For Bundelkhand, NREGA to get value addition

Pilot project adding self-employment to the scheme likely in Jhansi

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | February 3, 2010


NREGA labourers at work
NREGA labourers at work

The central government wants the poor to get self-employed while working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). The Rural Development Ministry is considering an initiative to launch a Rural Livelihood Project for Bundelkhand region.

This project will be based on the concept of convergence of various rural development schemes. The objective of the project is to mobilise poor people working under the  Mahatma Gandhi NREGS for self-employment.

The ministry has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to provide details on  implementing this project taking into account local conditions. A letter in this regard was sent to the rural development secretary in January, said a senior ministry official who did not wish to be named.
Under the project, those living below poverty line (BPL) and working under the centre’s schemes like NREGS will also be brought under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) which aims at bringing the assisted poor families above the poverty line by organising them into Self-Help Groups (SHGs).

“Under NREGS the poor get wage employment but we want them to get self-employed. As the project is based on the concept of convergence, the BPL working under NREGS will be given training under SGSY,” said the official. NREGA provides for using six percent of the fund for training to beneficiaries of any other rural development scheme such as SGSY, said the official adding that “For training under SGSY scheme the funds are not sufficient so we can utilise six percent of funding under NREGA for skill development training of beneficiaries based on the local requirement.”

Involving Krishi Vigyan Kendras under the Agriculture Ministry will help as the beneficiaries of the rural development schemes are dependent on agriculture. The Rural Development Ministry provides loan and training to the beneficiaries under SGSY and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra will provide information about the latest technology at the district level. The idea is to give maximum benefit to the beneficiaries so that they can go for horticulture, beekeeping and other such works.

The official further said, “We have chosen Jhansi for the pilot project in Bundelkhand region because the Agro Forestry Research Centre is there and the beneficiaries can get technical assistance.”

Once the project is successful in Jhansi it will be executed in other areas of Bundelkhand. Preference will be given to the public-private partnership (PPP) model for the project. “We have also issued separate guidelines for convergence so that there is flexibility in carrying out works which otherwise is becoming an obstacle in successful running of the programme,” the official added.

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