90pc convinced of utility of NREGS

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Jaipur, Jul 20 (UNI) The implementation of National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme (NREGS) has brought down migration of people from Sirohi district in Rajasthan to Gujarat in search of employment and has convinced the denizens of its utility in creating facilities.

This emerged at a the State Level Dissemination Meeting (SLDM) organized by CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research&Training (CUTS CART) here for assessment of quality and outcome of the scheme and to highlight various social accountability tools used for the assessment and its potential to improve service delivery, to see the adaptability of the tools at large scale in various service deliveries.

Over 90 per cent of the beneficiaries under NREGS accepted increase in village facilities where as nearly 97 per cent felt that scheme had provided employment during lean season within the village itself. Ninety-three per cent held that it brought down migration for work to Gujarat.

Over 87 per cent felt that the scheme had led to an increase in monthly income, however, 50 per cent of the beneficiaries were found dissatisfied with the work measurement, complaint redress mechanism and issues like transparency and accountability.

Commenting on the findings, A K Pande, additional Chief Secretary said, "we accept all the recommendations, there is no point to differ''. He also emphasized the need for an independent social audit once every year and said "Intensive Awareness Campaign with proper Gram Sabha is needed for better implementation".

Rajendra Bhanawat, Secretary, Rural Development Department, also mentioned several issues whish emerged from the findings and discussion.

Yaduvendra Mathur, Secretary, Planning Department, informed that the government was thinking about skill development of workers under NREGS so as to make them self-employed. He was very impressed with the tools of social accountability especially the Community Score Card (CSC) and mentioned the possibility of Centre for Good Governance and evaluation department working in collaboration with CUTS CART for the use of the tool.

While appreciating the research, Ms Anita Bhatt, OSC to the Chief Minister, suggested convergence of the scheme with SHGs for awareness generation.

Benjamin Powis, representative from the World Bank, emphasized the need to scale up the use of social accountability tools in different programmes and locations.

George Cheriyan, Director, CUTS, presented an overview of the project in his introductory remarks at the outset of the SLDM. He also mentioned about the concerns of entire world on governance issues and described briefly the social accountability tools which raise client power and voice to demand accountability.

He was followed by Om Prakash Arya, who presented the key findings and recommendations of the research work before the audience.

More than 60 participants including senior bureaucrats, Government officials along with representatives of donor agencies, CSOs and PRI actively participated in meeting.


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