November 30, 2009 Expansion of NREGS Bullet Points NREGA launched on 2nd February, 2006 in 200 districts of country Since

its inception, NREGA benefitted over 10 crore rural households It has provided employment opportunities to more than 4.479 crore households in 2008-09 Decision to rename NREGA after Mahatma Gandhi was taken at a meeting of Cabinet on Oct 1 Aug 20: Unique Identification Authority of India announced a formal collaboration with NREGA Govt to offer 50-60 more days of work current year under NREGA Govt to set up Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendras in each of 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in country within next 3 years UIDAI to collaborate with NREGA Aug 20: The Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI, has announced a formal collaboration with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, or Nrega, so that the benefits of a unique identity number for each individual would help ensure greater effectiveness of the Act in implementation, payment delivery and transparency. Speaking at a national workshop organized by the ministry of rural development or MoRD to discuss ways for better implementation of schemes under the Nrega in the country, chairman of UIDAI Nandan Nilekani said the purpose of both these projects were similar - to ensure inclusiveness and a pro-poor approach. Addressing the workshop, which coincided with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary, minister for rural development and panchayati raj C P Joshi announced the setting up of Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendras in each of the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country within the next three years. According to the minister, these centres would act as “mini secretariats” for Nrega’s implementation and would provide space for discussion and discourse. Joshi also emphasized that one should not treat Nrega as a scheme, as it was actually an Act, adding that effective implementation of Nrega with the aim of winning confidence of the common man was a challenge for the government. The function was attended by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi who was the guest of honour but did not address the gathering, the three ministers of state for rural development,

It means work on private land would give priority to SCs/STs before being extended to small/marginal farmers. the expansion under NREGA was justified since farmers from SCs/STs were not present in all places. The expansion of NREGA on private lands of small/marginal farmers. Proposals and plans to expand the scope and reach of Nrega as well as ways to increase its efficiency and bring in greater transparency were discussed in the workshop. With drought like situation prevailing in the country. The rural development ministry is likely to decide that job guarantee works can be started on the lands of small and marginal farmers only after those of dalits and tribals have been "saturated". could pose a threat to environment and water table. The CEGC is packed with activists and experts who have been associated with job guarantee programme since it was framed. Many say that NREGA works would get diverted to socially better-off sections who have more clout than dalits. The last meeting of CEGC saw some fireworks when social activists like Aruna Roy questioned a few items of the agenda while complaining that the time was too short for a thorough discussion. the Centre is moving in to quell doubts that the step would dilute the focussed succour it provides to marginalised sections. Govt keen to ensure NREGA expansion does not hit SC/ST interests With convergence of programmes becoming a major reform of NREGA. 870 million persondays of work have been generated up to July 2009 in 619 districts under NREGS. which was earlier limited to the lands of SCs and STs. The decision to allow works under NREGA on lands of small and marginal farmers.senior officials of the MoRD as well as former member of the National Knowldege Commission Sam Pitroda. beyond the initially permitted SCs/STs. Sources said a meeting of the Central Employment Guarantee Council would be called soon to discuss the issue. The expansion of NREGA on private land of `general sections' is likely to see strict monitoring of "horticulture" as an activity to be taken up. There is a worry that allowing works on private land could see a spurt in horticulture which. the average persondays of work per household is just 34. While 25. Joshi said that focus would be more to encourage building of ponds in villages and ensuring water harvesting facilities in them. has led activists to argue that the move would hit the interests of socially weaker groups. may have a rider attached to it. if not closely overseen. Regional parties ask for NREGA expansion . Sources said while government was moving towards addressing these grievances.2 million household were provided employment. According to the latest estimates.

" it added. 2. the Central Government formulated the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in 2005. New initiatives: To continue focus on critical issues and priority areas highlighted by the President to strengthen NREGA. "It is imperative to intensify efforts to ensure that the rural households (in Naxal-affected and drought-hit districts) receive their due entitlements in accordance with the Act. it has been found that a large number of rural households have not yet availed of 100 days of employment under NREGA. The leader also asked the government to ensure that the assets being generated through the schemes under the NREGA are “durable and sustainable” Centre asks Naxal-hit states to ensure NREGA jobs Aiming at countering extremism at grass-root level. the Ministry has held high level workshops and extensive consultations. 6: Even as the UPA government has already broad-based the types of jobs to be taken under its flagship rural employment scheme under the NREGA. with ready estimates and due approval and sanction. the representatives of regional parties asked for further expansion of its scope and bringing in more transparency in implementing the programme. The action taken by the Ministry is as follows: • District Level Ombudsman: Instructions on Ombudsman have been issued. In an advisory to the states. Ministry suggested the Naxal-affected states to make available sufficient number of works in projects. the Centre asked states to ensure that 100 days of employment is provided to all eligible rural households under NREGA in districts affected by the left-wing extremism. The leaders of regional parties expressed their views at meeting called by rural development minister C.P. "In a recent review of the implementation of NREGA in drought-affected and 33 left-wing extremism-affected districts. Backgrounder Quarterly Progress Report National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) 1. The .Oct. The Ombudsman will be appointed by the State Government on the recommendation of the selection committee. Joshi to ascertain their take on NREGA." Ministry noted. Ombudsmen will be well-known persons from civil society. Evolving the design of the wage employment programs to more effectively fight poverty. to be taken up under NREGA. Ministry of Rural Development has also asked them to take effective measures to ensure that rural households receive their "due entitlement" under the Act in the districts facing drought.

of which 51% relate to water conservation helping to regenerate natural resources.Ombudsman will receive complaints from NREGA workers and others on any matters. In FY 2008-09. and the average daily wage rate has increased from Rs. • • NREGA partnership with Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDA): NREGA partnership with UIDA has been initiated. is as follows: • In FY 2009-10 upto July. women participation was 48%. 87 in FY 2009-10 (upto July 2009) Thus far. In FY 09-10. there has been a revision of minimum wages across the country in last three years. The Act was amended to provide for procedures on conducting social audits. 75 to Rs.76 lakh works have been undertaken. 7. Physical and Financial Performance: The physical and financial performance of NREGA in the first quarter of the Financial Year 2009-10.53 crore households have been provided work and 87.09 crore person-days have been generated. Advisories were issued to all 11 drought affected states to ensure that adequate funds and shelf of project have been made available to the Districts. • 3. Enlarge the scope of works permitted under NREGA presently limited to unskilled manual labour: The Act has been amended to include provision of irrigation facility. Social Audits: Social Audit is an important tool by which the people can improve and devise strategies to enhance the quality of implementation of NREGA. 21. consider such complaints and facilitate their disposal in accordance with law. horticulture plantation and land development facilities to land owned by households of the small farmers or marginal farmers. • • • • . 2. 115 pilot districts in 23 states have been identified for convergence. upto July-09. NREGA has the potential to diminish the adverse impact of drought by placing purchasing power in the hands of the people.33 crore NREGA bank and post office accounts have been opened. which has increased to 52% upto in FY 2009-10 (upto July 2009) Post-NREGA. 100 eminent citizens will be identified to • • Convergence: The Ministry of Rural Development has developed and disseminated guidelines for convergence of NREGS with different Schemes and specific programmes. Independent Monitoring Mechanisms: further report on the progress of NREGA.