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In the Headlines

24 February 2012

Expanding India’s Rural Employment Guarantee Act

When it launched in 2005, India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) aimed to strengthen economic opportunity among the rural poor, promising one hundred days of employment per year to adult members of rural households. Now, thanks in part to the efforts of Ford grantees like the Revitalizing Rainfed Agriculture Network, the act is broadening in scope, increasing the program’s capacity to create productive assets and generate income for the poor. Through our Expanding Livelihood Opportunities for Poor Households initiative, the foundation is working to improve the implementation of government programs like NREGA.

Published in The Hindustan Times

NREGA 2 Aimed at Bolstering UPA 2

February 22, 2012 By Prasad Nichenametla

The UPA government has widened the scope of its flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) to include works related to agriculture, animal husbandry, poultry, drinking water and sanitation.

In its initial avatar launched over six years ago, the NREGA was limited only to works concerning water and soil conservation, afforestation and land development. It was largely seen as a subsistence dole for the rural people in the lean farm season. Now, however, it will create productive assets and generate incomes for the poor.

The move comes with general elections just two years away and a notion building in political circles that the scheme, which helped the UPA return to power in 2009, is losing its appeal due to delays in works, irregular payments and corruption.

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