Vrutti has been partnering with academic & research institutions to generate evidence that will help in strengthening livelihoods of marginalised communities. Our flagship intervention and partnership is with National Rural Livelihoods Mission.

National Rural Livelihoods Mission

Launched in 2011, the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) aims to link the rural poor in India to sustainable livelihood opportunities and financial services. Vrutti and our group organisation Catalyst Management Services (CMS), in partnership with Ministry of Rural Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and World Bank, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), has been generating rigorous evidence since 2019 on the impact of this large-scale programme on livelihood promotion and social mobilisation.

In the second phase that began in late 2022, we evaluated the overall programme and are now working to assess its impact on women’s income and assets, and their control over income.


Spotlight 1 | Journal article | Financial access and women’s role in household decisions: Empirical evidence from India’s National Rural Livelihoods project

Spotlight 2 | Working paper | Improving delivery and impacts of pro-poor programmes

Spotlight 3 | Working paper | Women’s economic status and son preference: empirical evidence from private school enrolment in India


As key findings from first impact evaluation continue to inform the design and execution of the DAY-NRLM program, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) has initiated the second phase of evidence generation in partnership with Vrutti and Catalyst Management Services (CMS). The research produced will include a diverse set of studies that will provide evidence on the overall impact of DAY-NRLM and of a subset of pilots conducted under the program. We aim to generate learnings on pathways, contextual factors and other elements that mediate policy impact. Some of the studies also focus on household and individual level outcomes, specifically the income of women and their share of household assets, consumption, and other measures of welfare.

Phase 2

As part of evaluating the impact of DAY-NRLM, we will be studying the impact of program interventions on household income, consumption, and measures of women’s empowerment. The endline evaluation of one of India’s largest poverty alleviation programs will use the baseline data from Vrutti and 3ie’s 2018-19 evaluation of the same. We will be identifying a set of intensive blocks in which new income and livelihood-enhancing activities have been undertaken since 2018 and a parallel set of non-intensive blocks. The evaluation will be based on a follow-up survey of households in these blocks.

As an extension of the DAY-NRLM program, the Ministry of Rural Development, India, introduced the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) in 2019. The second phase of evaluation also aims to assess the impact of NRETP interventions seeking to provide financial and technical support for skills and enterprises, producer collectives, innovative livelihood methods, digital financial inclusion, among others.

Phase 1

In the first phase beginning December 2015, 3ie was commissioned by the Gates Foundation for quality assuring and generating evidence on various aspects of the DAY-NRLM. 3ie in partnership with Vrutti and CMS, conducted an impact evaluation, quality-assured selected evaluations on livelihood interventions and synthesized and mapped the available evidence on the effectiveness and efficiency of group-based livelihoods interventions.


3ie, Vrutti and CMS collaborated with the Ministry of Rural Development, the Gates Foundation and the World Bank to conduct a large-scale evaluation across nine states where the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) was implemented. NRLP was implemented from July 2011 to June 2018 and facilitated in establishing DAY-NRLM’s “proof-of-concept”. This report underscores NRLP’s impacts on a range of household and individual-level economic, social and empowerment outcomes. Its authors also assess the quality of institutions created by the program. This report is listed on the Indian government’s DAY-NRLM website as one of the key documents of the National Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (NRLPS) and can be accessed here.

Links to study outputs


3ie and Vrutti’s evaluation continues to inform discussions in the Indian Parliament

In response to a question on SHG loans and results of studies on the impact of the DAY-NRLM, India’s rural development minister, Giriraj Singh, mentioned 3ie and Vrutti’s study and outlined its key findings in the Upper House of Parliament on 30 July 2021. This is the second time the study has been quoted in Parliament. In September 2020, the report was cited in response to a question on the details and impacts of funding provided to SHGs under the DAY-NRLM.

ECWG draws on 3ie and Vrutti’s evidence and gap analysis

The evidence gap map on group-based interventions has been cited heavily by Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups (ECWG) to inform their learning agenda and portfolio evaluation of the Gates Foundation’s investments in South Asia and Africa.


In partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, Yale University and Vrutti Livelihoods Resources Centre, 3ie is producing thematic papers using the data collected for the DAY-NRLM evaluation.

A full list of publications is available in the Related content section below.


To ensure the findings of our work are easily accessible to those working in the evaluation sector, 3ie along with Vrutti and CMS developed factsheets that provide an overview of the data collected through 3ie’s evaluation (2018-2019). It includes data from 27,000 households from 1,052 villages across nine states in India.

The full dataset will be made available after 31 December 2021. For queries about these factsheets, please write to [email protected] ; [email protected]


  • In this Ideas for India article, Anjini Kochar, C. S. Nagabhusana, Ritwik Sarkar, Rohan Shah, Geeta Singh talk about how financial access impacts women’s decision-making role in households.
  • In this Ideas for India article, Chandan Jain, Krishna Kejriwal, Ritwik Sarkar and Pooja Sengupta analyze caste-based differences in self-help groups within the NRLM program.
  • This Indian Express articlerecaps a discussion on ‘Women Collectives, Changemakers from the ground up’ in which Dr Anjini Kochar spoke about financial inclusion. The panel discussion was held as part of the IE THINC Third edition.
  • In this Hindustan Times article, Dr Anjini Kochar examines the reasons behind the low and declining labor force participation rate of women in India.
  • In this Hindustan Times article, Dr Anjini Kochar explains the persistence for son preference, particularly in private school enrolments in rural India.
  • In a recent IndiaSpend articleon the impact of COVID on women’s collectives, Dr Bidisha Barooah talks about what needs to change in the existing program design.
  • new issue brief on ten yearsof the NRLM published by the Observer Research Foundation, cites 3ie’s evaluation and other work on self-help groups.
  • An IndiaSpend articlecontextualizes 3ie’s evaluation evidence and explores how NRLM, in particular women’s SHGs, boost household income.
  • In this Indian Express article, 3ie staff write about the barriers to effective implementation of farmer-producer companies.
  • In an article for the Financial Express, Dr Anjini Kochar explains how the NRLM can help transform women’s lives.

Additional reading | Compiled list of World Bank resources on rural growth