A parliamentary panel has expressed concern over the involvement of a very low percentage of women in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the UPA government's flagship job scheme.
The Standing Committee on Rural Development, headed by senior BJP leader Kalyan Singh, castigated the department for “side tracking” the issue raised by the panel in its earlier recommendations.
In its report, the committee said that while only 20 per cent women were beneficiaries of the scheme in states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, not a single woman was involved in Arunachal Pradesh where 29,180 households were given jobs.
Tamil Nadu recorded the highest percentage of women beneficiaries with 82 per cent.
“Such a trend should be studied and the reasons for low participation of women in some states probed. Instead of finding out the reasons, the rural development department has tried to justify by quoting the already known national average of 42 per cent involvement of women in NREGA,” it added.
While 56,29,822 women were provided jobs under the NREGA in 2007-08, about 3.29 crore households were provided with employment during the period.
The committee expressed unhappiness that its earlier recommendations had not been taken in the right perspective and asked the government to take measures so that the target of at least one-third of the beneficiaries being women was achieved in all the states.