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The Vision of Mahatma

Information about the organizational /environmental setting of the area:
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA, 2005 ) is the largest among the several poverty alleviation programmes implemented by the Government of India employment programme . This flagship programme, implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development, launched in 2006, aims to 'enhance the livelihood security of the poorest in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work'. The auxiliary objective of the programme is to strengthen natural resource base through activities that address the causes chronic poverty such as drought, deforestation and soil erosion.


Current concerns or issues
There have been several studies on the socio economic aspects of the MGNREGA such as the extent of employment created, financial transparency, economic benefits, social impacts, gender issues, food security though; there are very few studies that focus on the ecological impact. These studies have indicated that the immense potential of MGNREGA to create ecological assets such as water, soil; deliver ecological services, improve the biodiversity thereby is not adequately addressed, showing only marginal impacts on the improvement of ecosystem services. Some of the reasons could be, exclusive focus on employment generation; insensitivity arising out of limited understanding of the relationship between ecological services and poverty alleviation. There is a lack of clarity with regards to approaches and mechanisms to integrate ecosystem services in to poverty reduction strategies and hence it is weak. This being the case, focus on policy measures on how best to mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services in poverty reducation programmes is limited.


Education Intervention
Awareness and education seem crucial to address these issues and bring in change in the thinking for harnessing this perfect opportunity offered by MGNAREGA and broaden its scope across the country. Educational programmes leading to active policies, systematized planning, robust frameworks and efficient delivery mechanisms are essential at this point . Education programmes addressing the ways of channelizing large investment of MGNREGA in the direction that enhances ecosystem services benefitting biodiversity need to be planned. Furthermore, the programmes should be intensive enouch to support the creation of additional environmental, social and economic incentives to aid poverty reduction and attract increased public investments in rural sector which India is desperate about today.  

Aichi Biodiversity Target Addressed

Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems.