The Kudumbashree Story

Women Empowerment

Ashraya - Shift in Strategy

Ashraya has been a unique scheme. Its core strategy has been the convergence of existing schemes to achieve effective rehabilitation of destitute families and persons. Ashraya succeeded in formulating field level micro plans effectively for rehabilitation. By 2008, a total of 758 Grama Panchayats and 24 urban local bodies had rehabilitated 60,532 destitute families.

Even as the scheme was spreading across the State, Ashraya also met with certain challenges. Problems were reported from the field that indicated a dilution of its core principles. Errors in beneficiary identification and limitations in delivery were reported from several places. There was fear that the scheme was drifting away from its original content and method. 

An evaluation of scheme implementation in 2007 by Kudumbashree Mission brought out certain weaknesses in the process.

Weaknesses Identified

  • Wrong inclusion of families as destitute in the scheme
  • Exclusion of deserving families
  • Food allowance to beneficiaries replacing food supply
  • Medical allowance to beneficiaries replacing healthcare support
  • Lack of interest on the part of implementing agencies in meeting the survival needs
  • Beneficiaries not getting food and medicines on a regular basis
  • Fund release to beneficiaries replacing buying land and constructing houses for them
  • Inordinate delays in house construction
  • Ashraya seen as a housing scheme
  • Plan fund, instead of provisions under other existing schemes, used for disbursement of pensions
  • Lapses in installing computerised monitoring of the rehabilitation programme at the CDS level
  • Ambiguities in fund utilisation
  • Inadequacies in monitoring and supervision of rehabilitation programme
  • Gaps in realisation of promised fund support from other government departments, agencies, organisations etc
  • Ashraya getting reduced to a subsidy scheme
  • The government direction on providing priority to Ashraya in five year plans of the Grama Panchayats.

In order to address these weaknesses, Department of Local Self Government ordered two actions.

1. To re-evaluate all the Ashraya projects implemented from 2002-03 to 2008-09 and take steps to ensure survival and development support to the destitute families that still needed them.

2. To formulate and submit new sub projects identifying the destitute families that had been left out; the projects should ensure all the components for providing them adequate care and services.

The Government Order contained detailed methodology for re-evaluation of the Ashraya projects utilising the services of newly graduated students of social work.