Study lauds job guarantee scheme, finds facilities inadequate

March 7th, 2008 - 9:49 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Although Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has been critical of the government’s implementation of the job guarantee scheme, a study conducted by a leading management institute said the scheme has been successful in creating jobs for the weaker sections in Uttar Pradesh, but lack of facilities continue to hurdle its goal. A pilot study on the implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), a flagship programme of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) programme claims at least one member from 85 percent of the households have received employment under the scheme.

However, the study conducted by Lal Bahadur Shastri Research Centre for Public Policy and Social Change and Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi, has observed that participation of the women in the programme had been “low”.

The study was conducted in four districts - Rae Bareli, (Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s constituency), Unnao, Barabanki and Sitapur - of India’s most populous state.

“Sixty one percent of Scheduled Castes and 37 percent of Other Backward Classes are the major beneficiaries of the scheme,” said the study released by Congress president Sonia Gandhi at 1, Motilal Nehru Place, the memorial of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.

Pointing out that the village councils are the major source of information about the works under the NREGS and has resulted in increased employment opportunities, the study said: “However, people are inadequately aware of their entitlements.”

“Lack of full time programme office dedicated to the scheme implementation at block level was observed. There was also lack of some of the essential worksite facilities like the first aid, childcare and shade facilities.”

Gandhi, who unveiled a statue of Shastri in the presence of the former prime ministers’ politician sons - Anil and Sunil Shastri - called the job guarantee scheme that ensures 100 days of job for an able bodied person of each rural family, “historic” and said the Congress government had “high hopes” that it would be a success.

Gandhi also inaugurated the research centre in the premises of the memorial.

“The pilot study shows that the programme is a success and there are positive developments,” Sunil Shastri told IANS.

He said the institute would also conduct studies on the programme and its implementation in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh apart from other districts of Uttar Pradesh.

The CAG’s draft report has reportedly described the UPA’s flagship rural job guarantee scheme, as a failure could not have been more ill timed.

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