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Decoding The Success Of The National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)


India's rural landscape is marked by vibrant cultures and communities, yet specific areas are entangled in the grips of persistent poverty. 


Addressing this critical issue, the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) was initiated with a visionary goal: to transform rural poverty into prosperity by empowering the rural poor, particularly women, through robust, sustainable livelihood opportunities.  


This blog post delves into the mission’s objectives, strategies, and its tangible impact on rural communities, comparing its methodologies and achievements with its urban counterpart, the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM)




What is NRLM?


Launched by the Ministry of Rural Development, the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) is a pivotal initiative designed to eliminate poverty by mobilising rural households into self-help groups (SHGs) and creating sustainable employment opportunities. 


Objectives and Strategies of NRLM


The NRLM aims to cover 7 crore rural poor households across 600 districts, enhancing their livelihoods and ensuring access to a range of financial services by fostering capable rural institutions. 


Unlike the urban-focused strategies of the NULM, which are tailored towards providing skill training and enabling entry into the service sector for the urban poor, NRLM focuses on rural areas with strategies that are deeply embedded in community-based approaches.

Key strategies of NRLM include:

  • Promoting SHGs: The backbone of NRLM is the promotion of SHGs, which empower women by encouraging savings and inter-loaning within groups, thus providing a buffer against financial crises.

  • Capacity Building: NRLM invests in training and capacity building at the grassroots level, ensuring that members of SHGs are well-equipped with the necessary skills to manage their finances and enterprises.

  • Convergence with Other Programs: NRLM actively seeks convergence with other government programs to facilitate a broader spectrum of services, including healthcare, education, and sanitation, thereby addressing the multifaceted aspects of rural poverty.

Comparing NRLM with NULM


While NRLM and NULM share the common goal of enabling livelihoods of the poor, their operational strategies cater to the distinct dynamics of rural and urban settings. NRLM’s strength lies in its community-based model, which leverages local knowledge and resources. 

In contrast, NULM primarily focuses on individual skill development and urban employment opportunities, reflecting the industrial and service-oriented landscape of urban areas.

The integration of SHGs and the emphasis on rural entrepreneurship under NRLM are not as pronounced in NULM, which instead pivots towards skill training centres and tie-ups with corporate entities for job placement of the urban poor.


The National Rural Livelihoods Mission represents a critical step forward in India’s quest to eradicate rural poverty. By empowering rural households, particularly women, through SHGs and sustainable livelihood opportunities, NRLM is not just transforming rural economies but also altering social dynamics. The success of NRLM as compared to NULM highlights the importance of tailoring poverty reduction efforts to fit the unique needs and potentials of rural versus urban populations.


Impact of NRLM


Since its inception, the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) has made significant strides in reshaping the rural economic landscape of India. As of recent reports, NRLM has successfully mobilised over 70 million rural women into more than 6.5 million self-help groups (SHGs). 

These SHGs have been instrumental in generating a cumulative saving of approximately INR 30,000 crores. Additionally, through its credit linkage programs, NRLM has facilitated over INR 2 lakh crores in loans, empowering countless rural families to enhance their livelihoods and secure financial stability. For a detailed breakdown of NRLM's ongoing impacts and achievements, visit the Ministry of Rural Development's comprehensive report on NRLM.


With the ongoing efforts and strategies of NRLM, the vision of a poverty-free rural India seems increasingly attainable, promising a future where rural communities thrive and lead the way towards a prosperous and inclusive nation.On a personal level, you can enable rural communities by giving farmers, rural entrepreneurs and artisans access to credit through social investing.


Make a social investment with rangde.in and create sustainable livelihoods for fellow Indians. Create impact and get repaid with interest!



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