The state government has decided to follow the Madhya Pradesh model of sustainable livelihood by convergence in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). This was decided at a review meeting of panchayati raj (PR) and rural development (RD) departments by the chief minister.
“We saw their presentation in the meeting of Union minister Birendra Singh on December 16 in Jaipur in which RD heads of eight states also participated. We pointed this out to the CM in our review meeting, and she gave us the go-ahead,” said panchayati raj and rural development Surendra Goyal.
The MP model has also been appreciated by the Union ministry of rural development at a meeting in Delhi two days later (December 18) in which Madhya Pradesh additional chief secretary (ACS) Aruna Sharma made a presentation about the model and explained how it laid a premium on transparency and accountability.
“Our vision is wage employment to sustainable livelihood,” said the ACS while talking to HT from Bhopal. “Major areas for convergence are integrated natural resources management, agriculture and allied activities for sustainable livelihood and development of rural infrastructure.’ She said as per the CAG report of 2013-14, the state has made 74% of infrastructure through NREGS. The convergence approach had also increased school enrolment by 30%.
“We started adopting the convergence concept in 2011-12 and issued detailed instructions to link departments about how to create assets through different schemes linked with NREGS,” she said. “For example, the estimate of constructing an aganwadi centre is Rs. 7.85 lakh but the department (women and child development) had a budget of only Rs. 6 lakh – we topped it up with NREGS funds. Similarly, convergence of agriculture with NREGS has resulted in 32,000 farmer families today earning more than Rs. 1 lakh through Smriddhi Jan Dhan Yojna.”
During Jaipur meet, NREGS commissioner Seema Sharma said Madhya Pradesh became the first state in the country to roll out an electronic fund management system (e-FMS) for labour and material payment with all financial institutions, in April 2013. The state has also done capacity building of 8 states on e-FMS.
The MP model has implemented a lot of schemes like Panch Parmeshwar – for which one-third money comes from NREGS and two-third from 13th Finance Commission and state finance commission – for construction of panchayat buildings and aganwadi centres, and Kapil Dhara for irrigation by dug wells with pump sets for small and marginal farmers.
However, irrespective of the praise that the model is getting in Rajasthan and elsewhere, there are organizations like the Madhya Pradesh-based Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangthan, which say the scheme (NREGS) had completely collapsed in the state. “A district like Barwani, where I work, there is a shortfall of Rs. 5 crore of wages. Payments are being delayed by more than 6 months and the scheme is only working to create a pool of bonded labours for industry,” said Madhuri Krishnaswamy of the organisation.