ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Women’s Livelihood (In)security in Neo-liberal Context

Shifting Welfare Image under DAY-NRLM in Assam

The construction of India’s welfare image has undergone significant changes in the neo-liberal context, and the livelihood dialogue has reoriented itself in this new politico-economic perspective. The authors have felt the need to look into the issue of women’s livelihood (in)security in an emerging neo-liberal scenario with reference to a significant livelihood programme named Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission. The aim of the paper is to understand objectively the potential and role of DAY-NRLM in ensuring women’s livelihood security in the neo-liberal context. The empirical study is conducted in Biswanath district of Assam with the help of focus group interview and semi-structured interview schedule.


India’s approach towards welfare has undergone significant transformations to adjust itself to the neo-liberal exigencies. India’s earlier role as the prime provider of welfare has faced decline, and simultaneously, market has emerged as the prime provider of welfare services. The reliability of the well-off sections in market-led services has resulted in the segmentation of India’s welfare regime and the state-led welfare services has significantly become the services of the poor and for the poor (Mooij 2014; Gupta 2014). As part of maintaining the welfare image, India has taken recourse to adopt new welfare programmes and the restructuring of the earlier ones.

The concern for livelihood security constitutes as a prime driver of India’s welfare regime, and following the emergence of the neo-liberal era, the state’s concern towards self-employment has received a new impetus. These self-employment policies have officially documented the vision of “agency-building” of the poor and have taken recourse to self-help group (SHG)- based microcredit initiatives as a way to alleviate poverty through livelihood generation. Significantly, due recognition is paid to the phenomenon of “feminisation of poverty” and women are identified as the prime target group of these self-employment initiatives. The actor-oriented focus receives the first concrete manifestation in the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) scheme with the introduction of the group approach and the formal incorporation of the term “women empowerment” (GoI 1992). The DWCRA scheme was restructured into Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) with the promised objective of integrating both men and women to build sustainable enterprises.

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Updated On : 17th Jan, 2022
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