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Govt formulating norms for rural employment scheme

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Mr Singh said, at least one third of the beneficiaries are women who have registered and requested for work under the Act.

New Delhi , Sept. 2

THE Government is formulating guidelines for implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill, which envisages guaranteeing at least 100 days employment to each rural household annually.

Speaking to newspersons, the Rural Development Minister, Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, said the scheme will give highest priority to areas like water harvesting because the geography of rural poverty is almost coterminus with the dry lands of the country.

The scheme could be launched either on October 2, or on November 14, depending upon when Presidential assent is given to the Bill.

The Ministry is currently working on the norms before launching the scheme in 200 districts.

About Rs 4,000 crore would be needed for the four-month period from December 2005 to March 2006.

In next four years, all the 600 rural districts would be covered at a total annual outlay of a whopping Rs 50,000 crore.

The Minister said that water conservation, water harvesting, drought proofing, micro and macro irrigation works and renovation of traditional water bodies, including desilting of tanks, are some other areas of priority.

The scheme will also lay emphasis on land development, flood control and protection work and rural connectivity through all-weather roads.

For financing this, the Centre is to set up a National Employment Guarantee Fund while the State Governments will formulate a State Employment Guarantee Fund.

The Centre will provide 90 per cent of funds and the State Governments the remaining 10 per cent.

Elaborating, Mr Singh said, at least one third of the beneficiaries are women who have registered and requested for work under the Act.

There would be no discrimination in the wage rate payable to women workers.

Allaying apprehension regarding possible irregularities in the scheme, he said elaborate mechanisms had been made to ensure transparency and accountability at all levels.

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