THE OPPOSITION parties may have their own reasons for accusing the Mulayam Singh Government of not taking interest in implementing the Centre-sponsored National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, but if the statistics are anything to go by, their allegations do not seem to hold much water.
Contrary to the allegations, over 5 lakh people have already been provided employment under the scheme being implemented in State’s 22 districts.
Significantly, Rae Bareli, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency, is only next to Hardoi as far as number of job cards distributed to the jobless.
The progress report prepared by the Rural Development Department and discussed at the review meeting presided over by Commissioner Sita Ram Meena here on Monday shows that till June end a total of 20,46,888 applications were received for registration of the jobless under the scheme. Of them 18,17,244 applicants (families) were registered and 16,17,683 applicants were distributed job cards.
Of the total over 16-lakh job cardholders, 5,73,006 actually demanded employment and 5,00421 of them have already been provided employment in their respective districts.
A district-wise analysis shows the Hardoi district on the top with 1,62,770 job cardholders, followed by Rae Bareli and Barabanki where 1,56,973 and 1,14,170 job cards have respectively been distributed so far.
In the first phase, the State Government has identified 22 most backward districts for implementing the job guarantee scheme, in the first phase. The districts are Azamgarh, Banda, Barabanki, Chandauli, Chitrakoot, Fatehpur, Gorakhpur, Hamirpur, Hardoi, Jalaun, Jaunpur, Kaushambi, Kushinagar, Kheri, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Mirzapur, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareli, Sitapur, Sonebhadra and Unnao. The scheme has to be implemented in the entire State in the next five years. The politically important districts like Etawah, Etah and Mainpuri are likely to be included in the scheme very soon.
In fact, not have only more than 5 lakh people been provided employment so far, the rural development department is holding weekly meetings and officials even making surprise visits to districts to review the progress.
On Monday too rural development commissioner Sita Ram Meena and additional commissioner Chandrapal Arun held a review meeting with 22 district project directors and issued necessary instructions to speed up the work. They were told to create work for the jobless people by launching schemes like extensive plantation, water conservation and digging of ponds.
They were told to ensure that more and more women associated themselves with the scheme and also put a tent at every work centre where facilities like first-aid and make-shift crèches be provided.
Arun, who is looking after the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, claimed the scheme was being implemented in the State with full force. He said proposed posting of technical officers and the Panchayat Mitras would only provide the much-needed push to the project.