Having won two elections on a mix of development and tough approach on terrorism, Narendra Modi is now looking for a third win at the end of 2012.
At the core of the Gujarat CM’s strategy is “Mission Mangalam”, a politically ambitious project.
Adopting a corporate-style approach, which is unique in the country, Modi okayed creating a company called “Gujarat Livelihood Promotion Company Limited” to become the executive arm of the project that has a “market-driven” brain and “social objectives” at heart.
Just as the Congress counts on anti-poverty schemes for its political success, Modi’s idea is to organise the poor into self-help groups (SHGs), link them with banks, build capacities for sustainable livelihoods and jobs using market mechanism and corporate houses.
Interestingly, Modi cashed in on the Union rural development ministry’s National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), which replaced the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana.
But he got his officials to adopt certain state-specific initiatives for Mission Mangalam, which is seen as Modi’s latest “pet project” that has hitherto been untried in India –integrating organised SHGs of poor in the corporate value chain.
Thirty-two corporates, which include Reliance, Tata Motors, ITC, Fab India, McCain Foods, Arvind Ltd, and Godrej Agrovet, have agreed to share their expertise with SHGs for skill training.
“Our CM is fully focused on this project, which will involve 250,000 SHGs covering 30 lakh house-holds, of which majority would be from within the below poverty line (BPL) category,” says Bharat Lal, one of Modi’s key team members.
Modi wants a “saturation approach” by ensuring inclusion of at least one member of every rural BPL household into SHGs, which will be called “sakkhi mandals”.