About 25 members of a self-help group attended a programme to raise awareness on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Agency (MGNREGA) through satellite lessons in the city on Thursday. The participants, all women, were from Janardhana self-help group (SHG) in Mulki.

It is for the first time that information about MGNREGA is being imparted to members of an SHG through satellite, claimed Jalil, a resource person for the training programme and a member of Abdul Nazir Sab State Institute for Rural Development Mysore, which was giving the information.

He said that although the information about MGNREGA was given to the local self-government institutions, and literature was made available, many people still did not know about job scheme.

The programme has covered 37 of the 49 villages in the taluk. The dissemination of information related to job scheme was sent through satellite by State Institute for Rural Development (SIRD) throughout Karnataka. But it was the first time that the SHGs were being told about it, he said. Twenty five participants (30 had been expected) attended the meet in the taluk panchayat office in Mangalore. He said the participants were told about MGNREGA, the rights of the beneficiaries and rules and regulations such as: for 100 workdays a worker must be paid within seven to 15 days of the work, there ought to be equal pay for equal work and it must involve no machines.

Mixed reactions

The participants gave mixed reactions on the benefits of the programme. Some women said they had been forced to attend the meeting by their self-help group. They said they would have to tell the others in their SHG as to what they had learnt about MGNREGA at the meet.

Rama Narayan Devadiga, from Janardhana SHG, Seemantharu village, Mulki, said the programme hardly benefited her. It was difficult to attend even the training as she had to attend to the cows in her dairy farm, she said. Some women said they had to travel too far (from a village in Mulki to Mangalore) to attend the meet.

Another participant from the same village said: “It is a rule so we are here”. Women in her village rolled “beedis” and this would be of no help to them, she said.

She said that those who had attended the training would have to return to the SHG and share their learning with 40 other members. The trainer said the training aimed at providing them information so that they could participate in MGNREGA instead of rolling ‘beedis’. pick up their children from school.

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