R. Sairam

MADURAI: With the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance promising to expand its flagship programmes, implementation of projects such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) is expected to get a fillip.

In Madurai district, the scheme, which guarantees 100 days of employment in a year for a household residing in Panchayats, generated 40 lakh man days of work in the financial year of 2008-09, official sources told The Hindu here on Saturday.

District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) is the implementation agency of the scheme.

Giving a caste-wise break up of the man days of work, sources said that Scheduled Castes constituted 19.56 lakh, Scheduled Tribes 90 and Other Castes around 21 lakh.

A sum of Rs. 80 per day would be paid to both men and women for seven hours of manual labour depending upon the quantum of work completed.

Wages to the tune of Rs. 26.09 crore were given to the beneficiaries under the scheme last fiscal, sources said.

Around 2.57 lakh people from 1.80 lakh families had been issued job cards under the scheme, which was operational in all but one of the total 431 panchayats in the 13 blocks of the district by last August.

A total of 5,409 families have completed 100 days of work. If the beneficiary does not turn up in 24 hours of pay day, the weekly wages are credited to their bank account. ‘No-frills zero-balance’ savings bank accounts were opened to 2.36 lakh persons or around 90 per cent of all the beneficiaries in nationalised banks, sources said.

The major types of work being undertaken include deepening and strengthening of tanks and supply channels, desilting works and formation of mud roads.