ICCO’s 2nd Letter on the DLDP (26 April 1993)

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Although we realise that the coolies themselves contribute a lot to building the CSUs and also mobilise substantial government funds, we don’t agree that the only major inflow from foreign sources is the DLDP from ICCO, whereas the other inputs are taken for granted. Seen from a longer term perspective we have the feeling that the total foreign inputs per CSU and/or family are quite substantial compared to the amounts we give to programmes of other agencies in India (you may indeed question if — in view of the differences in approach — such a comparison is legitimate and if the level of funding of the other NGDOs is adequate, but for us it is one of the yard sticks to assess a programme). Foreign contributions are meant to act as a leer to make communities more selfreliant, and can in the long run only be a minor source compared to local inputs. In this regard, we don’t understand why for example the tapping of funds from say the National Wasteland Development Board will compromise on the very objectives of the DLDP, or coolies would have insufficient financial discipline to borrow from banks. We also still ponder how to assess for example the increase in minimum income needed for decent living from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per family per month during the preparatory phase of DLDP II in Bagepalli, and whether the facilities provided to entrepreneurs who give skill training are not too generous. Apart from that, we fully agree with you that sustainability can not merely be defined sectorally, but is a comprehensive and powerful concept (which, however, also has a financial dimension).

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