Background of the National Food for Work Programme
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government in central in its pre poll election agenda committed
to ensure Employment Guarantee in the Rural India. But, Rural Employment Guarantee Bill (REGB) has not been passed in the
Parliament after the complete ion of one year in the Central Government. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government
in State have lost its visioning and betrayed the State population by making the system more corrupt even more than during
the regime of United Bihar Government. There is a lack of seriousness and sincerity in implementation of the Welfare and employment
generation scheme by both the Government in the State.
The Planning commission has identified 150 most backward districts of the country on the basis of prevalence of poverty
indicated by SC/ST population, agricultural productivity per workers and agriculture wage rate. Most of them happen to be
tribal districts. The National food for work programme (NFFW) is also a move towards wage employment guarantee. It is an experiment,
which if successfully carried out, will give the government the necessary confidence to take responsibility for providing
wage employment guarantee. Initially 150 districts have been identified and later it will be implemented gradually in the
remaining districts of the country.
The prime objective of the programme is to provide additional resources apart from the resources available under the
Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) to 150 most backward districts of the country so that generation of supplementary wage
employment and providing of food- security through creation of need based economic, social and community assets in these districts
is further intensified.
Methodology of the study
National food right Campaign in association with Gram Swaraj Abhiyan Palamau conducted its study on National Food for
Work Programme at Manatu Block of Palamau District. Team of three members from Delhi School of Economics started its study
in the Manatu Block. Mr. Sandip Rai, Ms. Eva Jayshree Kiro and Mr. Anjore Bhaskar all from Delhi School of Economics (team
member)stayed for 10 days in the Padma of Manatu Block with the help of
local team members of the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan andvisited 15 sites in the
Manatu block of Palamau District. Team members concluded its findings on 27th of May 2005 and presented the status
of the programme before the Hon. Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Mr. Videsh Singh of Panki Vidhan Sabha Constituency
and Hon. District Collector (DC) of Palamau Mr. Vinoy Kumar Choubey. More than three hours discussion held on the status of
the National Food for Work Programme with both of them.
Area of Study
Study conducted in the Manatu block of Palamau district of Jharkhand. It was the purposive study as because Manatu
in past and also in present facing the problem of food insecurity due to lack of employment opportunity among villagers. Initially
team decided to carry out their study in surrounding villages of the Manatu Block from where starvation deaths had been registered
during 2001 and onwards. But Team Members couldn’t be able to conduct its study as because work was not started in those
places. Then, team shifted to the Tarhasi area of the Manatu block of Palamau District. Visits have been made in the villages
Bhalogari, Chakandih, Mahari, Tarai, Nawadih, Saraidih, Tirwa, Gurha, Devdih and Tarhasi of Manatu Block of Palamau districts.
Status of NFFW in Manatu Block of Palamau District
per the provisions of the NFFW-
Minimum of 5 kg grains and minimum of 25% cash of total wage to be provided to the laborers but it is found in Chamandohari
Ahar of Gurha Village (Gurha Panchayat) that workers those are working in the site Baidnath Mochi, Anhat Bhuiyan, Upendra
kumar Ram, Chanrik Bhuiyan, Sukan Bhuiyan, Prabhu Bhiyan and Saryu Ram worked for 12 days and got the wages for the only Six
Days. But they haven’t got minimum of 25% of cash component and minimum of 30kg ration against the payment for another
6 days work. They’re also not getting the minimum wages and the grain component under the programme. This is not only
in Chamandohari Ahar but same case was found in Mahua Dohari, Khajurai ahar, Bhalogari Ahar,Dhobani Ahar, Pipraha ahar, Kewal
ahar, and Doman ahar. Henceforth Programme is not able to ensure the grains and cash component to the workers of the Manatu.
