The reconstituted national advisory council (NAC) has decided to focus on MNREGS works in view of the delayed monsoon and an impending drought which may mean more demand for public works.
The council came to the conclusion that after an initial period of enthusiasm and significant progress, the central government’s livelihood programme was facing several challenges in its implementation. “Despite its seminal achievements, it is also at the receiving end of a series of hostile critiques, not based on rigorous evaluation”, said a communiqué issue after the meeting. The council felt that the time had come to “revive” the scheme, more so because people in rural area may need support because of the delayed monsoon.
It was the NAC which had drafted the scheme and got the government to launch it in 2006. A working group of the council is mandated to hold discussions with all stake holders, including the rural development ministry and the state governments and suggest corrective measures on various aspects of the scheme, including demand for work, wages, timely payment, asset creation, accountability and social audit. The working group will now be preparing a detailed report suggesting various measures to improve implementation of the scheme.
The council also took up the issue of social security schemes for the unorganized sector workers. The ministry of labour and employment and department of financial services made their presentations, detailing various schemes being run. The council agreed with broad elements of the integrated social security package being implemented but directed the ministries to develop detailed features of the scheme for further deliberations.
This was the first meeting of the council which was reconstituted last month. Three council has now two new members- Mihir Shah, member of the planning commission and Ashis Mondal, director of Action for Social Advancement, Bhopal. Three members, Harsh Mander, Madhav Gadgil and MS Swaminathan, have been dropped after their term ended on May 31. The next meeting is scheduled for August 24.