Hivos International

Implementating NREGA: A National Overview

The one obvious uniqueness of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme launched by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance that came to power in mid-2004 was that it was the first ever attempt though legislation at helping the rural poor access to public employment There was a political backdrop to it as well in that the alliance’s poll victory itself was hugely due to its electoral promise of taking the benefits of a fast-growing economy to the rural India where a little over two-thirds of the people lived in grinding poverty. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), enacted in 20051 and subsequently named after the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi (hence known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme), was thus the fulfilment of this promise.

The implementation of the NREGA was sequenced in three phases; starting with 200 most backward districts in 2006, followed by another 200 districts in the second phase from April 2007 and the remaining 130 districts2 in the third phase beginning on April 1, 2008.

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