What are Institutions of the Poor (IOPs)?
SHGs, their federations at the village, cluster levels and beyond, and other collectives of the poor constitute Institutions of Poor (IoP).
SHGs are affinity-based homogenous groups of 10-20 members (usually women). They follow five cardinal principles or Panchsutra (regular meetings, regular savings, internal lending, regular repayment and bookkeeping). The SHGs are federated at the village (Village Organisation), sub-block and higher levels. They are supported to become self-sufficient and community-managed institutions over time.
Institutions of the poor such as SHGs and their village level and higher level federations are necessary to provide space, voice and resources for the poor, and for reducing their dependence on external agencies. They empower them. They also act as instruments of knowledge and technology dissemination, and hubs of production, collectivization and commerce. NRLM, therefore, would focus on setting up these institutions at various levels.
In case of special SHGs i.e. groups in remote tribal areas and in difficult areas, groups with vulnerable persons like disabled persons, the group may be as small as 5 members. Only for groups to be formed with Persons with disabilities, and other special categories like elders, transgender, NRLM will have both men and women in the SHGs.