While several schemes are launched by the central and state governments from time to time for the uplift of the downtrodden, their success depends on how well they are implemented. Rural Employment Generation Scheme (REGS) is one such programme started with good intentions, but somehow not really being utilized to help the rural poor as per their need.
The period of the panchayats is coming to an end, and it will take about four long months to settle down and the new panchayats take control. Now, in between, because of the apathy of the panchayat and block officials, MNREGA workers are the biggest losers as they are losing the opportunity to earn 100 days job this year. People from various pantheist in the state have been complaining that works are not being provided under REGS and they are being refused work on whimsical grounds like ‘Kaam nahin hai, sanction Nahin aaye hai, ab election key baad hi kaam milega’ and so on. Panchayat officials are even refusing to entertain the application on Form 4.
Officials should realise that winters have crept in and this is the leanest season for agriculture and village folks have not much to do these days. The villagers are almost idle and free from their farms and fields and hence this is the best suited time for them to avail this job guarantee scheme.
The same thing happened last year when general elections were held; at that time too these panchayat officials stopped providing jobs. These unscrupulous officials are always in search of excuses for not delivering and the elections give them an opportunity for the same. Records reveal that so far only 2% Job card holders are being provided 100 days work. Now, after three years of NREGA in Himachal, percentage of providing jobs ranges between an averages of 30 to 60 days. Moreover, the works under NREGA don’t fall in the Model Code of Conduct.
A little bit of sensitivity on the part of people executing these schemes can make a great difference in the lives of poor, and the most to gain out of it would be the incumbent government. The choice is open for people’s representatives to either work intelligently or rue lack of opportunities and resources to do good to their voters.