KAWANT, AUGUST 13, 2009: For 145 SHG leaders and community members from the villages of Kawant, August 12, marked one of the first achievements in their efforts to secure their rights under the NREGA. The programme, organized by the DISHA social work team, began with a screening of a film explaining the Act and its implementation. This was followed by a short session in which Fr. Gregory, the director of the DISHA team, introduced the objectives of the day’s programme and encouraged people to participate actively and share their experiences.
The Chief Guest for the day was Mr. Manish Patel, the Deputy Programme Officer for the NREGA from the District Rural Development Agency, Vadodara.The next session comprised a set of case studies, in which people from various villages presented the status of the NREGA in their area and the problems that they face in securing work and wages under this Act. It was encouraging to see that some people had come prepared with their questions and did not hesitate to speak confidently to the Programme Officer.
In the last session, Mr. Patel addressed the questions raised by the people and suggested solutions that they can use to claim their rights. He also made immediate note of two cases and assured the complainants that he would take up the issue with the concerned authorities. He then went on to explain some of the processes involved in the implementation of the Act, such as the appointment of supervisors at the village level, the opening of accounts and the release of funds at the District, State and Block levels.At the end of the programme, the participants came away with a sense that it is possible to make the government machinery function the way it should. The DISHA staff also gained a better understanding of this law and how they can enable people to use it effectively.