Designer & Design Scholar
(June 2008 - August 2008)
Shantiniketan, W.B.

Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) is an initiative by the Government of India to provide sustainable income via self-employment to the people below poverty line living in rural areas of the country. The scheme was launched in April, 1999.

The SGSY aims at establishing a large number of micro enterprises in the rural areas, building upon the potential, aptitude and skill of the rural poor. The major share of the SGSY assistance has to be in activity clusters. The objective of the SGSY is to bring the assisted families above the poverty line providing them income-generating assets through a mix of bank credit and government subsidy.The Gram Sabha authenticates the list of Below Poverty line families identified in the BPL census. Efforts have to be made to involve women members in each Self Help Group (SHG). Group activities are given preference and progressively, majority of the funding is due for SHGs.

The SGSY seeks to lay emphasis on skill development through well-designated training courses. Those, who have been sanctioned loans, are to be assessed and given necessary training. The design, duration of training and the training curriculum are tailored to meet the needs of the identified key activities. The District Rural Development Agencies (DRDA) set apart up to 10% of the SGSY allocation for training.

The SGSY provides for promotion and marketing of the goods produced by the SGSY SHGs by providing market intelligence, development of markets & constancy service as well as institutional arrangements for marketing of the goods –local and export.

The project in my context was based in Shantiniketan, where the SHGs were moderately skilled in Batik process (resin based stenciling and staining) and the area was abundant in leather available as a by-product of the meat industry.
Having specialized in Leather as a material, developed a range of products (Small Leather Goods, Organizers etc.), educated the artisans about commercial viability of the same and trained them to accurately manufacture these products in a non-continuous span of over two months.

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