Rural development scheme promises more freedom to “people at the ground level” to make changes

The Centre [Government of India] has decided to modify flagship rural development schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) to suit the needs of naxal-affected districts.

While the schemes will be made more flexible, funds allocated to them will also increase. The decision was taken at a day-long consultation held by the Central government with the collectors of 60 districts included under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP). […]

There has been opposition to this arrangement. Activists have demanded inclusion of representatives of the panchayati raj institutions in this committee. It was also demanded that the conditions like compliance with the Forest Rights Act of 2006 and the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act of 1996 should be applied in the districts to get the next installment under IAP […]

All the 60 districts under IAP will now also be covered under National Land Records Modernisation Programme. Currently only 11 districts are covered under the programme which ensures that all the land records are computerised. In addition the ministry will create a network of para-legal institutions in the gram panchayats to resolve land disputes.

Under National Rural Livelihoods Mission, service sector jobs will be provided to 3,00,000 unemployed youths, in the next five years. The ministry will also start  Public Private Partnership initiatives for value addition in minor forest produce. through involvement of women self help groups.

Ramesh [Union Minister for Rural Development] also made way for young professionals to take part in the administrative reforms in naxal-hit areas. Called the Pradhan Mantri Rural Development Fellow, the scheme will commence from next year. Three young professionals will be roped in under the scheme for a maximum of three years in each IAP district to assist the collectors in rural development planning. They will be selected through an independent selection process by the ministry. The scheme is inspired by the White House Fellow Programme in the US which has produced many prominent leaders  including the current president Barack Obama.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who was also present at the meet hinted a positive response to Ramesh’s recommendations. “People at the ground level should have freedom to make changes in the schemes according to their needs. They should own, plan and implement the programmes meant for them,” he said.

Source: Fresh development plan for naxal-affected districts | Down To Earth
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