The economically disadvantaged, worldwide, including those in Odisha, are perpetually caught in a cycle of managing crises, as they confront one calamity after another. Whether it’s the COVID-19 pandemic or environmental catastrophes like droughts or floods, they face the harshest repercussions. Many vulnerable households in Odisha heavily rely on manual labor as their main source of livelihood. However, the services they provide using their physical labor are often expendable, leaving them in a state of perpetual poverty without social safety nets to cushion their fall during times of crisis. Inclusive sustainable livelihoods, built on the expertise of local communities in Odisha, offer a critical pathway to lift the poor out of poverty. For example, livelihood assets such as sewing machines, silk weaving machines, power hammers, integrated rice hullers machines can be instrumental in creating appropriate social safety nets for the underprivileged in Odisha. Moreover, powering these assets with Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) solutions like solar can make them a long-term and sustainable option for vulnerable communities in the state.
The document takes a comprehensive look at key financial innovations executed in Odisha, providing concrete examples, case studies, and potential mechanisms for widespread adoption. Various implementations and replications of DRE-focused livelihood interventions in Odisha have further strengthened the hypothesis that they not only enable several families to escape poverty but also integrate them into the formal banking sector. DRE and financing have the potential to uplift vulnerable families in Odisha multiple rungs up the social and financial ladder.