NREGA failing to guarantee jobs, implementation lax
H A Eklavya
Though the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) enacted by the UPA Government at the Centre and implemented in almost all the states of the country in 2006, but so far it has been unable to provide job to many of the unemployed men and women living in the rural areas.
At one side the concerned department officials claim to have initiated a door-to-door campaign to distribute the job cards to each eligible person, a man possessing it died this week allegedly due to lack of work.
Identified as 40 years old Janki Das, the deceased was a resident of Chilga village in Baniyadih, Giridih and had no job for the past one month. He got a job card six months ago and had worked for a month in several sessions, but since past one month he had been without employment.
As per Janki's wife, Kaushalya Devi, everyday he left his home in search of some work but every time returned home empty handed.
She said, "Yesterday night we consumed maad-bhaat (boiled rice and its water). That was the only thing we ate. After midnight he started complaining of stomach ache and died in the morning."
The initial inquiry reveals that since past one week, Janki, his wife and two children had been trying very hard to meet both ends and the two daughters Somri and Chanda Kumari are just 6 and 3 years old respectively.
When contacted on the issue, Niraj Kumar, Block Development Officer (BDO) said, "I will institute a probe into the matter and appropriate action would be taken against those found guilty."
However, according to the latest guidelines of the Rural Development Department (RDD), the implementing agency for the scheme, all the district magistrates have been asked to ensure that all job cards are given timely to the people and hence they should ensure that the job cards are distributed door-to-door.
Besides, since the launch of the scheme in 2006, there have been numerous reports about the misuse of the job cards, as complaints of fake entries in the job cards or job cards not being given to the recipients and instead being kept by the Gram Pradhans are some the usual problems faced during the implementation of the scheme.
Here it is to be noted that despite the UPA government crying hoarse about the implementation of this scheme in all districts of the country, it is yet to benefit the people for which it was framed.