Q&A with K Raju (Rural Development Secretary) | india | Hindustan Times
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Q&A with K Raju (Rural Development Secretary)

india Updated: Mar 24, 2008 01:35 IST

Two years after NREGA’s launch, AP remains the only state to devote so much attention to preventing corruption. What is different here?

We are trying to dislodge decades of anti-poor sentiment entrenched in AP’s soil. From the very start, we have seen the program as historic, but also a huge challenge. Keen to avoid a repeat of the corruption in the food-for-work program (a Rs 5000 crore relief scheme from 2001 to 2004), we worked with TCS to implement this software. The Chief Minister has also educated his party men that this is not a program with can be tampered with at the village level.

Data says households got an average of 32 days of work, or a third of the guaranteed 100 days. That is a little over 2000 rupees in a year. Can this dent poverty, stem distress migration?

Yes, we have a long way to go on that, and we have set a target this year to guarantee 1 lakh households in every district 100 days of work. After 5 years of villagers continually accessing this program in full measure, the impact on the rural economy will be evident. Some results are already showing: the Rs 80-100 wage, almost double of what villagers receive as farmhands, and equal wages for men and women.