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Chhattisgarh MGNREGA Workshop

27 August 2015 Share: facebook share twitter share

On 27 August, a one-day workshop on the MGNREGA participatory planning and social audit processes was organised by PACS and MGNREGA implementation partner Samarthan in Chhattisgarh. At the event, PACS partners were able to share their experiences of ensuring these processes were inclusive, reaching the most marginalised sections of society. The event was attended by the Additional Chief Secretary for Rural Development, M.K Raut (pictured speaking below), and the Secretary for Panchayat and Rural Development, P.C Mishra.

MGNREGA in Chhattisgarh

MGNREGA (the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) is a government employment scheme that guarantees 100 days of manual labour work to any rural household that demands it.

As explained by Rebecca David – PACS State Manager for Chhattisgarh - MGNREGA is an extremely crucial source of employment in the state, where 43% of the population live below the poverty line and 76% of people live in rural areas.

PACS has been working with partners to carry out inclusive Integrated Participatory Planning Exercises (IPPEs) and social audits to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable people, including Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, women and disabled populations, are prioritised under MGNREGA village plans.

Integrated Participatory Planning

At the workshop, Additional Chief Secretary for Rural Development, M.K. Raut, emphasised the importance of the planning, decision-making and prioritisation process by Gram Sabhas under MGNREGA and agreed that it should be a bottom-up and participatory activity.

Mr Manish - State Coordinator for Samarthan (the organisation that carried out the MGNREGA training with PACS partners) - presented the IPPE planning process that they have carried out collaboratively with PACS in 30 Gram Panchayats last year and shared how it has helped in prioritising village needs.

As a result of the IPPE work with PACS, a cadre of village and block level IPPE professionals has been created who can lead inclusive IPPEs. Mr Manish shared his hopes that this trained team will be able to use their knowledge and services to help in the second phase of IPPE, being coordinated by the Government of Chhattisgarh with support from GIZ – a German development agency.

Mr Manish from PACS implementation partner Samarthan, presents the IPPE training process. Mr Manish from PACS implementation partner Samarthan presents the IPPE training process.

Social audits

The second half of the day involved discussions on the PACS inclusive social audit process and its role in encouraging transparency under MGNREGA.

Mr. Dinesh from Samarthan presented the PACS experience of facilitating social audits with 25 Gram Panchayats this year. Again, Samarthan played the role of technical support partner.

Mr. Abhishek from PACS partner KALP then shared how, in the district of Janjgir-Champa, the government administration has asked them to help in facilitating more social audits. This is a particularly notable achievement, given that the district has been reeling with large-scale corruption in relation to MGNREGA work.

Other PACS partners also shared their experiences.

Radha - a CBO leader from Janjgir Champa shares her experiences of MGNREGA implementation. Radha - the leader of a Community Based Organisation in Janjgir Champa - shares her experiences of working with PACS on MGNREGA implementation.

Suggestions for improving MGNREGA implementation

Audience members were given the opportunity to make suggestions about how MGNREGA implementation could be improved, in front of government officials. Their recommendations included setting up a MGNREGA helpline and prioritising unfinished and important tasks before taking up new ones.

Gangaram Paikra from PACS partner Chaupal emphasised the need for district and state level MGNREGA forums to be created in which stakeholders from both government and non-government institutions could participate.

Working more collaboratively with government

Over 150 participants from 8 districts in Chhattisgarh attended the workshop. This included both members of civil society organisations (CSOs) and local government administration, including MGNREGA Assistant Programme Officers, Programme Officers, Sarpanches (Village Heads) and Village Secretaries.

Indeed, the Secretary for Panchayat and Rural Development, P.C. Mishra, emphasised the need for CSOs and the Government to come together to compliment each other’s efforts.

Going forward, the Government of Chhattisgarh has asked PACS to submit a list of CSOs and the cadre of trained professionals, who can then be included in the IPPE-2 process in different districts. Their services at the block level will be extremely important.

PC Mishra - Secretary for Panchayat and Rural Development - addressed the gathering, urging civil society and government to work together. PC Mishra - Secretary for Panchayat and Rural Development in Chhattisgarh - addressed the gathering, highlighting the importance of civil society and government working together.

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