Mission Mangalam : Empowering Gujarat’s Women
by Milind Torawane I.A.S
Gujarat Livelihood Promotion Company
Over time Gujarat has emerged as the growth engine of India; its pace of economic growth continues to be higher than the national average. Along with this remarkable economic progress, Gujarat has given the country the formula of inclusive growth. We in Gujarat strongly believe in the principle of uniform growth. No society, state or country can prosper, if only certain sections remain the constant beneficiaries of all the government schemes. Hence, to ensure that our women are no more disadvantaged and are equal to men in every possible way, we have to make some special provisions for them, especially for the ones living in the rural areas.
With this clear vision, the State Government launched ‘Mission Mangalam’ on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Year celebrations in 2010. Mission Mangalam is basically an integrated poverty alleviation approach in a demand driven convergence mode. It aims to channelise the critical mass of resources and mitigate poverty by creating a single platform for stakeholders. The idea is to integrate Sakhi Mandals( self-help groups) into the corporate value chain, thereby generating a win-win proposition for all the stakeholders. In the next three to five years, under Mission Mangalam , the state aims to create livelihoods for about a million people, in the rural sectors, through self-employment.
The objectives of this program are to mobilize the poor into collectives like Sakhi Mandals (SHGs) or Producer Groups (PGs) or Service Groups; nurture skills in them; assist them with microfinance and eventually empower them through sustainable livelihoods. For the implementation of these objectives, the Government of Gujarat started the Gujarat Livelihoods Promotion Company (GLPC), a PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) company registered under the Companies Act 1956. GLPC has a strong team of around 150 professionals at State and District levels. These professionals are supported by 1800 field functionaries. There are various schemes for the rural poor involving available capital and interest subsidies. Some of these schemes have major elements of training and development linkages. The schemes propose to integrate the SHGs or PGs in the corporate value chain with capital and interest subsidies and function as a PPP model. The preparation of the training proposal, training content, forward and backward market links and quality control is the responsibility of the private party.
The GLPC works in tandem with the network of Sakhi Mandals or Self Help Groups (SHGs) and collaborates with large industries. So, strategic partnerships with banks, professional institutions, skill-development agencies, industry associations, etc provide finance, skills and market information to SHGs.
Generally, in rural households women actively participate in and contribute to a large number of economic activities. But their contribution often goes unnoticed and their share of profits are denied. But now this issue has been addressed with the launch of Mission Mangalam. The Sakhi Mandals can get in touch with Mission Mangalam officials and seek advice on a host of financial matters. The officials are not only glad to offer assistance but they also facilitate processes and transactions, e.g. the insurance process.
Scale of Operation
Mission Mangalam has around 2, 38,937 operational Sakhi Mandals as on date, covering more than 29 lakh rural households. The bank savings of these Sakhi Mandals have reached the mark of Rs. 400 crores. Banks have extended credit support to the tune of Rs. 1100 crores because of the proactive approach adopted by these SHG’s. Thus, an overall capital support of Rs. 1500 crores has been made available to the Sakhi Mandals through Mission Mangalam. This has empowered the Sakhi Mandals to undertake economic activities in the form of micro-enterprises as the average fund availability has increased now to Rs. 62,500 per Sakhi Mandal as compared to just Rs. 18,000 prior to the launch of Mission Mangalam. Around 58,000 Sakhi Mandals have been graduated to meaningful micro-enterprise activities providing livelihood to more than 6 lakh rural households. The remaining are at various stages of social mobilisation activities, trainings and backward-forward market linkages.
Benefits from the Vibrant Gujarat Summit (2011)
Mission Mangalam has already triggered an overwhelming response from the business world resulting in MoUs worth more than Rs. 21,000 crores generating more that 1.4 million sustainable livelihoods. Some of the largest corporate houses in the country got involved in this process through the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, 2011. Immense interest and urge to partner with Mission Mangalam has been shown by corporate houses, banks and institutions understanding the strength of the collectives of the rural-poor households in the form of Sakhi Mandals.
This initiative of Gujarat is a workable innovative model which is equipped with the most appropriate and effective strategy for poverty reduction in the post-liberalisation era. It is a novel approach towards involving the corporate sector and the poor with an emphasis on skill development to transform the marginalised into successful entrepreneurs.
This article originally appeared in ‘Gujarat’, an English quarterly magazine.