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     The Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) (External website that opens in a new window) was launched as an integrated programme for self-employment of the rural poor with effect from 1 April 1999. The objective of the scheme is to bring the assisted poor families above the poverty line by organising them into Self Help Groups (SHGs) through the process of social mobilisation, their training and capacity building and provision of income generating assets through a mix of bank credit and government subsidy. The scheme emphasizes establishment of activity clusters through selection of key activities based on aptitude and skill of the people, availability of resources and market potentiality. The scheme adopts a process approach and attempts to build the capacities of the rural poor. It provides for involvement of NGOs/CBOs/Individuals/Banks and Self Help Promoting Institutions in nurturing and development of SHGs, including skill development. The scheme provides for the cost of social intermediation and skill development training based on the local requirement. Flexibility has been given to the DRDAs/States in the utilisation of funds for training, sanction of Revolving Fund, subsidy for economic activity based on the stage of development of groups. The focus of the programme is on establishing a large number of micro-enterprises in rural areas based on the ability of the poor and potential of each area, both land-based and otherwise, for sustainable income generation. Due emphasis is being laid on different components such as capacity building of the poor, skill development training, credit, training, technology transfer, marketing and infrastructure. The subsidy allowed under the SGSY is 30 per cent of the total project cost, subject to a ceiling of Rs.7,500 (for SC/STs and disabled persons subsidy limit is 50 per cent of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs.10,000). For Self-Help Groups (SHGs), subsidy would be 50 per cent of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs.1.25 lakh or per capita subsidy of Rs.10,000, whichever is less. There is no monetary ceiling on subsidy for minor irrigation projects for SHGs as well as individual swarozgaris. The SGSY has a special focus on the vulnerable groups among the rural poor. SC/STs account for at least 50 per cent, women 40 per cent and the persons with physical disability constitute 3 per cent of the Swarozgaries respectively. The SGSY seeks to promote multiple credits rather than a one-time credit injection. The SHGs may consist of 10-20 members and in case of minor irrigation, and in case of disabled persons and difficult areas, i.e., hilly, desert and sparsely populated areas; this number may be a minimum of five. Self Help Groups should also be drawn from the BPL list approved by the Gram Sabha. The SHGs broadly go through three stages of evolution such as group formation, capital formation through the revolving fund and skill development and taking up of economic activity for income generation. Selection could be made up to 10 key activities per block based on local resources, occupational skills of the people and availability of market so that the Swarozgaris can draw suitable incomes from their investment. Under SGSY each block should concentrate on 4-5 selected key activities and attend to all aspects of these activities in a cluster approach, so that swarozgaris can draw sustainable income from their investments. The scheme lays special emphasis on development of swarozgaris through well designed training courses tailored to the activities selected and the requirement of each swarozgari. SGSY is being implemented through the District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs) (External website that opens in a new window), with active involvement of panchayati raj institutions, banks and NGOs. It is financed on 75:25 cost-sharing basis between the Centre and the states.

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