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

National Employment Guarantee Programme

One calls slums by different names-jhuggi jhopri in Delhi, chawl in Mumbai and cheri in Chennai. Whatever be the names by which the slums of the big cities are known, they are the abode of urban poor who form nearly half the population of the big cities. Most of them are migrants from the vast countryside. The cities may not be a paradise for them but at least they provide them the means to survive. Here they may be living in the most sordid and unhygienic conditions but still they can get some odd jobs–like rickshaw-pulling, hawking or shoe polishing, or machine job that can stave off starvation.

Slums in the cities are the backlash of rural poverty and unemployment. If the villages have half of the facilities available as in the cities the poor may not migrate to the cities. They know in their villages they can breath in fresh air but they dont have any work that keeps them occupied and gives them even a reasonable income to get two meals a day.

We have had several programmes aimed at providing employment or self-employment in the villages. There is no end to the formulation of new programmes and we don’t know what has been the input of all these programmes since their inception. A new holistic self-employment programme Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna was launched in April 1999. Many of the earstwhile programmes, such as Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM) etc. were merged into this new programme. SGSY sought to provide for sustainable development income generation through micro-enterprise development.

Now as part of the Common Minimum Programme the UPA Government has passed an act containing National Employment Guarantee Programme in order to empower the poorer sections of society. The Government has passed National Employment Guarantee Bill to provide legal guarantee for at least 100 days of employment on asset creating public works programmes annually at a minimum wage for every rural household. There has been a dilution of the original National Employment Guarantee Programme in the sense that originally the programme provided employment for at least one able-bodied person in every rural, urban, poor and lower middle class household.

The NAC (National Advisory Council) draft said that it would safeguard the right to work by providing guaranteed employment at the statutory minimum wage to at least one adult per household who wants to do casual manual labour in rural areas.

Further as against the original time frame of gradual extension of this programme to the whole country within five years beginning from districts with high level of poverty, the draft now states that the act shall come into force in such areas and for such periods as may be notified and shall be extended to cover all rural areas in India after evaluating the implementation in the districts chosen. Critics argue that this clause empowers the government to switch off their employment guarantee programme anywhere and at any time. In the diluted form the new act provides for only 100 days of guaranteed wage employment instead of the original 180 days.

The proposal has also its gender bias. The draft defined a household on the basis of a dwelling under one roof and a common ration card ignoring the reality of joint families. In other words, if there were three adult sons with their families living under the same roof or if there were single daughters or widows with their families only one among them would be eligible for employment under the draft bill.

The past experience of the negative consequence of the exclusion of women from governments work programmes has been ignored. There is no mention of the essential clause that at least 40 percent of those who get work under the law should be women. Critics want the scope of manual work to be widened in order to give opportunities for women labourers too. They also deplore that in many rural areas the legal minimum wages are not being paid. The proposed draft bill on employment guarantee violates the principle of the minimum wages by itself, proposing that the minimum wages act should not apply to wages for work provided under the bill.

The National Employment Guarantee Programme, if implemented in the right spirit, could solve problems of rural poverty, only to a certain extent. To remove the rural-urban divide, we may need a huge investment and strong political will. Globalisation, that our country is trying with ever since 1991 has only widened the hiatus between the urban areas and the countryside. A major reason attributed to the fall of the NDA government at the centre and the Telgu Desam Government led by Mr. Chandrababu Naidu government in Andhra Pradesh has been the neglect of the countryside and the entire lot of the mistakes, committed by NDA has been proposed in the National Employment Guarantee Programme. Even if this programme is roaring success it will have solved the complex problem of rural development only partly.

International Labour Organization says, “global policies are not producing employment. Today growth is the main thing but the growth is not sufficient as the example of India and other parts of the world show. We have a jobless growth. So why not change the criterion of success to job creation and basic social protection.”

Though a commitment to reduce and eliminate poverty was made at Copenhagen World Social Summit in 1995, the commitment to full employment has disappeared. The biggest failure of globalization has been its failure to generate job opportunities. The benefits of globalization have not reached the underprivileged and marginalised workers.

In the background of the inherent flaws of globalization how can one expect to bridge the divide between urban and rural India between the organized and unorganized sector ? Globalization has bypassed the countryside and the large area where the poor masses live. The UPA government has introduced a palliative in the form of National Employment Guarantee Programme. They have also revamped the National Commission for Farmers set up by the predecessor NDA Government to study the plight of farmers and the entire spectrum of agriculture.

What with corruption ubiquitous in our body politics ? We have seen the fate of many of our rural programmes. Even Rajiv Gandhi himself once remarked that only benefit of 15% of the funds allocated for the programmes were reaching the beneficeries the rest leaked off on the way. Will the same fate overtake programmes formulated everytime a new government comes to power.

Parliament has passed the historic bill for providing employment guarantee to all rural households in the country. The ambitious Rural Employment Guarantee Bill initially seeks to ensure at least 100 days wage employment to every rural household in a year in 200 districts.

The scheme will be introduced to all the 600 districts in the next five years

Intervening in the discussion on the Bill the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh made a strong case for rationalization of subsidies and improving investment climate and said it was essential to maintain 7 to 8% growth to finance the employment guarantee scheme and make it effective.

Highlights of the National Employment Guarantee Programme

(1) To cater to 72 crore rural people.

(2) 100 days of guaranteed wage employment for one person in each rural household every year.

(3) 200 districts including 150 under food for work programme to be covered.

(4) Will cover all 600 districts in India within 5 years.

(5) Unemployment allowance if job under scheme not provided in rural homes.

(6) Minimum daily wage : Rs. 60. (7) State government to finance 10% of scheme.

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