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How NREGA failed to curb distress migration in Rajasthan

Last updated on: December 23, 2010 09:23 IST

How NREGA failed to curb distress migration in Rajasthan

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The government's flagship programme NREGA has created a source of additional income for families living below the poverty line in tribal areas of Rajasthan, but has failed to check distress migrations minimum 100 days of employment assured under the Act is not provided to all workers.

Many villagers in Dungarpur, Udaipur and Rajsamand districts claim that the scheme is mostly attracting women and elderly of the below the poverty line (BPL) families as they find it a good source of additional income while staying in their own gram panchayat.

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The other members of the families choose to utilise the job opportunities available in other districts within the state or outside to earn their livelihood, villagers claim.

"I work in a factory in Mumbai and visit my home here when on leave. National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is a good scheme but we can't sustain with only 100 days of work which too is not completely available to everyone.

I earn Rs 150 per day in Mumbai. This job is good for me," said28-year old Manilal, a Bhil tribe member, who is resident of Pal Dewal block in Dungarpur district.

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Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
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He said his brother too works in a local factory and "only women and my father in family work under NREGA for whatever days provided to them by the authorities."

"Its good, instead of sitting idle at home, they are earning some money under the scheme", says 50-year old Taua of Pal Dewal block.

He claimed that he completed 100 days under NREGA but that could not fulfill his needs as he never got Rs 100 on any single day.

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"So I am now working in a factory in Udaipur. While working under NREGA, I could earn between Rs 60 to Rs 70 per week. Mate (a person who measures the work on the basis of which wage is paid) never gave me more than Rs 70," he charged.

He also alleged that sarpanches interfere in the implementation of NREGA and manage to arrange regular job for the people whom they support.

"At least, I have a kind of permanent job where I am working now. Wage of Rs 100 per day is also fixed. I can't leave this for NREGA where both money and opportunity is uncertain."

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Laluram of Khemli gram panchayat in Udaipur district, who works in a factory in Gujarat, spoke in the same vein.

"Apart from NREGA providing source of additional income in family, the good thing is that the scheme has forced factory owners to raise our wage.

I used to earn Rs 70 to 80per day earlier. Now I am earning Rs 100 per day," he said.

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Demanding that workers be given at least 200 days of work besides "adequate and timely" payment of wage under the scheme, Laluram said, "I worked under NREGA for 40 days earlier but could never earn Rs 100.

I had to wait for two months even to get my wage. Now I think it is better to working a factory. At least our income is regular there."

As per government figures, only 1.20 per cent of 2,03,905 households have so far been provided with 100 days of employment in Dungarpur district this year.

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In Udaipur district, only 25,098 households out of total 2.3896 lakh were provided with 100 days employment under the scheme this year.

When asked, district officials, however, maintained that the maximum demand of work under the programme comes from the BPL households during March and June because of the period being non-agricultural season.

"The number is less because most of the workers demand job between March and June. They come to demand work under the scheme (NREGA) during this period because it is non-agriculture season," Dungarpur district collector Purna Chandra Kishen said.

 



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