Kudumbashree offers a finest example of cooperative even though it not a cooperative. It was launched in 1998 by the Kerala Government and Nabard. The aim was to eradicate poverty through concerted community action under the leadership of local self-government bodies.
Kudumbashree is one of the largest women-empowered projects in the country having 38 lakh members and covers over 50 percent of the households in the southern state by running 2.03 lakh neighbourhood groups (NGs).
The Union Rural Development Ministry has now decided to rope in the micro-enterprises consultancy services for its National Rural Livelihood Mission.
“We will soon be singing a memorandum of understanding with the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) of the Union Rural Development Ministry. Under this, we will be offering our micro-enterprise consulting services to the NRLM,” Kudumbashree Executive Director Sarada Muraleedharan told.
“Kudumbashree has been asked to function as a resource agency for scaling up the NRLM initiative, and an MoU is being entered into between NRLM and Kudumbashree shortly to take this programme to other states,” Muraleedharan explained.
The micro-credit body is credited for marrying the principles of Gandhian economics with rural development wherein each village independently develops resources for its sustenance.
Each of these groups consists of 10-20 poor women members and on an average Rs 40 is collected from each of them.
Total thrift collected by NGs stood at Rs 1,549.5 crore as of January 2011 and the internal loans generated stood at Rs 4,372 crore since inception, Muraleedharan said.
For FY11, total thrift collected stood at Rs 178 crore and the internal loans generated at Rs 459 crore. In FY10, it was better when total thrift collected stood at Rs 198.6 crore and internal loan disbursed at Rs 893 crore, Muraleedharan said.
Kudumbashree, which stands for prosperity (shree) of family (Kudumbam), is built around three critical components namely micro-credit, entrepreneurship and empowerment, and has implemented its initiative through community development societies (CDSs), she said, adding the micro-credit firm has succeeded in addressing the basic needs of the less privileged women by providing them a more dignified life and a better future.
According to the executive director, the Micro Enterprise Consultancy (MEC) model of Kudumbashree was appreciated by the NRLM representatives who felt that it should be replicated in other states as well.
When can we see of something like this in Indian cooperative!