Under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) the Punjab Government has empowered and helped poor households across the state to battle poverty by providing access to self-employment opportunities based on their specialized skill set. The State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM) Punjab started in 2001 and has since then contributed to the betterment to countless members of the vulnerable section of society. Elaborating on the composition of beneficiaries, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister, Punjab Sikander Singh Maluka said that it includes 50% of SC/ST, 50% of women, 15% minorities and 3% are people with disabilities. From the national allocation of 6.92 crore in 2013-2014 for SRLM, the financing of the program was shared between centre and the state in the ratio of 75:25. During the first phase 12 blocks in 5 Districts across the state had been selected for implementation. Here, Self Help Groups (SHGs) were established to initiate creation of improved and sustainable livelihoods for the rural poor. The districts covered included Tarn Tara with 55 SHGs, Gurdaspur with 80, Patiala with 92, Sangrur with 63 and Ferozepur with 86. He further said that, to accelerate the achievement of a total target of 1000 SHGs created in the State, new staff has been recruited and a Revolving Fund provided to SHGs on the basis of their monthly savings. 232 SHGs 2014-2015 have been provided with Rs. 15000 per group.
If these continue functioning successfully for six months, they get upgraded to Community Investment Fund of Rs. 50000 per group; this has been given to 48 SHGs as of now. In addition the National resource Organization (NRO) will select a Professional Resource Person Team in identified blocks to work for a period of 1 year to create a Model Block, on the lines of which more SHGs will be replicated.Punjab has worked on its progress regarding Resource Block Strategy by signing a MoU with Rajiv Gandhi Mahilla Vikas Priyojna (RGMVP) of UP GOP which has selected 5 clusters from 2 Resource Blocks i.e. Sanour of Patiala District, Sunam of Sangrur District; and one cluster each from the other three districts i.e. Tarn Tara, Gurdaspur and Ferozepur. This work began on 1st of July 2014. The government has proposed a budget of approximately 8.95 crore for 2014-2015. The Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to providing improved access to jobs and better the standard of living in these peripheral areas. Rural economic development is critical to the national growth agenda.