One of the prime developmental objectives of Government of Tamil Nadu is alleviating poverty and ensuring inclusive growth. An important intervention in this direction is the World Bank funded Pudu Vazhvu Project which was designed based on a concept note ‘Tamil Nadu Poverty Reduction initiative’ developed in 2000 – 01. The Pudu Vazhvu Project was
G.O.(2D).No.63, SW & NMP (SW3) Dept., dt. 24.10.2005. and launched in November 2005 and will be implemented over a 6 year period with World Bank assistance. The total outlay of this project is Rs. 717
The target population of this project will be poor households, the most vulnerable sections including the physically challenged and the marginalized communities. The project adopts community driven development approach involving Village communities at every stage of project implementation. The target population is identified by Village communities using participatory methodologies.
3.1.1 Project Area
The project will be implemented in 2,509 Village Panchayats in 70 backward Blocks spread over 15 districts.
Details of Project Area
3.1.2 Institutional Arrangements
The responsibility for implementation of the project vests with the Vazhndhu Kaattuvom State Society at State level and District Vazhndhu Kaattuvom societies in the project districts. At the cutting edge level, a 5 member project facilitation team covers 10 – 15 Village Panchayats constituted into a cluster. At the Village Panchayat level the implementation agency is an inclusive community organization by name Village Poverty Reduction Committee (VPRC). In addition, a Social Audit Committee (SAC) is constituted by Grama Sabha which plays role of guardian of the project principles.
3.1.3 Village Poverty Reduction Committee
The Village Poverty Reduction Committee is a community organization formed under the project pre-dominantly with representatives of the target population. Each hamlet of the Panchayat is represented by a woman SHG member from the target population in the VPRC. The PLF Secretary, a representative of the disabled, 2 members representing from youth, 2 members representing other Village level committees are also nominated to the VPRC by the Grama Sabha. The Village Panchayat President is Ex-officio Chairperson of the VPRC.
VPRC Meeting - Members taking a pledge
3.1.4 Social Audit Committee
A 5 member Social Audit Committee nominated by the Grama Sabha monitors project activities and ensures adherence of the project principles during implementation. The Committee is accountable to the Grama Sabha and reports to the Grama Sabha on a regular basis.
3.1.5 Amudha Surabi
Amudha Surabi is a corpus fund of minimum Rs 6 lakhs, given to each VPRC to help SHG members to start economic activities. This fund will be managed by the Panchayat level federation (PLF) of SHGs on behalf of the VPRC. The PLF will provide loans to SHG members at reasonable rates of interest giving priority to the target population while sanctioning the loans. The PLFs have to be restructured as per the guidelines of the government and registered under Tamil Nadu Societies Act, 1975 to be eligible to handle the corpus fund. Amudha Surabi is an additional financial resource available with the community and is expected to supplement the revolving fund and bank loans provided to SHGs.
3.1.6 Livelihood Promotion
To promote the livelihoods of the poor, apart from individual and small group activities undertaken through bank linkages, the project supports formation of economic activity federations around major livelihood activities.
3.1.7 Youth Development Activities
One fifth of the VPRC fund is earmarked for financing youth development activities at the village level. This is part of the project strategy to involve youth constructively in project activities and in their own development. To implement youth related activities, a youth sub committee is formed in the VPRC and two youth representatives are inducted as VPRC members. Setting up Computer centres, tuition centres, gymnasium, sports centres are some of the popular activities undertaken
3.1.8 Project Implementation Cycle
The project activities to start with are aimed at social mobilization of the poor and marginalized. After formation and building capacity of the community organizations, the project focuses on livelihood promotion of the target population. The implementation stages of the project are:
a. Start up stage:
• Setting up of office (District & Cluster)
• Organise district level workshops
• Block level workshops, bankers meet
• Orient Village Panchayat presidents, PLF
• Orient BDFAs
• Identify resource agencies, service providers
• Plan communication and entry point activities
• Collection of baseline informationa.
b. Initiation stage:
• Dissemination about Pudu Vazhvu Project (PVP)
• Communication activities, Habitation / SHG meetings
• GS approval to join with PVP
• Identification of target people with Grama Sabha approval
• Exposure Visits to Well functioning VPRCs
• Erection of Display Boards
• SAC approving the initiation fund Utilisation Certificate.
