The Minister for Local Self-Government A.C. Moideen inaugurated the Destitute-free Kerala (Agathi Rahitha Keralam) programme in Kalpetta (Wayanad) on February 21, 2019. C.K. Saseendran, MLA, will preside over the function. Read more about the Programme here:
- Destitute-free Kerala Programme is implemented through the Kudumbasree Mission to protect the destitute population of the state and bring them into the social mainstream. It will be implemented with the support of local self-government institutions (LSGIs).
- The project aims at total rehabilitation of the destituteby finding them a source of living and developing their social and economic status. The beneficiaries of the project will be provided food, medical help, clothes, welfare pensions, schooling, drinking water and sanitation facilities, power, land and house.
- Kudumbashree and local bodies will also provide training to the beneficiaries on several self-employment opportunities.
- Kudumbashree is already providing the skill development training for members of destitute families through the Central schemes like Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Koushalya Yojanaand National Urban Livelihoods Mission. Those who do not have housing will be made part of the ‘Life Mission’ of the State Government.
- The project will benefit60 lakhpeople who don’t have anyone to care for them. Of this, 10,716 people belong to scheduled castes.
- Already 773 local bodies out of the 1,034 in the state have submitted a detailed report for implementing the project to the Kudumbashree. The Kudumbasree mission is scrutinising the project and will get clearance soon.
Agathirahithakeralam – An Innovative Program
- One of the main challenges in the program is destitute identification. So far poverty has been measured in the country based on consumption expenditure. However, the criteria of destitute identification in Agathirahitha Keralam are fixed according to the socio economic structure of Kerala.
- This is done by means of a 9–point criteria and additional criteria (8 in rural and 10 in urban areas). Those families who satisfy 7out of 9–point criteria and 1 additional criterion are deemed to be destitute.
- The beneficiary families are identified by the Community Development Societies (CDS), the apex body of the three–tier community organization of Kudumbashree, and later ratified by the local self government Institutes (LSGIs).
- The CDS and the LSGI together prepared a project for the beneficiary families by identifying the services needed by each family and allocating funds for the same.
- Once the project is approved by the State Government, it is implemented by the CDS and the LSGI together.
- There is a provision for appeal submission and appeals are verified by LSGIs.
- The families who do not have enough criteria to become beneficiaries under the project but have no job for even 10 days a month will be treated as Special Casesand given a helping hand. It also has an anytime inclusion provision.
- The programme asserts the importance of decentralized approach and community involvement(via Kudumbashree Community Organizations) in uplifting the poor.
A Multidimensional Approach to Poverty
- Agathirahitha Keralam is different from other poverty eradication projects in the sense that instead of focusing on a particular aspect of poverty, it endeavors to look into various dimensions of poverty.
- While many of the basic, developmental and psychological needs of an Agathirahitha Keralam beneficiary family are taken care under the aegis of Kudumbashree, the other needs are satisfied by Government Departments like LSGIs, Health Department, and Public Distribution System etc.
- Resources required for funding different components of the project are mobilized from existing schemes and programs.
- The funding of the project is by Kudumbashree, LSGIs and philanthropic individuals and institutions.
- For monitoring of the projects after implementation, Monitoring Committees will be formed at State and District level.
A Successor of Asraya Project
- In 2003, the Government of Kerala introduced a new project through the State Poverty Eradication Mission (Kudumbashree), catering to the unreachable poorest of poor, called Asraya.
- Destitute-free Kerala programme is a comprehensive expansion of the ‘Asraya project’.
- The success of Asraya, despite being a behemoth program, lies in the fact that it was a convergent program. Agathirahitha Keralam project follows the same foot prints of Asraya.
- The mission, in association with local bodies, plans to develop the current Ashraya scheme for the implementation of the project.
- Unlike Asraya, Agathirahitha Keralam (Destitute Free Kerala) is equipped with better technology in beneficiary identification (via mobile app) and project preparation rendering the project more cost effective and timely.
- Asraya which has donned new attire in the form of Agathirahitha Keralam is expected to tackle the many facets of poverty in a better way.