The National Food for Work Programme(NFWP) was originated by the minister of Rural Development of the Central Government on November 14, 2004, in 150 of the most backward districts of India with the objective of generating supplementary wage employment.
The programme is accessible for all economically insecure Indians who are outfitted to do manual unskilled work and are in the need of salary profession. It is executed as a centrally-sponsored scheme. Food grains are provided to the States for no money.
The transportation cost, handling charges, and taxes on food grains will, however, be the responsibility of the States.
The magistrate is the primary officer at the district level and has the complete obligation for outlining, implementation, coordination, monitoring and administration. For 2004-2005, 2,020 Crore Rupees (US$310 million) was allocated for the programme in addition to 180 lakh tonnes of food grains.
NFFWP is now merged with MGNREGA Scheme since the latter has taken centre-stage over a few years. The expense for the programme was raised by 50 lakh metric ton of food grains and Rs. 4,500 crore towards cash component for 2005-2006.
Objectives of NFFWP
The intention of the programme was to equip supplementary reserves apart from the resources accessible under the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY).
It is provided to 150 of the most backward districts of the country so that generation of supplementary wage employment and providing food security through the creation of need-based economic, social and community assets in these districts are further intensified.
The scheme was 100% centrally sponsored. The programme has after been merged in NREGA which has materialised itself in 200 identified districts of the country including the 150 NFFWP districts.
The Scheme provides 100 days of work guarantee to each rural household whose constituents propose to do unskilled manual work.
Important roadmap for NFFWP
The NFFWP is directed at “all the rural have-nots who are in need of wage employment and wish to pursue manual and unskilled work”.
The NFFWP is centrally funded. Food grains are procured free of cost to the state governments of the respective states. The states are deemed to incorporate the transportation costs, handling assessments and taxes.
These include water conservation, drought proofing (including afforestation), flood control/protection (including drainage in water logged areas) and land development, and rural nexus in terms of all-weather roads.
A five-year “perspective plan” is to be equipped for each district, with Blocks and Panchayat-wise aspects of tasks to be initiated. The Ministry of Rural Development will establish the Perspective Plan (with or without alteration) which has to be settled in deliberation with the PRls, local MPs and MLAs.
It cannot be less than the minimum wage fixed by the state government under the appropriate state for the agricultural workers.
Wages for men and women:
“Equal wages shall be paid under the programme to both men and women workers”. Finally, something that we can be proud of, without being sexist enough.
Cash Kind ratio:
Wages are to be paid partly in cash and partly in food grains. The collective value of the grains should be at least 5 kg of the wages, and cash should be at least 25%.
In case of some curtailment of either cash or food grains, these symmetries can be adjusted by the state, so long as the grains, does not demand the centre for additional cash in lieu of food grains.
Sharing of grain:
Food grains should be distributed in the workplace or if the workers belong to the same home, those can be shared in the dwelling. Distribution of food grains can be through the implementing gram panchayat or any agency delegated by the state government.
Each executing agency is to maintain an “employment register” which contains features of the number of person employment (by caste and gender). This register is supposed to be open to public inspection and copies are to be made available by charging a “small fee if necessary”.
For each work, there will be a supervising committee consisting of 5-9 suggested members including at least one SC/ST candidate and a women’s representative. The selection of the committee members is to be done through the Grama Sabha.
The work cannot start until the monitoring committee has been formed. The monitoring committee is also conjectured to send its report along with the conclusion certificate.
Schedule of Inspection:
10% of panchayats to be inspected by district-level officers and 2% of panchayats by state-level officers.
Monthly, quarterly and annual reports have to be outfitted and relinquished to the state government by each district.
The planning commission has classified the 150 most backward districts on the basis of agricultural productivity per worker, agricultural payment rate and SC/ST population. These districts have been identified in 27 states.
NFFWP is an essential apparatus for assuring employment generation so that each family is inspirited of a safe and secure livelihood. In a country like India with a complex socio-economic, political structure, materialisation of such a huge, ambitious project is not going to be a smooth sail.
In contradiction to the trickledown theory of economic development, the conceptualisation of NFFWP is based on the Keynesian model of employment where the state necessitates pro-active steps creating employment opportunities by way of attacking demand insufficiency.
The NFFWP is a pro-poor redistributive scheme which is a notable achievement in itself.
Most of the backward districts which would benefit from the scheme constitute the tribal belts of India. The scheme provides 100 days of employment with minimum wages for at least one able-bodied person from each household in the country.
Ill fate of various Programmes
It is up to us to take care of the programmes and help it go forward effectively. Unless massive steps are taken for the preservation of the overall process, leeches will take centre-stage and it will be all chaos.
The main objective of this paragraph is to enlighten people of their right and make sure they are getting their commodities sufficiently or not. Stringent laws and reforms need to be there so that corruption is not given a chance to breathe.
Unless there is a balance between the amount of cash and food grains, it will go all imbalanced. It is certain that there will be corruption, but on what scale, that is still a question worth pondering.