Sunday, March 30, 2008

Corruption and patronage mark NREGS implementation in Bihar

A survey of the NREGA by AMAN Trust in Jehanabad and Arwal districts of Bihar reveals that 50% of eligible households do not have access to the benefits of the scheme. Awareness of the scheme is low, only 16.5% of the beneficiaries are women, and caste/class hierarchies dominate
Bihar has one of the lowest literacy rates in the country -- 47.53%, 12% less than the national average. According to the World Bank (1999), child malnutrition stands at a high 54.4%, almost 8% more than the national average. Bihar also has the lowest per capita income in India.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) has caught the imagination of many in Bihar. It enables the poor to at least negotiate basic survival. When the Government of Bihar (Rural Development Department) states it has created a commendable 50 million person-days of work in the 23 districts, by our calculation this amounts to labour being richer by Rs 448 crore. This figure is calculated on the basis of the earlier stipulated minimum wage of Rs 75 in Bihar. The present minimum wage is Rs 81. Click for report

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