Manik Boruah, Assistant Programme Manager, C-NES attended a press meet jointly organized by North East Social Trust(NEST) and Centre for Micro- Finance and Livelihoods (MFLs) at Guwahati Press Club on the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)- 2005 for the year 2010-11. Arif Hussain, Executive Director, NEST, Mr. Partha Patowary, Executive Director, MFLs, Ms. Keteki Bardoloi, Executive Director, FST and Mr. Amrit Kr. Goldsmith, Retired ED of CASA were present at the meeting along with 15 press reporters.
A review of MNREGA implemented in the state revealed poor performance by the Government according to Arif Hussain who presented the findings of a study conducted by NEST and MFLs, failing to meet the basic objectives of the Act, which was developed for the BPL families. In Assam it covered only 0.67% BPL families at an average. Only in the district of Dhubri could it cover 1.63%. Again, out of 37 lakh job card holders during the year 2010-11, only 16,000 (0.56%) got 100 days employment, which was the key objective of the Act. Further there was a clause in the act according to which if a person was unable to get a job within the 15 days of receipt of job card, he /she will be entitled to get an unemployment allowance from the state government, but the findings show otherwise- no such unemployment allowances were made.
Being asked by Boruah about the key reason for failure in implementation of the Act in the state, Md. Arif Hussain cited the following:
- Lack of awareness about the act among the common people
- Lack of political will and ignorance about the act. MLAs of both ruling and opposition political parties lack adequate knowledge .
- There was a clause in the act about the need to appoint Programme Officers in each Development Block, but the state was yet to appoint a single Project Officer in the state. The BDOs had to execute the projects, which they took with an extremely casual approach.
Highlights of the MNREGA implementation in Assam in 2010- 11 :
- Number of households with job cards 37,49,672
- Number of BPL families registered- 25,616 (0.67%)
- District with highest percentage of BPL inclusion- Dhubri (1.53%)
- SC- 6%, ST- 16% and other categories- 78%
- 24,36,848 households (65%) never got job the entire year- 2010-11
- 16,473 (0.56%) households got 100 days employment in the year
- 6,11,032 households got less than 15 days employment in the year, i .e 21% of the total job card holding households28,635 numbers of registered families were not given job cards in the year
- 29,331 persons were not paid unemployment allowances
- Percentage of workers having bank accounts- 41.13%
- Work execution level during the year shows that only 42.9% of work was
- being executed through GPs violating the norm of minimum 50% execution
- through the GPs.