NREGA failed in Assam: Study

By TCN Staff Reporter,

Guwahati: Assam’s performance on NREGA implementation remained a matter of concern for the year April 2009 – March 2010. NREGA is to guarantee 100 days of guaranteed employment of the rural communities of Assam but research showed a different picture. North East Social Trust (NEST), a voluntary organization working for the community development for last eight years in Assam, carried out a research last year in collaboration with the Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), to understand how far the state could protect the rights of rural communities of Assam given by the NREGA-2005 Act. The research is carried out with the government data, processed, analyzed and presented the key points herewith for the benefit of the citizens of the state.

Support TwoCircles

It is to be noted that the article 15(1) of the NREGA -2005 Act reads that “At every Panchayat at intermediate level, the State Government shall appoint a person who is not below the rank of Block Development Officer with such qualifications and experience as may be determined by the State Government as Programme Officer at the Panchayat at intermediate level”. The responsibility of Programme Officer would solely be the implementation of NREGA and the cost of him would be bear by the central government fund. The government of Assam has not appointed any Programme officer so far which has tremendous adverse effect in the process of implementation of NREGA.

Few key findings of NEST study on the status of NREGA implementation as on March 31, 2010 are as follows.

–Assam required 31,85,69,700 (31.85 crore) person days employment in the last year to provide 100 days employment to all job card holders of the state but it provided only 41,64,083 person days employment in the period which is just 1% of the total potentiality we had.

–Only 0.23 Percent of Job card holders are given 100 days employment in the last year. In Bongaigaon district highest number (1506 HH) of HH completed 100 days work and in Kamrup lowest number (3 HH) of HH completed the same.

–Only 28.01% job card holders had opportunity to work in NREGA schemes in the last year. Out of which 78% job card holders got less than 30 days work and 30% of them got even less than 10 days employment in the last financial year.

–As per the Persons With Disability Act (PWD) of 1995, NREGA should provide 3% employment to the disabled. However, Assam provided 0.036 % employments only to the disabled in the last year.

–No registration has taken place in 15 Panchayats of Assam spread in 8 blocks of 6 different districts

–In 1,642 number of Panchayats not even a single approved work is available for NREGA implementation (It is 74% of the total Panchayats in the state where there is no approved work). These are spread in 212 blocks in 27 districts of Assam

–Total 79,655 number of Registered HH were not given Job Card in the period out of which 38,406 job card holders are from Hailakandi district

–BPL families have failed to get a job card and get registered in the state. Only 0.64% BPL families are registered in NREGA out of the total number of household registered.

–Total 49,253 numbers of master roll’s payment was delayed by more than 15 days. The amount, of which the payment was delayed is equals to 34,63,01,221(More than 34 crores)

–Only 10.96% NREGA of workers in the state has bank accounts.

–Out of 9 approved categories of work, the emphasis is only on ‘rural connectivity’. 52% work under NREGA is done only in this category. The work on developing “Irrigation facilities to SC/ST/IAY/LR beneficiaries” and Renovation of ‘Traditional water bodies’ has got the least importance.

Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, Executive Director of NEST, commented that, ‘NREGA has the tremendous potentiality of improving the rural economy, rural infrastructure and rural poverty situation. However, the state has miserably failed to tap this opportunity. When a single Panchayat with 1500 job card holding households get 100 days employment in a year, 1.5 crore fund would flow to the Panchayat as wages only. Unfortunately, in the fourth year of NREGA implementation we could tap only 1% of this opportunity’.

An update of the implementation of NREGA in the year 2010 in Assam will be released soon, said Hussain.