Muktidhara scheme in West Bengal
West Bengal Government has initiated a new project in the name of Muktidhara in 2013, with an aim to eradicate poverty through participatory approach. The project has been started in Purulia, a district of the state, in order to improve the socioeconomic status of the inhabitants. Funding for the project is initially made by the Government of West Bengal and training support is provided by NABARD.
- Most of the rural inhabitants in the locality are dependent on the fuel wood selling. The project is aimed at reduction of the dependency of the inhabitants on fuel wood selling.
- The project includes few inherited things – practice of mono-cropping, cultivation methods and food sufficiency training. The project is aimed at self-employment, where market linkages and seasonal migration of farming are included in the training process.
- Creating self help communities in the district is another aim of the project, where 850 SHGs has been planned to be developed within the district’s rural area.
- The project is also aimed at ensuring at least Rs 3000 earning a month for every individual. It is also aimed to empower woman employment in the locality.
Key elements of the project
There are three prominent elements in the Muktidhara Project:
- Zero Subsidy: The project declares that the rural inhabitants will not be provided any cash subsidy. Livelihood cost will be carried out by the SHGs or through banks. All types of training will be given by the district administration department.
- The project is aimed to bring all the different stakeholders at a common location and that is going to support all the inhabitants with proper training from the beneficiaries.
- The third element that has been ensured through the project is a group formation. The group is formed for the mutual benefit that is offered to all of the individuals and it helps them to strengthen as a group. Indirectly that will be helping the inhabitants of Purulia in repayment of the loans and even in activity monitoring.
Scope of Improvement
Here are few areas where the project needs improvement in the near future.
- The project is not holding a complete SOP. A proper operating procedure will disclose the responsibility and duty of the stakeholders. Unless that is clearly stated, it will be tough to monitor the project activities in mass scale.
- Performance indicators are also to be developed and declared in a proper sense. This is also essential in the project advancing days. Government, with these parameters, can easily evaluate the performance of the stakeholders.
- Training to the SHG, which are targeted is also essential. A proper plan and layout regarding the training schedule of them has to be developed and implemented.
- Too much orientation towards the district administrator is diluting the ownership sense. Stress must be given to the different groups, so that independence of the group remains there.
With the excellent project, that is handled by West Bengal government, life is becoming easy for the rural people. All the efforts are to organize their groups and make them self dependent. This is just one step forward towards that agenda.