Rural job scheme to go beyond digging wells, building roads
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the world’s biggest social security programme, is being revamped so that its multiplier effect on the hinterland will be more pronounced.delhi Updated: Jul 06, 2009 01:43 IST
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the world’s biggest social security programme, is being revamped so that its multiplier effect on the hinterland will be more pronounced.
The job guarantee scheme will go beyond traditional works like digging wells and constructing roads in villages to creating productive and durable assets such as schools and health centres to regenerate the rural economy.
To widen the scope of NREGS, the government is likely to liberalise the scheme to include skilled labour like spinning and weaving, besides mechanised works.
“Notifications for new works to cover social and economic infrastructure and measurable social services, besides including marginal and small farmers as eligible categories of individual land holdings will be issued by September end,” a rural development ministry official said, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Under NREGA, the permissible unskilled works are concerned with water conservation, minor irrigation, land development and rural roads.
President Pratibha Patil had also stated in her address to joint session of Parliament that her government would enlarge the scope of works permitted under NREGS presently limited to unskilled manual work.
“Under NREGS, a skilled worker like weaver has to do manual labour. If its scope is expanded, the weaver’s skills and productivity will get enhanced,” the official said. “This will also result in more number of people getting jobs.”
Launched on February 2, 2006, the flagship programme of the UPA government has provided employment to more than 9.86 crore rural households so far. While 2.10 crore households were given jobs in 2006-07, the figure stood at 3.39 crore in 2007-08 and 4.47 crore in 2008-09.