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Unnathi Scheme for Poor families: Initiative by SERP

Objective of the Scheme:

  • In the year 2009, under the scheme Indira Kranti Pratham(IKP), it was observed that 20% of poor were still untouched, majority of whom belonged to socially vulnerable groups (SC/ST) and thus needed intensive hand holding support.
  • To address this critical gap, Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) evolved a more targeted and focused approach under IKP, to fight the poverty of the poorest known as Unnathi.
  • It was launched in March 2010, the Unnathi–Nirupedala Samagrabhivrudhi, as the project is called in Telugu.
  • The need for Unnathi was further confirmed by the data from the baseline survey that was carried out immediately after the identification of PoP households.
  • The scheme focuses on the poor families by organizing them, strengthening their institutions, increasing their asset base, mitigating risks, expanding the livelihoods and increasing their incomes.

Benefits of the Scheme:

  • It enables every poorest of poor family in the state to come out of poverty with increased and sustainable livelihood opportunities established with the aid of an intensive hand holding support.
  •  Enhancing the income of POP family to an annual income of Rs One lakh over a period and a significant improvement in human development aspects are considered the twin mandates of the proposed strategy.
  •  It seeks to provide support in the form of sustainable livelihood that will ensure an annual income of Rs.60,000 for each poor family for three years—the period SERP estimates is sufficient for a household to come out of poverty.

How the Scheme Works:

  • The project initially covered 620,000 families belonging to SC and ST communities in 3,163 gram panchayats (village councils) from 339 mandals (sub-district) across 22 rural districts of the state.
  • The household surveys verify information ranging from family member details, their health status, assets and liabilities of a family to access to drinking water, toilets, housing, gas connections, banking services, and government schemes and entitlements (ration cards, etc.).
  • The questionnaire has 162 fields spanning 10 pages. Baseline data is gathered in English as well as Telugu.
  • The innovation also helps government officials get an accurate picture of people entitled to ration cards, job cards, pensions, government health insurance and housing.
  • Families that earn the least scores are initially shortlisted for the government’s livelihood development programmes.
  • Families considered vulnerable—widowed women, single mothers, illiterate families, primitive tribal groups, bonded labourers, and persons with disabilities or chronic illness—are given negative marks so they feature higher up in the priority list.

Current Reach of the Scheme:

  • Currently in the third phase, SERP expanded Unnathi to cover 1.02 million families across 22,000 gram panchayats in 621 mandals.
  • So far, the project has identified 180,000 families to be eligible for support, but only 110,000 families opted for the initiative.

About Surabhi K

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