Andhra Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project (Velugu)

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Andhra Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project (Velugu)
In keeping with the development commitment of the state and as envisaged in `Vision 2020' policy document, the Andhra Pradesh Government has initiated the `Rural Poverty Elimination Program' under the project `Velugu' (literally `light'). The Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) is an independent, autonomous society registered under the Societies Registration Act. The Andhra Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project (APDPIP) is being implemented by SERP with the World Bank support in 180 backward mandals in the six backward districts of Adilabad, Mahbubnagar, Anantapur, Chittoor, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram in the state.
The project formally commenced on 16th June’2000 and the total Project outlay is Rs 593.12 crores. The project is to be implemented within a 5 year time frame period ending December 2005.

Poverty Alleviation in Vision 2020

It has been envisaged that the program will be implemented through three mechanisms: first, grassroots mobilization and formation of self-help groups which will help to better empower the poor and tackle demand-side constraints; second, provision of resources (e.g., through community investment fund) to expand the base of local public goods and community infrastructure (e.g., drinking water, local roads, community facilities); and third, institutional strengthening measures. This would include: strengthening capacity of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs); reforms to support greater private sector involvement in rural areas, and greater convergence of existing social sector and anti-poverty programs.

The project recognizes that sustainable poverty eradication requires the recognition of the poor as active partners in the processes of social change. Hence the basic focus is on creation of strong self-managed institutions of the poor and enhancing their capacities to manage their resources and also to access public services. Through the strategy of social mobilisation and empowerment, the project enables the poor to increase the productivity of the assets under their control, enables them to enhance their incomes and manage their natural environment. The distinguishing feature of the project is that the poor have a key role in all project strategies and interventions, right from planning to implementation and monitoring. All project interventions are demand based and are in response to the proposals conceived and planned by the poor.

Objectives of APDPIP :

The detailed objectives of the Project are  

  1. Help create self-managed grassroots level institutions of the poor,

  2. Build capacity of established local institutions, especially the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat and Government’s line departments, to operate in a more inclusive manner in addressing the needs of the poor,

  3. Support investments in sub-projects proposed by grassroots institutions of the poor to accelerate their entry and expand their involvement in social and economic activities, and

  4. Improve access to education for girls to reduce the incidence of child labour among the poor.

Project Strategy :

The project strategy is

  • Social Mobilisation and empowerment the poor, especially poor women, through nurturing Common Interest Groups and their federations at village and Mandal levels,

  • Capacity building, on the one hand, of the poor and their grassroots organisations to meet their priority social and economic needs, and, on the other, of existing institutions to be more inclusive of the needs of the poor, and

  • Promoting convergence of all poverty alleviation and development programmes.

  • Address and implement eradication of child labour.

  • Develop Livelihood Enhancement Action Plans (LEAP) from Social Mobilisation Foundation.

It is envisaged to organize cumulatively about 3,45,000 members into 25,000 self help groups & 4,200 common interest groups in 180 mandals in the six project districts, by the end of March,2003.

Livelihoods (for the Poor) Framework :

APDPIP realized the need to develop a pro-active strategy to augment the livelihoods for the poor, in addition to the demand-driven CIF sub-projects. Accordingly, the Livelihoods Framework for SERP has been evolved with pilot interventions in Neem, Redgram, Amla (Gooseberry) and Groundnut (on the marketing front) indicating that the incomes of the poor can be significantly enhanced with small interventions in the inputs-production-harvesting-post-harvesting-value-addition-marketing value chains. Broad contours of the framework are :

  1. Rural Poor are Consumers and Producers.

  2. Consumers of household consumption items, inputs, raw materials for production Rice Credit Line, Commodity Banks, Rural Retail Stores by the groups that can offer the items at wholesale price with assured quality

  3. Producers of the goods and services for within the village consumption and for market outside – immediate neighborhood villages, cluster, mandal, sub-district markets, district, beyond the district… in that order.

  4. Rural Poor suffer from multiple interrelated handicaps in purchasing their requirements and in marketing their produce and services. The most important them include: Small Quantities (high transaction costs), Ignorance of Markets and Prices, Ignorance of the Product – Quality Requirements, Practices etc., Ignorance of the Technology, Indebtedness and ‘Tied Sales’, Lack of Capacity to hold stocks, and Consumption Credit Needs.

  5. Social Organization/ Collectivization, Knowledge and Resources are the three pillars of the framework to augment the incomes of poor (Livelihood Framework). First pillar of organizing the communities into self-managed groups/institutions is the foundation on which the other two pillars have to be erected.

  6. Accordingly, the first element of the framework is to reduce the costs of consumption of various items the poor consume and to avoid the spurious quality products.

  7. Second element is to augment the returns from the goods and services they produce by interventions in the three stages of the pre-production, production and marketing: reduced cost of quality inputs, technology for increased productivity, improved harvesting practices and post-harvesting practices (collection, drying, storage, grading, segregation, etc.,), moving to the right on the value-chain (producer-to-consumer chain) through aggregation, reaching out to the next ring in the chain and local value addition, timing of the sale, tapping local marketing opportunities, sales in installments etc.

