LAST YEAR, when the pandemic resulted in reverse migration towards village, the biggest question before everyone was the employment options for the lakhs of people who headed back.
For the district of Amravati, which even in normal times report work related migration, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) came to the rescue with district authorities relying on it to tide them over. Proper dovetailing of schemes and planning not only helped them to avoid a crisis but also clocking the highest man day generated in the state.
In the financial year 2020-21, Amravati district reported generation of 101,16,778 man day of employment for its rural parts. This by far is the highest such generation in the state with Gondia with 52,78,005 man days generated coming a distant second and Palghar came third with 49,72,819 man days generated.
Other districts, even remote tribal ones where employment otherwise in not available, had fared much worse than the first three. Maharashtra last year had generated a total of 679,38,455 of man days during the entire year. Like other states, the rural employment guarantee scheme had come in help of the masses during a year when employment was severely hit.
Shailesh Naval, the then district collector, said the success of the scheme was a combination of proper micro planning dovetailing of schemes and thrust on creation of long term assets. Planning, Naval, who since then has been transferred to Mantralaya, said was the key to success of the scheme as a properly maintained ‘shelf’ of work would enable people to get work as soon as they ask for it. Creation of job in the village on being asked is the corner stone of the scheme which aims to create public asset through people’s participation.
Dharni, Chikaldhara, Morshi were some of the talukas where the scheme had seen good response with Naval talking about people stopping in their village and not migrating in want of work.
“If you get work right in your village most people would prefer to stay there even if the payment was lesser than what they would get if they migrated,” he said. By the end of the last financial year, there was hardly any village which did not have any work under the scheme going.
The tribal talukas of Dharni and Chikaldhara had reported the highest man days generated in the state. The then sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), Mitali Sethi, credited this to the extensive publicity carried out. In fact, in the project office of Dharni, officers were kept to man help lines for people who did not get work.
Sethi said the main thrust of the scheme is generation of work and thus advance planning for at least three months needs to be done.