NREGA opens up huge rural employment opportunities in Orissa

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Dhenkanal(Orissa), Apr 11 (UNI) The rural-based economy in several districts of Orissa received a shot in the arm after the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(NREGA) came up with some unique business ideas to boost the annual performance of the small and medium entrepreneurs.

An example to this effort was found at the three-acre 'Red Lady' Taiwanese type Papaya plantation at 'Sundarikhala Papaya Firm', situated about 15 kms from the district headquarters, which was recently visited by a team of journalists from Bihar.

Run by Surendra Rout, the firm had about 6,500-odd recently planted plants and each of them was expected to produce about 50 kg of world class papaya twice every year, thanks to the implementation of a modern technology and introduction of automatic sprinklers and some other equipment supplied by a team of district horticulturists under the NREGA programme.

According to the 'ideas' provided by horticulture scientists, who also extended similar technical and financial support to four other small and medium entrepreneurs in the locality under Sadar Block for promoting similar type of high yielding variety of papaya for the first time in the district, a cooperative was formed by all the five producers earlier this year for better marketing and sale of their product, Mr Rout said.

''Since we all have received soft credits of about Rs two lakhs each from public sector banks under NREGA with 50 per cent of the amount given as subsidy,'' Mr Rout said the government scheme had indeed opened up a new window of opportunity for hundreds of small and medium entrepreneurs like them in rural Orissa.

Later elaborating on the Centrally-sponsored programmes, District Magistrate Jamal Khan claimed that following the successful implementation of NREGA and several other schemes under Bharat Nirman programmes like Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sarak Yojna (PMGSY),Sampurna Gramin Swarojgar Yojana(SGSY) and the Sarba Siksha Abhiyan(SSA),the rural economy in the district had undergone a massive upturn.

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