,
Rehabilitation & Monitoring (DIRM)
    Antipoverty programmes seldom
reach the marginalized destitutes.           Grace P. Boaz, Salini Venugopal

Kudumbashree has formulated a
specific project with the assistance of               he Population trends of Kerala has always aroused the curiosity of those
                                                      who live in Kerala and abroad. As per the State Census, the present
the Central Govt. to reach out the
                                                      population of Kerala is 3,18,38,619. The annual exponential growth
downtrodden and neglected destitutes
                                             rate of Kerala during the decade 91-01 was 0.9. It is appreciable as Kerala
scattered through out the state. 101         achieved this low growth of population despite sluggish economic growth. Fer-
panchayats of the state have already
                                             tility, Mortality and migration
come up with individual specific             are the main factors influ-
projects for destitute care and              encing the dynamics of
rehabilitation                               population growth. All the
    Central government has already           three aspects have played an
released an amount of Rs.8 crores to         important role in the dynam-
Kudumbashree            for     destitute    ics of growth of population
rehabilitation and tracking programme        in Kerala. Kerala has experi-
and IT enabled services to the poor. The     enced the sharpest falls in
challenge fund worth Rs.2.5 crores           fertility in India. 2001 cen-
earmarked in state budget will also be       sus provisional results show
used to strengthen the destitute             that the percentage of 0-6
                                             populations to total popula-
programme. Destitute care is going to
                                             tion is 15.42 for India where
be one of the thrust areas of                as it is 11.48 in Kerala. The details show that the outflow from the state in-
Kudumbashree in the years to come.           creased in the 80s and 90s. Current understanding of our natural, social and
        Kerashree, Vidhyashree               economic anvirons indicates that the sooner the population growth stabilises the
             and Yatrashree                  better it is for the country and its inhabitants.
    When the price of coconut came                          The state will achieve zero population
down alarmingly, farmers of the state                   growth in two to three decades : Sheela Thomas
became the victims of poverty.               Sheela Thomas, Director of Census Operations, Kerala, talk to the readers of
Kudumbashree came forward with a             ‘Kerala Calling’ to discuss the population survey of Kerala. Excerpts from the
solution for the problem. Coconut oil        interview:
extraction and marketing units were              Q: In the 0-6 age group, males outnumber females. But taking into
setup under the mission in central and       consideration the sex ratio, we find that for every 1000 males there are 1058
northern districts of the state. The         females. How do you explain this?
common nomenclature of these units               A: All over the world, in the 0-6 age group, males outnumber females. Speaking
engaged in copra production, oil             about the sex ratio, the survival rate of females is more than that of males.
extraction and coconut oil marketing is          Q: But don’t you think it is because the census date avoids the large number
Kerashree. As coconut oil is the             of males residing outside Kerala?
principal cooking medium of Keralites,           A: Only 1-2 per cent of the total population of males reside outside Kerala.
the units find no difficulty in marketing    Ignoring this small percentage won’t affect the quality of data.
the products.                                    Q: How has the decrease in fertility and mortality affected the growth rate of
    Similarly, when the state government     population in Kerala?
decided to introduce IT education in             A: The population growth rate of India is 21.34. But is the case of Kerala it
the high schools of the state under          is only 9.42, which is the lowest in India. This is a very positive sign. Infant
IT@school programme, Kudum-                  mortality is also very low in Kerala. The growth rate of Kerala has declined
bashree seized the opportunity and be-       rapidly due to reasons like present stage, the society is being immensely benefited
gan to setup Vidyashree Computer units       by these factors. It is expected that the State will achieve zero population growth
in all the 14 districts of Kerala.           in two to three decades. I’m sure by this time, the disadvantages of the system
                                       l     will show up.

3 6                                                                                            January 2004 l   KERALA CALLING

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