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Job plan falls short of targets

Despite tall pronouncements, the vote-catching Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has fallen short of its targets. NREGA stats

delhi Updated: Jul 21, 2010 02:21 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Despite tall pronouncements, the vote-catching Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has fallen short of its targets.

As many as 15 states including Gujarat, West Bengal and Kerala have performed poorly as compared to the national average of 48 days in executing the flagship programme.

In it’s Mid Term Appraisal (MTA) of the 11th Five Year Plan, the Planning Commission has found that only 14 per cent of worker households have completed 100 days of work mandated under the Act. Kerala, the most socially advanced state in India was able to provide work for only 22 days, thereby earning the dubious distinction of providing the least number of workdays in the country. However, 85 per cent of the people in the coastal state to get work were women.

The plan panel found that Gujarat was able to provide average 22 days of work per household whereas West Bengal provided 26 days same as Bihar. These three states also have the poorest record on MGNREGA fund utilization with Gujarat spending only 1 per cent.

The appraisal also takes note of the failure of majority of states in utilizing the programme for poverty alleviation especially in the poorest states.

The MTA observed that in U.P and Bihar BPL households are about 10 per cent higher than their share in employement, generated under the Act.

The commission has also expressed concern about the slow pace of work in tribal areas where Left-Wing Extremism is growing. “Steps need to be taken to ensure this work proceeds apace and the forest department provides fullest and most expeditious cooperation in this regard...” the MTA said.