Tuesday, April 1, 2008

EXTENSION OF NREGA THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY NEED PEOPLES ACTIVE PARTICIPATION

Union Rural Development Minister Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has said that the extension of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) to all over the country need active peoples participation.Addressing a press conference here today on the occasion of the extension to the remaining 274 districts of the country the minister opined that the success of this programme is related to the concerted implementation and sincere efforts of the State Governments. Dr. Singh said he has solicited the active cooperation of all the Chief Ministers and UT Administrators and elected representatives to the Parliament and State Legislatures in this multi faceted people oriented mega programme.

Dr. Singh said in order to strengthen the implementation of NREGs his ministry has taken a number of steps and the Plan of Action for 2008-2009 include Transparency in which Payment of wages will be made through workers accounts in Banks/post offices. Instructions have been issued to State Governments for coordination with the Department of Posts to ensure that accounts of NREGA workers are opened in Banks/Post offices for payment of wages and are made fully effective during 2008-09. Accordingly Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the State governments and Department of Post to ensure smooth payment to workers through their postal accounts is being finalised. Dr. Singh said Workers accounts in Banks/Post offices have been opened in some states. Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Karnataka have taken the lead in this direction. Other states that have reported their progress so far are Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. A total of 11028779 accounts have so far been opened in these states. Remaining states are taking action in this regard. The minister said Hon’ble MPs are being given information on-line. A Citizen Information Board has been introduced. This board is to be displayed at all prominent places. This will enable the local community to know the works being undertaken under NREGA and would also facilitate the process of spreading awareness about the programme.

He said a decision has been taken to introduce awards to be known as Rozgar Jagrookta Puraskar to recognize the outstanding contribution by the civil society organisations for promoting effective implementation of NREGA in different states of the country. States have been directed to set up State Fund under the Act for greater accountability in Fund Management. Centre will provide financial support to the States to strengthen their Technical resources for Communication, Works, IT, Training, Social Audit and Accounts.

Dr. Singh said Implementation of NREG Act is monitored on regular basis. Vigilance and Monitoring Committees have been set up at State as well as district levels. Local MPs are the members of the district Vigilance and Monitoring Committees. Village level Vigilance and Monitoring Committees have also been set up for local monitoring. Members of the Central Employment Guarantee Council also undertake field visits to various districts. National level Monitors and Area Officers visit various districts to over see the progress of the Act. So far, NLMs have made 331 visits to Phase I and Phase II districts.

Muster Roll verification has to be done in a campaign mode and consolidated reports sent to the Ministry. So far, 4621120 Muster rolls have been verified. 1126914 Muster rolls have been placed on the website. Independent institutional appraisal system to be established with professional institutions who will conduct appraisal of district performance to be followed up with remedial action. States have been advised to conduct social audit of each and every work of NREGA within three months. Social Audit has been done in 76000 Gram Panchayats. Under Grievance Redressal Help Lines to be established at the Block, District and State levels. Grievance Redressal Cell to be established at the District, State and Central levels.Ombudsman to be set up at the Central State and District levels.

A comprehensive Web-based MIS www.nrega.nic.in has been implemented which places all data in public domain. This data pertains to workers’ entitlements like registration. Job cards, muster rolls, employment demanded and provided; work data like sanctioned shelf of works, work estimates, work in progress, measurement; Financial indicators like funds available/spent, amount paid as wages, materials and administrative expenses. Data software has been engineered for cross verification of records and for report generation. Details of 25001781 Job Cards and 1126914 Muster rolls have been placed on the website.

Ministry of Rural Development has introduced e-knowledge network for effective implementation of NREGA. Innovations at worksites and local solutions are very helpful in meeting the challenges of implementation of NREGA across the country. E-knowledge network helps in lateral transfer of these local solutions, especially among the District Programme Coordinators. The knowledge network aims at connecting practitioners and providing solutions on demand through a knowledge pool built up dynamically by exchange of information, ideas and best practices

The Minister said during the year 2007-08 up to February,2008 a total of 3.10 crore households demanded employment against which Employment was provided to 3.08 crore households. A total of 121.64 crore Persondays were generated. The share of SCs was 32.89 (27.04%), STs stood at 36.50 (30.00%), whereas the Women share on average was 51.24 (42.13%) – From 82% in Tamil Nadu, 69% in Rajasthan to 15.89% in West Bengal and 14% in Uttar Pradesh. Others accounted for 52.25 (42.95%). During the year Person days of employment provided to a family was 40 days (Phase-I : 44 days , Phase-II : 27 days(Rajasthan 72 days, Madhya Pradesh 57.78 days, Tamil Nadu 57.80 days, Andhra Pradesh 39.64 days, Maharashtra 41.55 days, West Bengal 18 days).

The Minister said a Comparison of persondays generated between NREGA and pre-NREGA wage employment programmes shows that SGRY-600 districts(2005-06) – 82.18 crores persondays, while NREGA-200 districts(2006-07) – 90.5 crores persondays .On the other hand NREGA-330 districts(2007-08 upto Feb.08) – 121.64 crores persondays while NREGA & SGRY-600 districts (2007-08) – 135.64 crores persondays. Number of households completed 100 days : 31.26 lakhs (10%). This include Rajasthan (23%), Madhya Pradesh (13%), Uttar Pradesh (7%), Andhra Pradesh (6%), Chattisgarh (6%).

The minister disclosed that total available fund [including OB]: Rs. 17,948.00 Crore. Total Central Release during the period was 12,566.74 Crore. The Total State Release: 1,256.38 Crore. The expenditure stood at 13,101.50 Crore. Expenditure on wages was 8892.45 Crore (68% of Total Expenditure). He said Wage rate vary from Rs.125 in Kerala to Rs.50 in Gujarat per day). He said the Total works taken up during the year were 15.61 lakhs. Of which Works completed were 4.96 Lakhs. Works in progress were 10.64 lakhs. On the Works break upDr. Singh said during the financial year 2007-08. Water conservation works were 7.56 lakhs [48.44 %] .Provision of Irrigation facility stood at 2.30 Lakhs [14.75%]. The Rural Connectivity was at 2.65 [16.99 %], Land Development works were 2.62 Lakhs [16.78%].Any Other Activity included 0.48 Lakhs [3.04%] works.

Dr. Singh said the information regarding Total Number of Jobcards issued valued at Rs.2.50 Crore and Number of 11.27 Lakhs filled Muster Roll has been put on the Internet. He said the Budget outlay for 2008-09 amounts to Rs.16,000 crores and the amount available for release under vote on account is Rs.4,666.67 crores. He said the funds released for Preparatory activities for new districts (Phase-III) amounts to Rs.163.12 crores. ForFor Programme implementation in Phase-III Districts it is Rs.550 crores. For 330 phase-I & II districts funds totalling Rs.4,116.67 croresare being released.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=37029

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