The UPA government's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) may see an objective evaluation from select eminent citizens to ensure unbiased appraisal of the scheme and its benefits.
The scheme has seen an investment so far of Rs167,824.18 crore since 2006. The employment scheme has been reported to cover only 14 per cent households and a very small 1.87 per cent from the drought hit areas, raising concerns about its efficacy.
A number of follow up plans were discussed at the recently held Congress Working Committee meeting to address the loopholes and limitations of the scheme. The measures include guaranteeing 100 wage days, technical support, a state level ombudsman, and resolving problems of late and uneven wages.
The proposal to ask eminent citizens to act as monitors is also being considered. The citizens will be drawn from judicial, civil services and other respected social sectors.
Schemes like the NREGA have assumed importance in the wake of the drought like situation gripping nearly half the country. The scheme is expected to ameliorate the situation with its employment guarantees.
Recently, the centre has also fixed a cap of Rs100 for its entire tenure to ensure not being levied with excess burden in case states decide to hike the wages promised under the scheme. The extra burden will thus be borne by the states.