Apoorva Oza’s presentation looked at data which suggest that there is cause for worry since both person-days of work generated and share of STs participating in MGNREGA work are on the decline. He said that particularly in the tribal belt of MP, there is a huge opportunity for natural resource based livelihood type of interventions leveraging MGNREGA and that is what we need to focus on. His presentation recommended that MGNREGA should focus intensively on the very needy blocks, including where tribals are concentrated and we should attempt to maximize its benefits by doing all that is needed to correct the systemic gaps in its implementation.
Dr. Ravindra Pastor MGNREGA Commissioner, Madhya Pradesh made a presentation on new GoMP’s policies on MGNREGA. He outlined the steps that GoMP has taken to make MGNREGA implementation better and wage payments more time-bound. Also he said that the state government had initiated a large recruitment drive to induct personnel, and had also taken steps to ensure training of these personnel, and has created a cadre of master trainers who have trained these personnel. Other steps taken by the state government include tightening up of the measurement-payment cycle so as to ensure that wages are paid in time, one-shot administrative and technical sanctions for all works, increase in the Administrative Sanction powers of the sarpanch upto Rs.15 lakhs. He said that GoMP was keen to partner with civil society for a greater variety of roles than the planning-implementation role. Overall the government came out very positively in favour of involving civil society.
In the discussions that followed, participants from different grassroots NGOs working throughout the state raised several issues regarding MGNREGA implementation in their area and sought solutions from the Commissioner. After the meeting a smaller group comprising Apoorva Oza (AKRSP), Pramathesh Ambasta (SPS), Vivek Sharma (CARD) and some others from civil society met to outline what should be done next. It was decided that this group develops a framework for GoMP-CSO partnerships which could be taken forward with GoMP. Pramathesh Ambasta was assigned the task of preparing the note for this framework.