N.R.L.M is a highly process oriented programme and requires intensive application of resources, both financial and human, in order to mobilize the poor into functionally effective institutions, promote their financial inclusion and diversify and strengthen their livelihoods. It is, therefore, not feasible to roll out the programme in full scale across the country in one go, and therefore, it has been decided to phase the implementation of the programme over period of 10 years. The indicative phasing is as under:-

The blocks and districts in which all components of N.R.L.M are implemented are treated as ‘intensive’ blocks and districts, whereas the remaining as ‘non-intensive’ blocks and districts.

Implementation at Block Level

NRLM intends to work in a block for a period of ten years till community federations take responsibility of implementation. A typical block having about 13,500 (90% of total poor) mobilize-able poor households spread over 100-120 villages is divided into 4 clusters of 30 villages each. In a typical intensive block, the first 3 years are spent in building the organisations of the poor by mobilising them into SHGs, Federations at Village, Cluster level and Block level. Funds flow to the community institutions over the first 4-5 years. The middle years, years 3-6, are invested in deepening the activities and addition of various layers such as health, nutrition, interventions for Persons with Disability (PwD), etc. Last 4 years is essentially a maintenance and withdrawal phase where the community institutions graduate to self-reliance and self-sustainability.

Implementation in the blocks is being done in four ways –

 a) Resource Blocks: with the support from National Resource Organization(s) (NRO) [5-6% blocks in a state];

b) Intensive Blocks: Implemented with SRLM staff and internal community resource persons and the CRPs generated in resource blocks and

c) Non-intensive Blocks: are the remaining blocks in the state which are not taken up for implementation in the initial phase.​

Resource Blocks

​It is envisaged that about 5-6% of the blocks in a state would be taken up as resource blocks. These blocks would be model blocks where all the key strategies would of NRLM would be piloted. These blocks would create a ‘proof of concept’ for other blocks to adopt and replicate. The social capital expected to be generated in the resource blocks would support the intensive blocks in implementation.

A National Resource Organisation (NRO) supports the states in implementation in the resource blocks. A NRO is a SRLM which has experience in successfully implementing NRLM protocols on a large scale which are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Kerala SRLMs. The NRO deputes a State Anchor Person to SRLM to anchor implementation. A Project Resource Person (PRP) is seconded to each cluster in the resource block to facilitate implementation on the ground. External Community Resource Persons in teams of 5 each from NRO take-up mobilisation, formation of institutions of the poor and train the institutions in the block. NRO also nurtures social capital – active women, internal CRPs, bookkeepers and other community activists from the resource blocks to support the institutions in the resource block as well as other blocks. NRO also implements livelihood and layering activities in the block.

Community Resource Persons (CRPs) are members of the community who have graduated out of poverty with the help of their SHGs. CRP rounds are the cornerstone of the Resource Block strategy. This strategy essentially rests on the premise that the community learns from the community better. CRPs are employed by the Community Based Organizations (CBOs) at various levels and in various verticals. There are some CRPs who specialize in certain areas, such as gender, social action, etc. These CRPs visit different states in teams to inspire women from other communities to form and run SHGs.

Intensive Blocks

SRLMs directly implement in other intensive blocks where they enter with their own staff at block level, and take support of the internal resources from the resource blocks. CRPs are chosen from the resource blocks to accelerate implementation in these blocks. The protocols of implementation followed in the resource blocks would be adopted in these blocks as well.

​The Non-Intensive Blocks

The remaining blocks in a state (other than resource, intensive and partnership blocks) are non-intensive blocks. NRLM strengthens existing SHGs in these blocks with some capacity building and limited financial assistance. No new mobilization would be done in these blocks. Over time, as NRLM implementation progresses, these blocks also would come into the intensive-fold. Some SRLMs have adopted 2-3 villages in the non-intensive blocks to implement NRLM in a full-fledged manner.