In a significant development, Minister for Local Self-Government, M.B. Rajesh, announced that over 11.28 lakh women belonging to Kudumbashree, a women empowerment initiative in Kerala, have been granted life insurance coverage through the Jeevan Deepam Oruma neighborhood group (NHG) insurance scheme. This progressive initiative aims to provide financial security and support to Kudumbashree NHG women by offering insurance coverage at a low premium. The scheme not only covers natural or accidental death but also extends assistance to members facing permanent disability due to accidents. Moreover, it addresses the issue of loan burdens on NHG members after the demise of a fellow member. This essay explores the details and impact of the Jeevan Deepam Oruma insurance scheme, highlighting its significance in empowering Kudumbashree women and fostering socio-economic development.
The Jeevan Deepam Oruma Insurance Scheme:
The Jeevan Deepam Oruma insurance scheme, implemented jointly by Kudumbashree, the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), and the State Insurance Department, offers comprehensive life insurance coverage to Kudumbashree NHG women aged between 18 and 74. Participants are required to pay an annual premium of ₹174, ensuring affordability and accessibility. By enrolling in the scheme, Kudumbashree women gain financial protection in the event of unfortunate occurrences such as natural or accidental death, and even permanent disability due to accidents.
Alleviating Financial Burdens and Promoting Social Security:
Previously, when an NHG member passed away while the group had an outstanding loan, the responsibility of repaying the loan fell upon the surviving members. However, with the implementation of the Jeevan Deepam Oruma insurance scheme, this burden has been significantly reduced. The insurance money received is used to deduct the deceased member’s loan, which is then transferred to the NHG bank account, ensuring that other members are not burdened with additional financial obligations. The remaining funds are then allocated to the beneficiaries of the deceased, providing them with the necessary support during difficult times. This innovative approach relieves NHG members from the stress of financial liabilities, thereby promoting social security and cohesion within the community.
Implications for Women Empowerment and Social Welfare:
The Jeevan Deepam Oruma insurance scheme holds immense significance for women empowerment in Kerala. By providing life insurance coverage to over 11.28 lakh Kudumbashree women, the scheme ensures their financial security and instills a sense of confidence. In addition to safeguarding against unfortunate events, the insurance coverage acts as a safety net, offering protection and support to Kudumbashree NHG women. By promoting inclusivity and equality, this initiative recognizes the vital role played by women in society and contributes to their overall empowerment.
Recognition and Success:
The commendable efforts of the Kudumbashree initiative have not gone unnoticed. Kerala’s remarkable implementation of the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) scheme led the state to secure a position in the prestigious SPARK (Systematic Progressive Analytical Real-time Ranking) rankings for the sixth consecutive time. This recognition reflects Kerala’s commitment to promoting urban livelihoods and sustainable development. As the nodal agency for NULM implementation in 93 urban local bodies, Kudumbashree has played a pivotal role in shaping the state’s achievements. Through the formation of 2,893 NHGs in urban areas, the provision of skill training to 24,860 individuals, and employment opportunities for 13,736 people, Kudumbashree has successfully fostered entrepreneurship and economic growth.
Promoting Awareness and Participation:
To further enhance its impact, Kudumbashree has launched the Million Plus campaign, aimed at increasing subscriptions for the official Kudumbashree YouTube channel. By enrolling 46 lakh Kudumbashree members, their families, and the public as subscribers, this campaign seeks to disseminate information and bring Kudumbashree activities to the grassroots level, facilitating their effective implementation. At present, the channel boasts 1.39 lakh subscribers, and the target is to achieve 10 lakh subscribers by Kudumbashree Day on May 17. Such initiatives showcase Kudumbashree’s commitment to transparency, communication, and community engagement.
The Jeevan Deepam Oruma insurance scheme, implemented under the Kudumbashree initiative, exemplifies the government’s commitment to women empowerment, social welfare, and inclusive development. By providing life insurance coverage to over 11.28 lakh Kudumbashree women, the scheme offers financial security, promotes social cohesion, and alleviates the burden of loan liabilities. Furthermore, Kudumbashree’s participation in the National Urban Livelihoods Mission and its initiatives to increase awareness and participation demonstrate its dedication to fostering socio-economic growth at the grassroots level. Through these concerted efforts, Kerala continues to set an exemplary precedent in empowering women and building resilient communities.