BAIF institute of rural development became the only NGO this year to receive a government award for capacity building of Mahatma Gandhi national rural guarantee scheme (MNREGS) beneficiaries. The NGO worked along with the government of Karnataka in the villages of Dharwad district.
It trained the villagers in soil and water conservation which were the undertaken as MNREGS work in the area.
Though many people have benefited from the scheme, the NGO feels channelising of funds remains a challenge that needs to be tackled.
“In many cases, there has been a delay of a month in the payment of wages. There should be a proper system where they (the beneficiaries) can get the wage at the right time,” says K Mallikarjun, chief programme coordinator of BAIF.
Overall, 18 awards were given to people who contributed in successful implementation of MNREGS in their districts on the 6th anniversary of the right to work scheme on Thursday.
Some awards were given to the heads of gram panchayats of various states and some to people working in postal department for timely delivery of the wages.
Deepak Tamong, sarpanch of a Sikkim gram panchayat, received an award for getting a school play ground, a footpath on hilly areas built as well as carrying out plantation and horticulture work under the scheme. Tamong says, “Because of this, unemployed people in our district are getting regular work. But the maximum work is for 100 days and we have demanded to increase it to 200.”
Anju Bala Katara, sarpanch of Moti Tumbi village in Rajasthan says the work scheme has helped getting work within the village. “Our village had a water problem, as we never conserved the rain water. But under this scheme, we planted trees and also started conserving the rain water. People now do not have to leave village for finding work.”
According to government data, by December 2011, 3.77 crore households were provided employment and 120.88 crore person days of employment were generated. 72 percent of the funds utilised were in the form of wages paid to workers, thus enhancing the wage earnings. Also, the scheme has seen a high level of participation from marginalised groups with 40 percent of last year's beneficiaries belonging to the SC/ST groups and 49 percent being women.