North East Rural Livelihood Project
North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP)
North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP) is an initiative from the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER). NERLP aims to empower the poor in the rural regions of North-East states of Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. It is estimated that skill development training in various job skills has been given to 10462 boys and girls and a total of 5494 of them are employed today.
Objectives of NERLP
Though there are many projects which aim at the empowerment of rural people in the isolated North-Eastern states of India, none have proven to have a positive impact on their livelihood development. It is in this light that NERLP was introduced. The project aims at sustainable livelihood development of the people in the four states. The scheme adopts a three-pronged approach to achieve this objective. They are:
- Empower disadvantaged people in society like women and unemployed youth. Encouragement is given to women to participate more in the local institutions and decision making process and youth to be part of social development activities.
- Enabling marginalised people to take advantage of the poverty reduction programs through bottom-up participatory programs
- Ensure gender and social equality by developing awareness mechanism
- Ensure food security and poverty reduction by introducing innovative approaches
- Improve tie-ups of Self Help Groups with financial organisations to avail credits for new projects
- Enhance the knowledge and skill of the community by implementing economic development programs
- Increase productivity and diversify livelihood opportunities by promoting non-farming oriented activities
- Providing credits, insurance, grants and extension to the poor with the help of financial institutions and government organisations.
- Understanding market demands and forming enterprises involving the youth in the region.
- Promote Self Help Groups, small scale business, ecologically sound farming practices, vocational training etc. to improve the quality of life of the North-Eastern people.
- Develop linkages with government departments, research institutions and input suppliers and thus co-implementing various schemes and programs for the government.
- Improve professional services like legal rights, technology, accounts & finance, markets etc. by working with service providers.
- Facilitate partnership with input suppliers and other value chain participants.
- Avoid crowding in particular regions by assessing infrastructural gaps and points of convergence.
- Develop linkages with government or privately owned financial institution for credit access to economic organisations.
Implementation Strategy of NERLP
In India, most of the empowerment projects envisioned by the government fail to reach the target groups that are in the lowest strata of the society. To overcome this obstacle of red tapes, North East Rural Livelihood Project plan to implement its welfare programs by introducing it directly into the target community. This is achieved by focusing on certain groups like:
- Community-based institutions
- NERLP aims at supporting sustainable self-managed, self-reliant communities and organisations and their livelihood improvement schemes. The communities are encouraged to act against social inequality. The poor will be able to develop their skills and achieve their rights only by working in groups
- Community Development groups
- The project aims to rely on Community Development Groups (CDGs) which plans of the overall development of the village. Based on the number of households and population, there can be more than one CDG in the village.
- Self Help groups
- Self Help Groups (SHG) comprising exclusively of women, will be given much priority by the project. This could lay a foundation of connecting with the poor and disadvantaged households in the village. SHG federations could be formed, which makes their management much easier.
- Self Help Group Village Federations
- The primary Self-help Groups in a village can be brought together to form village federations. Such SHG Federation will promote women who have an attitude to work towards self-reliance and economic independence. Federations make Self Help Groups become institutionally and financially stable. It also helps to make projects like NERLP accessible to the remote SHGs. Banks and service providers will have better access to the SHGs as the federations can act as intermediaries between the two.
- Youth Groups
- Self-reliant group of youth can be formed which can address the social and economic issues of the youth in the villages. Such groups can help the North East Rural Livelihood Project to understand and remedy the problems faced by the unemployed youth in rural areas.
- Producer Organisations
- The people who are part of sector-based livelihood activities can be brought together to producer organisations. Members from various community institutions should be involved in such an organisation. This can help to pool, market, procure input easily, which will aid the financial stability of the members. These groups can also be effective in introducing new scientific methods of farming and teaching new advancements in technology, which will greatly improve the quality of life of the members.
Impact of NERLP
The project has brought many positive changes in the region. The family incomes in the villages coming under the four states have found to be increased since the introduction of NERLP project in 2012. Women have become more knowledgeable and skilled and hence are economically stable and self-reliant. An SHG leader became Cabinet Minister in Tripura, and some others have become panchayath leaders. Many communities have become more developed and vibrant.
Eligibility for the NERLP
The following people are eligible for the support from the North East Rural Livelihood Project:
- The rural people in the 11 districts of North Eastern states of Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim
- Unemployed youth in the region
- Women who are interested in improving the livelihood means of their family in these north-eastern states
- Boys and girls looking to learn a skill and to get employed
The Project Directors and operating officers can be contacted through the website www.nerlp.gov.in.