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Implementation of MGNREGS poor in Udupi district

Udupi, Manjushree G Naik, March 19, 2013, DHNS: 0:15 IST

Construction firms offering lucrative wages main reason for setback

Udupi district standing at the pinnacle of literacy lags behind in effectively implementing the provision of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). There are very few takers for the jobs offered under MGNREGS in Udupi when compared to other districts in the State.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, MGNREGS Ombudsman Basrur Rajeev Shetty said there are multiple reasons for the abysmal performance. The work progress is low and it is not possible to entirely use the funds allotted for the purpose, he added.

Only ` 2 cr spent

As many as Rs 9,56,58,000 under MGNREGS was allotted for the year 2012-13 to Udupi district. The sum was shared as Rs 4 crores each to Kundapur and Karkala taluks. The remaining Rs 1,56,58,000 was earmarked to take up the project in Udupi taluk. In Kundapur taluk, as much as Rs 87.44 lakhs has been spent for working 56,079 person days. In Karkala taluk, 1,02,96,000 has been utilised for 46,536 person days. In Udupi taluk, mere Rs 20.88 lakhs has been utilsed for 14,072 person days. The total number of person days utilised for the year 2012-13 is 1,16,687.
The households given job cards for the year are 35,290. As many as 4,403 households have been provided employment.

Low wages

The total amount spent is very meagere and there are various reasons for the same. The absence of job security is the major reason that prevents people to come forward and take up jobs under MGNREGS. Low wages also wean away people.

Generally unlike other regions, a daily wage labourer in Udupi receives nearly Rs 280 to Rs 300 per day.

There may be slight variations in the wages offered for the female labourer. An individual under MGNREGS receives only Rs 155 per day irrespective of sex. This makes farmers and labourers think twice before taking up jobs under MGNREGS.

Besides, the most fundamental reason is that in Udupi district, there are lots of construction works coming up and the labourers working in these construction sites are offered lucrative wages. Consequently, the labourers are not interested to work for mere Rs 155. They also go for garment factories and cashew factories where they are entitled to job security besides incentives like PF, risk cover and insurance provisions similar to that of state employees. All these factors are absent in MGNREGS. As MGNREGS offers only 100 days of work and after that the labourer should go in search of other jobs, many people don’t take up jobs under MGNREGS.

The Ombudsman said the PDOs and officials concerned are not interested in effectievely implementing the programme.

“They do not want the programme to reach out to the people. They have failed to create enough awareness among rural mass and the project is totally ignored”.
As there is less scope for malpractices in MGNREGS, officials are not that keen in implementing it, he alleged. Basrur Rajeev Shetty said people in most of the areas are unaware over the convergence provisions offered under the programme.
“One can also work for his own land development being employed under MGNREGS. He or she can take up works, like water conservation and harvesting, renovation of traditional water bodies, cow shed, constructing toilets, poultry, fish ponds, fish culture and so on”.

The Ombudsman said that around 10000 SHGs are briefed over the benefits by distributing leaflets written in Kannada. Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Programme (SKDRDP) has joined hands in creating awareness, he added.

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