The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is perhaps the United Progressive Alliance government's most ambitious and most revolutionary scheme. Being implemented in all districts of the country, it assures 100 days of employment in a year for one adult from every family, at a wage of Rs 80 a day.
But as always, there's the proverbial shadow between intent and implementation. Rediff.com brings you a series of features highlighting how the scheme is working at the ground level. A Ganesh Nadar kicks off with his reportage from a Tamil Nadu village, the first in a continuing series:
There were five tractor-loads of people from Keela Muneerpalam village in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, heading towards the district collectorate. Keela Muneerpalam is about 8 km from the district headquarters.
The people alighted noisily and started shouted slogans, which they kept up till someone came out and accepted their petition to the district collector.
Two days later, Block Development Officer Maheswari, Deputy BDO (NREGA) Shanti and the concerned engineer Albert Raj descended on the village to check out why the villagers were angry.
And thereby hangs a tale. Familiar perhaps, in other districts implementing the NREGA.
Image: Women at work under the NREGA scheme in a village in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. Text and photographs: A Ganesh Nadar
Also read: NREGA in all 596 rural districts