UN praises NREGA
At home, the government is facing a barrage of allegations over corruption in public affairs, but in Geneva the Congress-led UPA-II was hailed for embracing an inclusive scheme like National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). On Tuesday, the United Nations released a Global Assessment Report (GAR), praising NREGA and asked other nations to emulate the programme that has helped empower millions of marginalized. In the presentation, a special mention was made of the NREGA’s “effective decentralized planning and implementation” and its benefits reaching out to millions of poor across the country through “proactive disclosures and mandatory social audits of all projects”. In India, the employment programme has already benefitted 41 million households till date, GAR said. India’s political establishment and its top bureaucracy that has to contend with several corruption cases being investigated under strict monitoring of the Supreme Court came in for praise as the UN report gave credit to the success of the NREGA programme to “the impetus provided by strong political will and a committed high-level bureaucracy”. The second edition of the GAR, which was released after two years, is a vital resource document used for understanding and analyzing global disaster risk and how communities worldwide can be strengthened to cope with natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods, drought and cyclones. Drawing on new data, the latest report explores trends in disaster risk for each region and for countries with different socio-economic development. UN secretary general Ban Kimoon endorsed employment programmes and cash transfer to marginalized section of the society as important strategies that have the potential to reduce disaster risk and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. However, the report called for more transparent approach to be adopted by the governments in implementing these schemes.