The Kudumbashree Story

Women Empowerment

Kudumbashree in Local Level Planning

Towards the last years of the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002), the Kudumbashree community network had been expanded to cover the whole of the State. The focus during the first two years of the Tenth Plan (2002-03 and 2003-04) was on the shift from a campaign mode in local level planning to institutionalisation. With the State facing fiscal stress during the third year, the State government came up with revised guidelines for the Tenth Plan in 2004.

Two objectives of the Tenth Plan provided space to Kudumbashree community network in local level planning.

  • Promoting local economic development by increasing production and productivity of agriculture and allied sectors and the traditional and small-scale industries with focus on employment generation and poverty reduction.
  • Move towards greater social justice and reduction in gender disparities.

Tenth Plan introduced Anti-Poverty Sub Plan as a mandatory component for local governments.

Anti-Poverty Sub-Plan was an attempt to break away from the nature of conventional poverty eradication programmes. The State government guidelines necessitated the preparation of the Anti-Poverty Sub-Plans based on problems identified by the poor and solutions proposed by them.

The plan guidelines envisaged the following roles for the Kudumbashree community organisation in formulation of Anti-Poverty Sub-Plans.

  • Identification of grass-root level problems and formulation of micro-plans by Neighbourhood Groups; Neighbourhood Groups were to handle this role in their capacity as the local level organisation of the poor.
  • Consolidation of micro plans prepared by all the Neighbourhood Groups in a ward and formulation of ward level plans by ADS.
  • Consolidation of ward level plans and preparation of CDS level plan by CDS.

Once the local governments approved the CDS level plans, they became their Anti-Poverty Sub-Plan.

Guidelines for the Tenth Five Year Plan and further the revised guidelines issued in 2004 reinforced Kudumbashree’s role in local level planning and their relationship with the local self-government institutions. Provisions in guidelines meant the following roles and space for Kudumbashree community organisation in working in convergence with the PRIs.

  • Planning agency: The community organisation supports the PRIs in planning, through participation in Working Groups and formulation of plans. (In the case of Anti-Poverty Sub-Plan, the entire three tier structure involves in plan formulation at the neighbourhood, ward, and local government levels).
  • Credit channelizing agency: The community organisation system has been accepted as a credit channelizing agency for development programmes.
  • Implementing agency: The community organisation as implementing agency for PRIs; this role could be either in the form of direct implementation or of supportive nature. In addition, the community organisation has also been designated as an agency for community contracting.
  • Agency for community mobilisation: Community organisation system to play a role in mobilising communities to make Gram Sabha meetings more effective. Guidelines suggested mobilisation through NHGs.

The following table provides a summary of Kudumbashree roles and spaces for strategic collaboration and convergence with PRIs.


What the guidelines said (G.O.(MS) No. 40/2004/Plg dated 31st March 2004

Role implications for community organisation/ Space for Convergence

Resource use

The Community development society (CDS) system has matured, it has to be put to maximum advantage to channel flow of credit to anti-poverty programmes both for self-employment as well as for creation of family infrastructure like houses.

Community organisation role in channelizing credit.

Planning perspective

Local economic development to generate more jobs needs to be consciously attempted. It calls for focus on increasing agricultural productivity and value addition through post-harvest processing. Paddy production has to be given top priority. Waste/fallow land development and fodder development also require particular attention. This can be attempted through NHGs under Kudumbashree.

Neighbourhood groups to support waste land / fallow land development.

Upgradation of traditional industries and promotion of micro enterprises for the poor are to be given special priority. Local governments should tie up with organisations like Kudumbashree, NABARD, Lead Bank, IIM Kozhikode etc., and take up focused programmes of entrepreneurship development ranging from identification of entrepreneurs, training them and providing support services for setting up units.

Kudumbashree as collaborators of local governments in entrepreneurship development.


All anti-poverty programmes should be compulsorily on the Kudumbashree mode.

‘Kudumbashree mode’ recognized for anti-poverty programmes.


Sectoral allocation and plan for special groups/ schemes

Five percent of the total plan size has to be set apart for children, disabled and the aged. 5% of the total plan allocation including general sector, SCP and TSP has to be set apart for children, disabled and the aged.