As per the guideline it has been asked to make the perspective plan before starting work with the approval of the monitoring
committee for the work. But during the visit it was found that perspective plan for 5 years has not been developed and without
planning work has been started and also the planning process doesn’t established the transparency and gram sabha has
not been taken in confidence for the work. There is a question on- how site have been selected? Who selected the Site? Why
not Village level plan made in the presence of the Gram sabha? There is no answer; Only DC knows how it is developed. Then
how community will take the responsibility for maintenance of assets why not DC will take the responsibility. Contractors,
Middleman are not permitted to be engaged for execution as per the guideline-During
the field visit it has been found that Gram Sevak is the departmental man who is executing the programme and they are the
incharge of 3-4 works in the Panchayat and the Gram Sevak appointed the Munshi (Meth) for execution of work in the work site.
These people are playing the role of contractors and middleman. This is the violation of the guideline of NFFW in the Manatu
Block. This has been found in all the sites where the team visited. They are the indirect contractors but government is clear
while making the agreement in the name of Gram Sevak. Gram Sevaks are not in the worksite they are in the Daltonganj town.
This has been found in the villages- Bhalogari, Chakandih, Mahari, Tarai, Nawadih, Saraidih, Tirwa, Gurha, devdih and Tarhasi.
Muster rolls in worksite-
Out of 10 visited sites, team has found the muster roll in only Chamandohari Ahar. In other places when it was asked
to the workers that where is Gram Sevak, they told he is at Daltonganj and he is maintaining the Muster roll in Daltonganj.
When team analyzed the Muster roll for the Chamandohari ahar it was found that entries have been made for 5 kg ration (wheat
and rice both) per day per workers, but workers are getting only rice and also 2-3 Kg ration maximum to individual workers.
When team approached to the Block Development Officer for muster roll he provided only the list of works and denied to provide
the muster roll.There are huge irregularities on maintaining the muster roll
and that’s why muster roll is not made public. This is the violation of ‘right to information’ in the work
Display of Signboards in the work site-
Guideline says that every site must have the signboard
and all the information regarding the worksite should be displayed. But team didn’t find any display board in the worksite.
There is no information to the villagers that what type of work and how much amount have been approved for the work. People
are also ignorant of how many labors to be required for the work and what payment regulation for the work has been fixed.
Arrangements of drinking water, rest sheds and crèches-There
is no provisions for drinking water, rest houses and the crèches in the worksite. These are the minimum and basic need at
the work place. Government has not ensured the facility and also there is no interest by the government to provide it to the
workers during the work. This is inhuman.
Land belonging to small and marginal farmers and
SC/ST farmers can not be acquired for work under the programme- But it was found in Bhalogari Village, under the Tarai Panchayat,
that work have been initiated in Hariohar Ahar and the villagers Sahdev Manjhi, Ramjee Bhuiyan, Dani Bhuiyan, Bhagwati Manjhi,
Nanhuk Bhuiyan, Ramyeen Bhuiyan having the objection that work have been started in their Raiyatee Land. This is the violation
and these SC families will be made landless in their village.
There is no Employment register in the worksite. Nothing has been mention that who are the workers? Whether they are
belonging to the SC or ST? How much distance they are traveling for the work, total number of workers already worked for the
It has been asked that work cannot be started unless monitoring committee
formed. But the reality is that no monitoring committee has been formed for individual worksite. When it was asked to the
villagers that if they have any information regarding the monitoring committee they told that they don’t have any information
about the committee. Monitoring committee has not been formed and work started, which is the violation of the norms.
It has been in the guideline that the senior level administrative staff will make the visit to the field to see the
implementation phase of the programme but no officers from the State and district level made their visit in the work site.
Then how can we accept that programme will ensure the desired objective?
When team met with the Hon’ MLA of the area and shared the information about irregularities in the programme
he assured that he is vigil over the process and he will not bother any officer who will be found chargeable in the matter.
But who knows what happen to those officer as because this is the common practice in the district.
When team visited the DC of the district he took it lightly but on telephone he summoned to the Manatu BDO to rectify
the irregularities and to maintain the quality of work. But perhaps DC is also not able to do anything.
IMigration registered from 82% village of the total surveyed villages during the survey
I17% villages responded that villagers migrated due to scarcity of the food.
I40% villages responded that migration is due to lack of employment in the village.
