The GoI established the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) to implement the new strategy of poverty alleviation woven around community based institutions. The Mission’s primary objective is to reduce poverty by promoting diversified and gainful self-employment and wage employment opportunities for sustainable increase in incomes. The Mission would work in conjunction with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) of MORD and would primarily focus on creating self-employment and wage/job employment opportunities for the rural poor who would enable them to cross the threshold of poverty and become productive agents. NRLM would provide a combination of financial resource and technical assistance to states such that they could use the comprehensive livelihoods approach encompassing four inter-related tasks viz.,:

1. mobilizing all rural, poor households into effective self-help groups (SHGs) and their federations;

2. enhancing access of the rural poor to credit and other financial, technical and marketing services;

3. building capacities and skills of the poor for gainful and sustainable livelihoods;
4. Improving the delivery of social and economic support services to the poor.

The National Rural Livelihood Mission constitutes a paradigm shift in the implementation of poverty alleviation programmes in the country. It is built on the lessons from different ongoing programmes of the GOI and the states.