(Online Course) Contemporary Issues for IAS Mains 2012: PIB - MGNREGA

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Q. What are the Major Goals of MGNREGA?

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the following lines to get optimum benefit from this largest social support programme in the world.

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  1. Set up a Technical Support Consortium for each District to end the prevailing divorce between Intellect and Labour

  2. Enlarge the concept of labour in the case of women to include the operation of creches, balvadis and School Noon-Meal programmes.

  3. Achieve Convergence and Synergy among different programmes involving labour, eg. 60,000 Pulses Villages, National Horticulture Mission, etc.

  4. Initiate a “beyond 100 days” programme – convert watersheds into bioindustrial watersheds, to provide opportunities for running micro-enterprises supported by microcredit, thus integrating on-farm and non-farm employment opportunities. This will also help to convert unskilled into skilled labour.

  5. Provide dignity and prestige to work, and help the labour to gain in self-esteem and pride by establishing Environment Saviour Awards, to recognise the work of outstanding MGNREGA Teams in the areas of watershed development, rainwater harvesting, soil conservation and building soil carbon banks through fertilizer trees.

If the above 5-point programme is initiated, MGNREGA will become a powerful instrument for combining labour with intelligence.

The Census of 2011 estimates that 833 million people currently live in rural India. They depend for their livelihood largely on crop and animal husbandry, fisheries, agro-forestry and agro-processing. In spite of all government programmes in the area of social safety nets, we find that the weight and height of Indians on average have not shown significant improvement over the last 25 years. Also, 21.5 percent of babies are born with low birth weight, a problem which begins with malnutrition in the womb (India – Human Development Report, 2011). The Human Development Report concludes that the degree of coordination required for ensuring the success of multi-sectoral interventions like safe drinking water, sanitation, public health services and balanced nutrition is not in place. This is a governance and not investment issue.

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