The World Bank says that more than 30 per cent of the Indian population lives on less than $1 a day, but Indian economists believe that the figure of poor could be much more than the estimate. Successive governments tried various means to fight poverty with little success. The UPA government feels that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act can solve that problem. They feel that this in one hand can reduce the poverty of rural and on another hand can reap the rich human resources available in rural India to develop the most essential infrastructural facilities and stop the migration of rural people to cities.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (NREGA) guarantees 100 days of employment in a financial year to any rural household whose adult members are willing to do unskilled manual work with minimum wage of Rs. 80 / day. The Act was initially extended in 200 districts, and gradually to other areas notified by the Central Government. It was planned to cover the whole country within five years. Also the government is now increasing the minimum wage of Rs/ 80 / day to Rs. 100 / day.
The NREGA is an important step towards realization of the right to work. It is expected to enhance people’s livelihood security on a sustained manner, by developing economic and social infrastructure in rural areas. The choice of works seeks to address the causes of chronic poverty such as drought, deforestation and soil erosion. One of the most distinguishing features of the NREGA is its approach towards empowering citizens to play an active role in the implementation of employment guarantee schemes, through gram sabhas, social audit, participatory planning and other activities.
What will it cost the nation’s common man?
There are lot of implementation issues and problems in the above NREGA scheme. There are lots of negative growths visible in the first phase of its implementation including in the farming sector. The effects of negative growth in the farming sector, reduces the food grains and essential commodities production drastically. This is already costing the nation heavily through steep rise in price of food grain and essential commodities, which is affecting the common man in their daily life.
Plight of Farming Sector:
Farming sector is the backbone of our nation and it provides nearly 70% of the nation’s employment. Still the negligence of the farming sector is repeated in the Indian History. Farming sector is witnessing a steep decline in productivity in the past years. Farming sector has the great potential for employment generation and poverty eradication. Any policies in India should be viewed from the perspective of Indian Farming sector and it should be ensured that the interest of farming community is protected. Though the farming community is providing full meals to all the citizens of the country, the country is not providing even half the meal to the farming community especially small, marginal and landless farmers are continuously struggling for household level food security.
Farming sector is regularly made scapegoat for the sake of overall development and one should not forget that country like India needs to grow farming sector for a sustainable development. When the sub-sectors of Agriculture like food processing, milk processing, fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, agriculture implements, tractor, diesel engines, Textiles, cold storage, and many more to say are growing at a faster phase, it raises many doubts about the deliberate negligence of the policy makers in the farming sector. Plight of Small, marginal & landless farmers are still worse, who contributes to 90% of the farming sector. They are the food bowl of India, who ensures the food...