Centre mulls job scheme in Naxal-hit areas

States told to start NREGS in every village


The Ministry of Rural Development has asked nine states, including Karnataka, to start at least one National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) project in every village in 33 districts, which are the worst hit by the ultras.

The ministry, in its letter to the Maoist-hit states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, has asked the respective governments to adopt a pro-active role in implementing the project by bringing all eligible households under the scheme, timely payment of wages and issue of job cards without hassles.

In Karnataka, districts such as Udupi, Chikmagalur, Dakshina Kannada, Shimoga, Raichur and Tumkur are considered Naxal-hit, and the Centre has advised the State Government to take up job scheme promotion aggressively in these areas, sources in the ministry told Deccan Herald.

The ministry has also asked the nine states to launch an awareness campaign on the scheme through street plays, wall writings, distribution of pamphlets, posters and other modes of publicity.

As Maoists are active in the tribal-dominated regions, the ministry is worried about the dismal progress of the job scheme. According to data available with the ministry, 3.2 per cent of rural households in the Naxal-hit districts were provided the mandatory 100 days of employment under the scheme in 2008-09.

The issue of poor execution of the NREGS also came up in the House Consultative Committee on the scheme. Several members voiced concern over government’s aggressive posture towards outlaws, and suggested that it take up developmental projects in underdeveloped areas to bring the poor under inclusive growth instead of adopting armed struggle alone.

The ministry suggested that the state governments implement other developmental works by building houses and roads in the Maoist-hit regions.

*Project to be implemented in 33 districts
*K’taka among states chosen for the scheme
*Job cards to be issued without hassle
*States asked to launch awareness campaign
*Aggressive scheme promotion in Karnataka

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