Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) is the single self-employment programme for the rural poor. Launched on 1st April 1999, the programme replaces the earlier self- employment and allied programmes—Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Supply of Improved Tool-Kits to Rural Artisans (SITRA), Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY) and Million Wells Scheme (MWS), which are no longer in operation.
The Yojana takes into account all the strengths and weaknesses of earlier self-employment programmes. It aims at establishing a large number of micro-enterprises in the rural areas. Persons assisted under this programme will be known as Swarozgaris and not beneficiaries.
A significant aspect of SGSY is that every family assisted under this programme will be brought above the poverty line in three years and as such the programme aims at creating substantial additional incomes for the rural poor. It is proposed to cover 30 percent of the rural poor in each block in next five years.
The programme has been designed to provide proper support and encouragement to tap the inherent talents and capabilities of the rural poor. It will target at least 50 percent SCs/STs 40 percent women and 3 percent disabled. It is a holistic programme of micro enterprises covering all aspects of self-employment, viz., organization of the rural poor into self-help groups and their capacity building and planning of activity clusters, infrastructure build up, technology, credit and marketing.
It lays emphasis on activity cluster based on the resources, occupational skills of people and availability of markets. Selection of key activities will be with the approval of the Panchayat Samitis at the block level and the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) Zila Parishad (ZP) at the district level. The activities will be taken up in suitable clusters to enable extension of appropriate facilities.
The major share of SGSY assistance will be in activity clusters. SGSY will adopt a project approach for each key activity. SGSY focuses on Group approach. This would involve organization of the poor into Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and their capacity building. Efforts would be made to involve women members in each SHG.
Group activity will be given preference and progressively majority of the funding will be for self-help groups. In each Panchayat Samiti, at least half of the groups will be exclusively women groups. The Gram Sabha will authenticate the list of families below the poverty line, identified in the BPL census. Identification of individual Swarozgaris will be made through a participatory process.
SGSY is a credit-cum-subsidy programme. Credit will be the critical component in SGSY, subsidy being only an enabling element. Accordingly, SGSY envisages a greater involvement of the banks in the planning and preparation of projects, identification of activity clusters, infrastructure planning as well as capacity building and choice of activity of SHGs, selection of individual Swarozgaris, pre-credit activities and post-credit monitoring including loan recovery.
It seeks to promote multiple- credit rather than a one-time credit ‘injection. The credit requirement of Swarozgaris will be carefully assessed and they will be encouraged to increase their credit intake over the years. Subsidy under SGSY would be uniform at 30 percent of the project cost, subject to a ceiling of Rs.7, 500 (for SCs/STs, it would be 50 percent and Rs.10, 000 respectively). For self-help groups, subsidy would be 50 percent of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs.1.25 lakh.
There will be no limit on the subsidy for irrigation projects. Special emphasis has been laid on skill development of Swarozgaris. Closer attention to technology and marketing needs of the Swarozgaris would be the hallmark of SGSY.
The SGSY will provide for promotion of marketing of the goods produced by the SGSY Swarozgaris. The central and state governments in the ratio of 75:25 will share funds under the SGSY. The central allocation earmarked for the states will be distributed in relation to the incidence of poverty in the states. However, additional parameters such as absorption capacity and special requirement will also be taken into consideration during the course of the year.
The SGSY will be implemented by DRDAs through the Panchayat Samitis. The process of planning, implementation and monitoring would integrate the banks and other financial institutions, the PRIs, NGOs as well as technical institutes in the districts.