The UPA's flagship programme NREGA has got the thumbs up from the ILO, which has said that had it not been for the scheme, the labour class in India would have been badly hit by the recession.
Lauding the NREGA that guarantees hundred days of employment to the rural work force, the ILO in its latest report has said that the social protection scheme "stands to offset the potential shock to the poor in this time of recession".
"The scheme has brought benefit to thousands of families since its implementation," the report said. The flagship programme of the government launched in 2006 has provided employment to more than 4.49 crore households so far. It was allocated Rs 16,000 crore in 2008-09.
The UPA Government made the success of the programme a major poll issue in the Lok Sabha elections in trying to woo voters in rural areas.
It is now contemplating to come up with the second NREGA covering the urban poor this time. The government is also considering to extend the benefit of the programme to 365 days.
The ILO report, however, presented a grim picture of the overall job scenario across the globe as it raised upward the unemployment figure between 21 crore to 23 crore in 2009.
It said the recovery in the labour market could take as long as four to five years after the recovery of the economy and warned that "the global job crisis may persist for the next several years."