Bangalore Rural District has about 75,000 job card holders under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) Act. However, only 3,411 have claimed jobs under the scheme so far in 2012-13.
This is the situation even as all four taluks of the district have been declared drought-hit and sowing has been completed on only 15 per cent of the total agricultural area of 65,000 hectares, and the stock of fodder is adequate only for 70 more days for the five lakh livestock in the district.
During a review of drought situation here on Monday, Labour Minister and district-in-charge minister, B.N. Bache Gowda admitted that the progress of the employment guarantee scheme was “unsatisfactory”.
While proximity to Bangalore and the fact that workers prefer to travel to the city for better pay is an important reason for poor enthusiasm of MNREGA, curiously, the Minister said that elimination of middlemen could have also been a contributing factor since people are “yet to get used to the new system”.
He said that introduction of Electronic Fund Management System (EFMS), which transfers wages directly to the workers’ account without intervention of middlemen, had resulted in nobody “taking the initiative” to mobilise people. “We are launching an awareness drive in all panchayats involving people’s representatives and are sure to generate more jobs in the months to come,” said the Minister.
On the drinking water scarcity, he said that a decision had been taken to sink more borewells giving a goby to the tendering process because it was an emergency situation one could not afford to wait for a long-drawn process. The Minister said that several goshalas had been opened and request made to sink borewells near all of them.