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`Gram Sabhas not involved in NREGA work planning`

Last Updated: Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 11:06

New Delhi: Gram Sabhas are not involved in
planning of work under NREGA scheme and in many areas, "poor
and thoughtless" strategies evolved by authorities are
resulting in low quality outfit, a consortium of civil society
organisations has claimed in its report.

"Plans are made and approved at the top and sent
downwards for implementation by the Gram Pradhans," National
Consortium of Civil Society Organisations on NREGA has claimed
in its first annual report.
Citing an example of poor planning under NREGA, the
report said, "Plantation is done, but no provision is made for
watering, nor is any mechanical or human protection planned
against grazing. The plantations are thus destroyed fast".

The consortium is a group of 51 civil society
organisations, working across 58 blocks of 44 most backward
districts in 11 states of the country, that have come together
to make NREGA a success.

It claimed that "very little" effort has been made in
many states to mobilise the people for taking active part in
plan formulation.

"Given the low level of support infrastructure provided
for NREGA works, it is not surprising that quality of work
undertaken is uniformly reported to be poor," it added.

The consortium claimed that there are instances when the
Gram Sabha (GS) was not aware of the plans nor did people know
that without their approval, work cannot be implemented.

"There is still a tendency of states or districts to
dictate the work to be carried out and there is little
evidence on the ground of planning happening with the genuine
involvement of the GPs and GS," Planning Commission member
Mihir Shah has said in the report.
In Rajnandgaon, Raigarh, Sarguja and Jashpur district of
Chhattisgarh, work is focussed mainly on activities for which
standardised estimates are available, the report noted.

In Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, there is an absence
of annual plan. The shelf of projects exists but it is very
broad in nature and the activities are not well defined. The
general practice is that funds are released first and then the
activities are identified, it said.

"In Gujarat, the planning process again does not involve
the people directly. While records suggest that the Gram Sabha
was involved, field checks belie this claim," it said.

It suggested that unless efforts are made for social
mobilisation, NREGA cannot emerge as a people-centred

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 11:06
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