TERI - Environmental management framework for sustainable Livelihood in Rajasthan

Rajasthan: Towards sustainable livelihood

TERI surveys rural livelihood options among women at Dausa
TERI team in discussions with common interest
group members at Maheshwara, Dausa
As per the World Bank's 1997 India Poverty Assessment report, rural poverty levels of Rajasthan were estimated at 47.5% as against the national average of 36.7%. Various anti-poverty initiatives implemented by the central and state governments, are said to be "dismal on account of various reasons, mainly poor target and inefficient management ". Under the aegis of the World Bank, the Rajasthan District Poverty Initiatives Project (DPIP), another such initiative, was launched in seven districts of the state in 2000-07. The objective was to improve the status of the rural poor, especially women through increased income, better standards of living and social status. A second phase known as the Rajasthan Rural Livelihood project (RRLP) was initiated in 2010 to scale up sustainable livelihood activities that were started under DPIP. As per World Bank's requirements, it is mandatory to have an integrated, social, and environmental assessment study of the project. TERI was entrusted the task of developing an Environmental Management Framework (EMF) i.e. establishing a set of procedures on how to conduct environmental assessment of livelihood activities promoted under RRLP.

Focus group discussions at Dholpur to determine livelihood options under RRLP
TERI team meets members of the Jai Shyamanand
Baba SHG, Gotekapura, Dholpur
In other words, members of the SHGs can apply for loans for their livelihood activities under the RRLP, but these have to be evaluated in terms of the environmental impacts and accordingly the loan will be sanctioned. Besides, the loan seeker will also be asked to make a commitment to avoid certain environmentally hazardous impacts which may result from the livelihood activity. So for instance, in case of agriculture, the loan seeker has to agree not to use banned pesticides. In the case of goat farming or sheep rearing, measures like rotation grazing, use of community pasturelands, fodder storage, and creation of a compost pit will have to be undertaken.

The RRLP is phased across 17 districts of which seven districts - Dausa, Dholpur, Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Banswara, Churu and Udaipur - each representing different agro - climatic zones, were identified for the detailed study. One sample block from each of these districts was identified and a total of 33 villages in the seven blocks were covered with focus group discussions in 62 SHGs/CIGs (common interest groups). A detailed review of the central and state laws and regulations relevant to the project was carried out. An overview of the environmental status of the district was also undertaken i.e. water resources, agriculture, forest cover, pasturelands and fodder for livestock, and mineral production.

Survey at Dholpur to determine livelihood options under RRLP
TERI team in discussions with Devpuriya SHG
members, Mathbaadri, Dholpur
The list of livelihood activities were then screened and evaluated according to their potential impact on the environment. Based on this, a score was added to each activity. For instance, sewing or retail sale was considered to have negligible impact whereas large - scale dying of carpets was deemed to have high environmental impact. Guidelines were formulated for each livelihood activity.

Another aspect of the project was the creation of proactive environmental subprojects which would enable the SHG members to increase their incomes. Given the water scarcity in the state, groundwater recharge, rainwater harvesting, fodder management and organic farming were proposed. These subprojects are to be implemented at a pilot scale and the level of intervention is to be identified and accordingly, scaling up undertaken.

Survey at Dholpur to determine livelihood options under RRLP
TERI team meets with members of Anjali SHG,
Pipraun, Dholpur
To implement the EMF, an institutional structure was recommended comprising officials at the village, block, district and state levels. The Community Resource Persons (CRPs), para workers, and cluster development organizations are at the village level. At the block level is the project facilitation team coordinator. The district level officers include project manager and district environmental coordinator, and among the state level officials is the project director. The roles and responsibilities of officials were also defined. Training and capacity building of these officials will also be undertaken to ensure they are able to implement the EMF effectively.

A monitoring system has been proposed, wherein, on a biannual basis the district environment coordinator will review the EMF implementation, identify gaps and rectify problems. A total of ten such monitoring exercises are to be undertaken in five years. At the end of the third and fifth year, an external audit will be conducted by an outside agency, to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the EMF, the mitigation measures and ways to strengthen the EMF. A set of performance indicators have been developed to monitor the effectiveness of EMF implementation for all components like the process of environmental appraisal, implementation of proactive environmental subprojects etc.

A budget for the effective implementation of EMF has been estimated at Rs 510,64,000. This includes costs towards training and capacity building, internal monitoring, external audits, outreach activities and promotion of proactive environmental subprojects. A detailed list of activities to be carried out for the successful implementation of EMF has also been prepared for the five year duration.

The RRLP is yet to be implemented. TERI has completed its study and submitted its report, but other assessments are still on.

Sponsor(s): Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Government of Rajasthan
Duration of the project: 4 months
Key Stakeholders: World Bank, relevant departments of the Government of Rajasthan (Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Water Resources, Forests, Pollution Control Board) statel level NGOs, Agricultural University, Integrated Child development Scheme (ICDS), Swarn Grameen Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY)
Beneficiaries: Rural Poor (especially women)
  • To conduct an environmental assessment in seventeen districts of Rajasthan in the context of livelihoods of the poor. It also aims to identify the environment-livelihood linkages.
  • To prepare Technical Environmental Guidelines (TEGs) for addressing environmental issues in the livelihood options to be promoted under this project.
  • To develop an Environmental Management Framework (EMF)/Plan, i.e. a set of procedures for environmental appraisal during planning and implementation of activities supported by the project.
What is Environmental Management Framework (EMF)?
  • It is a detailed set of procedures or strategies for environmental appraisal of activities at the producer-organizational level or those promoted by Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Cluster Development Organization (CDOs). It includes capacity building, monitoring, and ensuring the promotion of environment-friendly activities as pilot sub-projects.
Key Recommendations
  • Prior to funding a livelihood activity, it is essential to develop a natural resource inventory at the village level in order to identify the livelihood activities that should be promoted.
  • Every livelihood activity should undergo the environmental appraisal process comprising screening and assessment.
  • Few proactive environmental sub-projects at pilot scale should be demonstrated.
  • Regular internal and external monitoring is important in order to avoid any emerging environmental/livelihood challenges.
  • Capacity building and training of all stakeholders and beneficiaries is essential. The linkage between natural resources with livelihood opportunities should be made public.
Proactive measures for environmental subprojects

Water stored in Kund, Kunnu SHG, Jharira, Churu

Posted on: 6 June 2011  |   Project status: Completed