c. Institution Building stage:
• Constitution VPRC , Sub Committee
• Constitution of SAC
• Identification of Book Keeper
• Setting up of VPRC office
• Mobilisation of left out target people including disabled into SHGs
d. Capacity building stage:
• Community Operational Manual (COM) Internalisation training for VPRC, Sub Committee & SAC
• Exposure Visits
• Training of Book Keeper
• Visioning Exercise
• Preparation of VPRC Plan with GS Approval
• Identification & Training of Community SHG Trainers (CSTs) & Community Disability Facilitators (CDFs).
e. Implementation stage:
• Strengthening of SHGs
• Special fund activities
• Skill development activities
• Youth development fund activities
• PLF restructuring
f. Implementation - Livelihood stage:
• Livelihood Resource mapping
• SHG Finance Plan
• Management of Livelihood Corpus fund
• Promotion of Viable livelihood activities
g. Consolidation stage:
• Sustainability of Community Based Organisations formed
• Availability of Corpus fund in multiples
• Pooled Fund from various sources (bank, Line department)
• Strong Network & Sustainable Economic activities
3.1.9 Progress in project implementation
The Project implementation was taken up in 15 Blocks in the first phase 578 Village Panchayats from October 2006 and in the second phase 584 Village Panchayats in 15 Blocks from April 2007 and in the third phase 635 Village Panchayats in 20 Blocks from February 2008. The fourth phase has commenced from February 2009 and covers 712 Village Panchayats in 20 Blocks, where initial activities are underway.
The Project activities are in progress in 2,509 Village Panchayats in all the four phases. The following activities have been accomplished as on 31.12.2010.
• The Project staff both at district and cluster levels are in position in all districts after induction training.
• Village Panchayat initiation fund of Rs.35,000/- per Village Panchayat has been released to 2,509 Village Panchayats.
• Participatory identification of the poor has been completed in 2,509 Village Panchayats and the list approved by Grama Sabha.
• VPRC and SAC have been formed in 2,736 Village Panchayats. In addition 286 special VPRCs have been formed exclusively in tribal areas.
• An amount of Rs.406.34 crores has been released to the VPRCs so far.
• 14,337 new SHGs have been formed from among the left out poor. Similarly 7,806 new SHGs have been formed among the disabled.
• 15,138 new SHGs have received Revolving fund and linked with banks for an amount of Rs.87.69 crores and second credit linkage to 3,286 SHGs to the tune of Rs. 33.56 crores.
• 90,698 disabled persons have been given national ID cards through the intervention of the project.
• 1,42,570 disabled & vulnerable persons have been given financial assistance to start livelihood activities.
• 12,382 disabled have received aids & appliance costing Rs.375.11 lakhs.
• 1,23,362 unemployed youth have been imparted job oriented skill training in collaboration with Mahalir Thittam.
• PLF restructuring has been completed in 2,247 Village Panchayats.
• 98 Economic activity federations with a cumulative membership of 4437 persons have been formed and Rs. 538.64 lakhs have been released to these federations from Project funds till October, 2010.
A sum of Rs.184.14 Crores was provided in the budget estimate in the year 2010-2011 for the project activities vide G.O.(Ms) No.57, RD&PR (CGS.3) Dept., dt. 24.05.2010 and G.O.(Ms) No.13, RD&PR (CGS 3) Dept., dt. 24.01.2011.
3.1.10 Community Professional Learning and Training Centres (CPLTC)
CPLTCs provide a platform for community members to share their learning and experience and is meant to facilitate community to community learning. The project provides initial seed money to set up CPLTCs. CPLTCs have been formed in all Districts.
3.1.11 Micro Insurance Programmes
As a social security measure, the project is striving to provide insurance cover to the target population at affordable rates. On an experimental basis, Universal health insurance scheme which is subsidised by Government of India has been taken up in Kandamangalam, Ellapuram, Poondi, Gudiyatham, Chengam and Palladam Blocks in Villupuram, Thiruvallur, Vellore, Thiruvannamalai and Coimbatore districts respectively. The unique feature of this initiative is that it is a community managed insurance programme. The role of the third party administrator as well as the selection of the participating hospitals is done by the Block level federation of the SHGs. Following the success of the pilot initiative, the insurance cover is proposed be extended to all the project Blocks.
3.1.12 Convergence of Mahalir Thittam and Pudu Vazhvu Project
Mahalir Thittam is being implemented in Vazhndhu Kaattuvom project Blocks through Vazhndhu Kaattuvom project staff and Village Poverty Reduction Committees. This has helped in converging the efforts of Mahalir Thittam and Vazhndhu Kaattuvom and has avoided duplication of efforts. VPRCs have entered into an agreement with Mahalir Thittam for forming, training and monitoring SHGs and have been treated on par with NGOs for these activities.