Provision for support for Kudumbashree initiatives of balasabha and BUDS schools.

At least 10% of the total plan size should be for women component plan. Women component plan should get at least 10% of the total plan allocation, including general sector, SCP and TSP. Assistance to Kudumbashree programmes can be taken up under women component plan.

Fund provision for Kudumbashree under women component plan.


All local governments should compulsorily have an anti-poverty sub plan prepared as an independent document. As part of this anti-poverty sub plan all local governments have to prepare a plan for development of destitutes.

Kudumbashree community organisation engaged in formulation of ant-poverty sub plans – micro plans by NHGs, ward plans by ADS, and GP level plans by CDS.


NSDP, SJSRY and VAMBAY plans and other anti-poverty projects would be initiated at the level of the neighbourhood groups (NHG) in municipalities and corporations. These plans would be consolidated at the ward level by the area development society (ADS) and further integrated at the municipal/corporation level by the community development society (CDS) and forwarded to the relevant working groups on poverty reduction, SC development, ST development and women and child development who will incorporate them with the overall plans. The priorities fixed by the ADS and CDS in SJSRY, NSDP and VAMBAY can be changed only with the prior approval of ADS/CDS.

Well defined role for the three tiers of the Kudumbashree community organisation in formulation of plans. Priorities fixed by ADS/CDS become crucial.


Preparatory phase- reconstitution of working groups

At least one member of the Kudumbashree CDS should be included in all the working groups and in the case of working groups on poverty reduction, development of women and children, and development of scheduled castes at least two members of the CDS have to be included.

Representation for community organisation in working groups; this was ensured in the guidelines for peoples’ plan campaign as well.

Working groups should take care of cross-sectoral issues especially in poverty reduction, plan for special groups like scheduled caste, women, disabled, children, aged etc. Each working group should identify the anti-poverty component of its subject and intimate the working group for poverty reduction which should consolidate the proposals.

Role through representation in the working groups.


Establishing linkage with banks

The DLBC should lay down a time table for block level bankers’committee meetings to which all presidents of village and block panchayats, officers of relevant departments are invited along with officers in charge of Kudumbashree and other anti-poverty programmes.

Representation of Kudumbashree community organisation ensured.

Planning phase

sector wise guidelines for

poverty reduction

A sustainable attempt at reducing poverty through local economic development is necessary. The gains of Kudumbashree have to be consolidated. Experience shows that in spite of enhanced flow of funds to the poor due to decentralisation, the benefits have not always reached the poorest among them, who are the destitutes. Their needs and problems have to be addressed separately, differently and directly.

Recognition of Kudumbashree’s achievements and mention on the need for consolidation.

Plan for special groups consisting of children, aged and disabled

This may be prepared in three sub-sections – one for each of the three special groups. Their specific problems may be identified and addressed through projects. Only schemes directly benefiting the groups with preference for people below poverty line may be taken up. However, providing teaching aids, baby-friendly toilets and playthings in anganwadis could be included. Special facilities for the aged and disabled in public places and aids to the disabled can be provided by this component. Strengthening of public institutions meant for these groups may be given preference.

Opportunity for strengthening Kudumbashree schemes and collaboration with PRIs.

Women component plan

Women component plan should focus on the gender needs of women especially those below poverty line. The CDS system and other women groups and NGOs should be actively involved in the formulation of the women component plan. Setting up of micro enterprises of women and providing minimum needs assets to widow headed families can be taken up under this component. Revolving fund to CDS linked to their thrift is also possible. Local governments may take up detailed studies on the status of women within their area under this component.

Community organisation role in formulation of women component plan, revolving fund for CDS.

Education and sports

Community based remedial coaching through the CDS system may be tried out in the case of students below poverty line in co-ordination with Kudumbashree.

CDS role in organizing educational programmes.

Meeting of Gramsabha

Mobilization through SHGs/NHGs/SC/ST promoters.

NHG role in gram sabha mobilisation.

