1 Aug :Union Rural Development Minister Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has urged the intellectuals and eminent scholars working in the leading educational institutions across the country to come forward and usher in the NREGA implementation process.
Addressing a round table conference on collaboration with Universities, Technological and Management Institutes organized by the Rural Development Ministry here today the minister said these institutions have immense potentials in generating awareness for the flawless implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). Dr. Singh said the success of NREGA will be echoed only when there will be a voice from all the quarters of rural India that there is no misappropriation in the implementation process. He said now the occasion demands for an adequate dialogue and detailed discussions among the intellectual fraternity as how to generate awareness for this act among the youth and also how to assimilate and engage the educationists in this onerous task.
Dr. Singh elaborated the modalities of the act to the participants and said that since the commencement of the NREGA implementation in the country in the 1st phase(2006-07) 2.10 crore households were provided employment. This figure rose to 3.39 crore house holds in 2007-08 and upto June 2008 this year (2008-09) 2.11 crore house holds have been provided employment. Compared to the 90.50 crore persondays employment in 2006-07 and 143.59 crore persondays employment in 2007-08, 67.64 crore persondays of employment has been generated up to June 2008 this year. The initial positive trends shows an enhancement in the wage security and productivity of rural masses as the distress migration has receded in the States of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh , Chhattisgarh and Orissa.
Moreover the wage capacity of wage earners is developing vis a vis s private employment. Nearly 2.3 crore savings accounts of wage earners have been opened in Banks/Post Offices under financial inclusion. The insurance of wage earners under Janshri Bima Yojana and convergance with other development programmes: Jatropha (Chhattisgarh, MP), Forest Nurseries (Udaipur in Rajasthan, Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh) and beginning of recharge of water tables in Dungarpur (Rajasthan) and Villupuram (Tamil Nadu) and second crop on SC/ST farms in Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, he added . The Minister said the direct benefits of NREGA to Agriculture has been noticed as the increase in productivity through the creation of permanent assets for water harvesting, check dams, ground water recharging, improve moisture content, micro-irrigation, check in . This has also resulted in the increased labor availability by curtailing distress migration. The indirect benefits of NREGA implementation are improved inputs through augmenting income of cultivators and increased access to markets and services through rural connectivity networks, Dr. Singh added.
The minister said, the main task of the intellectuals in this regard is to generate proper awareness and they can pass on the necessary information to masses in the form of articles, books , organizing meetings, seminars and using audio-visual media with open minds as how to spread the correct and balanced information about the Government initiatives in tackling the poverty curb the malpractices in the implementation process of NREGA.
The eminent participants in the round table were from more than 20 Universities and Technological and Management institutes from all over the country. The Rural Development Secretary Dr. Rita Sharma and other ministry officials were also present on the occasion.