Impact of rural employment guarantee programme and poverty in India
V Venkata Narasaiah
One of the most important schemes that the Government of India adopted in 2005 to eradicate rural poverty is the introduction of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The NREG Act is an act to provide for the enhancement of livelihood security of the households in rural areas of the country by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. It is the flagship programme of the UPA Government that directly touches lives of the poor and promotes inclusive growth. Enacted after a successful struggle for employment guarantee legislation, the NREG Act was a partial victory towards a full-fledged right to employment. The act became operational in February 2006, starting with 200 districts, and within three and a half years, has been extended to the rest of the country. NREGA is the first ever law that guarantees wage employment at an unprecedented scale. The NREGA has been more or less successful in energizing, mobilizing, empowering and delivering to India’s poorest and most marginalized rural people. It has also been somewhat successful in providing the rural poor a measure of dignity, tangible economic benefit and a motivation to participate in local action.