According to the latest statistics, about 25% of the Indian population belongs to the rural poor. Women make up one-third of the Indian labour force. However, social constraints have prevented them from having access to and making use of the available resources that may help them improve their living conditions. Self Help Group is seen by many as the catalyst for rural development, women and social empowerment. Its importance in the Indian economy is seen through many success stories like production of 13 different bioagents to support organic farming by Sabari Swasraya Sanghom of Nellarachal tribal hamlet, Kudumbashree SHG, etc. They are not only inspirational but also the obvious solutions to the existing socio-economic problems of India.
According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) by National Sample Survey Office, the overall unemployment rate in the country in FY18 was at 6.1%.
However, the current survey, according to the government, is conducted in different method compared to the previous surveys.
But unemployment remains a problem, and the Government must take initiatives to make full use of the younger population to boost the growth and development of the economy.
Pew Research Center, using World Bank data, has estimated that the number of poor in India (with income of $2 per day or less in purchasing power parity) has more than doubled from 60 million to 134 million in just a year because the pandemic-induced recession. This means India is back in a situation to be called a “country of mass poverty” after 45 years.
The mass exodus of migrant workers to their native villages following the temporary closing down of industries in urban areas to curb the COVID-19 outbreak has increased the demand for employment in Rural India. This situation creates a new opportunity to improve the rural economy by employing such population in infrastructure development and other vital government projects like waste management and improving access to water in rural India. To utilise this opportunity, the government had launched Gram Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan in select states. However, the new initiative has diluted the role of MGNREGS, another similar but comprehensive rural employment generation scheme.