Kerala’s Kudumbashree Programme

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May 31, 2023

Why in news?

Kerala’s Kudumbashree programme is at a crossroads after 25 years since its inception.

What is the programme about?

  • Kudumbashree is the poverty eradication and women empowerment programme launched in 1998.
  • It is implemented by the State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM) of the Government of Kerala.
  • It was renamed Kudumbashree Mission in 1999 and began to function under the local self-government department.
  • The name Kudumbashree in Malayalam language means ‘prosperity of the family’.

What is the organisational structure of Kudumbashree?

  • The community structure of Kudumbashree evolved from the experiments conducted in Alappuzha Municipality and Malappuram in early 1990s.
  • Kudumbashree has a three-tier structure for its women community network.


What are the functions of Kudumbashree?

  • The Mission converges the community network with local self-government institutions.
  • It provides financial and technical assistance to economic and social empowerment programmes.
  • It monitors the overall implementation of the poverty eradication and women empowerment programme across the State. For example - DDU-GKY.
  • It also works as the platform for partnerships with government departments at the district and State levels.
  • Lending - Thrift and credit programme is the first level entry point for Kudumbashree.
  • NHGs start lending to members using the group’s savings.
  • The qualified NHGs are eligible for bank linkage and loans are availed thereafter.

What are the impacts of the programme?

  • Kudumbashree became a multifaceted entity with footprints in all spheres of society apart from being a credit programme.
  • Community restaurants, branded products in stores and on e-commerce platforms, micro and small scale industries, e-service centres, all-women construction sites
  • Few notable impacts of Kudumbashree -
    • Haritha Karma Sena volunteers who collect non-biodegradable waste from households for disposal.
    • Snehitha gender helpdesk and gender resource centres.
    • The workforce for the animal birth control programme for regulating the population of community dogs.
  • DDU-GKY - Kudumbashree is the implementing agency for the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY).
  • Under DDU-GKY, it gave vocational training to some 62,000 people and placement for over 44,000.
  • LSG - Kudumbashree pushed the representation for women in local bodies.
  • Women constitute 54% of Kerala’s 21,900 local body members and about 70% of these women are from Kudumbashree.

What are the new challenges faced by the programme?

  • After 25 years, Kudumbashree has to address the aspirations of the new generation in a tech-driven world.
  • Majority of the micro enterprises facilitated by Kudumbashree stick to the gendered vocations of women.
  • Only 0.64% of the population in Kerala is categorised under extreme poverty, hence it is now focusing on skilling educated members of the auxiliary groups.
  • This skilling enables the educated members to take up employment or start enterprises.
  • While over 26,000 enterprises under the Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme have been launched, just few are noteworthy.

What is the Way forward?

  • To improve productivity of women, they should have more time for themselves.
  • Ward-level day care centres and day homes for the elderly has to be set up to give women adequate productive time.


  1. The Hindu - Kerala’s Kudumbashree programme is at a crossroads
  2. Kudumbashree - Overview
  3. The Kudumbashree Story
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