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CEGC reviews progress under NREGA

Union Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Minister, Dr. C.P.Joshi has reiterated that the cardinal principles of NREGA would always be kept in mind while reaching out to the rural people. Addressing the 10 th meeting of the Central Employment Guarantee Council at Krishi Bhawan here today, Dr. Joshi said that NREGA has addressed the concerns of the entire rural population and time has come now to streamline its implementation in a more effective, transparent and responsive manner. The minister emphasized that it is required to create durable physical assets for the benefits of village community. He underlined the need to have Panchayat Ghar and Bharat Nirman…Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendras for panchayats. Dr. Joshi called upon the experts to identify ways to measure works by individual beneficiaries and asked NGOs to come forward in social audit .

Earlier in the day, the council held its second meeting under the Chairmanship of Union Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Minister Dr. C.P. Joshi at Krishi Bhawan here today. The members discussed at length the issues related to the administrative and technical capacity building and ways and means to make its implementation more effective, transparent and responsive. Among the issues deliberated upon during the meeting include the wage payments, inclusion of works in the permissible list of works under NREGA, works under NREGA for individual land holdings, technical support for NREGA, Lok Sewaks, Bharat Nirman…Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra, convergence with other schemes/programs and the ministries, the district ombudsman, social audits among others.

In his opening remarks Dr. Joshi stressed the need to have a more concerted and dedicated efforts to ensure timely payment of wages for the NREGA beneficiaries. He emphasized the need to spread awareness and evolve a way out for speedy convergence with the schemes initiated by other Ministries with full adherence of NREGA guidelines. The members were informed about the implementation status of NREGA as well as changes in the rules made and amendments carried out in the schedule of NREGA,2005. The Minister also informed the members over the action taken on Convergence Guidelines with different ministries like the M/o Agriculture, M/o Environment & Forest and Various departments of the M/o Rural Development. The Issue of Appointing Ombudsman at district level , and initiation of Social Audit in a campaign mode was highlighted.

While expressing concern over the lack of awareness and delayed payments the members vouched for punitive provisions for the errant officials in the implementation process. The problem of inadequate staff in banks and post offices not making the payments in time also came up during the discussions. Civil society representatives and academicians expressed concern over the delays in payment of wages. States like Chattisgarh came out with the problems of unbanked areas. The Uttar Pradesh representative highlighted the need to dovetail Backward Regions Grant Fund and Rajiv Gandhi Bhart Nirman Sewa Kendra . The members also said that there is a need to converge the programs in a more effective manner. The Ministry Of Environment and Forests representative called for the need to include eco-restoration as one of the permissible works under NREGA. Magasaysay award winner Aruna Roy of MKSS appreciated the efforts made by the Government and said that more and more has to be achieved under NREGA.

The members who took part in the deliberations include Ms. Aruna Roy, Shri M. I. Shanavas, Shri Sandeep Dixit, Shri Madhu Sudan Mistri, Shri Narayan Singh Amlabe, Shri Charan Das Mahant, Shri Jean Dreze, Prof. Ashwani Kumar, Shri Sanjay Dixit, Shri Rangu Rao, Shri Pradeep Kumar Majhi, Shri Mool Chand Sharma, Ms. Renuka Choudhary, Ms. Sabina Yeasmin, Ms. Ratan Ben Jadav and Shri K.S. Gopal among others. Dr. Rita Sharma, Secretary M/o Rural Development, Shri A.N.P. Sinha Secretary Panchayati Raj and Shri K.M. Acharya, Secrettary M/o Tribal affairs along with representatives from the M/o Labour and Employment, M/o social Justice, Ministry of Environment and Forest along with representatives of State Government also took part in the discussions. Member Planning Commission, Dr. Mihir Shah was a special invitee on the occasion.

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act provides for the Central Employment Guarantee Council at the national level with the representatives from the Central Government, the State Governments, Panchayati Raj Institutions , organizations of workers and disadvantaged groups with the representatives from women and members of Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the Other Backward Castes and Minorities.


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