The national rural job guarantee scheme, despite its immense relevance in a crisis-ridden region like Bundelkhand, has proved irrelevant there. An audit of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), on its fourth anniversary, by an organised band of drought activists in the region indicates implementation failure.
The findings say that even the registered beneficiaries don’t get half the number of stipulated 100 days work. Most beneficiaries got only 30-35 days of work in last one year while there are 4-8 per cent job-card holders who did not get work even for a day.
The region is under protracted drought since a decade as the rains have been failing the region year after year. Just a few years in between saw good rains. The fallout
“There cannot be any other place where MNREGA could be as relevant and required as Bundelkhand region of UP. There is livelihood and survival crisis. The MNREGA could have been a balm for the pains that the people suffer here. But mismanagement, corruption, and a lack of will to make it a success have made the scheme a mockery of sorts,” said Sanjay Singh, of Bundelkhand Apada Nivarak Manch headquartered at Jhansi.
The manch volunteers across the seven districts carried out sample surveys in various blocks of their respective district. “We scanned records and even collected information through Right to Information (RTI) Act provisions. We thought that it was important to observe the fourth anniversary (February 2) of the MNREGA by surveying the status of the scheme,” said Manoj Kumar of Kriti Shodh Sansthan, Mahoba.
The sample survey data indicates that in last one year the job card holders got work only for 30-35 days on an average which is drastically low against the stipulated minimum of 100 days work guarantee under the scheme. There are 8-10 per cent job card holders who despite not working at all under the scheme have full 100 days work on their cards and full payments credited to their accounts.
The survey shows an average of 18-22 days of work to beneficiaries in Hamirpur district, 25-30 days in Lalitpur, 30-32 days in Banda, 35-40 days in Mahoba, 30-35 days in Jhansi and 32-36 days in Jalaun.
The survey also indicated that at almost all the places surveyed the only facility that the workers under the scheme got was drinking water. The other facilities like a tent or crèche were absent everywhere.