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MGNREGA Learning in Jharkhand

13 October 2015 Share: facebook share twitter share

On 13 October, PACS held a state-level dissemination workshop in Jharkhand to share our learnings from carrying out inclusive participatory planning and social audits under the MGNREGA employment scheme. Key government officials, including Shri NN Sinha - Principle Secretary from the Department of Rural Development, Government of Jharkhand – attended the event and the Aajeevika Adhikar Manch (AAM) - an initiative of PACS to work on livelihood entitlements with the government – was also launched.

A MGNREGA livelihoods network - Aajeevika Adhikar Manch - is launched in Jharkhand by PACS.

MGNREGA in Jharkhand

One of the key thematic areas that the PACS programme has focused on is ensuring non-discriminatory access to employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) – a government scheme provides 100 days of paid manual laboring work every year to rural households that demand it.

In addition to teaching people about their rights and how to demand work under the scheme, PACS has carried out an inclusive Integrated Participatory Planning Exercise (IPPE) trial. The PACS IPPE process ensures that all members of the community (including socially excluded groups) are involved in MGNREGA plans.

PACS has also been focussed on developing an inclusive social audit model to monitor and evaluate the works that are being carried out under MGNREGA. The PACS social audit model specifically focusses on ensuring that MGNREGA assets are accessed by all.

As PACS State Manger for Jharkhand, Johnson Topno, noted in his opening address, PACS has been working on MGNREGA in Jharkhand since 2012, covering 10 districts and 1320 villages.

Sharing learning and experience

Over the course of the last 3 years, PACS has built up a body of knowledge and experience that it wanted to share with both the Government and with other civil society organisations to help to improve the implementation of MGNREGA in the state.

The dissemination workshop, held at Capitol Hill in Ranchi, Jharkhand on 13 October, brought together key representatives from both government and civil society to discuss how MGNREGA can be implemented more effectively and inclusively.

As part of the workshop, participants from different Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were able to share their experiences with government officials, expressing their concerns regarding the problems and bottlenecks they are facing in accessing MGNREGA rights.

A member of civil society addresses the government representatives on the panel, to share his experiences of MGNREGA. A member of civil society addresses the government representatives on the panel, to share his experiences of MGNREGA.

Commitments from the state government

Chief Guest, Shri NN Sinha - Principle Secretary of Rural Development from the Government of Jharkhand – delivered the first key note address, emphasising the importance of MGNREGA in providing rural households with employment opportunities.

He thanked PACS for the work done across Jharkhand and spoke about the importance of involving CSOs to strengthen MGNREGA work.

He announced that, once the Panchayat (local governance system) elections are over, an orientation on social audit will be conducted by the state Government. He also committed to building a resource team at the district level, facilitating the Training of Trainers that will be needed to give handholding support to communities.

Improving MGNREGA implementation

Shri Paritosh Upadhyay - MGNREGA Commissioner for the government’s Indian Administrative Services (IAS) department – noted that CSOs have played a vital role in the implementation of the scheme in the state, helping to mobilise communities around the issues of work demand and improving access to assets created under MGNREGA, especially for socially excluded communities.

He also emphasised the importance of converging MGNREGA with different government schemes, such as the National Rural Livelihood Mission, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (the Prime Minister’s rural road scheme) and the Integrated Watershed Management Programme, to ensure that there is a holistic approach for both individual and community development.

Shri Balram – a Member of State Council on MGNREGA – suggested that the existing backlog of payments to MGNREGA workers should be removed immediately to ensure better implementation of MGNREGA. He also said that it is important to improve the confidence of the people and to get them involved with MGNREGA processes, especially in activities such as social audit, so that dependence on government machinery is not the only option.

Shri Paritosh Upadhyay - MGNREGA Commissioner from the Department of Rural Development - addresses the workshop audience. Shri Paritosh Upadhyay - MGNREGA Commissioner from Indian Administrative Services (IAS) - addresses the workshop audience.

Launching a MGNREGA livelihoods network

At the event, Ajeevika Adhikar Manch (AAM) – a state-level network of 8 PACS CSO partners working on MGNREGA and other livelihood schemes – was launched.

Together AAM members will work with the government to ensure that these livelihood schemes are implemented properly throughout Jharkhand. It is hoped that AAM will provide a platform that can better shape the implementation of MGNREGA work in the state.

“I visualise that AAM will gain wider acceptance and recognition as a state level civil society forum on livelihood rights that will strengthen civil society engagement in Jharkhand,” explains Dheeraj Horo – Programme Manager for PACS in Jharkhand. “Based on the fact that sustainable livelihoods are the most basic need of tribals and communities residing in Jharkhand state, the forum will advocate for the livelihood rights of marginalised communities with a holistic, people-centred and empowering approach.”

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