Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NREGA primer

the national rural employment guarantee act 2005 (NREGA) is one of the most significant legislation that has come into being in this decade. the act aims to:
... enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult
members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
the act now covers all areas of the country (except 100% urban districts).
each person covered under this act will earn wages as per:
Wages are to be paid according to the Minimum Wages Act 1948 for agricultural
labourers in the State, unless the Centre notifies a wage rate which will not be less
than Rs. 60/ per day. Equal wages will be provided to both men and women.
other salient points are:
  1. The shelf of projects for a village will be recommended by the gram sabha and approved by the zilla panchayat.
  2. Permissible works predominantly include water and soil conservation, afforestation and land development works.
  3. Social Audit has to be done by the Gram Sabha.
  4. Grievance redressal mechanisms have to be put in place for ensuring a responsive implementation process.
  5. All accounts and records relating to the Scheme should be available for public scrutiny.
the entire guidelines of the act are here. if you prefer a simple ppt style intro, go here.

there is serious commentary on this act, its philosophy, its implementation all over the place.
there is a serious Right to Food campaign, which is doing tons of great stuff across NREGA among other things.
atanu dey at india's development is a serious critic of is act.
and of course, there are some states which are doing it much better than the others. the comptroller and auditor general's reports are available for scrutiny.

but of course, there are some positives, like sainath reports on decreased urban migration.
sandeep pandey (from NAPM and asha) writes on the social audits in UP. this is potentially one of the most significant concepts that thsi act has introduced. this along with the Right to Information Act are extremely large strides in introducing transparency into our system.

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