IIn 46% village, of the total surveyed villages, it was reported that number of households
migrated outstation is up to 10 during the survey period.
IIn 24.3% villages, of the total surveyed villages, it was reported that women are
also migrated for work to outstation during the survey period.
I32.4% villages, of the total surveyed villages, it was reported that children have
also migrated for work with family members during the survey period.
IIn 7.2% villages, it is reported that the number of households who are under the
clutches of the moneylenders are 40.
ILand mortgage in 85% villages of the total surveyed villages.
IIn 51.1% village of the total surveyed areas, it is responded that the number of
household mortgaged their land are 5 due to drought situation.
IIn 38.7% village, it has been reported that the household up to 5 having only 10
days food security.
IIn 24.3% villages, it has been reported that the household up to 20 having only 20
days food security.
IIn 39.6% villages, it has been responded that household up to 5 are getting only
one time meal.
IDuring the period of survey it has been found that in 61.5% village Antyodaya ration
was not provided to the beneficiaries.
IDuring the period of survey it has been found that in 77.4% villages Annapurna ration was not disseminated to the beneficiaries.
I34% villages in the surveyed area reported no employment generation work, though study conducted in the
National Food for Work districts.
INumbers of Human days generated under the developmental scheme are 50 in 16.2% villages of the surveyed
IIn 1.8% villages of the surveyed areas it has been reported that the number of human days created are
I19.8% villages responded that number of water irrigation sources dried are 5 during the survey period.
IIn 9.9% villages, it has been reported that price of the consumable items are increased by 20%.
I26.1% villages it has been reported that price of the consumable items are increased by 10%.
INational Food for Work Programme (NFFW) is not implemented as it was mentioned in the guideline and it
is also not able to fulfill the objective of the programme.
Drought situation and its
severity have been affected intensely in rural Jharkhand and this is taking shape of a permanent incidence in the state. Occurrence
of continuous drought since 3 – 4 years, due to erratic and inadequate rainfall, has broken the backbone of the farmers
as well as labourers. Numerous starvation deaths reported due to this and still some more families are standing on this position.
Condition in Palamau and Santhal Pargana has been observed pathetic on this point and most of the starvation deaths arrived
from these regions since 2001. Establishment of Jharkhand as a new state took place with an oath of social justice and upliftment
of poor. After formation of Jharkhand enormous development projects, funds and opportunities were identified and even brought
in practice. But, all these were of constructing huge buildings, establishing factories, widening of roads and other things,
which are having no concern with the upliftment of the poor. No such effort or interest observed in this regard from the state
government. Welfare schemes are observed inefficient to secure the vulnerable people. This year also reports arriving from
the field are extremely horrible. Pre drought study concludes that situation in Palamau and Santhal Pargana is grim. Late
monsoon and irregular rainfall in the State has created quandary for cultivation of the kharif crop in the State. A
good number of population already migrated to outstation in search of work. Government Employment generation programme, like
National Food for work (NFFW), couldn’t be able to benefit the target community as it was desired while launching the
programme. Poor community couldn’t be able to get the employment under the scheme. Relief code has been kept aside by
the State instead of using it to minimize the fatigue effect of drought. Government officials are unaware about the relief
code. The State Government has adopted no measures for pre drought preparation. It is also being concluded that there is no
proper planning to tackle the pre drought and post drought management. Every thing is in haphazard manner. It is not sure
that this year government will be able to prevent starvation deaths, but there is no doubt that scarcity in livelihood means
will surely upset the rural population.
Case Studies of National Food for Work Programme (NFFW)
Name of the work- Belha Ahar, Date of Survey- 20/05/05
Work under National Food for Work Programme started 5 days before the commencement date of survey. 100 workers are
working but 5 workers were present in the worksite. One girl named Basanti, Age 12 years was also found helping her
parents in the worksite. Workers are totally unaware about that ‘under which scheme they are working’.Workers are traveling ½ to 1 km to attend the worksite.There
was no criterion to select the workers for employment in the work under the NFFW Scheme. Every interested Person got the opportunity
for the work in the programme. Men and Women both are getting the work under the scheme but wages are differing as because
Payments are made according to the measuring of work. At local level payments are made according to the “Chukka”
rate. Workers are not aware about the official wage rate and till now they have received 10kg of ration and Rs.20/- per individual
workers as advance after the completion of 5 days of work. No wages have been paid against the work till now. Due to extreme
hot temperature workers are working morning to
till now measurement has not been made for the work.
