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Month: January 2011

Improving Muster Roll and Measurement Procedure in NREGA

I am Samir Garg, working on the issue of tribal rights in Chhattisgarh with Adivasi Adhikar Samity. Our intervention has a focus on promoting grassroots mobilisation around food and work entitlements.

Being an activist working on issues of Right to Food and Work, I was concerned about the anomaly in current muster roll design in my state as it resulted in a large number of NREGS workers not getting paid as per the amount of task done by them. There was little information in the public domain on how to improve the muster roll design. I put a query in Solutions Exchange Work and Employment Community as I was confident that this would help me in accessing the specific information I was looking for.

Specific Inputs:

The muster roll designs that were shared by members of Solutions Exchange Work and Employment Community were indeed very useful. I received examples of muster roll designs from the states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala. The details of the specific responses that have been considered for my design plan are discussed below:

Inputs from Maharashtra: Attendance is taken twice (morning and afternoon) every day in an Attendance Sheet. Labourers work in groups and the evaluation of the volume of group work is evaluated weekly and payments are disbursed fortnightly in accordance with the amount of work done. A Schedule of Rates is maintained that looks keeps a tab that if a labourer works for seven hours then he/she can be entitled to the minimum wage.

‘To ensure transparency in the measurement procedures, a provision in Maharashtra makes it mandatory for the implementing organization to put up a display board in a local language near the work site clearly citing the way a sample of work is measured and wages calculated. This provision helps the labourers in keeping a record of their work and counters any miscalculations done by the implementing agency and hence prevents any potential loss of their wage’.

Inputs from Rajasthan: This elucidates the state having one of the most comprehensive and transparent system for measuring labourer’s work. There is a proforma for recording daily work that got created as a result of labour movement among the worker’s organization. The proforma advocates for recording and measurement systems for individual’s work rather that basing on attendance. It was worth noting that this movement has impacted the implementation strategy of other states as well.

The following attachments, which have been approved by the Government of Rajasthan, have given excellent insight for the muster roll design plan:

  • Dainik Karya Maap Proforma (Daily Work Measurement Proforma)
  • Karyasthala Diary (Worksite Diary)
  • Napti Board (Measurement Board)
  • Nirdesh (Guidelines)
  • Saamagri Sandharan Register

Inputs from Kerala: There were suggestions on how each possible work under NREG could be defined separately and possible result for all of them can be recorded using systematic Time and Motion studies. This would simplify the estimation and measurement greatly. It was noteworthy that the Government of Kerala was in the process of finalizing the above-mentioned procedure in the pilot districts of NREGS within the state.

It was further suggested that each labor team may be assigned a work in total and record the muster role as per field conditions. After the completion of the work, the valuation amount could be divided as per attendance. However, the payment of each family could be limited to hundred days of minimum wages as per the act. This would give incentive for more people to join the scheme and larger assets can be created.

Outcomes:

The diverse and specific responses from various parts of the country were immensely helpful. I will state some of the outcomes from my seeking the services of the Solution Exchange below.

  • Design of an appropriate muster roll design:
    The inputs from members helped me in understanding ways to resolve the issues of muster roll design. They gave me a thorough exposure to the existing practices across the country and also brought to light the challenges, learning and successes of the practice. The discussion enabled me to compare experiences and practices of other states with the existing system in my state (Chhattisgarh) and assess their relative merits and demerits. The information and reflection put together enabled me to develop a muster roll format that was appropriately designed and adapted for measurement and recording of daily individual task.
  • Strengthening the knowledge of civil society Groups for  influencing Policy in Chattisgarh:
    I was able to share the information received from SE in response to the query posted with my colleagues in the Right to Food Campaign in Chhattisgarh. The campaign team in turn was able to think of further collection of local field data so that the desired strategy for advocacy on the issue with the state government could be formulated. The muster roll design plan for the state of Chhattisgarh is in the process. The policy dialogue with the stakeholders has already started but yet to yield results.

I am highly satisfied with the abovementioned responses and inputs received from the members. I am particularly impressed with the efforts of the Work and Employment Community in contacting the potential sources of the required information. Apart from the above specific benefit, as a member of the SE Work and Employment Community, I have gained from my regular interaction with the platform. I regularly go through (and sometimes even participate in) queries and related debates posted by other member of the community. Here knowledge exchange creates a rippling effect in knowledge dissemination across different sections of the society.…

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Impact of Mobile Technology Projects for improving the lives of common citizens

The emphasis of UNDP is on enhancing the inclusion of the most disadvantaged sections (especially Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, women and other marginalized sections) in poverty alleviation programmes. UNDP India, being engaged with the Union Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in supporting national initiatives on E-Governance and use of ICT for various development sectors, enabled John to play a key role in many such initiatives.

John Borgoyary was working as a Programme Officer with the UNDP for 3 years from 2006 to 2009. During his association with UNDP the focus of responsibilities of John was on promoting the use of ICT for poverty alleviation.

The Background

åThe current scenario of widespread mobile networks provides enormous opportunities to use mobile technology for improving lives of common citizens. John was therefore interested in developing innovative projects which use cutting edge technologies (such as mobile phone-based applications) for improving access and capacities of common citizens for better livelihoods and services (government or otherwise), particularly in rural areas.

In this context, the following queries were raised and information sought by him to the members of the Solution Exchange:

  • Examples of innovative applications of mobile technology (among other cutting edge ICT tools), which have been successful in India and other countries, which use such technologies for G2C, C2C and C2B services.
  • Innovative ideas on where ICT applications based on mobiles can be used for the same.

The responses received mainly centered on the following important points:

  • Inventive ideas on using mobile phones
  • Facilitation of health service delivery
  • Improving transparency and accountability within the government
  • Right to Information Act
  • Discussing different case studies from other states

Specific Inputs

  • Members listed various E-Governance projects already using mobile technology in different parts of India.
  • The Government of West Bengal is using mobile phones to strengthen E-Governance initiatives, starting with information dissemination (health, education, sanitation schemes) and rural household survey.
  • An initiative by the Government of Madhya Pradesh enables citizens to pay their telephone and electricity bills through their mobile phones.
  • In Karnataka, a public-private-partnership project harnesses mobile phone technology for enhancing local information flows, particularly local content generation for Community Radio.
  • In Maharashtra, discussants mentioned a project where local youth use mobile phones to provide news and information to their communities
  • Other examples mentioned were LifeLines, E-chaupal, TeleCentre on Wheels, and KISSAN that have utilized ICTs to support farmers and the poor.
  • The responses received from the following persons were specifically used:
    1. R. K. Mukherjee, ACCESS Development Services, New Delhi
    2.  Ramnath Bhat, VOICES, Bangalore
    3.  Meghendra Banerjee, World Health Organization (WHO), New Delhi
    4.  Ravi Ghate, SMSOne.in, Pune
    5.  Ramesh S. Aruznachalam, Microfinance Consulting Group, Chennai
    6.  Anindya Kumar Banerjee, Independent Consultant, Kolkata
    7.  Sougata Mukherjea, Telecom Research Innovation Centre (TRIC) IBM  India Research Lab, New Delhi
  • Members of ICT gave information on www.WorldWideWeb.com, which contained many new information used by John.

Outcome

  • The various concepts and ideas of using SMS & MMS based tools for upliftment of the marginalized communities germinated and got crystallized through discussion and information received from the members of the ICT community.
  • UNDP was able to implement SMS / MMS based ICT project for Legal empowerment of marginalized communities in India (Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh).

 …

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