Just 30 percent of poor got work under NREGS in Bihar: Minister

February 25th, 2009 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Feb 25 (IANS) Just about 30 percent of the registered 9.8 million unemployed poor in Bihar were able to get work under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), a state minister said here Wednesday.
“So far less than 30 lakh (three million) rural unemployed were provided work under NREGS despite the fact that job cards were distributed to nearly 98 lakh (9.8 million) people,” state Rural Development Minister Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha told IANS.

He also confirmed that the government had managed to provide on an average only 25-30 days of work to job card holders against the stipulated 100 days in a year.

According to official sources, NREGS’ performance was bad in the state despite the government’s efforts to give benefits to the poorest of the poor in rural areas.

Kushwaha also admitted that in the last two years the state government had not paid any unemployement compensation to job cards holders even though it is prescribed in the NREGS.

Any job card holder can claim unemployment allowance in case he or she is not provided work within 15 days from the date of application.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar launched Smart Card E-Shakti scheme to enable daily wage earners to get work in projects sponsored by the central government.

Kumar claimed that Bihar had become the first state in the country to launch such scheme for the daily wage earners. Besides the number of assured days of work, details about the payment would be mentioned on the smart card.

Union Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, during his visits to the state, has repeatedly said that the scheme is not been properly implemented in Bihar. He pointed out that the state government was legally bound to implement the scheme.

According to a World Bank report, nearly 40 percent of Bihar’s population lives below the poverty line and hundreds of thousands of people migrate to other states to earn a living.

The job card scheme was expected to check migration by ensuring at least 100 days of work in a year.

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