It's basically a demand-driven scheme: monitoring panel member

Narinder Singh Bedi, one of the 61 members of the monitoring committee appointed by the Union Government to oversee the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), has said that lack of awareness among people about the scheme, absence of coordination between people and the implementing agencies and failure of certain new ideas have contributed to the poor implementation of this ambitious project across the country.

Mr. Bedi told The Hindu here on Wednesday that the implementing agencies had possibly failed to realise the importance of the scheme, which had the potential to bring about enormous transformation in rural India.

People should be made aware of their right to demand the type of work they want, he said and blamed the implementing agencies for not paying adequate attention to this crucial aspect.

“Even five years after it was launched, a large section of rural people are not aware that such a scheme has been introduced. The implementation of the project warrants active involvement of the people in choosing the type of work. But I have noticed that it is not happening in most of the States. It is largely a one-way action where the Government selects the work and enforces it upon the people,” he said.

The scheme was basically demand-driven, which the implementing agencies had not taken note of.

He said that the process of implementing the scheme too differed from one State to another, which he attributed to lack of coordination between the States.

“For example, in Andhra Pradesh, it is mandatory that the people form a team of 20 members and project a person as their leader to seek jobs under the scheme. Here, the Government registers all such teams and takes up projects based on their suggestions. The leader of every team is given training about the scheme and he, in turn, educates other members of his team. To ensure that all 20 members come to work every day, the leader is given an incentive of one rupee each for every member attending the job. The Andhra Pradesh Government also uses modern gadgets to keep a tab on work taken up under the scheme and updates the information in computers on a daily basis. These are simple but very effective methods that are missing in Karnataka, rendering it difficult for anyone to keep track of the schemes launched and funds spent,” he said.

  • ‘People in most villages are unaware of the programme'
  • ‘Implementation of the project warrants active involvement of the people'