The initial trends of the Ministry of Rural Development’s initiative 'Kaam Maango Abhiyan' under the MGNREGA have shown significant promise. This campaign seeks to increase awareness around the entitlements of MGNREGA and increase participation in the programme by fulfilling the guarantee of employed against demand.
The focus will be on six districts in the country — Sitapur (Uttar Pradesh), Nashik (Maharashtra), Raichur (Karnataka), Katihar (Bihar), West Singhbum (Jharkhand) and Sundergarh (Odisha). This will present a model for a nationwide campaign that will be launched on February 2, 2014, MGNREGA Day.
It will involve training of officials, mass awareness drives via Padyatras and institutionalizing monthly “Rozgar Diwas” in every panchayat as an opportunity for people to register their demand and grievances.
An immediate impact owing to the Abhiyan is in Nashik, Maharashtra (as of December 8, 2013), 98 per cent of the Gram Panchayats (GP) have indicated a rise in person days of work demanded under MGNREGA as compared to the Management Information System (MIS) data on 18th November 2013.
The highest rise in person days of work generated are in Gram Panchayats (GP) such as Surgane, Tondwal, Chandori, Devdongari. More specifically, in Devdongari the increase in person days of work demanded is 813 per cent higher compared to 15 days ago.
“'Kaam Maango Abhiyan is a last mile attempt to re-energise MGNREGA. This momentum and energy shall hopefully sustain itself,” a Ministry official told The Hindu.
In Uttar Pradesh, the most remarkable trend is in nearly three weeks 700 GPs have demanded work.
“We have observed that demand for MGNREGA is not being registered. The system is not efficiently acknowledging this demand. Due to the Abhiyan, State governments are investing time and focussing on understanding demand,” the official added.
Incidentally, U.P. government is running a simultaneous Abhiyan called ‘Kaam Lo Abhiyan’ in all districts.
In the first phase of the Kaam Maango Abhiyan padyatras, Bihar has witnessed 30,000 work applications registered across 7 blocks of 132 gram panchayats.
According to the source, Bihar has already been able to effectively mobilize people and volunteers have been stopping at various panchayat bhawans spreading information about MGNREGA. So far, under the Abhiyan 14250 households have registered their application for job cards.
Odisha too within the first week of the padyatra had a towering 37000 demand for work applications filed across 250 gram panchayats.
“This indicates the reach of the Abhiyan to the most isolated areas of the districts. All demand for work must be accepted and is monitored daily by the Centre. We are learning lessons from each district. MGNREGA is not dead the system stopped responding. This is the key message,” explained the official.