NREGS gets a helping hand from IIMs, IITs

Written by Mukesh Ranjan | New Delhi, May 24: | Updated: May 25 2008, 05:42am hrs
The Centres ambitious National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NGEGS) is getting a new band to volunteers. This time it will be graduates from the elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT).

The students and faculty of these premier institutes will set up an academic group headed by the co-coordinating faculty and assisted by students to evaluate and monitor the impact of the National Rural Employment Generation Act (NREGA) in the country.

The move by the institutes comes as a response to rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh writing to the heads IITs, IIMs and other premier universities and institutions in the country, suggesting them to involve their students in studying implementation of NREGS. The project is expected to create jobs in each household in the country and Rs 44,000-crore earning opportunities.

The minister had suggested that such an effort would enable the young minds to acquaint themselves with the intricacies of generation of livelihood. Agreeing to the ministers suggestion, IIM-A director Samir K Barua has told the Centre that the institute has deputed a professor to look into the possibility of undertaking this exercise.

IIM-Kolkata on its part has set up a new academic group called the public policy and management by merging three existing groups business environment, sociology and regional development. This newly created group will look into the possibilities of working in the areas suggested by the minister, director Shekhar Chaudhury has informed the Centre. IIM-Lucknow director Devi Singh has said the Centre for Food and Agribusiness Management of the institute has been entrusted to undertake the exercise of understanding and evaluating the rural employment initiative of the government.

Promising to initiate actions in the suggested areas, Indian Agricultural Research Institute director SA Patil asked the government to depute an officer of the rural development ministry to interact with him and help the institute in evolving a tailor-made training programme for the purpose. Other institutions like the Banaras Hindu University and National Dairy Research Institute have also indicated that they would like to be a part of the initiative and would depute groups comprising faculty and students for this purpose.