ByÂ Harshal Mantri:
As we know there are many rural initiative schemes undertaken by government of India which are implemented in different rural areas. The main problem arises when these schemes are implemented but proper structuring or management is not done to make itÂ successful.Â It is very important for the government to play a vital role in rectifying the issues plaguing rural areas (such as employment generation, housing facility, education, food, health facilities, construction of basic facilities i.e. roads, hospitals, toilets, schools, etc) for better economic development. For this, the Government has implemented many schemes on national and state level and one among them is National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) – a policy of Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) which was Passed by the Lok Sabha on August 23, 2004 and signed by the President of India on September 5, 2005.
India has its 71.9% of the population is still residing in rural areas and a majority of them are poor. Among the 487 million labourers from rural areas 40 per cent are unskilled and 400 million people are below poverty line, and looking to solve this issue, the NREGA was brought up as a policy to boost rural income, stabilize agricultural production and reduce the population pressure in urban areas which occurs due to migration. The main reason was to give employment to the rural poor so they can survive and rise above the poverty line.
So, the government contribution plays a very important role for helping BPL citizens come out and live a sustainable life with their family. Both Central and State governments are still working very hard for poverty eradication and are also successful in many states in reducing the poverty through various schemes.
The southern and western states (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu) routinely do better than most of the northern and eastern states when it comes to social policy and rural development programmes. But when it comes to NREGA, the pattern is reversed. Among the major states, the four best-performers in terms of employment generation under NREGA are Rajasthan, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
According to the household consumer expenditure surveys between 2004-05 and 2009-10, where the number of people below the poverty line were around 400 million, and during the five-year period around 52.5 million people were pulled above the poverty line, but this still leaves around 354.7 million below it. Rural poverty fell faster from 42 per cent to 33.8 per cent during the five-year period. National Sample Survey (NSS) jobs data for 2004-05 and 2009-10 show that in this five-year period only 2.2 million jobs were created, while in the previous five-year period, 92.7 million were created. It only indicates that 7.4 per cent drop in poverty between 2004-05 and 2009-10 which we can relate how difference a job creation scheme has helped in reducing poverty.
The indicators which have measured the poverty reduction and reported that states which fall over 15 per cent between 2004-05 and 2009-10 are Orissa, Sikkim, Tripura and Goa and those in the 10-15 per cent range are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Himachal, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh. Those who fall in 5-10 per cent range are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal where 7.4% was observed. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and Chhattisgarh lie in 0-5 per cent range and Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and the North East, where again poverty has increased due to no PDS reform. The only direct correlation between the reduction in poverty and official action to remove it seems to be the MGNREGA.
Social Inclusion was seen after the implementation of NREGA. As per the NSS and government data, more than 3.12 crores households are provided with employment throughout the country, around 122.45 crore person days are created and 7.32 lakh assets are built, out of which 26.14 lakh taken up under the programme are in Maharashtra. It also tells us that out of the total person days created, 50% were occupied by women labourers, 29.9% by the labourers from SC community and 21.8% by the ST community labourers. This will give contentment to socially backward groups like scheduled tribes; scheduled castes as well as women participated in the programme and also give assurance that the country is moving towards a more distributed and equitable development.