Tackling Rural Migration through MGNREGA
Khairi is a small village at Shindewahi- block, Chandrapur district near Nagpur. The village is located in a deep forest and being a Tiger Reserve zone, at night it becomes difficult to travel in the area. 80% people in the village belong to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and are dependent on farming for their sustenance.
Many of the adult and youth have migrated to other Indian states, outside their village, like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka in search of jobs. The people in the village, especially men have been struggling to find work in their village. Most of the people are rice farmers. The rice crop is a six month crop which makes it seasonal. Hence, the people are out of job for the rest of the year. Due to lack of alternative livelihood opportunities in the lean season, they have to leave their families and migrate to other places for work. As a result of which the burden falls on the women of the household to take care of the parents and children. Also, most of the time migrant people are not skilled or educated therefore they are usually employed as daily wagers. Many times daily wagers do not get enough money for the sustenance of their families and suffer from other problems like lack of enough food to eat, sanitation, hygiene, and a proper place to live in the cities.
In the month of February 2018, DBSS Nagpur visited the village for Village Development Plan (VDP) process, during which the villagers shared their local issues and problems. Getting jobs during the off season was one of the major issues. After discussions, DBSS Nagpur decided to help the community by linking them to MGNRGEA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), a Govt. employment scheme that assures a minimum of 100 days’ work. This seemed a good opportunity to provide work to the community during the lean season of agriculture. DBSS Nagpur helped the community through the application process. Around 40 applications were submitted to the Gram Panchayat with help of Manviya Hakka Sangharsh Samiti (MHSS) which is the local People’s Organization, village youth and SHG members collectively.
With continual follow-ups by DBSS Nagpur, the Gram Panchayat and Sarpanch (Village Headman) decided to start a work project for the internal village road and also provided funds to complete the road project. The scope of work was to construct a 900 meter village road. Through this project 59 families of Gram Panchayat received 72 days of work. Each member earned Rs. 100 to 150 daily wages. The construction of the village road also became an asset for the village and helped people to travel easily between their fields to work in their farm lands.
* DBSS Nagpur along with Local Government bodies is linking the community with MGNREGA scheme as this recognizes ‘Right to Work’ and provides employment to the unemployed rural people during lean seasons (three to four months) with a view to check distress migration of rural households in search of employment. This is helping to bring improvement in governance at the grass root level through positive relationship with local Govt. bodies and ensuring inclusive growth.