Poverty Reduction and Livelihoods Promotion

Even as India continues to record impressive growth rates, poverty remains widespread and disparities deeply entrenched. UNDP works in partnership with central, state governments and civil society organisations to enhance the effectiveness of national poverty reduction and livelihood programmes, and build partnerships that enable disadvantaged communities to improve skills and diversify to non-farm activities.

Our Goals

UNDP fosters partnerships to enable deprived households to improve skills. This helps people to diversify non-farm activities and increase access to credit, financial services and markets. We also support initiatives that help the poor develop livelihood plans in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, land resource development, rural tourism and handicrafts. more


UNDP supports Government of India’s efforts to ensure anti-poverty policies and programmes are more inclusive, and provide policy research, analysis and evidence in support of poverty eradication.

Breaking Free: Rehabilitating Manual Scavengers

  • Partnering with UNDP to Rehabilitate Manual Scavengers
    Partnering with UNDP to Rehabilitate Manual Scavengers

    UNDP’s partnership with civil society group Jan Sahas is demonstrating that it is possible to create decent livelihoods free from discrimination and which ensures dignity for former manual scavengers, says Jan Sahas Convenor Asif Shaikh. more

  • Breaking Free: From Manual Scavenging to Fish Farming
    Breaking Free: From Manual Scavenging to Fish Farming

    Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling in any manner, human excreta from dry latrines and sewers. Since 1993, key legislations have been enacted prohibiting employment of people as manual scavengers, banning the construction of dry latrines and providing rehabilitation.more

  • Breaking Free: Women Champions End Manual Scavenging
    Breaking Free: Women Champions End Manual Scavenging

    Despite legislation that prohibits manual scavenging, it is estimated that a significant proportion of the country’s 2.6 million dry latrines are cleaned manually. Women comprise the vast majority of manual scavengers. Community advocates are playing an important role in ending the practice.more

  • Breaking Free: Life After Manual Scavenging
    Breaking Free: Life After Manual Scavenging

    “I used to throw up all the time because I could not take the smell,” says Sevanti Bai, recalling the many decades she worked as a manual scavenger in Dewas district in Madhya Pradesh. Convinced by others in her community and the law which prohibits manual scavenging, she quit in 2007. Since then, she and her family have struggled, making ends meet, through odd jobs, working in the fields and cleaning grain. more

Stories of Change

Projects and Initiatives


State-Level Support to Livelihood Promotion Strategies in Rajasthan (2008-2012)

In partnership with the Department of Labour and Employment, Government of Rajasthan, the project aims to promote sustainable livelihoods for the poor and other vulnerable groups such as women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. more


Financial Inclusion (2009-2012)

In partnership with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the project aims to increase financial inclusion through developing appropriate financial products for the poor and strengthening financial literacy, particularly amongst women. more

View all projects