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?PACS to be NREGS watchdog?

WITH A view to economically empowering the poor, the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme has decided to become watchdog of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).

india Updated: Apr 01, 2006 14:02 IST

WITH A view to economically empowering the poor, the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme has decided to become watchdog of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).

To this end, PACS managers have made a strategic shift in the programme and would also use the Right to Information Act to the fullest in ensuring the success of the new strategy, national programme director PACS Kiran Sharma told Hindustan Times on Thursday.

She was in the City for the PACS Peer Learning Workshop for NGO partners in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh being held from March 31 to April 2 at Hotel Mark here.

Sharma said having run the PACS programme in over 140,000 villages across six States successfully for four years, they had found that people in these villages had become more aware of their rights as well as being socio-politically empowered.
However, unless they are economically empowered and provided good livelihood options, the objectives of the programme could not be attained, she added.

“Now implementation of the NREGS has come about as a great opportunity for the PACS to achieve the objective of economic empowerment as well,” she said.

But the PACS Programme has decided not to create a parallel system for this. Instead, the PACS would voluntarily get into the NREGS system and ensure its benefit to those who truly deserve it.

“We are not waiting for the Government to invite us, nor are we looking at any Governmental financial assistance for this purpose,’’ Sharma clarified.

Since PACS already has a vast network of more than 530 NGOs, implementation of the NREGS in these areas could be ensured easily, she added.

For this purpose, the peer learning workshops that are biannual feature for PACS, is focusing on capacity and perspective building of partner NGOs with special emphasis on NREGS and RTI Act.

PACS has already directed partner NGOs to select a village each in their working area and pay special attention to it in all aspects with regard to implementation of the NREGS and document the developments in the village in entirety.

“This way we would have the documentation of the implementation process and the problems occurring therein by December. Based on this, we would be developing a set of recommendations to be submitted to State Governments for possible amendments in the implementation strategy of the programme,’’ Sharma mentioned.

She also said that a special pilot project would be launched in 200-odd PACS villages to use Information Technology for economic empowerment.

PLW begins
THE THREE-day peer-learning workshop commenced at Hotel Mark is being coordinated by PACS partner Aarambh. Representatives of 60 NGO partners from 17 PACS districts in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are participating. PACS national programme director Kiran Sharma was the main resource person on the inaugural day. The workshop would continue till April 2.

First Published: Apr 01, 2006 14:02 IST