2.1. Evolution
Udumbashree, a unique programme of poverty alleviation with full participation of
women, especially poor women, was launched formally by Government of Kerala
on 17th May 1998. KDMS is a Malayalam word, which means prosperity to the family.
KDMS is a Mission working for the fulfillment of a shared vision. Its Mission Statement is
"to eradicate absolute poverty in ten years through concerted community action under
the leadership of Local Self Governments, by facilitating organisation of the poor,
combining self-help with demand led convergence of available services and resources to
tackle the multiple dimensions and manifestations of poverty, holistically." KDMS is
women-oriented participatory approach for community development and poverty
reduction. It aims at the prosperity of the economically backward families in the state of
Kerala with various programmes. These programmes are mainly related to creation of
opportunity for their social security and empowerment: physical, social, economical and
political. Information dissemination, awareness creation, capacity and confidence
building are also included in these programmes.
KDMS aims at eradicating absolute poverty within a definite time frame of 10
years under the leadership of Local Self Governments formed and empowered by the
73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution of India. The KDMS Mission was
launched by the State Government with the active support of Government of India.
However, NABARD has adopted a different methodology in wiping out absolute poverty
by organizing the poor in to community-based organisations. Unlike many other similar
programmes, it follows a process approach rather than a project approach. The slogan
of the mission is “reaching out to families through women and reaching out to community
through families”.
112.1.1 Different phases of evolution
This poverty alleviation programme was evolved through different phases of
experimentation (See Table 2.1).
Table 2.1
Historical Evolution of KDMS: Different Phases & Significant Developments
1987-88 CDS system evolved from
Urban Basic Services
Sponsored by UNICEF and
Government of India and
Government of Kerala
Implemented in 13 towns of Kerala in Ernakulam
and Alappuzha district.
1991-92 UBSP (Renamed) Implemented in 14 towns in Kerala.
1991 CBNP by UNICEF Implemented the programme in Alappuzha to
improve the health of poor women and children.
Nine risk factors were identified through UNICEF
survey. Any family with four or more of these
identified risk factors is classified as poor.
6th Feb 1993 CDS system: Later known as
Alappuzha model
CDS- Alappuzha model inaugurated
1992-93 Under the name of CDS
system. With the support of
Implemented in 7 wards of Alappuzha Municipality
1994 Under the name of CDS
system with the support of
Implemented in all the 36 wards of Alappuzha
1994 Under the name of CDS
Implemented in Malappuram District: 94
panchayats and 5 municipalities
1995 Under the name of CDS
Implemented in all the 58 towns in Kerala
1995-96 Kerala Municipal Act was
It provided a strong legal framework for
decentralized governance
1995-96 Kudumbashree programme
was included in the state
17th May 1998 Kudumbashree programme Then Prime Minister Shri A.B. Vajpayee
inaugurates at Malappuram, Kerala
November 98 Kudumbashree mission was
 April 1999 Kudumbashree mission started
August 2000 Kudumbashree Launched in 262 gram panchayats
December 2001 Kudumbashree Launched in 338 gram panchayats
March 2002 Kudumbashree Launched in 291 gram panchayats
2002 Won UN Habitat Global Practices 100 practices.
UNDP recognized it as one among the 15 best
practices in India.
17th May 2008 Kudumbashree Tenth anniversary of the programme. Announced
different schemes with a budget of Rs.191 crores
Source: Kudumbashree Mission, Kerala State Planning Board UBS/UBSP: 1987-92:
In 1987-88 UNICEF and Government of India initiated Urban Basic Services (UBS) as a
poverty alleviation programme. This programme which involved community based
orgnisations (CBOs) was renamed as Urban Basic Services for the Poor (UBSP). With a
financial contribution of Government of India, UNICEF and government of Kerala in the
ratio of 40:40:20. This programme was implemented in eight towns in Ernakulam and
five towns in Alappuzha districts of Kerala.
UNICEF started the Community Based Nutrition Programme (CBNP) which
focused on improving the nutritional and health levels of the poor women and children. It
was under this programme, a survey of over five thousand households in Alappuzha
town was conducted to identify nine factors that characterize poverty which can be used
in targeting the genuine poor. Alappuzha Municipality 1992-94 & 9-point criteria for measuring poverty
In 1992 by using the platform provided by the erstwhile- Urban Based Services for the
Poor (UBSP) of Government of India, a community development society (CDS) system
was introduced in seven wards of Alappuzha Municipality with the support of UNICEF
using a specific methodology to identify the poor and study the nature and causes of
poverty. The following mentioned 9 point poverty index was used in this system:
1. Substandard house or hut.
2. No access to sanitary latrines.
3. No access to safe drinking water.
4. Family having at least one child below 5 years of age.
5. Family having at least one illiterate adult member.
6. Family getting barely two meals a day or less.
7. Family having alcoholics or drug addict.
8. Family having one or no earning member.
9. Socially disadvantaged groups : SC/ST
A family is treated as a ‘risk family’ if it satisfies at least four out of the nine points. This
experiment has the following features:
ƒ A simple and transparent method to identify the poor by the community.
