New Delhi: The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said that the Government attaches highest priority to poverty alleviation and will work purposefully to improve the quality of public system and delivery of public service for employment generation and rural prosperity. Inaugurating a conference of Ministers of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj from States and UTs at Vigyan Bhawan here today, he underlined the need to develop the skills of Panchayati Raj Institutions in designing, planning, monitoring and the implementation of flagship , anti poverty programs NREGA and the proposed NRLM. The Conference on Rural Employment has been organized by the Ministry of Rural Development to discuss the proposed National Rural Livelihood Mission (NLRM) and emerging issues in NREGA.
Appreciating the fact that works under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Program are helping to rejuvenate and revive our natural resource base, the Prime minister said that we must draw lessons from the experiences of NREGA and the the past five years to put in place a reform program which meets the legitimate aspirations of the rural population. While admitting that there are success stories and there are indifferent performances in different parts of the country, he called upon the participating ministers to deliberate upon the ways and means to ensure that the benefits reach out to the needy and the poor in their respective states. The Prime Minister advocated the need to shift from input base monitoring to independent evaluation of outcomes.
Dr. Singh said that the proposed National Rural Livelihoods Mission will be implemented in a Mission will be a multi- pronged strategy for poverty reduction in a time bound manner by providing sustainable livelihood through various means to rural population below the poverty line. He emphasized that the primary goal of the Mission will be to saturate mobilization of poor communities into Self Help Groups in a time bound manner and the Mission will be, learn and in due course of time, upscale productive partnership between the people and the Government institutions.
In his welcome address, Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, Dr. C.P.Joshi said that NREGA and the a boost to the rural economy and has shown the way how benefits can reach out to the needy and the poor living in the villages. He pointed out that although only 14% households so far have availed of full 100 days employment under NREGA and theinception , efforts would be made to enhance their skills to encourage them to move on from wage employment to self employment. The Minister said that the decision to restructure and redesign the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana and convert it into a National Rural Livelihoods Mission will be another significant step towards poverty reduction in a time bound manner by providing sustainable livelihood through various means to rural population below the poverty line. While highlighting the role of Self Help Groups in sustainable livelihoods for the rural people, he called upon the participating states to share their ideas and experiences so that the best practices could be replicated wherever possible. The Minister said that the integration of NREGA and the with Skill development would go a long way toward mitigating the problems of the rural poor so that they can lead a life with dignity. Dr. Joshi also took the opportunity to highlight the need for discussion on watershed management issues in the states.
The Secretary Rural Development, Dr. Rita Sharma presented a detailed accounts of the issues related to NRLM and NREGA and the Secretary, Panchayati Rj , A.N.P. Sinha gave an account of the issues related to implementation of NRLM and NREGA and the role of Panchayats.
The meeting assumes significance in the backdrop of the decision taken by the Ministry of Rural Development to re-design and re-structure the on going Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) into National Livelihood Mission (NRLM) as the cornerstone of national poverty reduction strategy. The objective of the Mission will be reduce poverty among rural BPL by promoting diversified and gainful self-employment and wage employment opportunities which would lead to an appreciable increase in income on sustainable basis. In the long run, it will ensure broad based inclusive growth and reduce disparities by spreading out the benefits from the islands of growth across the regions, sectors and communities.
The one day conference is being attended by the Union Ministers of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain Aditya, Shishir Adhikari and the Ministers of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj from various states/UTs. It would provide a forum to seek the views of various stakeholders in finalizing the details of the NLRM for a focused approach on poverty eradication in a time bound manner, integration of NRLM with NREGA and the the implementation and monitoring of NREGA and the the delivery mechanism.