On 10 August 2018, the inaugural issue of the news journal of the MGNREGA Division of the Panchayats & Rural Development Department was released by the Hon’ble Minister in charge, Shri Subrata Mukhopadhyay. The publication was realisation of a long-cherihed dream of the State MGNREGA family. For different reasons, the dream remained unrealised for pretty long time. Adequate stories were not coming from the field and the state authority found it difficult to make plan for monthly productions for a longer period of time. Faced with the challenge of continuing the publication, the state authority decided to wait before taking the leap.
Then, an interesting idea cropped up. Why not give the responsibility to the districts? Why not the people responsible for generating the stories be made accountable to give shape to the publication? Thus, it was decided to entrust one one issue to each of the 23 districts for the first 23 months. This would bring the flavour of the field and also will ensure continuation of the publication, at least for 23 issues, by which time the system should stabilise.
The result was this marvel. Purba Bardhaman readily agreed to be the first district to take up the assignment. They had to work against time. They had no role model to follow and had to devise their own ways. The State provided support and guidance; but time being the main constraint, there was little scope to reorganise the contents on the basis of the suggestions from the state. Be as it may, the district came up with a 152 page-long publication, giving space to each and every block of the district and different officers and functionaries at various level of programme implementation. It was a very well coordinated publication with lots of success stories and case studies from the field.
The limitations of the first issue is the very volume of it. As all were given chance to write, at times the articles became repetitive, and instead of talking about the specifics of different initiatives in the block/ gram panchayat, became a little message-type. This is not exactly what we wanted in the publication. The more the field flavour, the merrier – was our aim.
Next issue would come in September this year, this time from Purulia. What exactly we expect in the news journal? Following might be some of the ideas for the districts to work on:
The State MGNREGA profile (with some changes in each issue)
A profile of the District with graphs, tables, boxes
An essay on the evolution of MGNREGA over the years in the focus district
A special essay on the innovations and special projects in the district
A dozen stories from the field (Case Studies/ Success Stories) (while presenting the stories some data in boxes or even woven in the text might be important)
Excerpts of interviews of some of the households getting 100 days work in a year and effectively using the opportunities for developing their livelihood base
As Purba Bardhaman did, a collage of news items published in different newspapers over time
A day n the life of a filed level functionary associated with MGNREGA implementation (it may be a GRS, a VLE, a NS or someone from the other categories of staff associated)
Often photographs speak. A collection of photographs would be useful. However, every photo should be referenced and given an identity. We would prefer caption for the photographs as well.
A block may be taken as a unit to highlight its achievements in a more comprehensive manner.
All individual article should be written by a single person, even if that involves several blocks/ gram panchayats. Language should be lucid – simple sentences, positively in colloquial language.
In addition, there would be some messages, the editorial and a special article from the State on the possibilities of MGNREGA diversification in the focus district.
Expect substantial improvement in content and overall quality of the journal with relatively limited pages as we progress in time.
Congratulations Team West Bengal, congratulations Team Purba Bardhaman for bringing out the first issue of the journal within a very brief window period for preparation.
Mandatory provision for minimum 70% expenditure from DPR/AAP in Usharmukti GPs
It is reiterated that in 2018-19 financial year, 70% expenditure from Usharmukti DPR/AAP in all 472 notified Usharmukti GPs is to be strictly enforced. The sanctioning authority will approve non-Usharmukti NREGA schemes only after approving 70% schemes (in financial term) from the Usharmukti DPR/AAP. This shall be strictly complied with.
The State Presentation before the Award Committee on Mahatma Gandhi NREGA
On 20 April 2018, the State Government made its presentation before the National Award Committee to stake its claim for Award in MGNREGA for its stellar contribution in achieving Convergence and Enhancement of Livelihood Opportunities. A copy of the presentation is shared.
Welcome to this website. This has been recently launched by the Panchayats & Rural Development Department, Government of West Bengal to reach out to the internet users with its dynamic account of the developments in implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The Act was passed by the Indian Parliament in 2005 and implementation in the field started in February 2006. Twelve years have passed and in these twelve years, the programme became stronger with each passing day, month and year. It is probably the most transparent of all the national programmes. You could access the database of 262568 Gram Panchayats of the country spread over 6898 blocks of 685 districts. Data pertaining to 25.16 crore workers from 12.64 crore job card holding households are available on the national portal (www.nrega.nic.in). In the last five years, an average of 220 person-days were generated by providing work to an average of 4.8 crore households.
In West Bengal, the Scheme (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) has been able to establish itself as the largest development intervention in the rural areas. Over the last five year or so, the state could bring itself at the very top in terms of programme implementation. In the current year itself, the state has already been able to generate 26.65 crore person-days out of the national total of 193.16 care person-days. a total of 45 lakh job seeker households could be provided work for an average of 51 days, whereas the national total and average are 4.15 crore and 41.69 days respectively. West Bengal is presently at the very top among all the major MGNREGA implementing states of the country. The hallmark of the West Bengal model of MGNREGA implementation is the massive and all pervasive convergence that the programme could achieve with several development departments and their schemes. You name a development intervention in the rural area, MGNREGA is there. In pursuing multiple convergence, livelihood opportunities of the job seeking households too are expanded.
Through this web portal, we will present the achievements of the state in programme implementation- both in terms of the scale and the depth of the programme. Through different sections we would present the nuances of the programme as it is creatively implemented in the state.