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Experience file

Karnataka, July 2007

NREGA; A Gateway to Participatory Governance

This case study of Gulbarga District shows the strengths of NREGA in ensuring participatory governance.

The Ghulbharga District in Karnataka State, in South of India, was declared as included in the NREGA, in the first phase itself. But the Authorities of the District Governance kept it hiding/secret.

The people of Ghulbarga Panchayath, coming to know about the NREGA, through an awareness campaign on the Act by a Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO-World Vision), went to the panchayath and demanded work under the NREGA.

The Panchayath was reluctant; But the people kept on demanding for their Right to Work. The people continued to demand for their Right to work under the Act, continuously for 3 months, but the Panchayath authorities never came in favour of demand of the people.

It was then after a period three months of struggling, the people’s committee of the Ghulbargha Panchayath, decided in crucial meeting of theirs, that they will identify work in their area, and they will start doing it by themselves, declaring to the public that it is programme under the NREGA.

Thanks to the initiative of the World Vision (NGO), it was their efforts which could succeed in forming a people’s committee of this nature.

What the people decided was to work on a tank construction; of course, it was a kind of watershed management also.

In the process, the people kept all the records like muster rolls etc.

After a period of one and half months, the deputed Junior Engineer from the Panchayath, came to the working people, and legalized all the works they have done under the NREGA. And it is a matter of happiness that the people started getting their wages after 45 days; the wages were paid with retrospective effect.

In the whole process:

  • pressurization from the People’s Committee (NGO) was there

  • the medias carried the news of people working like this

  • the panchayath had no way out other than to come down to the people

Finally, even officials from Bangalore (the State Capital/ Secretariat) came to the Ghulbargha people.

Case study by: Mr. Baby Paul