Thursday, February 27th, 2020

Don’t let the good performance of the Scheme be a cause for complacency- Smt. Sonia Gandhi

Zakir hussein,,, The commencement of 5th year of launch of NREGA was marked by a call from the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to forge linkage of rural development programs with the grass toot level programs to augment functional capability of the workers. The integration of the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA with the National Rural Livelihoods Mission for training youth employed under NREGA in skills for employment in infrastructure projects is also under consideration. Addressing a gathering of around 1200 participants , Dr. Singh termed Mahatma Gandhi NREGA as a path breaking phenomena with its pro-poor vision and promise of the right to work, inclusive growth and social security. He said even in the wake recent economic slowdown the act has helped the rural poor to tide over the hardships and acted as an important social safety net . The Prime Minister highlighted the role of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the implementation of the act. He said the scheme has provided livelihood opportunities for over 4 crore households. The poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable groups have sought employment under the programme. The participation rate of Scheduled Castes(SC) and Scheduled Tribes(ST) in FY 2009-10 has been 52%. With specific regard to tribal dominated districts, the average days of employment in tribal districts of in FY 2008-09 has been 65 days per household as against 48 days national average. Women’s participation has gone up to 50%. Dr. Singh said that the focus should be on better integration of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA with other grass root level programs. He also underlined the need to have convergence between the programs having overlapping objectives and scope. Dr. Singh urged the states lagging behind in the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi to take a leaf out of the best practices while the centre will strive hard to improve the delivery mechanisms. He emphasized the need to enhance the awareness of workers to increase their efficiency by literacy and training programs. The Prime Minister expressed the hope that with the measures undertaken to ensure transparency and accountability, it will emerge as the model scheme. In her address, the UPA Chair person Smt. Sonia Gandhi lauded the progress made under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA and said it is a reflection of Government’s commitment to the rural poor. She said the act has given a chance to the Aam Aadmi to articulate his needs, negotiate his rights, seek employment at his own will and live a life of self-respect and dignity. However the UPA Chairperson cautioned the implementing agencies against being complacent in the wake of good performance of the scheme over the past 4 years. She cited delays in wage payments, less wage payments, less coverage, bogus job cards, lack of receipts of acknowledgments etc. as some of the challenges in the implementation of the program. In his address, the Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Dr. C.P.Joshi said that over the pasty four years Mahatma Gandhi NREGA has provided a safety net for the poor and the marginalized. Dr. Joshi said the focus now is on tackling delayed payments under the act and streamlining the implementation with proactive disclosure, conduct of social audits, effective grievance redressal mechanisms like Ombudsmen in each district and independent monitoring. He said that the integration of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA with the National Rural Livelihood Mission will augument the capability of the workers as they progress from unskilled to semi skilled and then as skilled workers. During the Sammelan, “Report to People on Mahatma Gandhi NREGA” showcasing the performance under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA over the past four years was released by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The UPA Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi released a booklet “Rozgar Sutra” showcasing the success stories as the voices from different states along with the new initiatives taken under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA. During the Sammelan the workers who have completed 100 days of work under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA and the Sarpanches/Mates from the rural areas shared their experiences along with the District Project Co-ordinators. Awards were also conferred to District Programme Coordinators and their district teams, bank and post office functionaries and civil society organizations at the conference for their exemplary work with the hope that their work and dedication will become a motivation to achieve the full potential of the ground-breaking legislation.i.e. Mahatma Gandhi NREGA. The Sammelan was also addressed by Shri Pradeep Jain, Minister of State for Rural Development, Shri Shishir Adhikari, Minister of State for Rural Development, Ms. Agatha Sangma Minister of State for Rural Development and Shri B.K. Sinha, the new Secretary for the Department of Rural Development among others. It is expected that the deliberations and the sharing of experiences by the practitioners and implementing agencies during the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Sammelan would go a long way in consolidating the gains made under the Scheme so far and in the process reaching out more effectively to the Aam Aadmi . .

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