Study on the Provisions of NREGA and its Implementation in Madhya Pradesh -With Special Reference to Seoni and Khandwa District

National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was implemented in Madhya Pradesh on 2nd February2006 in 18 most backward districts. The core objective of the scheme is to provide 100 days of guaranteed employment to the rural households. The scheme framed according to the provisions of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is a means to provide right to work to the wage earners as their legal entitlements. It is the only act that relates to the rights of unskilled laborers. It is a historical act that has come into existence through a strong social and political pressure exerted by NGOs and other civil society groups. The key objective of the act is not only to provide work and reduce unemployment, but also to curb the migration and provide guaranteed employment at the doorsteps. This would enable people not only to feed themselves and their families, but also to achieve a minimum standard of living. It is a tool for empowerment for rural laborers, guaranteed employment can give them economic security, strengthen their bargaining power, and help them to organize themselves. It is going to prove as a boon if implemented properly according to the provisions.

To know about the ground realities regarding the scheme five villages in Seoni district (Dungaria, Dargada, Mohgaon, Bhondki and Katangi) and four villages in Khandwa district (Dabhia, Langoti, Jhirpa and Bhagpura) were visited in summer of the year 2006. This is the period when most of the state is in the grip of drought and people need work to earn their bread.

The study concludes:

REGS is a very good step from the Government to reduce unemployment, but if the conditions will go like this and there will be so many drawbacks in implementation, it is not going to sustain. An intensive training and a change in attitude of Sarpanch and secretary is very necessary as well as it is also important to generate awareness among the villagers. If there will be no social awareness and labour empowerment it will be restricted only to papers. It is a demand driven act which has a legal force behind it. It is quite distinguished form other employment schemes over which one can do nothing if they are not carried out. It legally empowers the worker to drag the Government to court in case of failing to provide the employment guarantee or the assured provisions. Hence it is very necessary that they should be completely aware about it. Their realization will be the key to success of this scheme.

The conditions that are observed above give a horrifying picture of future. If the conditions will not improve, the scheme is going to be a failure. For the purpose of generating awareness, large scale advertisements, through street plays, puppet shows, meetings, etc is very essential. Since most of the people in villages are illiterate, merely writing on wall will not do. NGOs can play a massive role in this regard. They can work to empower the workers so that they could know about their rights under this act, and also secure them.

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