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About Kudumbashree


Recently, the President of India has inaugurated the 25th anniversary celebrations of Kudumbashree, the largest Self-Help Group (SHG) network in the country.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Kudumbashree
  2. Significance
  3. About Self-Help Groups

About Kudumbashree:

  • Kudumbashree was founded in 1997 in Kerala, following the recommendations of a government-appointed task force, with the goal of eradicating poverty and empowering women.
  • The mission received support from the Government of India and NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).
  • The term “Kudumbashree” means ‘prosperity of the family’ in the Malayalam language, reflecting its focus on poverty alleviation, women empowerment, democratic leadership, and the establishment of support structures within the “Kudumbashree family.”
Operational Structure:
  • Kudumbashree operates through a Three-Tier structure consisting of:
    • Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs) at the primary level.
    • Area Development Societies (ADS) at the ward level.
    • Community Development Societies (CDS) at the local government level.
  • This structure creates a vast network of Self-Help Groups.
  • The main objective of Kudumbashree is to eliminate absolute poverty within a specific timeframe of 10 years, with active participation from local self-governments.
  • Through its mission and the approach of self-help groups, Kudumbashree aims to uplift families and empower women, enabling them to enhance their socio-economic status and overall well-being.


Empowerment, Employment, and Poverty Alleviation:

  • Kudumbashree has played a significant role in empowering women, generating employment opportunities, and alleviating poverty.
  • It has initiated various social initiatives that have had a positive impact on the lives of its members.

Political Representation:

  • Kudumbashree has emerged as Kerala’s largest social capital, with its members successfully being elected as representatives in local government bodies.
  • This demonstrates the organization’s influence and the recognition of its members as capable leaders.

Contributions during Kerala Floods:

  • During a severe flood that occurred in Kerala five years ago, Kudumbashree, through its self-help group network, donated Rs 7 crore to the Chief Minister’s distress relief fund.
  • The contribution made by Kudumbashree surpassed the donations made by tech giants like Google and Apple, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Despite many Kudumbashree workers being flood victims themselves, they selflessly contributed to the relief fund to help others in need.

About Self-Help Groups:

  • Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are informal associations of individuals who come together voluntarily to improve their living conditions.
  • These groups consist of people with similar socio-economic backgrounds, and their purpose is to collectively work towards a common goal.
  • SHGs promote self-governance and peer control, encouraging self-employment and poverty alleviation.
Objectives of Self-Help Groups:
  • Building Functional Capacity: The primary objective of SHGs is to enhance the functional capacity of the poor and marginalized individuals in the areas of employment and income-generating activities.
  • Conflict Resolution: SHGs aim to resolve conflicts through collective leadership and mutual discussions, fostering a supportive and cooperative environment.
  • Collateral-Free Loans: SHGs provide collateral-free loans to their members at market-driven interest rates. The terms of these loans are decided by the group itself.
  • Collective Guarantee System: SHGs serve as a collective guarantee system for members who intend to borrow from organized sources. This helps individuals access loans more easily.
  • Savings and Micro-Enterprises: SHGs encourage their members to save their earnings in banks. In return, they gain easy access to loans with lower interest rates, enabling them to start their micro-enterprises.

-Source: Down to Earth

February 2024