The state government will now accept demand for work for MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) through SMS and phone calls. The move follows the Union Rural Development Ministrys complaints of poor generation of work under the scheme in the last one year.
For the last one week,the NREGS wing of the UP government is conducting test runs in all the 75 districts of the state for the project,which is likely to be launched in a fortnight.
Under the project,a call centre has been established at the NREGS headquarters in Lucknow,where the SMSes and call-based work demand would be accepted. The person who makes a call or sends an SMS seeking work would be given an automatically generated unique number. NREGA provides for unemployment allowance to such workers who make a demand for work but fail to get it. This unique number would act as a receipt and the caller or the SMS sender can use it to get the allowance.
The government is also testing the system and software for response to bulk SMSes over 100 at a time. Once the project is launched,the phone number of the call centre would be publicised across the state.
Workers are so far required to submit a written application with respective gram panchayats. They are given a receipt in return. Ideally,the workers should get work within 15 days or are given unemployment allowance otherwise. However,in most cases,workers say they neither get work nor allowance as gram panchayats keep sitting on their applications.
In the second phase,the government will start the process of accepting work-demand through e-mails and Facebook. While the Centre has already been asked to create a separate Facebook account,the state government is exploring the idea of providing receipts through a Facebook account. Youngsters are using Facebook even in villages through cell phones. As we already have a Facebook account,we are exploring the possibility of creating a system where workers can get receipt for work after sending messages to the Facebook ID of the state, said an officer.ENS