VSK started working on MGNREGA in 2005, confronting the challenges associated with its implementation in these backward districts. Despite sustained efforts for three years, many issues persisted until 2008. They were:
- No allotment of work within 15 days of request, system dysfunctional at Panchayat as well as block levels
- Not a single complaint was disposed within 7 days
- Panchayat sevak and Rozgar sevak were not coming regularly to the Panchayat office
- The workers’ application for work demand and other complaints were not being accepted
- Wages were not being paid within 15 days
- The muster roll was not being made available at the work site
- There was no role of Gram Sabha in the selection, implementation and monitoring of the schemes. Middlemen and contractors were involved in each NREGA work.
With the continuous engagement of Vikas Sahyog Kendra, some of these issues were addressed in the operating Panchayats. Awareness levels among the community with respect to MGNREGS have improved, and household participation has increased. Most of the labourers are now demanding for employment within 15 days of application. Wage payment within 15 days is also streamlined in the VSK operating Panchayats. Rozgar sewak is also regularly coming to the Panchayat office to collect work demand applications and is ensuring that the applicants are getting jobs within 15 days.
- One of the important strategies adopted by the VSK for the effective implementation of MGNREGA is strengthening the existing local community institutions like Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (GSA), Mahila Adhikar Sangharsh Samithi(MASS), Pahari Kshetra Uthan Samiti (PSUS), Jharkhand Viklang Manch, Banvasi Adhikar Sangharsh Sameti and Jharkhand Garamin Mazdoor Sangh and networking them. They were empowered and capacitated to take social actions for accessing community rights under MGNREGS.
- With an aim to access 100 days of right to employment, genuine labours were organised in to Labour Groups of 20 laborers in each group. More than one labour group also exists in some villages. VSK built the capacities of the labour groups through special training programs. These Labour groups are exclusive to MGNREGS works.
- A total of 160 such labour groups have been formed and trained on process and procedures of MGNREGS including planning for works in the Gram sabha. A total of 3900 labourers of the labour groups across the operating villages have received their job cards. The empowered labour groups are now demanding works.
- Apart from MGNREGS labour groups, VSK has also formed Labour Unions (Mazdoor Union) with all categories of labour force exist in the village such as casual labours, agricultural labourers, MGNREGS labourers, rickshaw pullers, auto drivers etc. Labor group is a part of the Labor Union. The idea is to provide collective strength to all categories of labourers including MGNREGS labourers to fight for their rights. VSK is providing backstop support to both MGNREGS labour groups and labour unions in accessing their rights.
- Provided continuous training to labour groups and labour unions for strengthening them on process and procedures of MGNREGS. Most of the labourers are illiterate, but they are now trained to put their signatures in the muster roll.
- Developed trained workforce to carry forward the program. Active youth were trained and organized at village, Block and District level. Some of them are also providing services in the form of cadre groups, meth, labourer groups and mazdoor sangh.
- In order to motivate people to assume a larger role in the planning process, VSK adopted the strategy of planning of works through the Lok Adhikar Yojna. The organization on its own prepared the plan for 50 villages by adopting participatory approach using PRA methods etc., The plans were accepted and finalized in the Gram Sabha specially convened for this purpose.