Poverty reduction schemes are numerous and many scholars,planning agencies,non governmental organisations and governments have long reflected on the most effective poverty reduction methods.The success of any poverty reduction scheme is weighed by its ability to reach the poor,its efficiency in bringing smiles on the faces of the poor and its capability to meet the targets.One such poverty alleviation scheme by its sheer scope is the MAHATMA GANDHI NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE ACT(MGNREGA).
In 2005 the ministry of rural development of India enacted by legislation the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act,a public policy targeting poverty in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.It came into force on February 2,2006 and it is one of the largest single rights based social protection initiative in the world.
MGNREGA is instrumental in reducing the massive influx of poor rural unemployed workers into the city slums,as well as helping the rural poor by creating sustainable assets and strengthening natural resources.
SOME OF PROVISIONS OF THE ACT:
*Adult members of a rural house hold,willing to do unskilled manual work,are required to make registration in writing or orally to the gram panchayat.
*At least one third of the beneficiaries shall be women,a provision which helps in empowering the rural women financially and socially.
*Permissible works predominantly include water and soil conservation,afforestation and land development works which helps in restoring and replenishing the natural environment.
*Work site facilities such as creche,drinking water and shade have to be provided.
*The act has helped the rural poor to avoid hunger and improve their diet,repay debts,sending their children to the school and in providing better health facilities.
*By providing regular income it enhanced the purchasing power of the rural poor.
*The act also stabilized the rural poor by providing the work during slack periods in agricultural production and stemmed the migration of the rural poor.
Finally,MGNREGA can be seen as a concerted effort by the Indian government to alleviate poverty of the rural poor by providing them employment so that rural poor can get a better and decent standard of living which is essential for the making of happy and prosperous India…
Watch a video on MGNREGA here .