Munshi for the work are not maintaining the muster roll. Monitoring committee for the work has not been constituted
for monitoring of the work. On 1/05/05 last meeting of the Gram sabha have been conducted in the village. Gram sabha is not having any idea about the programme
and neither they are interested over the work. No inspector visited the worksite. Muster roll is not being filled at the field.
Gram Sevak are maintaining the muster roll.
Name of the work- Dhogani Ahar, Date of Survey- 20/05/05
Janki is a worker and is working in the worksite. Santosh Yadav, Munshi, for the
NFFW programme was also present at the worksite. Questions asked from Janki and he responded- work starts morning and they return back to home.
Work started on 14/5/05. He and his worker friends do
not know anything about the Scheme. They are taking the amount of wages whatever provided by the Munshi. They are traveling
1-3 kms to reach the worksite. There is no need of ration card for the work. Machine for the work have not been utilized.
There was no child labour in the worksite.Workers for the village they are also
working in other agriculture plot and also collecting and selling the firewood and earning money for their livelihood. Male
agriculture labourers are getting Rs.30/- and one time food, whereas female workers are getting 2 kg of rice and two time
meal. They are not getting any cash component. This is the existing case where labourers are working in the private land in
agricultural season. The NFFW will benefit only those who have land nearer to the worksite. Dalits are not getting benefit
out of the Ahar repairing work. No body knows about the official wages under the NFFW. As per their view grain component is
good. If wages will be paid only as grain it will be nice. Whole day they are working only for ½ chukka of work. Advance has
been paid at the rate of Rs.50/- to each individual. They have got the grain but don’t know how much they must get as
per the entitlement fixed against the work under NFFW. Measurement has not been done of the work. There is no facility of
water, medical aid, crèches and shed in the work place. There is no monitoring committee for the work. No body is coming for
inspection of the work. Last Gram Sabha meeting organized 2 months before. No job card has been issued to the workers for
the work. Till now no payments have been made to the workers against their work. No muster roll and attendance register is
available in the worksite. Work has been initiated in the Ray tee (private land) land.
Name of the work- Pipraha Ahar, Date of Survey- 20/05/05
Women of the village went for Tendu Leave collection in the forest. Work started on Sunday 15/5/05. Workers don’t know how much wages to be paid
against the work. The workers are traveling ½ km distance to attend the work. All are living in the same place. There were
no criteria for the employment. The entire interested person got the work. There was no use of machine and child labour in
the worksite. When there is no work then they are in the home and working for household work. At village they are getting
Rs.30/- as cash and one time meal. Rs.40/- in been provided in case of no food. Works have been started in the private land.
Workers are working on Chukka rate. Wages are different for male and female. Labourers are not aware about the wage rate for
the programme. They also know that they will get grains but don’t know how much grain will be given for the work. Till
now no measurement have been taken so that there is no question of payment. No facility of water, medical aid, crèche house
and working shed is available. Monitoring committee has not been formed for the monitoring of the work. No muster roll till
Village- Gurha, Block- Manatu, District- Palamau
Name of the work- Chamandohri
Workers do not know the name of the ahar where work already strated. Work started 14 days before the day of survey.
Children were also working in the worksite. 2 ½ - 3kms of distance traveled by the workers to get the work. There was no criteria
for getting the work under the NFFW. Machine has not been utilized for the work. Only labourers are working in the site.Those who are living nearer to the work will only get benefit. For same work male
and female are getting different wages. Workers are working under chukka system of payment. Vijay Mahto, gram Sevak is the
work in-charge. Payment has been made in advance. No measurement till date. 100 Chouka of work already completed. Rs.600/-
has been paid in groups of 3-4 workers for 10 Chukka.