Nepal proposes NREGA inspired Act to fight poverty
Planners at Nepal’s National Planning Commission didn’t look further than southern neighbour India to formulate a bill that would help reduce poverty.world Updated: Feb 26, 2012 13:23 IST
Planners at Nepal’s National Planning Commission didn’t look further than southern neighbour India to formulate a bill that would help reduce poverty.
Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the advisory body that frames development plans and policies has proposed a similar one for the Himalayan nation.
Approved in principle by the cabinet, the Employment Guarantee Bill modeled on NREGA proposes to provide minimum 100 days of work to an adult in each household during a year.
Adults aged between 16 and 65 who opt to do labour intensive work would be provided with identity cards based on which they will given employment in government projects.
Those who fail to get work will be paid 50% of the minimum wage for 100 days as unemployment benefit. There’s incentive for private employers as well in the Bill.
If they provide work to over 50% of workers recommended by local committees responsible for keeping track of the Bill, employers would be refunded 25% of the total wages paid.
Unlike NREGA which is operational in rural areas, the Employment Guarantee Bill once passed by the parliament will be implemented across Nepal with help of committees at various levels.
Nepal is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world with nearly a quarter of its population below poverty line. Unemployment rate in Nepal is estimated to be 46% (2008 data).
Unable to find jobs, thousands of Nepalis go abroad every year in search of work. Remittances sent by these workers account for nearly one-fourth of the country’s total GDP.
Enacted in 2005, Mahatma Gandhi NREGA aims at improving livelihood security in rural India by providing at least 100 days of unskilled manual work to adult members in each household annually.
Despite problems in implementation, the Act has provided employment to over 40 million households.