Projectisation -Restriction and permission in subsidies and other items

Local governments should not be allowed to take up unproductive schemes like awareness camps, campaigns, melas, tours etc. However, they may be allowed to conduct awareness camps to prevent diseases and to organize sales melas for products under SGSY, SJSRY, Kudumbashree etc.

Permission to support Kudumbashree fairs.

The village panchayats and urban local governments can provide revolving fund only to neighbourhood groups/ADS/CDS of Kudumbashree, linked with specific projects. However, the local governments should not utilize their plan funds for distribution of working capital, loan etc., to other types of self-help groups.

Entitlement for revolving funds.


General items

Community development societies could be entrusted with execution of public works as community contracting. The procedure will be the same as in the case of accredited agencies.

CDS as agency for community contracting.

The Community development societies can be utilized as implementing agencies for women component plan as well as plans for special groups like aged, children and the disabled.

CDS as implementing agencies for women component plan and plans for special groups.


Guidelines for preparation of Anti-Poverty Sub Plan provided in Annexure 1 of the revised guidelines for the Tenth Plan specified roles for Kudumbashree community organisation in detail.

Constitution of Working Group

The member secretary CDS should be the convenor of working group at village panchayat level. The district mission coordinator of Kudumbashree was to assume the convenor role at district level and the project officer UPA cell for urban local governments. The local governments had to put in place special efforts to include the president and at least three members of the CDS in working groups in the case of village panchayats, municipalities and corporations. At the block level, all CDS presidents were to be members. At the district level, one CDS president from each block panchayat was to be included.

Situation analysis

The working group should analyse the available data on BPL families and prepare a concise report. The working group should also list out all schemes implemented for the benefit of BPL families and comment on their effectiveness.

Bottom-up planning by the CDS system

1. Conduct of training programme for NHGs, ADSs and CDSs by Kudumbashree mission

2. Preparation of a database of the poor

3. Situation analysis and need assessment

4. Suggestions for Anti-Poverty Sub Plan from the NHGs in the form a micro plan

5. Integration of plans by ADS

6. Integration of plans by CDS

Consolidation of plans by working group

The working group should analyse the plans received from the community development society and cross check the needs of the poor with the report already prepared as per step 2 and bring in modifications in the report if necessary. This report would be the final one to be presented in the convergence workshop.

Convergence workshop

Before finalizing the plan by the local governments a convergence workshop should be held at the level of each local government in which the members of the working group on poverty reduction, chairpersons, vice chairpersons and convenors of all working groups and general body members of the CDS would participate. This is to ensure proper integration of schemes and fine tune allocation of funds from different sectors for poverty reduction.

Preparation of the draft anti-poverty sub plan

1. The working group at the village and municipal/corporation levels should hold joint sittings with the general body of the CDS and draw up the anti-poverty sub plan

2. In the case of block panchayats the working group will collect the reports prepared by the Gram Panchayatworking group and interact with CDSs within their jurisdiction before drawing up their draft plans. The block panchayat may convene a meeting of the governing bodies of the CDSs in their jurisdiction for this purpose.

The block panchayats should take special care to give priority to those schemes identified at the village panchayat level which cannot be taken up locally.The block panchayat should consider how the destitute plan prepared by the Gram Panchayats in their jurisdiction is best supported.

3. In the case of district panchayats the working group would have a one day workshop with all the CDS presidents. During this meeting group discussions would be held on key issues and suggestions obtained.

The guidelines for the Eleventh Five Year Plan followed the Tenth Plan in letter and spirit in terms of Kudumbashree role and convergence with PRIs. Certain additional roles and responsibilities mentioned further reinforced Kudumbashree community organisation’s position within the local governance framework. An important addition in the guidelines for Eleventh Plan was the insistence on procurement of nutritional supplement under ICDS from Kudumbashree units.

With the increased emphasis on productive sector, Gram Panchayats found themselves in an unenviable situation. Many of them were unable to make significant expenditure in productive sector. This was the time when Kudumbashree pushed its collective farming forward. It also started a campaign on local economic development and conducted three regional workshops. These workshops were used as platforms for initiating exploration of local opportunities for local economic development.