  8. Third element is to scan for the opportunities and add new lines of goods and services: introducing collection of available produce newly, introducing new crops/varieties etc.

  9. Fourth element is to develop new products and market (science, engineering and technology applied for the benefit for the poor)

  10. Fifth element is to augment the skill-set or introduce the new skill-set that is in demand to the rural poor (wage labour)

  11. Sixth element is to encourage the entrepreneurs from the poor and group enterprises

These interventions trigger with the Village Livelihood Enhancement Action Plans (LEAPs – social and resource maps, income and expenditure pattern analysis, traded-in and traded-out items analysis, value-chain analysis for constraints, costs, practices, best practices, credit requirements, resource constraints, technology gaps etc.,), covering almost all the poor starting with the activities/items that can be attempted directly by the poor on their own (individually or in their groups), developing the knowledge on the critical livelihood sectors and disseminating the same to the poor through appropriate mechanisms (activists and associates included), establishing the systems of market intelligence (including prices), tapping the Community Investment Fund for community infrastructure and barefoot activists/ professionals, augmenting the skills of the community in marketing, establishing market linkages at appropriate levels and accessing the required resources (as a single source, as far as possible) through appropriate partnerships (corporate institutions, government programs, research organizations, management institutes, NGOs and interested individuals and students/interns).

Focus is on

    • Landless farm/non-farm labour

    • Migrant labour

-        Dry-land agriculture crops

-        Horticulture

-        N.T.F.P/Medicinal plants

-        Small livestock

-        Inland and Coastal fishery

-        Rural Artisans

-        Skilled workers in non-traditional products

This analysis will indicate the significant livelihoods areas of intervention in each village, the items that need to be retained in the village for later consumption, the items that need to be sold in installments and/or periodically, the local value-addition possibilities for local consumption and for marketing, aggregation possibilities, improvements in grading, storage, and other post-harvesting practices etc. (depending on the size of the village and the poor there). These plans can also be further aggregated at the Mandal level. The implementing body is the Village Organization of the Poor (VO) and/or the Mandal Samakhya of the Poor (MS) or the specific commodity groups/cooperatives that are likely to emerge.

These plans will help the communities to pro-actively access the Community Investment Fund (CIF) for their collective needs. The project (DPIP) will offer all technical support in converting these plans into appropriate CIF sub-projects of the community and later in implementing them.

The project (DPIP) will, in addition to establishing bank linkages where feasible, also tap other funds for providing the working capital needs of the poor producers and their groups. The target is to tap about Rs.20000 per family as against Rs.5500 available in CIF, by leveraging and linkages.

Emerging Practices/Success stories of APDPIP

Some of the emerging practices in AP have been listed below :

  1. Social Mobilisation: We are the pioneers in Social Mobilisation in the country. SAPAP’s model of social mobilization is now become widely acclaimed. The Poverty Reduction Program is now built around Social Mobilisation of the poor as the foundation. Organizing the poor into self-managed Self-help Groups and their higher order coalitions, and developing the social capital in the form of activists, paraprofessionals etc., from within the community, collective efforts to overcome their social, economic, cultural and psychological barriers form the basic elements of social mobilization.

  2. Food Security system: SERP recognizes food security of the poor as the basic unassailable human right and is concerned about the paradox of growing hunger matched with the stockpiling of food items in FCI godowns remaining inaccessible to the poor. To convert and operationalize the concept of decentralized food distribution mechanism, it was realized that a community managed food security system having a line of food credit will enable the poorest of the poor to borrow from the grain banks in the lean months. It will also decrease dependence of the poor on the fleecing village money lenders. Under the unique pilot project, huge stocks of grain was lifted and Mandal mahila samakhyas in project mandals are in the forefront in distributing the grain under `rice credit scheme' recoverable with an interest margin. The poor who would have suffered chronic hunger now get adequate food which enables them to have food security for themselves.

  3. Elimination of Child Labour : SERP is addressing the eradication of child labour in the following manner (this is acclaimed as a best practice) :

    • Build on the foundation of Social Mobilisation.

    • Build consensus on the issue of total abolition of child labour

through Universalisation of Elementary Education.

    • Withdraw children in 9-14 years age group from work.

    • Prepare children withdrawn from work to classes according to their


    • Enroll children in 5-14 years in schools and ensure their retention in


    • Build processes for ownership of the programme by all the



    • Achieve convergence with other projects (like DPEP).

  1. Livelihood Enhancement Action Plans (LEAP) from Social Mobilisation Foundation: As the social mobilization process matures in a village, the communities are encouraged to sit and analyze their livelihood situation (both as consumers – domestic consumption and production inputs – and as producers/sellers of the goods produced and services), including the value-chain analysis for the critical livelihood systems. This analysis throws of the options for the community to act on their own wherever they can. It throws up learning from the best practices within the village/across the villages. It throws up aggregation, scheduling and logistics management possibilities. Village Infrastructure needs come to the surface. Further, the sub-sectoral inputs to the communities, throw new opportunities that can be tapped. Financial & Risk Management Support where required in their pursuit to better their livelihoods are offered by SERP or sourced from other players.

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