Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “National Rural Employment Guarantee Act NREGA” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “National Rural Employment Guarantee Act NREGA” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(NREGA)

Nearly Three-fourths of India’s population lives in rural areas. Employment for rural people is a subject that requires serious thought from the Central and State Governments and civil society as key component of actions and initiatives aiming at achievement of the goals of development by 2020. Education and employment are two of the most powerful weapons to fight against rural poverty and achieve sustainable development. In this direction the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is a major revolutionary step. Therefore, the objective of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is to enhance the livelihood security of people in rural areas by generating wage employment through works that develop the infrastructure base of that area.

The NREGA was enacted in Sept. 2005 and brought into force on Feb. 2, 2006 initially among 200 most backward districts, with the objective of providing 100 days of guaranteed unskilled wage employment to each rural household opting for it. It works a paradigm shift and stands out among the plethora of wage emIployment programmes, as it bestows a legal right and guarantee to the rural population through an act of the Parliament and is not a scheme unlike the other wage employment programmes. The ongoing programmes of Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) and National Food for Work Programme (NFFWP) have been merged in NREGA.

The Union Government on Sept. 28, 2007 announced the extension of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), which guarantees 100 days of wage employment to rural households, to all districts in the country. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and made request for the extension the scheme will cover the remaining 265 districts from April 1, 2008. With an initial allocation of Rs. 11,500 crore, the scheme was started in Feb. 2006 in 200 most backward districts having high Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes population. An additional 130 districts were notified in 2007-08 and the budgetary allocation went up to Rs. 12,000 crore.

The NREGA would cover 200 districts of the country within five years. The focus of the Act is on works relating to water conservation, drought proofing, land development, flood control, protection and rural connectivity in terms of all weather roads, Each district has to prepare perspective plan for five years with a bottom up approach deriving from the needs of the local community.

The NREGA envisages strict vigilance and monitoring. Gram Sabha has the power of social audit . Local Vigilance and Monitoring Committees are to be set up to ensure the quality of works. Provisions for due representation in such committees for Schedule Caste (SC)/Schedule Tribe (ST), women has also been made. At least one-third of the beneficiaries are to be women. Key records such as muster rolls, asset registers and employment registers are to be maintained and public access to them ensured. The Act also envisages grievance redressal mechanism and helpline.

There are startling differences in the levels of the NREGA employment in different States. Some State Governments have clearly decided to own the Act and have seized this opportunity to provide large scale employment to the rural poor at the cost of the Central Government, which foots about 90 per cent of the Act. Rajasthan was the best performer among all major States in 2006-07 in terms of employment generation per rural house-hold.

It is noticeable that the small State of Tripura in Northeastern India is also doing good, with 87 days of NGERA employment per rural household in 2006-07. In fact, in both States, employment generation under NREGA is already quite close to the upper limit of 100 days per rural household.

The Ministry of Rural Development has issued specific guide. lines on NREGA which evisage what must be done and what must not be done. Verification of eligibility is subject to only in terms of local residence and adult status, not economic status, verification to be completed within 15 days of application for registration is desirable. Whereas the registering only Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, refusing locally domiciled but migrant families and denying registration on the basis of gender, caste, creed, etc. and inordinate delay in verification are some inabilities of the programme.

The job card is the basic legal document valid for five years. It enables the registered household to demand guaranteed employment. Minimum wages for State agricultural labourers have to be paid unless the centre notifies a wage rate.

The NREGA has mandated that the share of women in the Act should be one-third. It is encouraging to note that at the all-India level, it is 40 per cent while in Tamil Nadu it has jumped to 81 per cent. If it is effectively implemented, it can reduce the economic dependence of women on men in rural India.

In fact, the key to this Act lies in the word ‘Guarantee’. There are many loopholes for interference from politicians. A guarantee seeks to take this power away from the hands of politicians. Undoubtedly the beginning has inspired hope in rebuilding rural society on the solid foundation of employment generation, empowerment of women and the much-needed infrastructure creation. And through meticulous examination of Government expenditure, officials can be held accountable. As awareness spreads, social auditing will hopefully lead to good governance in the rural areas across the country.

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