ƒ Enabled the poor to realize the nature and causes of poverty
ƒ Various manifestation of deprivation is included
ƒ Enabled the better measurement of poverty and its magnitude
13 Easy to identify the poorest of the poor
ƒ Do not depend much on income
ƒ Large possible combinations of poverty –– 126 possible ways of finding a poor
ƒ It facilitates rational grading of the poor families
ƒ Helps in suggesting various corrective measures
During 1993-94, the CDS system was extended to all 36 wards in Alappuzha
Municipality. URBAN MODEL – From Alappuzha Municipality to entire Urban Area of the
State: December 1994
Following the success of UBS/ UBSP the state government extended the project to all
urban local bodies of the state on 26th December 1994. The CDS system was practically
implemented in all the urban local bodies of the state. Revised 9- point criteria for measuring poverty
The 9-point index originally developed in 1992 was revised based on the field
experience in the past two years. Revised risk indicators used in urban area are as
1. No Land /Less than 5 cents of Land
2. No house/Dilapidated House
3. No Sanitary Latrine
4. No access to safe drinking water within 150 meters
5. Women headed household/ Presence of a widow/ divorcee / abandoned lady /
unwed mother
6. No regularly employed person in the family
7. Socially Disadvantaged Groups (SC/ST)
8. Presence of Mentally or physically challenged person / Chronically ill member in
the family
9. Families without colour TV Rural Model – Malappuram CBNP: November 1994
A community based nutrition programme and poverty alleviation project (CBNP & PAP)
started functioning in November 1994 under UNICEF assistance with community
14articipation in the entire area of Malappuram, the most backward district of Kerala. A
total of 4448 neighborhood groups (NHGs) of poor women were formed which mobilized
thrift (savings) which touched Rs. 2.68 crores in August 2000. Around 700 NHGs were
linked to various commercial banks under the Linkage Banking Programme of NABARD
and implementation of government sponsored programmes for improving health and
sanitation in the district were carried out through these NHGs. State UPA Cell – Urban Expansion Programme 1995
In view of the success of the Alappuzha and Malappuram models, the Government
extended the CDS system to rest of the 57 towns of Kerala. The bye-laws of the CDS
were approved by the State Government signifying official recognition of the CDS as a
legitimate body of poor women to implement poverty eradication programmes and
mobilise resources, including loans from financial institutions and other agencies.
The State Government initiated actions for further strengthening and expansion
of the women oriented participatory approach for community development and poverty
eradication. A Special Urban Poverty Alleviation Cell was set up at the state capital to
co-ordinate this work. The State Poverty Eradication Mission - KDMS: 1998
State UPA Cell, Kerala State Planning Board and the Thiruvananthapuram regional
office of NABARD jointly prepared a comprehensive project report to eradicate the
poverty prevailing in Kerala within ten years. The State Government expedited the
formalities and gave approval to the Project. The inclusion of KDMS programme in the
state budget for the year 1997-98 was a land mark development. It was in November
1998, KDMS was registered as the State Poverty Eradication Mission which started its
operations on 1st April 1999. Expansion of KDMS to further Rural Areas: June 2000
Activities of KDMS were confined to the urban areas of the state and urban and rural
areas of Malappuram District. Subsequent to the positive outcome of the project, it was
decided to cover the entire rural area of the State in a phased manner and at first in
June 2000, 262 gram panchayats were coved. Subsequently in November 2001, 338
grama panchayats and in March 2002, the remaining 291 grama panchayats were
15rought under KDMS programme. Massive training programme were organised for the
Panchayat functionaries, officials and activists in the rural area.
2.1.2 Capacity building programme for KDMS officials
As a prelude to introduce the new programme in rural areas, training programmes for
capacitating the panchayat functionaries, district resource persons and officials,
panchayat level leaders of self-help groups, local leaders and officials was held at state,
district and panchayat levels. From gram panchayats - Presidents, Vice Presidents,
Chairperson of Women Task Force and Key Resource Persons were given training at
state level. Block coordinators, district convenor (PPC) and DMCs / ADMCs of KDMS
also attended the training. A total of 26,100 persons which included the leaders of then
existing SHGs, Voluntary organisations, Youth clubs, Panchayat Members and local
resource persons were trained. Following this training, conventions of the women in the
Panchayat were held to declare the formation of NHGs. On 17th August 2000 (Chingom
1), the Panchayat conventions declared the formation of 15,055 NHGs. The same
methodology was followed in expanding the programme during the subsequent phases
2.1.3 KDMS Mission Offices
The Minister of local self government is the Chairman of KDMS Mission and the
Secretary to Local Self Government is Vice Chairman (See Figure 2.1). At state level,
KDMS Mission Office is located at Thiruvanthapuram to coordinate the overall activities.
Executive Director heads the team of staff appointed by the government for the
coordination of the programme. There is a district mission office in each of the 14
districts with a district mission coordinator who is responsible for co-coordinating all the
activities at district level