Reducing rural poverty by opening new doors to employment

More than 70% of India’s poor live in villages or rural areas. This means that almost three-quarters of the Indian population relies on rural income and the rural economy. The Government of India launched the National Rural Livelihoods Mission in 2011. It is a project aimed at alleviating poverty by promoting self-employment among the rural poor population of India.

This project was renamed as Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission in 2016. Under this project, SHG (Self-help groups) are created in which there are 12-25 people in each group who come together to help each other internally in times when they need support. So far, more than 76 lakh self-help groups have been created under this project all across India. This project has many sub schemes like Ajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY) which was launched in 2016-17.

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Rural Poverty

Rural poverty is one of the biggest reasons why people from the farming sector are leaving villages and moving to the cities. This is negatively affecting rural populations and the lives of people living in rural areas. The only way to combat this is by providing more opportunities to people living in villages so that they don’t have to leave traditional professions.

Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia, the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha is devoted to this cause. It is his vision to uplift all vulnerable sections of society out of the vicious clutches of poverty. The organization has also launched an online portal and an E-Library to ensure that endless resources are available to anyone who is willing to learn and improve their skills.

According to Mr. Ramesh Lakhulal Chaurasia, the most practical way to do this is by maximizing the use of technology to provide digital education to all children and adults so that they can get the exposure and the knowledge required to improve their skills and chances of employment.

Working on solutions

We talked to Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia about the efforts of their organization. He said, “Our team has been working for some time to eliminate rural poverty. Our goal is to uplift all vulnerable sections of the community including women and children. We try to spread awareness about the latest available means of employment. We also train people in vocational skills and organize skill development camps where everyone is allowed to come and learn new skills which can help them get employment. We want to ensure that manual labour is not the only option left with people.”

He added, “Our initiatives include promoting digital education and adult education so that a large number of people from rural populations can complete their education and also gain digital literacy.  Raising agricultural productivity per unit of land. This is done by introducing latest farming methods and technology through seminars and workshops. One such example is multi-layer farming, which we have suggested to betel farmers from the Chaurasia community. So far it has shown great results.”

An example of change

Multi Layered farming is one such method of farming which increases the agricultural productivity of the land since multiple crops are planted on the same piece of land. This is a practice where different yet compatible crops of different heights are grown on the same piece of land. Through this method, farmers can multiply their revenue by growing high value crops or cash crops along with any crop they want. This method of farming also reduces water consumption and preserves the fertility of soil.

We also talked to a senior volunteer at the Mahasabha. He said, “A few good strategies put together can help alleviate several problems faced by rural populations. A lot of things can be done to ensure that people from rural areas are able to achieve their full potential. The government is already working on this through the National Rural Livelihood Mission. However, progress can be unbelievable if our country is able to harness the power of the community. If all members of a community come together, unimaginable change is possible in a short span of time. There is nothing more powerful than human will to grow and prosper. We just need to provide resources and guidance to eligible people and their hard work will speak for itself. The Chaurasia community is a shining example of community work. They are working to educate each section of their community, including women. They have modernized their farming and are using technology to progress further.” The team of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha works under philanthropic leaders like Mr. Ramesh Lakhulal Chaurasia. They work on alleviating poverty in rural areas mainly by promoting education for all and providing avenues for better employment. The team also works to promote cottage industries and motivates members of rural communities to start small scale businesses.