PM happy with rural employment scheme, wants evaluation

Friday, 22 June 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: Impressed by the success of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited independent professional evaluators to assess its impact on job-creation, gender disparity and farm productivity.

Singh was reviewing the implementation of the NREG programme at a special meeting here Wednesday, an official statement said Thursday.

Union Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told the prime minister that the programme had been a success in 330 districts so far, with over 21 million people having been found jobs, including 12 million Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and eight million women.

Under the scheme, employment generation has been linked to rural asset-creation and infrastructure development. The majority of the work undertaken relates to water conservation, water harvesting, flood control, irrigation and renovation of traditional water bodies and construction of rural roads.

The review noted that the introduction of the NREGA had led to a decline in 'distress migration', improvement in land productivity and increased awareness among rural poor about minimum wages.

The minister said that wages had increased, as had the participation of women in the rural work force. Wage earners were now able to open savings bank accounts, take up insurance and improve their literacy.

The prime minister urged state governments lagging behind in implementing the programme to learn from those states where it had been a success. He also called for district-wise employment reports, giving information on the NREGA, to be presented on Labour Day - May 1 - next year.
Source: IANS
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