Looking to capture demand effectively for its flagship scheme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the Ministry of Rural Development will pro-actively register demand in select districts of the country.

The Ministry has launched a “Kaam Mango Abhiyan” after recognising that the decline in people demanding work under MGNREGA is not necessarily due to a lack of demand but caused by a failure to capture demand effectively.

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. For the coming month, the focus will be on six districts in the country —Sitapur (UttarPradesh), 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 2nd February 2014, MGNREGA Day.

Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Rural Development, has urged Chief Ministers to personally lead this effort and extend it to all districts of these States.

“I would be grateful for your personal leadership of the campaign which will motivate all the stakeholders in realizing the benefits conferred by the Act. This will also coordinate the efforts of all sections of society including civil society organizations, district administration, state administration, students, media, academics and most importantly NREGA workers,” stated Mr. Ramesh’s letter to all concerned Chief Ministers.

Additionally, an attempt will be made to reach out to every ward/habitation and give people an opportunity to register their demand for NREGA work. 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.

Demand will be anticipated and capacity will be built for increased responsiveness of the administration.

“This is a significant step forward especially since the campaign would be a collaborative effort with district, state and central government, MGNREGA workers and civil society organisations,” Nikhil Dey social activist from Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan told The Hindu.

Mr. Dey added that the Abhiyan has already been well received by the States including Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.

Hemant Soren, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, has been quick to take the initiative and flagged off the abhiyan recently with several MGNREGA workers and civil society representatives present.