Nisar Ahmad Shiekh, Mushtaq Ahmad Mir
Abstract: Alleviation of poverty remains a major challenge before the Government. In the Indian context, rural development assumes greater significance as 72.22 per cent (according to the 2001 census) of its population still live in rural areas. Most of the people living in rural areas draw their livelihood from agriculture and allied sectors (60.41 % of total work force), and poverty mostly persists here (25.7 % in 2011-12). Indias anti-poverty strategy comprises of a wide range of poverty alleviation and employment generation programmes, many of which have been in operation for several years and have been strengthened to generate more employment, create assets, impart technical and entrepreneurial skills and raise the income level of poor. The most significant rural development initiative of the Eleventh Plan period was the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Over the last seven years, MGNREGA has delivered the largest employment programme in human history, which is unlike any other in its scale, architecture and thrust. Its bottom up, people-centered, demand driven, self-selecting, right-based design is new and unprecedented. Since its inception MGNREGA has generated 15, 575 crore person- days of employment upto December, 2013. From the financial year 2006-07 upto financial year 2013-14 (upto December 2013), over Rs.1, 55, 000crore has been spent on wages. The schemes notified wages have increased across all states since 2006. The average wage earned per beneficiary has risen from Rs.65 per person per day to Rs.124 by 2013.
Keywords: Poverty, MGNREGA, Wages, Person days, Job cards, Gram Panchayat